Bipolar Bipolar Disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings. The two easiest to identify are mania (an energetic, euphoric state) and depression.
1-Your goal is to live a meaningful, productive and happy life. As with any major life change, you may have to renew your personal definition of meaningful, productive and happy to include your condition and genuine restrictions it imposes.
2-The most stringent requirement is to stay with the medications unless they are so intolerable your condition deteriorates. However, talk to your psychiatrist if the side effects are overwhelming. There are many medications and possible combinations. You may need to experiment for a long time to find the right combination.
3-Protect your job. It carries many essential benefits (health insurance). Talk to HR (discretely) about your disability right
4-If you become unemployed, you may still have rights with your employer.Consult a lawyer who specializes in employment law.
5-If you are on disability, your new job is to get well. The definition of disability is NO WORK. Focus on medical treatment. For bipolar, rest and relaxation are likely to be a big part of this.
6-If you are unemployed, volunteer. All of us have artistic, creative or intellectual abilities. Use this opportunity to explore.
7-As a volunteer, show up regularly and put your heart into your work. This impresses your supervisors (too many volunteers don’t take this seriously). From here you can obtain recommendations and apply for positions in the organization if they open up.
8-Your illness is a part of you but does not define you. You are not a list of symptoms. You are a whole person with interests and talents. Don’t say, “I’m bipolar.” Say, “I have bipolar disorder.”
9-Have faith in your ability to recover. We don’t know why, but some people as they age, such as Ruth Deming, co-author of this piece, reach a full recovery from bipolar disorder and do not need medications. This is documented in the book “A Mood Apart.
10-Your chances of permanent recovery are greatly enhanced if you can keep your mood swings small. Medication and therapy are essential tools for mood management.