5 Tips for Living With ‘High-Functioning’ Bipolar Disorder

The following lessons are ones I have learned since I began my journey towards a better life. I don’t pretend any of them are easy and I know none of them will bring instant gratification, but they are things that have helped me so far and with any luck, they may help someone else as well.

1. Surrender.

First, ask for help. Second, take it. Do the opposite of what your brain tells you — it’s not your friend right now and it wants to keep you isolated. Reach out and let people know you’re not OK. If you can gain professional guidance and support, surrender to it. Following your own plan hasn’t saved you so far, so why not let someone else have a go?

2. Fight like hell.

Now that you have the support you need, fight. You can’t enter this half-assed. You’re either in or you’re out. This is your life you’re battling for and some days it will bring you to your knees with exhaustion. Focus on your goals and don’t give up. You can beat this.

3. Be patient and forgive.

Everyone slips up now and again. The most important thing is to not let it stop you. Don’t lay blame and don’t lay down and let it swallow you. What is past is past and what is in the future, is still to come. Live in the now and know you can only do what you can. No more, no less. You are worth forgiveness and another chance.

4. Simplify.

Declutter your life. Remove the extraneous elements you accumulated in your effort to obtain “normalcy.” Life will never be “normal.” At least not in the neatly pre-packaged, romanticized version you may have been chasing. True “normal” is what you build, not what you buy. Let go of the things you assume make you a “real person” when they only serve to create strain and stress. Disconnect from those who are toxic in your life, present only to introduce drama and conflict you neither need nor deserve. Remove the triggers that sabotage your efforts to achieve peace.

5. Choose, not allow.

Start making choices. Do something with your life and don’t wait for it to do things to you. Each time you engage in something you wouldn’t choose for yourself, you can accumulate resentment. You can learn to feel helpless and to hate the world. You can learn to hate yourself. You’re not weak and you’re not helpless. Figure out what matters to you, what makes your life matter and pursue it. Live for yourself and find happiness in the space you want to be. You can’t control the world but you can control how you place yourself in it.



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