I know I’ve written other posts on this topic, but it seems to be one that people want to know about, so I figured I’d run through my recent thoughts on the subject.
I can only talk to you from my own point of view and my own experience, strength, and hope, and hopefully it will just point you in the right direction to make your own normal life with bipolar disorder.
It’s kind of like the Steps in AA/NA (or any 12-step program) – Step One is to admit that you are powerless over bipolar disorder and that your life has become unmanageable.
Most people are readily able to do that. Bipolar disorder can bring financial destruction down upon an individual and/or family faster than any other disease, in my opinion. Especially when you lose your job because of it, like I did.
Also, I found that I was unable to handle my own finances. I just sort of “ignored” those things I didn’t want to face — like over 120 days bills I owed. I couldn’t even balance my checkbook. Today I live a normal life with bipolar disorder – I had help going through my past finances to get them in order, and now I do them by myself. I am on disability, so every month, on the 3rd when I get my check, I pay ALL my bills. Even the ones that are due later in the month. Then I don’t have to worry about it.
I have also cut down my financial needs low enough to meet my income. I mean, who needs 150 channels on their TV anyway? I got the lowest car insurance I could get. I cancelled my life insurance that wouldn’t pay out for bipolar disorder (I found out after paying on it for several months). I went from owning a big house to renting a small duplex. I cut out red meat from my diet, which not only helped the food budget, but also my health.
In this economy (the recession), we all need to make better financial decisions. But it’s particularly difficult for people who have bipolar disorder with their ups and downs. You may even need to have help handling your finances for awhile until you can take them over or are more stable.
Being normal financially to me today means that I don’t have the fear of going into excessive shopping sprees. By handling our finances, I know exactly how much income we do have, and I have learned not to spend over that. When you get to the point where you can actually SAVE money (like for car repairs or other unexpected expenses) each month, then you are stable enough to live a normal financial life with bipolar disorder.
Steps 2 and 3 in a 12-step program talk about “only a Higher Power could restore us to sanity” and giving our lives over to that Higher Power. The reason that these steps are so hard for us to take is that we don’t want to admit that we’re insane to begin with! Others think they can do all this all by themselves. Of course, they can’t be looking at the big picture or they wouldn’t think this way.
Without the proper treatment (medication and therapy), NO ONE who has bipolar disorder has a right mind to manage their own life – they will always have bipolar episodes that ruin their finances, their relationships, their lives. It’s only thru treatment that we CAN have a normal life with bipolar disorder. I am proof that it can be done, as I have been stable for a long time and have learned to manage my disorder. I now have a “normal” life despite having the disorder.
If I can have a normal life with bipolar disorder, then so can you. Read some of my articles at www.bipolarcentral.com, and you can see how I did it. The main thing is that you HAVE to stay on your medications! And sometimes they may need to be adjusted – so don’t be afraid to call your doctor or psychiatrist if you don’t “feel right.”
Think about the things you think make up a normal life, and go after them in spite of your bipolar disorder, and you’ll find out like I did that it really IS possible!
I thought I could never work again because of my bipolar, but then I got a job working from home, which meets all my needs, working for a boss whose mother has bipolar, so he understands me. It’s also helped provide extra money each month. Try to find a home business you can start if nothing else – it will keep you productive, bring in extra money (which you will definitely need, as no one can live on disability alone), build up your self-esteem, give you financial freedom, and help you keep your bipolar disorder under control because you have goals to meet and decisions to make daily. It’s a whole lot different working from home, and makes you feel more normal.
Before I was diagnosed, I know I had an abnormal life with relationships, because I got married whenever I would go into a manic episode! Of course, those marriages were short-lived and ended when I came out of my episodes, but now I have a normal, healthy marriage. And my husband also has BP, so he understands me very well.
Stability is the goal. If you can achieve stability, then you CAN have a normal life with bipolar disorder. Set your goals – both long-term and short-term – and then achieve them. You can do it!
Wishing you peace and stability,
Remember God loves you and so do I,