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Disappointment and Bipolar Disorder

Posted May 12 2009 6:16pm

Hey, y’all –

Maybe I should have titled today’s post “Jumping to Conclusions” or “Making a Big Deal Out of Nothing,” because that’s exactly what I did!

You’ve heard me talk about the presentations I do for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)’s In Our Own Voice program, right?  Where I speak to groups and tell my story about having bipolar disorder (and also give a free commercial for www.bipolarcentral.com!).

Well, this past weekend I went for training for what I thought was to be a national trainer to train other people to be presenters to also speak for the IOOV program.  When I got my certificate at the end it said State Trainer, where I assumed (emphasis on the word assumed) that it would say National Trainer.

Starting to get the picture?

I assumed (there’s that word again) that I had not “made it” and that this was something like a “runner up” in a beauty pageant kind of thing, or a “hey, thanks for participating, but…” LOL

Then I found out that everyone else got the same thing on their certificates, too, and that I had jumped to conclusions, and had wasted all that energy and disappointment (emphasis on wasted!) on something that I never had to!

Now, if this hadn’t happened to me, it would probably be a funny story.  Ok, stop laughing!  At least it didn’t happen to you! :)

But here’s the point of the story.

If you have bipolar disorder, disappointments ARE going to happen to you - it’s unavoidable.

The point is, how you are going to handle them.  Are you going to obsess about them, like I did? (WRONG).  Get depressed about them? (WRONG).  Let them ruin your day? (WRONG).

John Lennon said (yes, the Beatle), “Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans.”

In other words, disappointments are a part of life, whether you even have bipolar disorder or not!

But say, for example, you go to a party, and all of a sudden your mood changes, and you don’t want to be at that party.  You know you have to leave.  You feel disappointed.

You have the choice of kicking yourself because your mood changed, blaming your bipolar disorder, picking a fight with your loved one (even blaming them), sulking, obsessing over it, getting depressed, or any number of other negative choices.

Or you can just accept it as a disappointment, realizing that they DO happen, and go on with your life.  The emphasis in that sentence is on the word ACCEPT. 

We have to accept a lot of things because we have bipolar disorder.  Not because we like them, necessarily, but because if we don’t, they can lead to instability of our disorder.

When I finally accepted that I had done the wrong thing, had gotten disappointed over nothing, had wasted all that time, chose the wrong way to be, I stopped kicking myself in the you-know-what, and got off my own case.

The point is, I ACCEPTED my mood change.  I ACCEPTED what happened.  In fact, I made light of it with my husband.

One of the best things you can do with a disappointment, or any other unexpected change in your life (as Lennon says) is to inject any kind of humor you can to diffuse the situation.  It can’t hurt, and it can certainly help!

Have you had an experience like mine? 

How do you handle disappointment (hopefully better than I did :))

Wishing you peace and stability,

Remember God loves you and so do I,

Michele

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