Anyone seen the latest Seroquel XR ads from AstraZeneca? They are pretty dramatic and the theme is that folks with bipolar disorder experience it as all consuming, particularly if they are suffering from bipolar depression. In fact the tagline of the Internet, print and TV ads is "Bipolar depression doesn't just affect you - it can consume you". According to AstraZeneca, this is a message based on an emotional consumer insight.
As many of us with bipolar disorder know, there are times when it does seem all-consuming. For most of us, we are likely to spend three times longer experiencing depression as opposed to mania, and some of our episodes of depression will be significant enough to interfere with our daily lives.
However, having bipolar disorder is not ALL of who we are. We are individuals with our own strengths and weaknesses. We each have our own values, opinions, likes, and dislikes. Sure it is possible to have a serious episode where we feel consumed and lose sight of this for a while. But is Big Pharma correct in emphasizing bipolar disorder as all consuming? We must never lose sight of the truth that there is way more to us as people than our bipolar disorder.
Please always use more constructive self-talk, such as saying to yourself "there is more to me". Spend time reflecting of all the elements of you are, apart from your bipolar disorder. Don't allow your illness to dent your self-esteem so badly that you forget about all of your positive qualities and strengths.
Don't let Big Pharma encourage you to focus on your illness to the point where you ignore al the positive things that go to making up YOU - a whole person.
If you don't want your bipolar disorder to consume you, try some of the following:
1. Keep up your interests instead of only focusing on the disease. I run and take photos. Other folks I know are into things like singing and music, or active in their church.
2. Strike a healthy balance. Please note: I am NOT saying to stop educating yourself about bipolar disorder. You need to learn about your illness and how to manage it, but do not let it be the only thing your life is about!
3. Keep a journal and write down every goal you would like to pursue in the future.
4. Also use your journal to make notes every day on the positive things about yourself and your life, no matter how minor these may seem at the time.
5. Go back and read and reflect on these things at times when you feel vulnerable.