The challenges of managing and coping with Bipolar Disorder can be difficult at times. I find that having a reason to get out of bed and be productive helps me significantly in managing my own battle with this mental disorder. Of course, this doesn't replace the need for me to carefully follow the treatment and medication plan prescribed by my mental health care professionals. But it does add to my life in many ways.

How does having a home business benefit me and how can it benefit you? There are so many different benefits but I'll share a few that I have learned from personal experience.

Sense of Self-worth: It is so easy for a person, like me, that has this disorder, to begin to feel useless and hopeless. My home business provides me with a sense that I am of value and raises my sense of self-esteem.

Income: By earning money, I feel better about myself and am able to provide for my needs. I have to pay for doctor's appointments and some medications. I can do this with my small income. Of course, you might begin a business that brings a large income, but having earnings that result from your own efforts provide personal, emotional and spiritual satisfaction that helps me avoid episodes. Even if you are on disability, you can earn some money without losing your benefits and the joy of doing something you enjoy that brings in cash-flow is wonderful.

Focus and Purpose: By having found and built a home business that allows me to do work I find meaningful lets me feel I have a purpose in life and a focus for my time. I have a reason to get out of bed, encouragement if I'm feeling a bit down and away to focus my energy. Because I write and much of my writing is about things that help other people, I feel I have a purpose or calling that gives me a reason to maintain proper management of my Bipolar Disorder so I can continue fulfilling my purpose in life.

Flexibility of Schedule: Just as any other person with Bipolar Disorder, I have to attend counseling sessions, psychiatrist's appointments as well as the day-to-day business of living life that everyone faces. I help care for my elderly mother and attend her medical appointments too. My home-based business lets me work the hours I need that few, if any, traditional jobs outside the home would permit. If I am experiencing stressors that might cause an episode, I can take a few hours in my day to focus on managing my stress and my mental health to prevent an episode. I can work any hours of the day or night that are best for me. Everyone I know that has a home business loves this part of the job.

Low Cost of Job-Related Expenses: I do not have to commute to a job. I do not have to purchase an expensive professional wardrobe or pay for lunches during the workday at restaurants. By working at home, I can dress comfortably, avoid going out in the rain, cold or snow, eat a more nutritious diet at less cost, and take an exercise break when I feel I need one. With the high cost of gasoline, just the savings of not having to commute is a great benefit. You, too, can enjoy these benefits of a home-based business.

A Sense of Control: I find that having a disorder that cannot be cured, namely Bipolar Disorder, can sometimes make me feel as if my life is not in my control. By having my own business at home, I feel I have more control over my life and the management of my disorder. You can have this control over your life as well.

Low Start-Up and Operating Cost: Many people want to own a business but can't afford to open a store-front business or start a business that requires maintaining an investment in inventory. Most home businesses can be started with a very small investment and some require no investment at all. I was able to begin my business by investing about $100 because I already owned a computer and Internet connection. Operating costs, due to the lack of high overhead expenditures, are very low when you own a home business.

Be There for Family: I care for my husband and children. I can be there for them everyday, all day long on most days. If he or I need to talk to each other, we are there for that interaction. Lots of people who have children have high daycare costs when, instead, they could be working from home and have no daycare expenses. Moms or dads can be there when the children come home from school. The family can act as a more cohesive unit without having 'latchkey kids'.

Control of Income: Many jobs outside the home don't really reward you in direct proportion to the effort you put out. They pay a flat rate, either by the hour or a specific salary. With a home business, once you get going your income is determined by how much effort you put into your work. If you only need to make a small income, you can work part-time. If you work really hard and put in full-time hours, you can learn more. In other words, your efforts directly result in the amount of your income, placing you in control.

Pride of Ownership: A business owner is proud of their business. Just ask anyone that owns and operates a home business or any other type of business. I am proud of my business and love seeing my work appear in various publications and on the Internet. This sense of pride gives me motivation to continue managing my disorder so I can continue the work I love.

In closing, let me share that I never thought of myself as a person that would own their own business. Today, by enjoying the benefits of my own home based business, I can manage my Bipolar Disorder much more effectively. Starting a business doesn't replace psychiatric treatment and medication. It does, however, add to the overall quality of my life.

I recommend that anyone dealing with Bipolar Disorder discuss with their health care team the benefits of having their own home-based business. If your doctor feels you are stable enough, look at the many options for home businesses and select one that fits your interests and that you can feel passionate about and get going.

There are thousands of options for home businesses. Think about the things you love or have an interest in or knowledge about and look for business opportunities that include these interests. Some home businesses involve sales and promotions but many do not require any type of sales work whatsoever. So, look for the right home business for you and begin to reap the benefits of your own home-based business.