Here are 12 key things that I have done and still do to live well in spite of having bipolar disorder (or any other mental health challenge):
1. Developed a wellness plan and have stuck to it.
2. Decided what I would think about; not letting my brain be on automatic pilot.
3. Accepted that living well was going to be challenging work I had ever done but was still less painful as staying sick.
4. Found activities and hobbies that took my mind off of “me” and the disorder.
5. Grieved the loss of my future as I knew it and then began to dream about a new future. Choosing not to become bitter that I had bipolar disorder. (For me, this is when I used my faith a lot. I hung onto and clung onto Romans 8:28 By the way, if you aren’t a person of faith don’t let me commenting about this trigger you. If faith isn’t for you, that’s fine. Just skip this comment.)
6. Set new goals for my life based upon my “new normal“.
7. Stopped blaming others, stopped judging others, stopped trying to control others and took responsibility for me.
8. Decided that life was too short to hang with negative individuals and friends who made me miserable. (Yes, some people who literally can suck the hope right out of you are in your life “permanently”. So, in spite of that, look for friends and people to be with that speak hope into your life.)
9. Decided that life was also too short to dwell on the past and let it keep me from moving forward. So, I processed my grief with my therapist so I wouldn’t get stuck in it. (Even if you have been stuck in it, you can get unstuck.)
10. Stopped focusing on my mistakes and beating myself up for them. Instead, I decided to begin to learn from my mistakes.
11. Decided that progress was more important than perfection.
12. Hung onto the belief (sometimes desperately) that I did not have to be locked in the hellish ride of bipolar disorder.
What about you? I’d love to hear from you what you are doing to live well in spite of having bipolar disorder? These things work for me. What is working for you? I have a long list of things I have done in order to live well (that’s my definition of mental health “recovery”). You can see the complete list at: WhatIDidtoRecover.com In fact, on the website you can add what is working for you.