When you are first diagnosed or first experiencing symptoms of Bipolar Disorder it can be incredibly scary; the first few times you have an episode whether it be mania, hypomania, a mixed episode or a depression, it can turn your world upside down.
As scary as it is, if you are going through this right now, there a few things you need to know from someone who has been there.
It is lifelong but it’s also treatable
Coming to terms with the fact that you have a mental illness that isn’t curable and that will be with you throughout your life is a really hard thing to accept; remember that this is totally understandable, you’re allowed to take your time to adjust and to accept your new reality. You don’t need to feel pressured to rush; go at your own pace and remember that your feelings are valid.
It won’t always feel so scary
Not every episode is going to be to the same severity, it won’t always feel as scary every single time; I won’t lie, it will be tough and some episodes can be very difficult but as you get used to managing your illness, as you figure out your triggers and how to avoid them, as you build up a support system and start to get treatment and figure out what works for you, you will get a better handle on your disorder.
It won’t always feel so out of control
There will be times by the nature of the illness that you will feel unable to control your symptoms and that is scary, it’s one of the scariest parts, but it won’t always feel so out of your control; once you learn about your illness and start to figure things out, things will settle down a bit and you will get a better grasp of how to deal with things.
Doing your own research helps
Finding out as much about your illness as possible, doing your own research online, reading articles, watching videos, reading people’s blogs, can really give you a better insight into what living with this disorder is like. It can help to take the mystery out of it and make a little less intimidating, and it can show you that people are out there surviving and thriving with Bipolar. If it’s overwhelming to do research when you are first getting started, don’t feel you have to do it all at once, just baby steps when you feel up to it can be a positive approach.
You are NOT alone
There are lots of us out there that have been there or are still going through that initial process of coming to terms with this disorder; it’s vital to remember that you are not alone even if it might feel like that sometimes. There’s a great mental health community online that you can find: there are online support groups and helplines, mental health communities on social media and there may be local support groups you can attend in person. Finding and talking to others who truly understand what you’re experiencing can really help.
You WILL get through this
The most important thing that I want to say is that you are going to be ok; I wish I had someone to say that to me when I was first experiencing Bipolar symptoms who had been there and could tell me I would get through it. I’m here to tell you that you are going to be ok; it will be difficult, it will be an adjustment and there’s no denying that it’s a hard disorder to live with, but you CAN live with it. Life might not look exactly as you had expected, but you can still find happiness, build relationships and do the things that you had wanted to with your life; it may mean you need to adjust your dreams a little bit or find another way of meeting them, but you’ll get there. You have got this.