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Bipolar Life and the Positive Effects of Self Knowledge.

Updated on April 3, 2016
Thinking about the many things I've learned along the Bipolar way
Thinking about the many things I've learned along the Bipolar way | Source

The Need to Become Successful

Living a successful and satisfying life with Bipolar Disorder, took 15 years of my life, thinking many times I'd be better of dead. Not because I really wanted to die but mostly because I had no energy left to go on another exhausting day.

I was so annoyed by that Bipolar voice inside, always reminding me of my sensibility to daily stress. Until I got diagnosed at the age of 23, I had a rather simple view of life in general.

The worst thing that could happen was ending up without a boyfriend who'd understand my crazy mind. I was young and insecure, always having a hard time when I got criticized by anyone in particular and I always felt compulsive in doing things a certain way.

Next to that I was a perfectionist and a control freak, with the character of a passionate Latina. Furthermore I was highly sensitive to the opinions of other people, I was raised by my adoptive parents with high expectations and my fear of making any kind of mistake was easily developed over the years. I strongly believed any kind of failure in life was unacceptable.

I felt I needed to become a successful person, earning my respect through the amount of money I made, the amount of children I had given birth to and the dedication to my future husband. Accepting all those things without complaing even though it would make me unhappy.


Causing Damage

Even though I have many positive characteristics, my personality is an interesting mix of difficulties. When Bipolar Disorder peeked around the corner, I could become that person looking for any kind of confrontation, provoking people close to me.

Like a magnifying glass, Bipolar Disorder exaggerates my negative characteristics to break down the other person. I would demand the other person to listen to what I had to say, with an energy so imposing on others that even I got scared of my own powers of speech.

So, it will come to you as no surprise that I ruined many friendships and that I left a trace of troubled relationships with men along the way. And let's not forget the damage I caused to the strong relationship I had with my brother or the fragile and delicate bond I had with my parents.

Bipolar Disorder Can Be Your Personal Study

I love a good study as long as I feel interested!
I love a good study as long as I feel interested! | Source

Just a Bad Stage in Life

As I write in my first Hub Love to be Bipolar! From isolation to success, I am a stubborn woman, finding it very difficult to accept a certain change in life.

Accepting Bipolar Disorder is one thing, but changing your life style is another very complicated process. At first I didn't accept my disorder at all and I skipped medication whenever I wanted to. I was under the impression for a long time, that I was in a bad stage in life. I believed it would pass by if I waited a little longer.

My self image at the time went down the drain and I was far from being that successful woman. Yet I hadn't learned my lesson until the summer of 1999. I was out of it for months in a row and it became my most desctructive episode in life. I went in and out of hospitals while threatening staff members with a lawsuit if they would keep me locked inside, even though I didn't stand a chance without a real treatment.


Learn to Love Your All

Why share intimate details of a life I once led? Why display part of my madness on the world wide web? Because I hope to encourage those that still suffer from Bipolar Disorder, to open up and forget about the stigma. You might feel ashamed but you will be amazed about the reactions you get from people applauding you, for being so open about it.

Prejudices, stigmas, different career possibilities and harsh opinions will always be a part of the world you're living in. Getting angry over it or wanting it to change, is putting a whole lot of energy into nothingness.

To get fully understood by your loved ones, is a true gift. People surrounding you will need to learn about the complex relationship between your character, Bipolar Disorder and everything else you are as a person.

One of the hardest things for me to accept, was to face the person I had become, long before Bipolar Disorder came into my life. It is horrible to come home after sessions with your psychologist. They can be so confronting and painful.

I'm not the fierce woman I've become because I did some therapy and took my pills. I am still manipulative, far from perfect and you can get me in a corner easily, for not being right. The only difference?

I learned to love my all. The perfectionist is still there, the control freak too but I learned to let go of an image put inside my head by society, upbringing, education and media. Embracing your negative characteristics can be as difficult as accepting you're Bipolar Disorder.

Still you are a wise person for doing so. You will benefit from the self knowledge that you absolutely need to turn your suffering into real stability. I'm not talking about the stability in between episodes but about stability of years and years with a few normal ups and downs in your moods.

From 1999 this is what I've been doing to get my act together:

  1. I lived for a year in a community for people with all sorts of mental illnesses, learning how to re-socialize after having been hospitalized for a long time.
  2. My personal coach in this community, developed a crisis care plan with me, making it easier to understand my triggers in daily life, that can cause my episodes.
  3. From this community, I went to an apartment of my own, speaking every two weeks to an extremely good psychologist, a job-coach and a psychiatrist. The sessions with them were brought down to every two months in the end and I have been seeing them over a period of eight years.
  4. I followed two intensive training modules of R.P. Liberman, to learn about anti-psychotic medication and coping with Psychosis and Bipolar Disorder, with the emphasis on living your life as independent as possible. I followed both training modules in one year, going to this therapy twice a week.
  5. As a result of those training modules, I monitored myself daily by two different charts, to get a very good picture of my warning signs and lasting symptoms. I kept doing this for three years, filling in these charts before going to bed.
  6. I joined a support-group for Bipolar people, became a member of their magazine and later joined the editorial staff, writing about Bipolar Disorder.
  7. I was obliged by the Dutch government, still paying my pension for disabled persons, to follow three different training modules, to re-socialize and to find a suitable job. After three trainings I did.
  8. I insisted to get of Lithium and Risperdal, trying to convince my psychiatrist for years because of the horrific side effects, finally starting with Carbamazepine and Seroquel in 2003. As a result I lost the 30 extra kilos and gained a lot more self esteem.
  9. In 2007 I decided to live my life as a single woman, travelling around the world on my own, to finally immigrate to Spain where the sunny climate has a positive effect on my mood swings.
  10. I never gave up on mental health care, even though I spoke to a lot of worthless professionals before 1999. Those whom I could manipulate in a second.
  11. I made sure to surround myself with positive people in life even though that meant being alone without friends for years. Better to have no friends than friends who do drugs or too much alcohol. I also learned to stay away from ex-patients I met before, since many of them relapsed, clinging on to someone who's improving his/her life.
  12. And last but not least. I changed my life style completely! Something to get into much deeper than I will do now.

