Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder can make your heart sink. On one hand, you're probably happy to finally have a name for the ups and downs you've been experiencing. On the other hand, this diagnosis carries a lot of weight and means you'll have to be cognizant about treatment and management practices, probably for the rest of your life. There is a bit of good news here, though. A lot of the negative things you hear about bipolar are mostly myths. They're not factually true, so you don't need to be worried about them, which can take a huge weight off your shoulders. Here are some of those key myths.
Myth #1: You'll have a hard time finding a job.
While your symptoms are un-managed and out of control, you may, in fact, have trouble finding or keeping a job. However, most people with bipolar disorder are perfectly capable of working, often even at a high level, once their condition is being managed with medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. You do not have to tell potential employers that you have bipolar disorder if you do not feel comfortable doing so. If you do share that you have this diagnosis, your employer is not permitted to discriminate against you because of it.
Myth #2: You'll have to be on multiple, strong medications for the rest of your life.
When patients are initially diagnosed with bipolar, they often need a pretty significant medication routine in order to bring their symptoms under control. But over time, most patients are able to reduce their dose and use fewer medications. Once your bipolar disorder is under better control, you should be able to adopt lifestyle practices that keep your symptoms at bay, such as getting more sleep and eating a healthier diet. With these systems in place, you may not need as much medication. Everyone's treatment path is different, but if your goal is to use minimal meds, your doctor and therapists can help you work towards that goal.
Myth #3: You'll always feel out of control.
You might feel a little out of control right now; that's what prompts many people to finally seek treatment for bipolar disorder. But don't listen to anyone who tries to tell you that you'll always feel this way, or that you'll never be able to trust yourself. Those are the goals of treatment, and while everyone's course of treatment is different, bipolar is quite manageable with the therapies and medications available today.
Bipolar disorder can be a complicated diagnosis, but it is one that doctors and researchers are becoming far more adept at treating. Rely on your doctor's guidance and bipolar resources rather than myths to guide your thinking at this time.