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Small Achievements to Celebrate in Bipolar Disorder

Small achievements in bipolar disorder are important to celebrate. Don't let the little wins pass by -- use them to encourage future achievements.

It’s important to celebrate the small achievements in bipolar disorder. I have written about this before, in fact. But what does a small win in bipolar disorder look like? How do you celebrate a small achievement in bipolar disorder?

Yes, it’s true, I do live on my own and support myself. Yes, it’s true, I do pay a mortgage and my bills are paid on time. Yes, it’s true, I have only been in the hospital for suicidality once (which is enough, for the record).

It’s also true that many people with bipolar won’t see that level of functioning at all times and while I, personally, celebrate the small achievements in bipolar disorder, it’s even more important for those who are going through a tougher time right now.

Celebrating the Small Achievements in Bipolar Disorder

Why celebrate small achievements? Well, it’s simple, you need to celebrate the small wins because the big ones may never come or they may be few and far between. This is true for everyone but it’s even truer when you’re battling an illness that zaps your motivation and ability to feel good about yourself. The whole point of celebrating is to give yourself an “attaboy” so you can build on that feeling and that achievement. If you take your achievements for granted, you never get to feel that win. You never get to have that spark that says “you done good.”

What Are the Small Achievements to Celebrate If You Have Bipolar Disorder?

Small achievements vary from person to person but I can tell you that my small achievements often seem very small to others but are a big win for me.

For example, today I took out the garbage and some of the recycling. I know this is something people do without thinking about it, but for me, it takes thought and a concerted effort. And so now, I’m recognizing that thought and effort as an achievement. While I won’t have a dance party to celebrate it, I will give myself a little pat on the back and use that to feel good about the day. I did something to improve my living environment – that’s a goal of mine and I achieved it.

Other achievements that a person with bipolar might want to celebrate includes:

  • Reading
  • Writing a letter
  • Taking a shower
  • Brushing his or her teeth
  • Doing the laundry
  • Cleaning part of his or her living space
  • Filling out paperwork
  • Making a put-off phone call
  • Dealing with bureaucracy
  • Spending time with others
  • Going to the grocery store
  • Quitting smoking (kind of a big one)

The list goes on and on. We all have challenges thanks to bipolar that we need to overcome and our lists of these possible achievements will differ, but we all have them and we all deserve to feel good about ourselves when we can check an item off the list.

And please remember that just because it’s not hard for others, doesn’t mean it isn’t genuinely hard for you and it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a little, mental celebration when you achieve it. Comparing ourselves in these regards is counter-productive.

If you have achievements in the face of your bipolar you would like to celebrate, leave them in the comments below. We should all be able to celebrate together.

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar Burble, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

4 thoughts on “Small Achievements to Celebrate in Bipolar Disorder”

  1. I am sorry, I am sick of small acievements.I want to burst out of this useless sack of skin and bone and be somebody again

    1. To Barbara Pimlott: We are useless in different ways. What about the people who raised you and your teachers; they obviously failed to recognize your problems and/or set you on the right path. Do you judge them as harshly as you are judging yourself? Just by “existing” you have value to my way of thinking. Eventually the little things do add up. Persevere! ..because you are worth it! There is no one correct answer for any of us. I take from what I read and who I talk to..I take what works for me. I’ve had to incorporate many different strategies to move ahead…it’s my own collection of what works for me. I keep a journal because that works for me. I’ve learned about toxic people because that was a problem I had to confront. I’ve used the internet to educate myself. Take control; you can do it!…and you are worth it!!

  2. Wonderful post. I couldn’t agree more when it comes to celebrating the little victories. The little victories are what lead to the huge triumphs so the little victories really are hugely important! They should be celebrated as such. Thank you for sharing.

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