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Let’s face it: no one wants to be diagnosed with a mental health condition of any kind. But a bipolar disorder diagnosis can feel particularly daunting. The extreme shifts between depressive and manic episodes are life-altering. Your personal interactions are impacted, and on top of that, the causes of bipolar are unknown, and, as of yet, there is no cure.

So, when pondering your next step, the first move almost always involves seeking and finding acceptance. You need to better understand why you feel as you do before moving forward. A bipolar diagnosis is clearly a challenge, but you absolutely can re-frame your perspective and discover ways to thrive.

 

Some of the Challenges of a Bipolar Diagnosis 

Everyone is different, of course, but general trends exist. The following three reactions are both common and natural. It comes with the territory and can be addressed in your therapy sessions.

 

A Shock to the System

You’re going along with a self-image and a vision for your future when this happens. You’ll inevitably see yourself differently and feel anxious about what lies ahead. However, with time, self-education, and help from an experienced therapist, you can regain your equilibrium in a new way.

 

Stigma

So much progress has been made, but stigmas remain. In general, mental health is perceived inaccurately. More specifically, there is plenty of misinformation circulating about bipolar. The biggest obstacle involved in this trend might be any stigmas you personally hold. 

 

Treatment Means Lots of Changes

There are effective treatments for bipolar, but make no mistake, they involve lifestyle changes. Your daily routines may have to change. Such upheaval is tough for anyone, but the more you understand your treatment plan, the more you’ll stick to it and see results.

 

 

What Positive Steps Do You Take After a Bipolar Diagnosis?

 

Do Not Try to Go It Alone 

You’ll be tempted to withdraw, but you are better served by creating a social support system. This could involve friends and family. Support groups can also be a powerful source of solace and hard-earned knowledge.

 

Be Proactive With Your Treatment

Don’t leave anything to chance. Be the captain of your own ship by learning as much as possible about your condition, identifying signs and symptoms, and trusting your mind and body to help guide you. Practice patience, and be sure to celebrate the small victories along the way.

 

Maintain a Daily Tracker 

It goes a long way when you can effectively recognize when mood swings are looming. This requires you to monitor your symptoms and your moods. Keep a journal to keep track of triggers and compile a mood chart.

 

Cultivate Healthy Coping Mechanisms 

When you feel an episode coming on, that’s not the time to start figuring out what to do. In advance, work with your therapist to create a self-care toolbox. The idea is to have these tools at our disposal precisely when you need them. But this isn’t meant to assume that you will never find yourself in a crisis. 

If your safety ever feels at risk, you’ll want to have loved ones ready to step in. They’ll need to know in a flash who your emergency contacts are (including your full medical team), along with detailed information about your medications.  

 

You Are Not Your Diagnosis

Bipolar can be a big part of your life, but it doesn’t have to define you. Yes, this diagnosis is jolting and daunting. However, there are resources available to support you on this new journey. If you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I suggest you practice self-compassion and connect with someone who understands. I’m here to help you. 

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