Are you getting better with your bipolar disorder?  Do you sometimes wonder?  If you're feeling better, that's good.  That means that your medications are doing their job.  But there is a more practical way to tell if you are getting better.


First, let's talk about the wrong way to go about this.  The wrong way is to compare yourself to another bipolar survivor.  You've heard the expression, "You can't judge a book by its cover," right?  Well, in the same way, you can't judge by just looking at another survivor how stable they are.


If you were to ask, they might very well surprise you and tell you that they are, in fact, struggling with their bipolar disorder.  So don't compare yourself to others – it won't give you an accurate gauge as to whether you are really getting better or not.


Instead, compare yourself today to where you were a year ago.  This will give you a much clearer picture of whether you are getting better or not.


Ask yourself questions such as:  Am I having less episodes (or at least less episodic behavior or symptoms)?  Am I handling my triggers better?  Am I able to handle situations now that I couldn't handle a year ago?  Am I better around and with people than I was?  How are my relationships now compared to a year ago?


Now let's look at some specifics.  Let's say you had problems in the area of grooming; that you had a  tendency to not care how you took care of yourself – how often you shaved, washed your hair, took a shower, how you dressed, etc.  Yet now, a year later, you are always clean, well-groomed, and well-dressed, and it is obvious to others that you take care of yourself.


Do you know what that shows?  That shows an outward sign of inward progress.  And that's what getting better is – progress.  Getting better is progress toward recovery from bipolar disorder.


There are other ways that outward signs of inward progress may be manifested.  You may be more calm now, whereas a year ago you were more nervous.  You may talk less now than you did a year ago.  You may be a more patient person now than you were before.  You may show more avid interest in things now, whereas a year ago you may have been struggling with depression and loss of interest in things.  All these things are signs of progress, of getting better.


The main thing to remember is that everyone that has bipolar disorder is different, and everyone progresses at his/her own rate.  As long as you can show growth from where you were a year ago, you are, indeed, getting better.