Nobody likes to be diagnosed with a mental illness, but if you have bipolar disorder, your diagnosis gives you a chance to manage your symptoms, so you can live the life you’ve always envisioned. At The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling on Bleecker Street in Manhattan, our expert counselors work with you and your loved ones so that you can manage both the highs and lows of bipolar disorder and finally find equilibrium.
Remember that it isn’t your fault
When you have a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, it’s easy to slip into the attitude that you must have done something “wrong” to get the disease. However, you can’t “give yourself” bipolar disorder any more than you can “give yourself” cancer or any other disease. Scientists believe that the physical structure of your brain, how your brain works, and genetic and environmental factors may combine to cause bipolar disorder.
Each year, up to 2.8% of women and men in the US are affected by episodes of bipolar disorder, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Recently, celebrities such as Demi Lovato and Mariah Carey have gone public with their diagnoses to help increase understanding and reduce the stigma around bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.
Assemble a support team
Even though everyone values independence, we all need one another to succeed, too. Having a team of supportive friends, family, and medical professionals around you is even more important when you have bipolar disorder.
When you’re in a manic or depressed state, you may not realize it because your mood influences your perception. But if key players in your life are aware of your disease and can identify changes in your behavior or emotions, they can help realize that it’s time to get treatment or change your medications.
Because most people don’t really understand mental illness, you may want to ask your therapist about who to tell and enlist for your team. You counselor can give you tips about the best ways to inform the people you care about that you have a disease. You can even arrange for a counseling session that includes your support team, so your counselor can tell them about bipolar disorder, how to identify manic and depressive behaviors, and how to help you get the care you need.
A diagnosis gives you a plan
If you have bipolar disorder, you may have suffered for years without knowing why you swung from moods so low that you could barely get out of bed to times of extreme activity and even euphoria. Before you knew what was causing your moods, you may have tried to self-medicate by abusing drugs or alcohol. These strategies probably caused other problems in your life yet did nothing to resolve your disease.
Though you may have been upset to get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, now you know what’s been causing many of the hardships in your life. By working with our counselors, you get the treatments you need, including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — a type of talk therapy that helps you recognize negative thoughts and behaviors and devise more positive coping mechanisms
- Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) — helps you establish a routine, manage moods, and notice their relationship to events in your life
- Family therapy — talk therapy that involves members of your family or personal support team
To learn more about how to live a healthy, happy life with bipolar disorder, contact us today by phone or online form.