Many people with bipolar disorder struggle with the fact that they wish they could be more patient. Becoming more patient is something that, with practice, is something you can learn. Once you have learned to become more patient, you will also notice the added benefit of a lower stress level.
The more patient you become:
Becoming more patient will involve opening yourself to the present moment, whether you like it or not. This will take some work on your part. For example, if you’re stuck in a traffic jam and you’re late for an appointment, opening yourself to the present moment would mean that you catch yourself before your irritation (frustration, anger, etc.) gets out of hand, and you gently remind yourself that you are practicing opening yourself to the present moment. You would tell yourself to relax, to breathe deeply (maybe take five deep breaths), etc.
Becoming more patient involves being more patient with your bipolar disorder. This may be one of the most difficult things for you to do. Many people who have an incurable disorder like bipolar disorder get discouraged that, first of all, researchers haven’t made more progress than they have in finding a cure. Second of all, people get discouraged that they themselves haven’t made more progress with their own disorder. You have to understand that only with time and a lot of hard work will you be able to manage your bipolar disorder. You must learn to be patient.
Being more patient also involves being more patient with yourself. Many people with bipolar disorder have told me that this is very hard for them to do. They will catch themselves making mistakes or bad decisions when they know better! To these people I say, “With time, you will begin to make better decisions.” You have to remember that in a bipolar episode, you aren’t always able to make good decisions. But on the proper medication, with therapy, with learning how to manage your disorder, and with beginning to make good decisions, you will learn to become more patient with yourself.
Being more patient will also involve being more patient with other people. Some people are still in denial that they even have the disorder. These are the hardest people to help – if they don’t even have the disorder, how can they get help for the disorder? Also, you must learn to be patient with family members, friends, and others (such as society) who do not have bipolar disorder. For family, remember, they may still be suffering hurt from what you may have done during past bipolar episodes. For society, there is still a stigma surrounding the disorder, and people fear what they don’t understand.
Becoming more patient is not something that will come overnight. But you can do it if you try.