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My Bipolar Care Plan: A 3-Legged Stool

how I cope with manic depressionI often find myself putting other people I meet who have bipolar disorder into two clearly different categories. Either they are like myself and they are manic, or they tend to have depression more of the time. For me, if I have depression, it is normally mixed in with feelings of regret of what has happened in the past. I try hard to not dwell on the past.

As a person with mania, there are many things that I feel are different for me than for other people. For instance, I tend to have manic rage and manic anger. I have manic disappointment as well.

The main thing to remember is when I use the word manic you could also use the word extreme or over the top. I have extreme rage and extreme anger. It would be something that would be measured on a scale of one to ten and would top off way over the ten mark. So high it would be off the chart. My anger matches no one else’s I have ever met. However, in the same respect, I love with the same passion. Mania doesn’t just go one way.

Mania also gives me happiness. Sometimes I can’t even get past the joy I feel. It can be overwhelming. I will feel on top of the world and like I can take it on. The best part is the creative juice that flows from me when I feel like that. It is like words and art flow freely from me and I can’t stop the creativity no matter how hard I try. It is the most amazing thing in the world.

Trying to find balance in the world when you are bipolar is a hard challenge. I have to have strict discipline with my bipolar care plan. My plan is like a three legged stool: if one leg falls my whole plan falls apart.

The first leg is my compliance. I have to take my medicine regularly. I have to not do drugs or drink alcohol. I have to sleep on a regular schedule. I always stay mindful of my moods. I have to take time out when I feel stress. I have to know when I need to step back. I need to know when to call the doctor. My compliance is the most important leg.

The second leg is my medical staff. I have to keep appointments with my psychiatrist and my therapist. I have to be honest with them. Keeping a great relationship with them is important.

The third leg of my stool is my family support system. Family isn’t necessarily just blood relatives. In my support groups I refer to us as family all the time, and we support each other. My husband is my lifeline. I know he is and I tell him thank you often for dealing with me and my illness. He has compassion for me and has known me at my best and at my worst. He has made this balance easier to accomplish.

This three-legged stool is how I make sure to stay balanced throughout my world. If you can put these in place in your world maybe you can find this balance I have learned to accomplish. I don’t have many times that I have that extreme manic anger or manic rage anymore. I don’t experience many manic disappointment episodes anymore. My manic highs do not go over the top very often anymore. Between my family support system, my medical staff and my own mindfulness I am able to know when to make adjustments in my bipolar care plan. I hope you can too.


My Bipolar Care Plan: A 3-Legged Stool

Tosha Maaks

Tosha Maaks is a wife and mother of four teenage boys. She is living with bipolar disorder and ADHD along with generalized anxiety. Just when she thinks she has it all figured out she realizes that she never truly will. She writes about her life in the here and now as it is happening and her past with the episodes that have left the most lasting impressions. At only 38, and after 18 years of marriage she and her family support team work together diligently to make the most out of life.

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APA Reference
Maaks, T. (2018). My Bipolar Care Plan: A 3-Legged Stool. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 20 Aug 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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