Tough decisions are challenging for anyone, let alone someone with bipolar disorder. But, rest easy––here are tips to help you through.
Making decisions can be challenging for anyone, let alone someone with bipolar disorder. Specifically, it is extremely important to make the best decisions for your mental health needs. I’ve had a few instances where I’ve had to make some tough decisions, but in the end, it all worked out.
I ran cross country and track for Lewis-Clark State College, and there came a time when I had to decide… what’s the best thing I can do for ME? I had a few really solid seasons, but the following two years were a complete struggle. Mentally, I had tanked. There was one race the next spring that I stepped out of because I couldn’t mentally hack it. It was so hard to explain to my teammates and my coach. My brain just didn’t want to finish the race. I struggled with this for the next two seasons, and finally came to a breaking point. The racing was taking a serious toll on my mental health. I was constantly upset, never happy with how I was performing. I also felt like I was letting my teammates down. The decision had to be made… it was time for me to hang up my running shoes. As hard as the decision was to make, I knew it was the right one. If I kept running, I’m sure it would have sent me into a downward spiral. I knew that putting my mental health first was the best thing I could do for myself.
I was so happy with the decision I made as the two years passed by. I was able to fully focus on my schooling, pouring all of my energy and efforts into the Elementary Education degree I was pursuing. I got straight A’s the last two years of schooling, and I felt like I did a great job in working with my students while doing my student teaching. I felt like I left a lasting impact on the students I worked with. I even had a little girl write me a letter that said, “I already miss you and it’s only been 2 hours!” I don’t think I would have been able to devote the amount of time and energy into my teaching that I was able to if I was still running, and I probably wouldn’t have made the same impact on the students that I was able to make.
The other hard decision I had to make was where to move after college. Would I move home? Would I move somewhere completely different? What was my next step? After much consideration, my Fiancé and I decided to move back home. One of the reasons we made this decision was to be close to family. I am very close to my family, and so is my Fiancé, so living near them was important to both of us. Another reason for our decision was the fact that I would be near my psychiatrist. She is an amazing psych, and it was important to me that I was able to keep her as my doctor. By being close to her, I felt more comfortable that my mental health would be taken care of correctly. Lastly, we absolutely love where we are from! We live in the Wenatchee Valley in Washington State. We both loved growing up here, so moving back made the most sense to us.
So, what are my tips for making big life decisions?
#1) Take everything into consideration
This accounts for your mental health, too! It’s so easy for us to think, “Oh, there will be plenty of doctors where I’m moving to!” The reality is, if you have a doctor that you feel comfortable with, do what you can to stick with that doctor. There is a lot to say about having a doctor that you can trust with your medications and overall well-being.
#2) Think about those affected by your decisions
When I made the decision to quit the team, I was thinking about the well-being of my friends, family, and fiancé too. No one wants a mopey person to hang out with, and they will get especially tired of someone they are constantly trying to lift up and make feel better. Being aware of those around you will make people realize how in-control your mental health is, and they will be quite impressed by it!
#3) Make sure that you are making the right decision for YOU as well
With a mental health disorder, it is SO important to make sure you’ll be happy with the decisions you make and planning for the outcome of your decisions keeps you one step ahead of the game!
So, next time you’re stuck in a rut, think about EVERYTHING before you act upon something you may regret in the near future!
I grew up in a small town called Cashmere in Washington State. I will be graduating from Lewis-Clark State College in just a few weeks! I will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. I am an outdoor enthusiast and love to spend my time hiking, mountain biking, skiing, waterskiing, fishing, and hunting.
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