The most frustrating aspect of bipolar disorder is that it is a chronic disorder. Most people who are diagnosed with bipolar are relieved early on to have a name for what they feel like they have been suffering for years. They like having a name for it, and a way to finally explain their behavior to loved ones although this may be very difficult.

But after the first episode when things 'break through' and their medication stops working or they stop taking it, they sometimes become frustrated and angry. They may feel short-changed, like they should have been cured and they were tricked by the doctors and others into thinking they were going to be cured.

If you are dealing with bipolar, you have to realize it's not a sprint, but a marathon that will last a lifetime. You won't figure everything out in a day or two, and there is no quick way to the finish line and victory. In fact, you will be training to overcome bipolar disorder all of your life.

Just like being a marathon runner, being bipolar requires year-round preparation and vigilance. It isn't like a sprint, where it's a 'quick fix,' then you're done until the next time. You can't take your medications for a few weeks or months until the next time and you can't slack off - you are in training like a marathon runner, always keeping yourself in top condition.

When you have an episode or your medication needs adjusted, you are simply moving on to the next level in the marathon. There is always progress, but sometimes it will be slow and agonizing - and sometimes you may feel like you aren't making any progress and you don't want to go on. But when you reach that next lap in the relay, you will feel a much greater sense of achievement than any sprinter, because you have come so much farther.

Keep in mind that marathon runners sometimes feel frustrated, too. But if you ask any of them why they do it, they will tell you that the rewards are so great, they could never stop running. And with bipolar disorder, the consequences of not running the marathon can be dire - so push on, and keep the marathon going!