When it comes to dealing with bipolar disorder, too many take what I like to call the 'Cheapskate Approach' instead of treating it as the serious illness that it is. What do I mean by that? Well, it means that they refuse to invest their time and money in overcoming the disorder.
The people who adopt the 'Cheapskate Approach' are the ones who never learn how to manage bipolar disorder effectively. They find themselves unstable year after year while the people who attempt to support them are in a perpetual state of turmoil because of the frequent, and often severe, episodes.
One of the main reasons that I have had such success helping my mother is that I was willing to invest the time and money necessary to learn about the disorder and to find out what I needed to do to help her and what she could do to help herself. When she entered her most recent episode, I took off from work for months and purchased every bipolar-related thing that I could get my hands on. Then, I went through all the material not once, but multiple times. In addition, I paid professionals for their time so that they would sit down and talk to me about the disorder. Because I was paying, they realized I was serious about learning and they gave me the information I needed.
It may have taken months, but I eventually did become an expert on the topic.
Up until that point, my family and I had also been using the 'Cheapskate Approach' in dealing with bipolar disorder. We never did any of the things I've listed below during the whole 29 years I have been alive. In fact, my mom only bought two books on bipolar in her whole life! She never went to meetings or seminars. She never asked her doctors any real questions. She never even sought out other people who had the disorder.
Maybe you're thinking that I just invented this whole 'Cheapskate Approach' as a way to get you to purchase some of my courses, but that's not the case. In fact, I don't care where you get your bipolar information as long as you get it from somewhere. Below are some alternative ways of acquiring the information:
- Attend seminars
- Join a support group, become a paid member, and go regularly
- Pay a good doctor his or her hourly fee to answer your questions for 30-60 minutes
- Go to the bookstore or library and get books on bipolar disorder
- Volunteer to help out with various bipolar or mental illness-related causes
- Invest in courses about bipolar disorder and mental illness
Of course, you may still say 'I just don't have the time to do those things' and maybe you don't now, but you have to make the time. Yes, you may have to sacrifice some things, but those sacrifices that you make today are going to pay off for you in the long run. When I think about all of the things that I couldn't do because of the bipolar research I was doing, I realize that I missed out on a lot of opportunities in both my personal and professional lives, but I'm also 99.99% positive that my mom will NEVER go through another episode like the last one again. That's going to save me time and money right there, plus I can relax and enjoy my time now more because I'm not constantly having to worry about her, about her disorder, or about future episodes.
Don't take the 'Cheapskate Approach' to this disorder. Adopt a better attitude and start doing whatever it takes to become a bipolar expert yourself. You'll be better off for it.
David Oliver is the nation's leading experts on helping and supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder. You can get learn about many of David's little known, yet effective strategies to cope and deal with your loved one's bipolar by clicking here right now. View all articles by David Oliver