World Bipolar Day

What is bipolar?

Bipolar, no matter how you break it down, can be a terrifying and debilitating condition. HOWEVER, it does not have to be, and that should always be the focus, especially on International Bipolar Day.

The scientific definition of bipolar is an oscillation between elevated mood (hypomania/mania) & deep lows (mild depression to severe depression and suicidal tendencies)

Before I was properly managing the condition, my life was in utter chaos, hence the title of my book, Chaos 2 Cured: The True Story of Defeating Bipolar Disorder.

I was diagnosed with bipolar one, the most severe form. My hypomanic episodes would quickly accelerate into mania, a place where everyone saw me as speaking quickly, having jumping thoughts, being impatient, irritable, aggressive, and even violent. (I will talk a little bit more about mania later on.) My manic episodes would typically peak with paranoia, delusions of grandeur, life-risking actions, drugs, alcohol, and finally an absolute crash into a depression.

My depressions were deep and dark, leaving me struggling to breathe, wishing for a death that never came, and unable to move, literally.   I would become catatonic, the pain in the world around me would grow so great that I became simply an empty vessel, devoid of dreams, desires, passions, and all light and color.

It is by no means something to be taken lightly, but again, properly managed there is always hope and the ability to live a life of happiness. I would never claim it is easy, and it is certainly a daily battle that will never go away, but facing an unyielding oppressor that lives within, and defeating it each and every day, is what makes me the person I am today.

Now that you understand a little bit more of some of the struggles, I would like to break down some of the misconceptions/ #stigmas that I have dealt with.


One of the most common misconceptions about mental health is that it makes someone facing conditions like bipolar appear more dangerous. If you have cancer and go to a doctor, when they look at your medical chart, you can see sympathy, empathy, and compassion for the patient. I have watched this firsthand. It is drastically different when a new doctor opens up my medical chart and sees the word #Bipolar. Instead of sympathy, I see concern; instead of empathy, I see fear; and instead of compassion, I am treated with doubt and suspicion (drug tests, smiley face charts, and questions about when I last thought of suicide).

The misconceptions and outlandish fears are based on a lack of understanding. I do not blame the doctors for their reactions, because it comes from a place of pure ignorance. If they could leap into my head, their approach would be completely different. Our entire medical system is built to keep people with mental health conditions monitored or completely out of the medical field. (If you work at a hospital, the very first question that is asked is: Have you ever suffered from a mental health condition?) Therefore, because it takes consistent stability to get through medical school I have yet to meet a psychiatrist that has ever been on the medications prescribed to me. How can they possibly understand the treatment of something they have never experienced? It is not their fault, but it’s certainly frustrating to deal with as a patient.

Other common misconceptions are that someone with bipolar cannot be a stable parent; cannot live a stable life; cannot be a good parent; cannot hold a stable job; are dangerous to society; and are a risk to themselves and everyone around them. I would like to be very clear: properly managed, someone with bipolar is equal to a Neural-typical (dislike the term) in every way.

I have met amazing parents that will do anything for their children. I have watched people diagnosed with bipolar create amazing inventions, artwork, and businesses. I have seen more violence from people drinking alcohol than I have ever seen from someone with bipolar. Lastly, properly managed, people with bipolar have fascinating, unique, and often breathtaking abilities to enhance society in the world around them. This is why we need to speak openly about mental health and start tackling the stigmas and misconceptions that the majority still see and feel.


There is, in my opinion, and experience, a trinity of overlapping tools that are paramount to successful management:

  1. Mental fitness
  2. Physical fitness
  3. Medication management

I am going to jump into each one and express how they have helped me and others manage their bipolar, rise above their struggles, and learn to thrive in a world that doesn’t always play fair.


When I use the phrase: “mental fitness”, I do equate physical fitness and mental fitness in the same ways. Mental fitness requires exercise, dedication, and continually adaptive drive for peak conditions. So, what are some of the ways we can achieve mental fitness?

  1. Proper sleep
  2. Writing down what we think and feel, especially when we are in a good place and can see the positives in our life, is extremely helpful. When we look back at our journal when we are frustrated and can see our writing and read our successes, it helps us look at life through an objective lens, separating us from our emotional turmoil. This can help ground us when it is most vital.


  1. Just as it is important for our mental fitness to get good rest on a consistent basis, it is also vital for our physical bodies.
  2. Taking a walk, exercising, or stretching have been things that drastically reduce my stress and help ground me. If I do it on a daily basis, it is one of the best tools I have.
  3. Eating healthy can have a profound effect on overall health, but I have also noticed that great nutrition also helps with my stability.
  4. Lastly, when it comes to physical fitness, you do not need to take things to an extreme. Find what brings you joy, whatever that may be from gentle exercise, yoga, cardio, or powerlifting. What makes you feel good and successful physically will lift your spirits on an emotional level.


  1. Medication is often perceived as a weakness. To me, I find strength in utilizing the tools available to me. The moment I changed my viewpoint on medication, empowering myself to use what I need to live a better and more stable life, the more comfortable I was taking medication and the less shame I felt.
  2. Finding the right cocktail of medication takes time, so if I went back in time I would look at the process as a journey. Be patient with yourself and your psychiatrist as you search for the right combination, and never feel bad to bring up questions or concerns. We are all different, but we all deserve to have a say in what works best for us and what makes us most comfortable.

I chose to write about three things that truly make a mammoth difference to me, but they are not the only ones. Family is extremely helpful if they are supportive. If they are not, focus on your friends that are supportive.

There are so many issues that someone with bipolar faces, everything from financial stress to romantic strain, that it is often overwhelming. I found it very helpful to write down some of the things I was struggling with and seek help on how to manage those issues and become successful with them. For example, when I was struggling financially I sought out advice to help limit my spending, especially if I was in a manic state. Never feel shame for reaching out and asking for help. Success even in the smallest things can remind us why we are vital to this world and why we matter.

As I close this blog, I want to remind each and every person that there is hope, and it is always worth fighting for. If anyone needs to reach out to me, please do.  My email is:  Put “fiddlesticks” in the subject matter and I will get it and respond.

I find joy in coaching and helping individuals and families learn to thrive no matter what they are facing in life. I hope this blog offers some insight into some of the tools that helped me, and if you found it useful please feel free to share it or comment on it. If there is something missing that you would like me to speak about in my next blog about bipolar, please let me know. I feel very blessed to have survived, and it is my duty to do what I can to help as many as possible.

Mr. Kirk Patrick Miller is a professional speaker, mental health advocate, and radio personality. His book “Chaos to Cured” and his contact information can be found at 

~Kirk Patrick Miller


———————— Disclaimer ———————

Mr. Kirk Patrick Miller is not licensed to practice medicine. His opinions are not meant or intended as mental health advice or guidance of any kind. Should you need help, please reach out to a mental health professional. If it’s an emergency, please call 911. (Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255)

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