Opposite Rule with Bipolar – Do What Bipolar Doesn’t Want

March 7, 2018 Natasha Tracy

The opposite rule is a bipolar coping skill that also works for other mental illnesses. Learn about bipolar and the opposite rule and how it can help you.The opposite rule is a rule some people with bipolar disorder or another mental illness use to help deal with the unhealthy parts of a mental illness. It’s actually a really useful rule and I use it a lot as a bipolar coping skill. Here I tell you how and why to use the opposite rule if you have bipolar disorder or another mental illness.

The Opposite Rule Pertains to Bipolar ‘Wants’

Have you noticed that bipolar disorder “wants” things? This also might be thought of as bipolar driving you to do and feel things. Bipolar depression, for example, wants you to stay depressed and will try to make you do things that will keep you depressed. The depression will keep you from seeing your friends or exercising or practicing other self-care methods. These are things the bipolar disorder/depression “wants.”

Similarly, if you’re experiencing bipolar mania or hypomania, bipolar will “want” things there, too. Bipolar mania/hypomania wants to perpetuate itself just like the depression does so it will try to convince you to do things to keep the mania/hypomania going. The mania or hypomania may convince you not to sleep or eat. It may convince you to take actions that will further rev you up. It may even convince you to take dangerous actions. These are things the bipolar disorder “wants.”

And it’s important to realize that these are bipolar wants and not our own wants. It’s important to realize that we don’t want to stay depressed and we don’t want the devastating actions that can be induced by mania or hypomania. It’s important to realize that these wants are coming from an illness and nor ourselves.

The Opposite Rule for Bipolar Wants

So, if we understand that bipolar disorder has its own wants and these are contrary to our own, personal wants, then it makes sense that we would fight them. This is where the opposite rule for bipolar disorder or other mental illness comes in.

Simply put: when bipolar wants something – you work to do the opposite.

Please watch this video below where I talk about the opposite rule and its benefits.

The Usefulness of the Opposite Rule for Bipolar Disorder

I find this rule really useful because it takes away the need to think through every decision to the minutest detail. I have said before how bipolar disorder (mostly depression) makes making decisions almost impossible for me, and this rule really helps. If I can just “do the opposite” of what bipolar wants, then I have a direction – and a healthy direction at that. And this is extremely beneficial to a person who is sick and wants to get better. Sure, the opposite rule won’t defeat bipolar disorder, but it’s another coping skill to keep in your toolbox and it’s surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it.

Have you tried the opposite rule for bipolar disorder? Do you want to? Do you find that the opposite rule works? Tell me more below.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2018, March 7). Opposite Rule with Bipolar – Do What Bipolar Doesn’t Want, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 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.

April, 9 2018 at 3:58 pm

Doing opposite of my parents helped me raise my children. That’s what the Lord told me when I was seven.All my children graduated university and make $. So now I’ll try the opposite of bipolar two,next. It does help. It’s just doing it is HARD with this disease. I’m tired of this meds or not. It’s so hard I want to die. And I cannot take The mushy brain feeling not much longer.

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