The Rules of Living with Bipolar Disorder

November 18, 2017 Natasha Tracy

There are rules to living with bipolar disorder, at least, for me. I find rules-based living with bipolar disorder makes every day easier.I have bipolar disorder and I live with rules I make rather than living out any actual desires. This is because I have little-to-no motivation or desires thanks to bipolar depression. Nothing wants me to get out of bed. Nothing wants me to work. Nothing wants me to do anything. But I do those things and a whole lot more because of the rules-based living I do with bipolar disorder.

What Are Rules When Living with Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder life rules are whatever you want them to be. I have rules for everything. I have a rule that I get out of bed as soon as I’m awake. I have a rule that I floss and brush my teeth before bed. I have a rule as to when I clean out the kitty little box. I even have a rule that dictates that I must have social interaction. I have rules for absolutely everything.

How Do You Make Rules When Living with Bipolar Disorder?

I have made my rules with my logical, wise mind, circumventing my sick, bipolar brain. I have a plethora of logic skills and I’ve applied those to creating rules that I know are best for me. Creating rules with bipolar disorder is about looking at your situation without emotion and deciding what would be best considering your sickness likely has the wrong idea.

Part of rule-making with bipolar disorder is simply to do the opposite of what the bipolar disorder wants. Bipolar disorder wants you to stay in bed all day? Don’t. Bipolar disorder wants you to do something unusual (like paint the ceiling of your apartment purple) when you haven’t slept for three days? Don’t. Make rules that counter the illness’s desires. They are likely to be healthy.

How Do Rules Work to Battle Bipolar Disorder?

See, I live by bipolar disorder-related rules so I don’t have to think about things too much. When I make a rule that I have to get out of bed as soon as I’m awake, it takes the option of staying in bed off the table. It’s a rule. Follow the rule. Like I said, I’m logical and, to me, rules make sense. You do what the rule says.

Because thinking about things too much gets me into trouble. I find bipolar depression makes real-time decisions almost impossible – whether it’s about something critical or trivial.

I realize that some people are likely to rebel against rules but, perhaps, making your own rules that you decide upon can quell that rebelliousness for your own good.

I Hate Living with Bipolar Disorder and Rules

All that being said, while I recognize that my life wouldn’t exist without these rules, I rather hate them. I hate that I have no real desires that I can follow. I hate that I never get to do what I theoretically want. And it’s because what I want is controlled by bipolar disorder and, thus, bad for me. I want to self-harm. Like, really. But I don’t. I have a rule not to. Part of me wants so badly to disobey this rule just for the relief of doing something that my brain orders me to do but my mind knows it’s bad for me. And my mind has to be driving this bus. If it didn’t, no work would get done, no mortgage would get paid and no lifestyle would be maintained.

Why Living with Rules and Bipolar Disorder Matters

My opinion is that living with bipolar disorder and rules is the best option in a bad situation, for me, anyway. I’d love to have intrinsic, healthy motivation. I’d love to want what normal people want. But thanks to my brain, I don’t. So until my brain can be trusted again, it cannot be in control. The rules I set are in control. Sucky as that might be.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2017, November 18). The Rules of Living with Bipolar Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

Jess Johnson
November, 24 2017 at 3:21 am

Thanks for these insights, Natasha - really useful!

December, 26 2017 at 12:33 am

Thanks for being part of My Christmas Miracle.

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