3. Don’t let people invalidate how you feel. Most people will never understand the struggle of going through the highs and lows of having bipolar disorder. Not everyone will understand the sickening depression when it hits you smack in the face, or the addictive feeling of euphoria when the mania sets in. They may tell you to just cheer up, think happy thoughts, stop being so over-reactive, that your problems really aren’t that bad. They may tell you to chill out, quick being so energetic and squirmish, to relax and calm down. But the reality is, it’s easier said than done, and most people don’t understand that. Just because someone else can’t understand why you feel the way you feel, it doesn’t mean that any of you or your emotions are invalid.
4. Take one day at a time. This one is always so hard for me to remember, but it’s so important. When I’m utterly depressed, I want nothing more than to end my life, to call it a day by calling it a life. But the reality is, it’s just a bad day(s) or week(s), not a bad life. And when I’m feeling incredibly manic and I’m staying up until sunrise trying to do any and everything under the sun that I want to accomplish in that moment, I need to take a step back and remind myself that it’s okay if not everything gets accomplished right away, that patience is key. I’ve learned to take one day at a time because my emotions will sway, my mind will change, and that I just have to keep riding the waves.
5. Bipolar disorder doesn’t make me any less of a person. I struggle with this the most. I always feel so set apart from other people, from those who don’t have a mental illness, especially those who don’t have bipolar disorder. But the truth of it is, I’m no less of a person. I’m still uniquely me, and I paint my own life with wild, frenzied colors that help shape who I am and who I want to be. And that’s okay. My bipolar disorder doesn’t define me, it just helps me grow in ways differently than other individuals. I still have goals and dreams; I still have people and things I love and things I want to learn and do. I’m no less of a person because of my mental illness, I just see and feel the world in a different way, and that is perfectly okay.