Monday, December 12, 2016

A Letter to My Younger Bipolar Self


Dear Karl,

I’m so sorry to hear you are having a tough time. I know that what you are going through is very painful and that having bipolar disorder is hard to accept. I’m sure there are times when you just want to quit, but you mustn’t do that. No matter how hard things get you have to promise me you won’t give up. You never know when you’re going to turn the corner and begin to feel better.

There are a few things I’d like to share with you from my experience that may help. First, and this can be hard, stick to your treatment plan. Working with a therapist and psychiatrist can be very helpful. Unfortunately medication, while it can be a good first step, isn’t the only thing you need to do. Medication will help with some of the symptoms you are experiencing but you should consider doing other things, like stop using drugs and alcohol. These substances only serve to undermine the effects of your meds. Finding the right combination can be frustrating and it can take time to get them just right. But when you do, stick with them. Be sure to talk to your psychiatrist about any problems you’re having with them. And by all means, DO NOT stop taking your meds without consulting your psychiatrist.

Another thing to consider is the idea of reaching out for help. I know that you’ve been afraid to tell people about what you’re dealing with but you can’t let that stop you from asking for help. There are people in your life who genuinely care. Think about your activities at Buffalo State and the work you do at the school’s radio station. It it’s pretty obvious that you’re struggling from time to time, but if you’d be willing to talk to some of your friends about what’s going on I’m sure they’d understand. You don’t have to suffer in silence.

The same goes for your classes. If you’d be willing to speak to the staff at the Office for Students with Disabilities perhaps you could receive some accommodations to help you manage your course load. This department can help advocate on your behalf.

I also encourage you to visualize yourself as a whole and complete human being. I’ve learned that when I am able to “see” myself as being healthy and productive, I’m able to create this type of existence. It’s like that song “Legend” you listen to by the group Thinkman that says, “Imagine what you could be.” You see, you make your own reality. This can be accomplished by manifesting the life you want by using the infinite power of God and motivating yourself through setting goals that make you step outside your comfort zone. Anything you will achieve in your life will be the result of envisioning what it is you want and developing a plan to get it.

This ties into the idea of risk taking. I’m not talking about doing something that will be harmful to yourself (or someone else). I’m talking about taking a healthy risk. Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or fail. In reality, there is no such thing. If you believe it you can conceive it. If you can conceive it then it can become a reality. The thing to remember is that no matter what, you have the ability to work towards your potential and that your potential is limitless.

Also, trust the process of recovery. Recovery takes time. Just like it takes time for a wound to heal, it takes time for your mental and emotional state to do so as well. This is where persistence and perseverance come in. There will be times when you feel like giving up or you feel stuck. This is not uncommon for anyone, whether they have a mental health challenge or not. By having faith you can do amazing things.

Finally, just know that there’s hope. Hope is something that can keep you going on those really tough days. But take it from me, when you have hope you can get through anything.

So, just know that you can do this. You CAN get better. By putting the pieces into place you can discover the life you’re dreaming of. Recovery IS possible.

Signed,

Your future bipolar self

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