If I just got diagnosed with bipolar disorder or found out that someone I care about has bipolar disorder, what should I know (because I’m freaking out)?

The first thing I want you to know is that you’re not alone.

People go through periods where they make impulsive decisions with potentially big consequences. During these times, they work towards goals without being able to stop, feel invincible (or at least elated or exuberant), don’t have the need for sleep and have every emotion and thought rage through them like a forest fire.  They get carried away from their relationships and being able to perform their responsibilities of daily life by thoughts, emotions and behaviors.  When they run out of energy or don’t have anywhere to run or can’t see how, they collapse into depression.

These people are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The second thing I want you to know is what happened is not your fault.  How you respond to what happened is your responsibility.

One of the first questions I’m asked is, “What just happened?”

My response is, “You just experienced your brain’s natural biological response to fear, overwhelm, uncertainty, excitement or a combination of it all.”

This video will teach you what bipolar disorder is and what it is not.

The third thing I want you to know is that bipolar disorder can be managed well.

Bipolar disorder will not go away.  It is not your identity.  It is a challenge you will face.

Medication will prevent you from experiencing the extreme highs of mania and extreme lows of depression.  Yet you will still have them to some degree in a more stable and contained way.

The medication will have side effects.  You will work with your psychiatrist to figure out the right medications for you to have the best quality of life.

(Don’t worry, there is more help.)

Therapy and coaching empowers you to develop tools for identifying and responding to your triggers and apply them to your life.