How to Cope With a Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

So you have recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder by a licensed health professional. It may have been daunting to hear this news. You may think that life, as you know it, is over. You may not know how to start getting better. You may even be denying that you have bipolar disorder. But you received the diagnosis. Even if that diagnosis turns out to be incorrect, it is clear to a licensed health professional that you have some form of mental health disorder. 

So, how can you cope with your diagnosis of bipolar disorder? It can be a slow, painful process of self-discovery, but trust me, ultimately you will have a positive outcome if you simply follow the following 6 steps. But trust me when I say that these simple steps are not necessarily easy. 

Journal about your reaction to your bipolar disorder diagnosis. You can write about any external or internal reaction you experienced once you found out you have bipolar disorder. Also, write about how you feel as a result of that reaction. Seeking clarity in how you feel is a crucial first step in your journey toward mental health wellness.

Seek therapy if you have not done so already. This world is already difficult enough to navigate alone. You don’t need to be alone while you are figuring out your mental illness. A therapist will help you unravel your thoughts and reconstruct them so the thoughts make sense to you.

Do the thought work. Your reality is shaped by your thoughts. You create your own meaning from the circumstances you encounter. That meaning is shaped by your thoughts. Thoughts lead to feelings. Feelings lead to actions. Actions create your reality. In order to change your actions, you need to change how you fundamentally think about your circumstances. 

Don’t do this thought work alone, though. Once you find a therapist who is a good fit for you, ask them if a treatment modality such as cognitive behavioral therapy is right for you. Your therapist may have another suggestion. In a future post, I will lay out various forms of treatment which deal with your thoughts. 

Ask the licensed health professional who gave you the bipolar disorder diagnosis if medication management is right for you. Thought work is only so effective if you do not have the chemical imbalances in your brain managed. Psychoactive medications may help in stabilizing your mood. I would not recommend using medication only as treatment. You need to do work in and out of therapy, too.

Educate yourself about bipolar disorder. The therapist or licensed health professional who diagnosed you may not be able to give you an in-depth explanation of bipolar disorder, its symptoms, and its causes. There are many good books that demystify bipolar disorder. Several books are accounts of people with bipolar disorder. Again, in a future post, I will give you a list of must-read books that deal with bipolar disorder.

Realize that things will get better if you do the work. Progress may be slow, but slow progress is still a step in the right direction. You will not achieve miracles overnight. It takes time to reshape your thoughts and find medications that are right for you. Your therapist may even guide you to delve into painful memories of uncomfortable or traumatic experiences. This is hard work. Personal growth is painful, but in the end, you come out ahead. 

If you need more tips on how to cope with bipolar disorder, stick around here. There are already some valuable articles on The Bipolar Kitty, and there will definitely be more articles to come.

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