By: John Poehler
Getting the news that you have a chronic mental illness can be quite disheartening.
It can be extremely overwhelming.
You cannot change the fact that you have bipolar disorder.
You can change your perspective about mental illness by reframing your thoughts..
I was extremely elated when I first received my diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Now I had a name to put with what I had been feeling for so many years. This simple notion empowered me to great lengths.
I made it my priority and mission to be completely proactive in my treatment.
Having a mental illness does not give you a ton of control. Simply focus on the things that you do have control over.
Each day, I do everything in my power to implement healthy strategies.
Empowering myself creates a positive attitude. I see myself as a fighter and each day I battle this disorder. I will never give up and that attitude makes me happy. It gives me a sense of control.
The strategies I mentioned include:
I take my medication when I first get up in the morning and right before I go to bed. This is always at the same time, plus or minus 20 minutes.
Gratitude is huge. You cannot feel gratitude by playing the victim role. That is why I empower myself with these specific strategies.
When I roll out of bed, I immediately think of at least 5 things I am grateful for. I do this before going to sleep as well. This way, I am constantly reminding myself how blessed I am.
Everybody should exercise, but those of us with bipolar disorder need to make it a priority each day.
I am not saying you have to workout for an hour. In fact, studies have shown that you can benefit by doing 20 minutes of exercise.
I lift light weights and try to go on at least one walk a day.
Healthy Coping Skills
There are countless examples of healthy coping skills. In fact, I try new ones every so often to see if they may be a better fit than my current treatment plan
Right now, I utilize aromatherapy, meditation, writing, drawing and spending time with my family.
Remember, everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you.
Earlier, I touched on the subject of the victim mentality. I bring this up because this can be a huge hurdle to your happiness.
Do not fall into the trap of playing the victim. It is a one-way ticket to bitterness, resentment, and unhappiness.
When you play the victim, you are blaming something or someone else for your misery. The idea of personal responsibility is thrown out the window.
Instead, I have always focused on being proactive with treating my illness and taking responsibility for my actions. That together with my coping skills has helped me to create a positive attitude towards my illness.
I am not saying to be happy that you have bipolar disorder, but you can reframe your thoughts so they are positive. In other words, you can live a happy fulfilling life just as much as the next person.