I am often asked why I talk so much about employment, credit cards, weigh loss, exercise, nutrition debt, etc. when I'm talking about the subject of bipolar disorder. The answer is because all of these concepts and many more relate either directly or indirectly to bipolar.

I once spoke to a doctor that questioned how bills and unpaid debts could be creating 'so much stress' in a household that included a person with bipolar disorder. I explained that it wasn't that the bills and debts were creating stress in themselves - it was the fact that a person with bipolar - just like a person without bipolar - might not have the skills to cope with and overcome these types of financial problems. Unfortunately, when these types of problems escalate, the resulting emotional and personal devastation is much more profound because it often triggers an episode. Or the person does much more financial damage than a person without bipolar would do.

If a supportive family member is the one with a problem it will also complicate life for the person with bipolar disorder. If you are extremely overweight or have a heart condition that you aren't taking proper care of, are you going to be very helpful supporting someone with bipolar? You may have the best intentions in the world, but if you fall ill and are hospitalized, it could send your loved one into an emotional tailspin. Shouldn't you be addressing these concerns so that you minimize that risk?

How about if you are the person who has bipolar? You should know that it is sometimes difficult to find the right medications to control bipolar disorder. The more medications you have to take for other health problems, the more difficult it is to find treatments for your bipolar that can work effectively with others you are taking. Obviously, neglecting other aspects of your health beyond bipolar will have a direct affect on your condition!

If you don't have a dime to your name because you ran up a ton of debt, whether you have bipolar yourself or are the person supporting a loved one with it, isn't it going to make coping and dealing with bipolar that much more difficult? Anything you do is harder when you always have money worries in the back of your mind - and money worries are never far away if someone in your family is bipolar!

You have to remember that not only is it difficult to help someone with bipolar disorder (including yourself) if you aren't in good shape financially, physically or health-wise. Once you do that, you will also be prepared for the future with bipolar disorder. You see, right now there is no known cure for bipolar disorder, so even if you can get it under control for long stretches of time, there is always the chance of future episodes.

With future episodes always a possibility, understanding finances and debt, keeping in good health and being prepared all take on new meaning. Your life can change overnight! By learning from people like me who have experienced all of the pitfalls and mistakes of how bipolar impacts life beyond the medical (finances, employment, health, nutrition, family relationships, etc.) you can be prepared in ways no doctor will tell you.

Do you see my point here? For those individuals that just think bipolar is all about just the mood disorder, they are certainly wrong. But they are in good company - there are many doctors that think this way. They have no idea why people like me harp on things that aren't related to medication, hospitalization or doctor visits.

Be prepared for everything about bipolar - the mood disorder and it's affect on every aspect of your life!