You don’t have to live on an
Manic states can feel great until the consequences hit
At times you feel like you can achieve everything and you can’t get yourself to stop plowing ahead. Other times it feels like daily life is nearly impossible and you can’t imagine ever feeling productive again. When you’re feeling ramped up, you might make promises and expectations that you later regret, like another version of you is trying to sabotage your life.
Even the people closest to you say they can’t recognize who you are sometimes. You’re forced to wonder who in your life can handle “those versions” of you and who will give up and leave. Your boss and coworkers must know something is up, and you’re probably a bit terrified about what they must think of you. It seems every relationship you have is strained under the pressure eventually. You didn’t choose this for yourself but the stigma can feel inescapable and people are afraid to rely on you.
You’re told your body needs sleep and yet it feels like such a waste of time. There’s a long string of bad, impulsive decisions behind you that you can’t believe you made but you can’t take back either. Bridges are burned, money is gone, relationships are over, jobs are lost, and the illusion of stability feels shattered again. Many people living with bipolar also turn to drug use and other risky behaviors because they feel invincible at the time but broken when the bubble bursts.
Manic states can be problematic in so many ways, but nothing is worse than having to deal with those problems when you’re depressed. When despair and self-judgment set in, you’d do anything for another taste of the hyper energy and confidence you had before.
There are actually many people who can understand what you are going through
I myself experience phases where I have boundless motivation that seems to come from nowhere. I go to bed later and wake up earlier, buy everything I want regardless of my budget, start big things that I will never finish, and my friends can’t get me to shut up. There’s too many thoughts swirling around and I struggle to know which ones are even worth pursuing.
I’m always seeking a balance where I can keep working toward my goals without going too far at times while stalling out completely at others. Creating structure and stability for myself requires dedication and persistence.
Obviously everyone has their ups and downs, and most people can totally relate to making mistakes by giving in to their impulses. It is quite common to have more energy than you need sometimes and far less than you want at others. I believe the people around you would actually understand if they truly imagined what their lives would be like if their own peaks and valleys just went a bit higher and lower.
Balance and stability are within your reach
Together we can explore how to achieve balance in your life by modifying your environment and lifestyle. You can identify and learn more about your own top personal values and we will set goals to increase them in your life. You’ll have a safe, affirming, non-judgmental space to process your thoughts with someone who understands where you’re coming from.
I can help you learn how to make decisions based on your real values and not just your mood at the time. I specialize in guiding the development of skills that create much greater insight and awareness into your own patterns of thoughts, emotions, behaviors, consequences, and achievements.
Mindfulness skills create more calm and sense of control in your life by helping you train your mind to remain present in the moment by being aware of what’s going on inside and around you. They help you be more intentional in how you respond to and focus your thoughts, how you manage your emotions, the actions you choose, and the words you say.
You’ll learn how to watch out for and recognize your unique warning signs for both mania and depression and create a plan for responding to them in a healthy way. A greater understanding of the counter-productive thoughts that help drive them will assist you in limiting their overall impact on your life. Emotion regulation skills will help you respond to extreme emotions on both sides.
Cognitive behavioral therapy gives you an “outsider” perspective on your thought process so your more balanced self can actually communicate with the other parts.
Dialectical behavioral therapy and the huge amount of skills it imparts are all about balance. In fact, that’s exactly what the word dialectical refers to.
Addressing some common concerns when considering bipolar disorder treatment
“I don’t mind feeling great and super productive sometimes.
That’s better than just being flat or barely feeling anything.”
This is actually why so many people living with bipolar will often choose to go off of their meds and it totally makes sense. Talk therapy, and the skills you acquire through CBT and DBT, are very different from medications. Therapy doesn’t take away good feelings from your life, it helps you remain grounded and make better decisions when you are feeling elevated
You can still harness that energy without using it to create new regrets for yourself. Slowing down and being more thoughtful during manic states can help save some of that energy so you can keep moving forward after the comedown. And of course the episodes of feeling really down can become shorter, less intense, and less frequent.
“I’m not feeling manic or depressed right now so why spend my time doing therapy?
Periods of stability give you the best opportunity for valuable insight, awareness, and problem solving. Times when you’re feeling more balanced are exactly when you need to create a plan for how to address the times when you aren’t. You wouldn’t run a marathon the day you first start running and you cannot use skills when you most need them if you haven’t practiced them when it was easier.
“I don’t need someone else to tell me what’s wrong with me or how to live my life.”
You’re right, and that’s not my job. What I do is help you foster your own “wise mind” so you can decide what is best for you. It’s not about my judgments or agenda, it’s about facilitating a process for more self discovery and compassion so you can decide which personal challenges you want to focus on. You’ll be presented with a lot of excellent skills but only you can determine which ones will work best for you. I will never tell you that you have to give up behaviors you’re doing now or think another way for us to work together. I’m here to meet you where you’re at.