2. Accepting the illness - is crucial in managing depression and bipolar disorder

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When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, it was a great relief to me. After some 20 years of roller coaster life with extreme and confusing mood swings, I finally understood why.

But acceptance is never easy. Knowing that this is a chronic illness and that I may continue to experience these mood swings for the rest of my life, can be rather scary and disappointing. But acceptance is vital to living with this illness. Without accepting it, I will not be able to move on to know it, understand it and manage it.

Just as anyone who has to accept and live with a chronic illness or with a disability, it is important to understand the emotional and practical effect of bipolar and also to understand the diagnosis, the implications, the treatment guidelines and the coping mechanisms available. With all these, it is possible for bipolar people to live a close-to-normal life. Yes, there will be the ups and downs, there will be the mood swings, but it will be more manageable. Instead of being controlled or manipulated by this illness, we will be able to learn how to manage it and live a productive and useful life hopefully with lesser and shorter relapses.

Those with chronic illness often have to go through the process of grieving, accepting, learning and adapting to their illness and through these began the journey to healing and recovery.

An article I read on the internet has these helpful outline in the acronym TEAR:

T = to accept the reality of loss. There are things that will be different after a diagnosis of bipolar, and it’s important to recognize these things rather than denying or hiding them.

E = experience the pain of the loss. You are allowed to grieve what you feel has been lost with the onset of this disease, both from your own life and the lives of others. You are allowed to mourn previous goals and aspirations that must be altered to this new reality.

A = adjust to the new environment without what was lost. Whatever was lost with your diagnosis doesn’t constitute the whole of your person. The core of you is still the same, and knowing about your illness now allows you to re-adapt to the new context of life.

R = reinvest in the new reality. Explore, create, engage, and live as the person you are, managing your own life and your illness as part of that life.



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