TWAP029: Man Interrupted: Steve Bell Talks About Bipolar Disorder

living with bipolar disorder
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Bipolar Disorder, like other mental health and neurological conditions, is not something you might recognize right away.

Steve Bell didn’t recognize it until midlife.

When he did recognize it and accept that Bipolar Disorder was part of his neurology, his quality of life improved.

You, too, can improve your quality of life when you recognize and accept yourself, including your neurological or mental health conditions.

Steve was a successful insurance agent, running his own business for many years.  When he became unemployed, the financial stress triggered symptoms he didn’t recognize.  The stress and the symptoms spiraled out of control, leaving a wake of unintended consequences.

Today, Steve’s life has turned around.  Over the last 8 years, he has coached hundreds of people to get their lives back after debilitating struggles with uncontrolled mental health symptoms.

Whether you’re just discovering your mental health or neurological conditions, or you’re in the process of doing so, his advice can serve you.  I’m so excited for you to listen and enjoy.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder that he experienced (before he knew it was Bipolar Disorder)
    • mood swings
    • impulsivity
    • delusions of grandeur
    • loneliness, isolation, anger
    • manic symptoms – speaking very fast, thoughts racing, making cognitive connections between things that other people don’t make
    • irritability
    • problems with memory – forgetting things
    • panic attacks
    • difficulty thinking things through
    • tendency not to think about or consider others’ feelings
    • strongly goal focused, feeling that you know best, and no one else does
    • you’re angry at yourself after the highs and the decisions that you made 
  • How and why he transitioned from being a successful insurance agent with Allstate to now helping people with mental conditions live fuller lives
  • Steve Bell’s work background
  • How stress can intensify and worsen all these symptoms (financial, interpersonal)
  • How early childhood trauma can contribute to creating conditions
  • How Steve was able to get help, a diagnosis, and his recovery process
  • The role of psychotherapy, medications, support groups, and online education
  • About psychiatric rehabilitation:  “It’s goal is to enable individuals to compensate for or eliminate functional deficits, interpersonal barriers, and environmental barriers created by the disability, and to restore ability for independent living, socialization, and effective life management (including vocational and educational skills)”  (definition given by Steve Bell)
  • The spectrum of work
    • Being the best grandmother, or being the best parent possible
    • Volunteer work
    • Going back to school
    • Part-time paid employment
    • Full-time employment in a different type of position or field
    • Self employment 
  • Beautiful analogy of psychiatric rehabilitation team approach – you’re the astronaut, and you need a support team to get you to the moon.  Every support team member plays a role, but you are the central piece of the journey.

Links and Resources:

Get in touch with Steve Bell:

Phone 719.492.9335

Email – [email protected]

Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Steve Bell’s Favorite Books

The Holy Bible:  Contemporary English Version
Pathways to Recovery:  A Strengths Recovery Self-Help Workbook  by Priscilla Ridgeway, Diane McDiarmid, Lori Davidson, Julie Bayes and Sarah Ratzlaff   (this is the primary learning tool he uses in the recovery classes he teaches).
The Depression Advantage,  by Tom Wootton
Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You That You Need to Know,   by John McManamy
In Silence I Speak, by  Mary Elizabeth Van Pelt

Useful Sites:  (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)    (National Mental Health Consumers Self-Help Clearinghouse)   (Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation)  (full-service consulting firm that helps providers and other interested parties create economic opportunities for people with disabilities)   A website of a successful businessman, Joe, who lives in KY and is autistic.  His business was born with the help of his family and the consulting firm listed above.    His story was featured a few years ago in USA Today.
Get Steve Bell's Recovery Story
1. Enter '0' to get the resource free. 2. When you enter your email address, I'll add you to our free weekly newsletter list

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 I'm Steve Borgman.  I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

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