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Coping

Natasha Tracy
Let me start by saying I'm not against bipolar disorder support groups. Actually, I recommend them to people and think they can be very helpful. That doesn't mean there aren't drawbacks, however. One of those drawbacks is the spreading of misinformation in bipolar disorder support groups. If you participate in bipolar disorder support groups, it's something you absolutely want to watch out for.
Natasha Tracy
If you've been interacting with doctors as a person with bipolar disorder for more than about a week, you've probably learned the fact that you have to repeat your bipolar story to every doctor under the sun. It's unbelievably frustrating. Mental health professionals treat you like you have never described your bipolar disorder to another person. This is almost never the case. Usually, doctors are asking about your bipolar disorder in front of a huge file outlining your history with bipolar disorder. And repeating your bipolar story over and over is distressing and isn't something we should have to do.
Natasha Tracy
I'm wondering if what I want matters with bipolar. It feels like it doesn't. This is because one of the main coping skills I use is called "act the opposite." This coping skill is pretty widely known. It simply means to do what you bipolar doesn't want you to do. This is a way of fighting against the detrimental effects bipolar can have on your life. But after years of "acting the opposite," I'm left wondering if what I want matters at all with bipolar.
Natasha Tracy
It's critical to have a support system when you have bipolar disorder. Support systems, in fact, are very important for every person, but they're even more so when you have a serious mental illness. But the questions people sometimes ask are what is a bipolar support system, how do I get one and how do I use it. 
Natasha Tracy
I suffer from doctor anxiety. Well, I suppose I suffer from generalized anxiety, but, certainly, some of it belongs to doctors specifically. And this week, I have a great (mis)fortune of meeting two new doctors. Meeting doctors is part of healthcare and part of trying to keep yourself as healthy as possible, so, in that sense, it's a positive thing. On the other hand, the anxiety I feel around doctors is looming large.
Natasha Tracy
I thought for a very long time that I could outthink bipolar disorder. I thought, if bipolar disorder is in my mind, then my mind can defeat it. I thought that if I just read the right book, learned the right coping skill or understood the right philosophy, I could outthink the bipolar disorder. And this is not an uncommon feeling. It's one of the reasons that people refuse medications or go off their medications -- whether they express it in those words or not. People think -- errantly -- that bipolar disorder is all in their head, and so their head can fix it.
Natasha Tracy
It's hard to look forward with bipolar disorder sometimes. Sure, if you happen to be hypomanic, or manic even, looking forward might make you feel great. You might feel like your hope is boundless and your life is limitless. If, however, you are in a depression, or even if you're euthymic (not in a bipolar mood episode), you might find looking forward with bipolar to be very hard indeed. I'm here to say, though, while it can be hard to be positive about the future with bipolar, it isn't impossible to see a glimmer or two on the horizon.
Natasha Tracy
Do you feel like you can't handle the holidays that are right around the corner? If you are in this boat, you aren't alone. I suspect this is going to be one of the hardest holiday seasons in years for many people and many families. However, if you have bipolar disorder, not being able to handle the holidays can be even worse than for the average person. Today, I'll be discussing what to do if you feel like you can't handle the holidays because you're overwhelmed or otherwise.
Natasha Tracy
Have you tried (and maybe failed) to get your health boundaries respect in the past? If so, you know how tricky it can be. In my last post, I talked about setting health and mental health boundaries. I acknowledged their importance, particularly now, in the midst of a pandemic. Today, I want to talk about how to communicate with others such that they respect your health boundaries.
Natasha Tracy
Health boundaries, including mental health boundaries, can save your sanity or even your life, especially in the times of COVID-19. Setting health boundaries with those we love -- especially over the holidays -- can be very difficult, but is also so very important. Read on to learn about how to set your own personal health boundaries.