Outside of medications, carefully choosing the people in your life––and cutting out any unhealthy relationships –– is the #1 way to manage bipolar disorder.
I’ve been managing bipolar disorder successfully for over 10 years. By successfully, I mean that I work on my health every day and learn from my mistakes. Lots of mistakes.
Outside of medications, I think that carefully choosing the people in your life is the #1 way to manage bipolar disorder.
Good relationships keep you healthy, unhealthy relationships can put you in the hospital. If I said this to a member of the general public- they would say, “Oh Julie! That’s pretty melodramatic!” But we know it’s not melodramatic. And the people who love us certainly know what bad relationships can do to us.
I used to have bad relationships in my life. Some people literally made me sick on a regular basis. When I look back, I’m astonished I let these people stay in my life. One even told me that I was the problem. Interesting. When we no longer saw each other, my ‘problem’ magically disappeared. That is because he disappeared!
Good relationships are hard work, but always worth it.
Relationships where the other person is unreasonable and hurts you either mentally or physically are not acceptable. Our bipolar brains are so sensitive!
We have to make relationship choices that protect our brains.
You can’t change who people are––even if you tell them you love them and that their behavior is hurting you––it’s their choice how they treat you.
But you can decide for the sake of your health which relationships have to end.
Julie A. Fast is the author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder, Get It Done When You’re Depressed, and The Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder. She is a columnist and blogger for bp Magazine, and she won the Mental Health America journalism award for the best mental health column in the US. Julie was also the recipient of the Eli Lilly Reintegration Achievement Award for her work in bipolar disorder advocacy. Julie is a bipolar disorder expert for ShareCare, a site created by Dr. Oz and Oprah. Julie is CEU certified and regularly trains health care professionals, including psychiatric residents, social workers, therapists, and general practitioners, on bipolar disorder management skills. She was the original consultant for Claire Danes for the show Homeland and is on the mental health expert registry for People magazine. She works as a coach for parents and partners of people with bipolar disorder. Julie is currently writing a book for children called "Hortensia and the Magical Brain: Poems for Kids with Bipolar, Anxiety, Psychosis, and Depression." You can find more about her work at JulieFast.com and BipolarHappens.com.
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