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  • Sam DiFranco

Living with bipolar disorder….

Treatment can help you manage mood episodes and cope with the symptoms they cause.

Creating a care team can help you get the most out of treatment. Your team might involve:

  1. your primary doctor

  2. a psychiatrist who manages your medications

  3. a therapist or counselor who provides talk therapy

  4. other professionals or specialists, such as a sleep specialist, acupuncturist, or massage therapist

  5. a bipolar disorder support group, or community of other people also living with bipolar disorder

You may need to try a few treatments before you find one that leads to improvement. Some medications work well for some people but not others. In a similar vein, some people find CBT very helpful, while others may see little improvement.

It’s always best to be open with your care team about what works and what doesn’t. If something doesn’t help or makes you feel even worse, don’t hold back from letting them know. Your mental health matters, and your care team should always support you in finding the most helpful approach.

A little self-compassion can go a long way, too. Keep in mind that bipolar disorder, like any other mental health condition, didn’t happen by choice. It’s not caused by anything you did or didn’t do.

It’s OK (and pretty common) to feel frustrated when treatment doesn’t seem to work. Try to have patience and treat yourself kindly as you explore new approaches.

Bipolar disorder and relationships

Bipolar disorder can affect any of your relationships. But these effects might show up most clearly in your closest relationships, like those with family members and romantic partners.

When it comes to managing a relationship while living with bipolar disorder, honesty can always help. Being open about your condition can help your partner better understand your symptoms and how they can offer support.

You might consider starting with a few basic details, including:

  1. how long you’ve had the condition

  2. how episodes of depression usually affect you

  3. how episodes of mania usually affect you

  4. your treatment approach, including therapy, medication, and coping strategies

  5. anything they can do to help

The bottom line

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, but that doesn’t mean it has to completely disrupt your life. While living with bipolar disorder certainly creates some challenges, sticking with your treatment plan, practicing regular selfcare, and leaning on your support system can boost your overall well-being and keep symptoms to a minimum.

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