The Best Bipolar Me Begins with Control

March 4, 2010 Cristina Fender

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to be the best bipolar me and what my father’s advice to me would be.

The first time I told him I was suicidal, he merely said to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I resented the hell out of it. I felt powerless to do anything about my situation and my father insinuating that all I had to do is pull myself up was, I thought, disillusioning on his part. I was suffering from bipolar disorder and it was out of my control. How could I then control it when it controlled me?

I let the bipolar control me.

I let it control my days and nights. The little things that I had control over were my bipolar medications and when I took them. I was determined to be better, so I took them as prescribed. I thought that was all that it took to be in control of my life again. The medication did make things better, but it didn’t cure my life. It was still full of insecure days, days where I didn’t know if I would wake up and be happy or sad.

I began to feel disheartened. Was I meant to live a half life? Could I be the best bipolar me? I couldn’t work when I didn’t know if I would be able to get out of bed. My family life suffers, too, when I don’t do chores and my house is a mess. My littlest one depends on me to entertain her. I can’t even take her to the park. What kind of woman had bipolar turned me into? (Read: Women and Bipolar Disorder)

I’ve heard all the success stories on the internet where people have taken meds and *bam* they were cured. Why couldn’t that be me? What recipe in life was I missing? What hadn’t I tried in my quest for saneness?

I stopped fighting and gave up the control that the bipolar had over me.

When my father was in the hospital, late in his life, he applauded me for sounding stronger than I had ever sounded. He asked me why that was the case. I gave him a nonsensical answer, but the real answer is that I had given up control and nervousness over his physical condition. It was out of my hands and there was nothing I could do about it. I relinquished my “control” over the situation so I could have control over my emotions.

Thinking about that situation has led me to apply the same philosophy to my bipolar disorder. The bipolar is always going to be there for me, but it’s up to me how I react to it. The best bipolar me is already in me. I guess you could say that I pulled myself up by my bootstraps. That would’ve made my dad proud.

APA Reference
Fender, C. (2010, March 4). The Best Bipolar Me Begins with Control, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Cristina Fender

March, 12 2010 at 5:22 am

Hello! my nephew is 29yrs old and living with bipolars. he is not consistent with taking his medication. he feels he doesnt need the meds. sometimes he becomes very angry. my nepheew is also an alchoholic so we have a bigger problem. can u please give me advice on what 2 do. this is a real problem

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
March, 12 2010 at 5:44 am

I may step on a few toes here, but there are laws in place in many counties for this problem. Check with your state mental hospital or look up online through MHMR on Assisted Outpatient Reach and Involuntary Outpatient Commitment. It's a difficult choice to have to make. If he's hurting others or himself it may be best to look into these programs.
I know I'm walking a fine line by telling you this. There are those of us who prefer to refuse treatment and take pride in it. Then there are those of us who are entirely compliant and believe that there is a better life out there. I firmly believe that taking medication should be the person's choice as long as he isn't injuring himself or others.
Whatever you choose, I wish you the best of luck.

March, 4 2010 at 4:42 pm

Yes thanks for writing this. I'm going to share it with my teenage son who has BP1. He often feels as if he's not in control of things in his life. This will help him understand he can be in charge of his responses and how he manages his disorder.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
March, 5 2010 at 8:32 am

I think it's great that you're going to share this with your son. I think that the best thing to tell him is that he has to be ready to be in control. He has to want it. It doesn't just happen overnight. It takes a lot of work that he has to do himself.
Thank you for sharing.

March, 4 2010 at 3:21 am

This was an inspiring post, I'll have to try to apply it to my bipolar life.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
March, 4 2010 at 8:05 am

Thanks, Sheri. The journey is never easy, but sometimes we just have to get on our own bandwagon.
Thanks for commenting.

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