Have you built a wellness team of people to support you in your recovery? We invite you to share your experience.
Yes, I have a wellness team of people who are supporting me in my recovery. I have a psychologist, a therapist, and a case manager. I also have friends who have helped me greatly in my recovery. I have attended classes at the local mental health center, and I am a state board member of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Kansas. I also have a nurse practitioner who has been a great listener and has helped me in a lot of situations that I couldn’t feel comfortable talking about to other health professionals. My family listens and has let me develop my life the way I want. I have lived with bipolar for 40 years.
–N.S., Great Bend, KS
Go wellness team! My doctors accept email questions about medications and lab tests, and work together on my behalf. My husband helps me keep track of daily medication and exercises with me and our dogs. My social worker helps with school and vocational changes. I’ve also hired coaches for work growth. Church and support groups are positive, affirming, and have a clear purpose to help me stop complaining and address my problems. From these groups, I choose healthy friends to socialize with. Recovering family members give me insights too.
–C.W., Gainesville, FL
The most useful support I have in terms of trying to maintain wellness is a support group affiliated with Mood Disorders of Ontario. I have found in the past that family members and friends, although usually well-intentioned, often do not really grasp the subtleties of bipolar disorder. People who live with it do, and are able to provide helpful, honest feedback. I have experienced “help” from significant others that was actually an act of aggression and control, leading to unnecessary time spent in an emergency room. My psychiatrist is great, and he encourages me in every way to maintain a healthy, realistic outlook, from nutrition to exercise and medications. He encourages me in my search for meaningful employment, and reinforces positive cognitive behavior when he sees me slipping into negativity. Life with bipolar disorder is difficult and genuine knowledge and empathy is required to help someone live with it.
–L.M., Odessa, ON
My wellness team consists of my primary physician, my psychiatrist, and my support groups. I have four support groups: my Bible study group, my church, my folk club, and my DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) local group. I unfortunately drop out of my support groups when I get depressed. I know that this is exactly when I need them the most! I’ve learned that knowing and doing, however, are two different things. My most important support is my wife of 36 years, Louise. She’s been with me through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Without her I would have checked out of life early.
–P.N., Herndon, VA
My mom, my first bibliotherapist, recommended books to read that would help my attitude toward life. When my first manic psychosis occurred, my mother, at the nuns’ suggestion, took me to the psychiatrist. I am grateful that I had the support of this first “team,” as I was adjusting to life outside the convent.Medication, psychotherapy, and hypnosis were tools that the psychiatrist used. Various other psychiatrists, psychotherapists, employers, librarians with whom I worked, DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) support group members, and chaplains have provided a support network that has now kept me out of the hospital for almost 23 years.
–J.P.K., Milwaukee, WI
Recently, I was involved with the Day Treatment Program at Toronto East General Hospital. I can say nothing bad about this incredible program. I have been bipolar for more than 20 years, and I got more support and accesses to more resources at this program than with any other previous psychiatrist or therapist.
–D.L., Toronto, ON
My husband has bipolar and I have read everything I can get my hands on about brain disorders. I teach a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family-To-Family class and have a support group as well. I am an advocate for my husband. Every consumer needs one. Without that, it’s chaos. Also, go and listen to psychiatrists and psychologists talk on the subject. You can get so much information from them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Education is the key. I want everyone to know the things I wish we had known when my husband became ill.
–J.M., San Diego, CA
It makes a big difference in your recovery if you have a support team. I consider myself to be very lucky. I have a great support team to assist me. I could not imagine my life without them: my psychiatrist, therapist, school/job coach, and my support group. I wouldn’t be stable without this great group of people. They have helped and continue to help me immensely in my recovery.
–D.F., San Jose, CA
‘Wellness team’ is a great phrase. My wellness team includes a good doctor in the passenger seat. He is someone who listens and who treats me with the assumption that I probably do know myself in many ways, validity being a component that I think we so desperately need. I have a group of friends on a Web site dedicated to supporting those who have bipolar. They include people from all walks of life and have helped me stay afloat more times than I can count. My wellness team also includes some trusted friends and acquaintances who have been earnestly supportive and have learned to love me unconditionally. That is a blessing.
–J.P., Middletown, NY
I have a doctor and therapist on my team, but it is hard to build a team outside of them. None of my family and friends really understands bipolar, which makes it hard for them to support me in times of need. My son also has bipolar, but he is too young to be understanding. When I was in the hospital everyone there was supportive, but when I left, I lost that. I miss having that kind of support.
–J.P., Ipswich, MA
I have a wonderful team of people to support me. They include my immediate and extended family. They all understand what I have is a disease no different than diabetes or other illnesses. They are always there if I need to talk or need advice. My team also includes the professionals. They are great when it comes to prescribing my medications and giving me advice on dealing with my illness. Everyone has been so good to me.
–M.C., Lawrenceville, GA
I’ve had bipolar I mixed states, rapid cycling, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) all of my life. I was diagnosed with all of them in middle age. Now I’m stable with the bipolar, going to therapy with an excellent therapist for the past 16 years. I work through the OCD and PTSD with weekly therapy. Life is not easy due to my physical problems. I have an excellent team of doctors; I’m glad I have the help I have, because I didn’t understand life until I got diagnosed. I’m extremely grateful for the help I am receiving now.
–E.D., Bowling Green, KY
I definitely feel that I have built a wellness team of people to support me in my recovery. First and foremost, my sister has been my greatest support. She has seen me through all of my many hospitalizations, and has been there for me through thick and thin. I also attend a weekly support group that has helped me immensely. In addition, I have several close friends on whom I can rely when things get rough. Overall, I consider myself blessed to have such caring individuals in my life.
–M.A., Kings Park, NY
Living with bipolar disorder for 30 years, I have learned that a support team is essential for sustaining wellness. I do not rely on my family for support, having alienated my parents and siblings with my manic behavior. The leader of my support team is my girlfriend, Elaine, an artist and poet who is also living with bipolar disorder. My best friend, Rob, a mechanical engineer, manages an Irish band in which I am an accordionist. I am a retired biomedical engineer working for NAMI as an outreach coordinator. When my psychiatrist, psychologist, case manager, and pastor are stumped, Elaine and Rob always come to the rescue.
–M.B., Milwaukee, WI
We get the best results for bipolar management with a combination of both medication and therapy—each of which can be expensive. Here’s how I find good treatment options on a budget. Necessary and Affordable Care It’s possible to find medication management and therapy on a budget. I realize that both can be very expensive. But,...
Selena Gomez is no stranger to navigating mental health challenges, from dealing with the emotional burden of lupus to her kidney transplant to bipolar’s depression and anxiety. She’s learned the power of self-care and having the right connections—and how to say “no.” On April 3, 2020, singer and actor Selena Gomez candidly revealed that she...
The new face of the Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health campaign discloses her bipolar diagnosis to help us feel as empowered as the hero she plays on Supergirl. Bipolar, Identity & the Roles We Play Supergirl’s adoptive sister, Alexandra Danvers, MD, PhD, scientist and government agent, uses her genius-level smarts and kick-ass fighting...
On the one hand, characters with bipolar can demonstrate that treatment leads to stability. On the other, manic extremes make for better drama. “Surely there is someone out there who will take me for who I am: the good, the bad, the full story of love.” That’s award-winning actor Anne Hathaway as Lexi, prognosticating optimistically...