We can live full, successful lives, even if we have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. We cannot forget that recovery is possible, and that we have control over our own recovery. The first step in taking control of your recovery is defining what recovery means to you.
Recovery to me means that I am the best wife, mother, supporter and employee that I can be. I maintain that success by taking my mood stabilizer, using cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) skills to focus on rational thinking, making sure I get enough sleep, and using mindfulness techniques (even mindful apps) to not internalize what I am feeling and see things more positively. I often have to remind myself and be reminded to relax and just breathe, and that’s okay.
It wasn’t always like this. I have been through some very difficult times and in some harsh relationships and exhibited poor self-care during those times. My therapist reminded me that not too long ago when I was doing very well maintaining my illness that when wellness is an expectation in my life I can and do live up to that expectation and succeed. When I am in a place in my life and relationships that allow me to “fall apart” and not keep up with good self care because they will take care of me, my illness will get the better of me and my grasp on life will slip away.
Thankfully we have control over our own recovery and we can change the direction our life is going. Each day is unique. Some days you will be on top of everything: a strong supportive significant other/family member/ friend, the best mom in the world and valuable employee. The next day can feel slowed down, disorganized, rushed and you can’t seem to focus your thoughts enough to straighten it all out. All of that is okay, its the nature of the beast.