Recently, the Sydney Morning Herald reported a story about a woman named Susan Allan.  Susan has bipolar disorder, but has learned to cope and deal with it through a series of positive life choices.

Susan realizes that she will never lead a completely normal life but claims that early intervention has given her the sort of freedom of which undiagnosed sufferers can only dream.

Susan, aged 39, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was only 18. She has survived the highs and lows, the chaos, the instability and the attempted suicides.

Thanks to a series of self-imposed positive life choices, she is able to identify the triggers that often cause her life with bipolar disorder to spiral out of control.

While medication is a reluctant must, she says there are other preventive measures that play an essential role.

Without daily exercise and regular yoga, Susan's moods immediately plummet. She has to monitor her diet and particularly her "enemy," alcohol.

She describes her family as “vital”.

While she is prone to disappearing off the radar during manic episodes, she has nevertheless learned to keep her family informed about her state of mind so that they can recognize the “danger signs” when she is too manic to care.

Susan says that the best advice she can give others is to “drop all preconceived ideas” and find a good psychiatrist.

“Shop around," she says.  "Find someone you are genuinely able to communicate with and once you've done that, you're well on your way to winning the battle."

“My life with bipolar today is very different to how it was 10 or 20 years ago. I don't feel alone these days. I've got terrific support.

"I've been open with my friends and they understand. I don't take on the stigma and you know what, neither should anyone else,” she says.