Valencia, Spain
Valencia, Spain | Source


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    • Escobana profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Valencia

      To SmCopywrite...

      First of're so right. I do have a lot of means and access to services, other people don't have. In Holland everything is arranged much better than in Spain, where I live right now.

      The weather up here is much better though, so now I can combine the best things, to live a stable life.

      It's really wonderful to read your warm compliments to my work.

      I'll be following you too and hope to read a lot of your great work! Nice to meet you here:-)

    • Escobana profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Valencia

      Hi there MellyMoo,

      It's an honor to follow you! Thanks for your fanmail too:-) If I can educate other people, suffering from Bipolar Disorder, it would be wonderful! However I do realize, it's up to everyone's strenght and moment in time.

      To inspire people who suffer from depression, like you do, is a great gift, which can help those people in the end, to change their lives completely.

      Hope you'll be doing great and welcome back after a pause on Hubpages! Great to have you here!

    • smcopywrite profile image


      8 years ago from all over the web

      extremely brave and inspiring. i hope that sharing through your support group, therapy and reaching out to the world will continue to help you. beautifully written.

      i am glad you mentioned weather and depression. i believe this does affect our moods or triggers a positive or negative reaction. fortunately you have the means and access to services that many people that suffer from this condition dont have. thank you again for sharing

    • MellyMoo profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      Hi Escobana. Firstly, thank you for following me and for your comments. Good on you for speaking out about bipolar, as I intend to do about depression. You have come a long way and are doing so wonderfully. I believe it is up to people like you and I to educate others on mental illness and to help change the way we ALL live. I look forward to reading more of your hubs x

    • Escobana profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Valencia

      Hi Reetaulk!

      Thanks so much! Turning that kind of behaviour around, took a whole lot of energy and time but I am truly happy for the life that was given to me afterwards. To be able to choose the right way is something wonderful:-)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great story! and I do not mean story as in your business but in your decisions. I guess you are who you are, but you were able to turn your destructive behavior around and made the best decisions for the Life you were given to live

    • Escobana profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Valencia

      Thanks for commenting! I'm glad it helped you out and inspired you. Bipolar Disorder can be a true gift if you know how to kick it's ass:-)

    • princess g profile image

      princess g 

      8 years ago

      I am bipolar, diagnosed last year. This hub was very inspiring and helpful.

    • Escobana profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Valencia

      Hi Gracewithin:-)

      It's so sad to read how your brother is doing. I mean, I was like that too. No showers, no eyecontact and very depressed. When you're like that it's true that nothing bothers you really. You feel so num. With the medication he must feel cut off from the world.

      It's sad but true that many of the people I know with Bipolar are still struggling. I wish for everyone to reach total improvement. I know it has to do with so many things like I write in my Hub.

      To break out of depression is very hard to do. It's something your brother has to do on his own, but you can help him by letting him know you're there. Passing by as much as you can, getting just one smile out of him and talk about positive things. Letting him know you love him, that you're his sister and that you will always come to visit again.

      See if he's interested in a silly game, a walk outside to buy some cigarettes or bring something to eat he really likes.

      And ask about the treatment they give him. What are they doing to get him to heal from his depression? Is there a plan? I don't really know what a board and care means, but the word care to me, should mean there are people who want him to get well.

      If they can't help him there, what would be a better place? Depressions normally get treated by doing activities, taking care of yourself and shower even if you don't like it, talking about how you feel and having the same structure every day. Sleeping during the night, being active during the day.

      I remember I always wanted to sleep when I was depressed so I really had to drag my body to activities, finding it hard to stay awake.

      I also encourage you to read about Bipolar support in the link I posted in my Hub. Easy to read info about Bipolar Disorder.

      Hope I could help you out a bit here:-) Thanks for reading my hub! Blessings to you and your brother too:-)

    • gracewithin profile image


      8 years ago

      Inspiring! My world is full of bipolar folks. My mother was I'm sure now. None have made as much of life improvement as you tho. My brother is Bipolar 1 lives in a board and care near me. He is sooooo highly medicated to quiet the voices and keep his anger down. It's so sad. He is often depressed and has what appears to be very little self esteem. He sits w/ his eyes closed and smokes nonstop won't bathe or do anything. I mean anything. I ride by there a couple times a month and chat until he stops eye contact, try to keep it positive and give him hugs and remind him he is loved. I don't know what else to do. He does not like to be "bothered". I have a dear friend also who was diagnosed Bipolar 2 she has been much more accessible, sharing her world of feelings and experiences and her life lessons thru all her changes. Mania, depression, delusions. I'm very grateful to her it has helped me understand my bro better. Thank you for sharing I am very interested in how to be a better sister and friend to them.


    • Escobana profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Valencia

      Hi earnesthub!

      Thanks for your sincere comment! I definitely hope to reach out to those who are still suffering from Bipolar. There is so much you can do to reach a very good quality of life. What I did took some time but I believe some of these actions can help other people as well.

      Great you're following me too now:-)

    • earnestshub profile image


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Gutsy! I like to read success stories like this, it gives me hope for a dear friend who has suffered terribly with bipolar for many years. He has good times, but a lot of it is flat times from the medication he has to take. Thank you for giving the world this gem of a true story, it adds to the small pool of information from sufferers worldwide of whom there are many apparently.


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