Just Because There's No Cure for Bipolar Doesn't Mean You Should Give Up

December 5, 2011 Natasha Tracy

Recently, someone who was new to the world of bipolar disorder asked me if there was a cure for bipolar disorder or if he had to live like this forever. I had to, of course, tell him there is no cure. I felt like I was telling him his dog was about to die. I felt like knowing this, he might give up.

But the full answer is that although there is no cure for bipolar disorder, he doesn't have to live "like this," forever. The answer is while it will never go away, it gets better.

There's No Cure for Bipolar Disorder

Hearing that there's no cure for the illness you have is heartbreaking. My heart broke when I learned I had bipolar disorder. My heart broke when I learned there was no cure. My heart broke when I learned about the life-long medications I have to take.

It's absolutely, bloody heartbreaking.

Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

And let's face it, the treatments for bipolar disorder often feel akin to hitting your head against a brick wall. They might help, they might not. They might hurt more than they're worth, they might not. You might be able to afford them, you might not.

The treatments are a sorry excuse for a way to live a life. Especially in the beginning.

But It Gets Better

whisk itBut it gets better. No, a cure for bipolar disorder doesn't present itself, but with time, treatment is most often effective and a person can take their life back from bipolar to a greater or lesser degree. Life will never be the same again, but it will still be life. Everyday. It will still be dog walks and three-cheese omelettes and crying babies and annoying coworkers. It will still be life in all its agony and ecstasy.

Life doesn't end with a diagnosis and life doesn't end because there is no cure.

Eventually the bipolar disorder becomes a part of you. Dealing with doctors and treatments becomes part of your everyday life. Eventually bipolar disorder is just another part of your biography. It might be a big part, but it's still only part.

While it can seem like the weight of reality is bearing down on you when the idea of a lifelong illness is discussed just remember - it is life-long. Life-long.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2011, December 5). Just Because There's No Cure for Bipolar Doesn't Mean You Should Give Up, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 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.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

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

Being Diagnosed With Bipolar Is A Life Sentence « Stace Gots Lots to Say
March, 28 2012 at 5:41 am

[...] I perused her site and saw an entry that stuck out. It’s titled, “Just Because There’s No Cure For Bipolar Doesn’t Mean You Should Give Up”. As I read it, I began to cry. It’s not like it’s something I didn’t know. I know [...]

Amy Burgo
December, 9 2011 at 6:39 am

I have been suffering from Bipolar I Disorder for 20 years, but was only properly diagnosed last year. I hate taking the medications, of which there have been many over the last year. I hate all of the side effects. I love the manic highs and hate the crippling lows. My depression always seems to last so much longer than my mania. I feel alone and lonely because no one in my family knows exactly what I'm going through and they always seem to say the wrong thing at the worst times. My temper can get dangerous when I'm manic as well as depressed and sometimes I literally feel like I'm going to implode from rage. Just knowing that I have to live with this for the rest of my life is exhausting. Everyone keeps saying it will get better, as if "better" is tomorrow and I'm suffering from a cold! My reply is always, "WHEN?" because right now "tomorrow" is a long ways away. Don't get me wrong, I have good days and bad days, and as of yet I haven't found a good enough reason to leave this world. But the thought has crossed my mind, as I'm sure it has anyone with Bipolar. While I agree that "Don't Give Up" is an excellent rule, I believe Rule #1 should be "Find a Rock Solid Support System." Since my official diagnosis and nosedive into severe manic and depressive episodes last year, my husband, the one person I should be able to count on, has been the least supportive and says horrible things to me thinking that I'll just "snap out of it." So, for anyone who has been recently diagnosed, make sure you arm yourself with unconditional love and support from people who are willing to try to understand what you're going through and what you have to live with for the rest of your life. Good luck!

Alistair McHarg
December, 7 2011 at 11:50 am

Another great one, Natasha. I've been trudging this trail for decades and I would say Rule #1 is - Don't Give Up. At various points you will surely want to. Remember, it doesn't have to be pretty, but you do have to get up and get back into the game - over and over and over. It is so worth it.

December, 6 2011 at 11:12 am

Another perfecty timed article, at least for me. When in depressive episodes, I want to kill myself for precisely this reason. There is no cure, and this will be happening for the rest of my life. I'm not sure I want to live this way forever.
I admire anyone else who has gone through years of this, as they're strong in staying alive when I just desire to curl up in a corner and cease to exist. Hell, I even think what's the point of going on when not in an episode. I don't know if I should bother half the time.

kelly r
December, 6 2011 at 8:36 am

i have several persons in my life w BPD that i know through work and personal life. not everyone can be placed into one category and i wish more people understood that. others concerns i wish everyone knew about is that the meds have to be adjusted sometimes and that some people really enjoy the highs & lows associated with maladjusted meds or by going off meds for periods of time. these persons can (and do) make everyone's lives miserable.
there is more work to be done, more education to be shared and changes to come, i am hopeful!
additionally, i think it would be great if persons w/ BPD would bother to educate themselves ... knowledge is power!

Dr Fred Von Gunten
December, 6 2011 at 7:53 am

My name is Dr.‭ ‬Fred and I have been retired for over‭ ‬12‭ ‬years.‭ ‬I was an Optometrist,‭ ‬specializing in developmental and behavioral vision for more than‭ ‬33‭ ‬years.‭ ‬I gave sight to others so as to learn from their insight.‭ ‬I am happily married to a lovely lady,‭ ‬47 years and counting.‭ ‬She supported me during my episodes and I owe my life to her.‭ ‬At‭ ‬almost 70,‭ ‬I have knowledge and experience when it comes to dealing with Bipolar Disorder.‭ ‬My mission is to help others in achieving emotional stability without episodes.‭ ‬I've lived‭ ‬50‭ ‬years with Bipolar I.‭ ‬For the first‭ ‬25‭ ‬years I dealt with over‭ ‬5‭ ‬episodes.‭ ‬Since then,‭ ‬I have transformed my life by changing my thoughts and committing to a consistent supply of Lithium.‭ ‬I've maintained years of‭ "‬episode-free emotional stability‭"‬.‭ ‬Some would classify this as a‭ "‬Functional Bipolar‭”‬.‭ ‬But through the last 27 years, I would classify it as‭ "‬Functionally Cured‭"‬.‭ ‬I was one of the first to receive Lithium when the FDA approved it in‭ ‬1971.‭ ‬It has kept me stable for the last‭ ‬27‭ ‬years,‭ ‬along with knowing the‭ “‬Power of Positivity", my resent e-book :
Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

December, 6 2011 at 6:47 am

i remember the heartbreak part. Originally i was diagnosed with major depression then later i was correctly diagnosed with bipolar and given the 'life sentence.' it sucks knowing that i may never be 100% what i want to be. I guess i'll have to work extra hard at creating meaning in my life but sometimes it's just so much easier to give up when bipolar's coupled with alcohol addiction and anxiety.. Some days though i get surges of strength and feel proud of myself

December, 6 2011 at 1:03 am

It's been five years. At first my meds worked pretty quickly then after about a year I went down hill and haven't been good until a couple of months ago. I hope it lasts, it seems I will get better for a few months then start cycling again. But anyhow, I was devestated when I realized that there is no cure and I would be on medicine forever. But if it helps then it's worth it. I just hope it keeps working.

December, 5 2011 at 5:11 pm

Thanks for your write up! And yes - the diagnosis was 'heart breaking.' It's been two weeks for me, and I'm still a bit shell-shocked. But with education I know I will find a way "to deal." Thanks for helping.

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