Self-Compassion and Positive Self-Talk in Bipolar Disorder

November 12, 2013 Alexa Poe

Regardless of whether or not you’re experiencing a state of depression or in a crisis or feeling pretty positive, it can be hard to love yourself and practice self-compassion. A lot of times, I hear other people who live with bipolar disorder and other mental health problems say that they hate themselves or feel ashamed of the things they feel (My Irrational Bipolar Brain Makes Me Hate Myself). For me, personally, I can tell myself, cognitively, that my feelings aren’t my fault, but it’s very hard to believe that emotionally.

Self-Talk and Your Ability to Love Yourself

I recently learned about Dr. Kristin Neff and her life's work in the study of self-compassion. She offers a test on her website to help determine where you are in your ability to love yourself and to treat yourself with respect. Loving and respecting yourself can be difficult for those living with bipolar disorder and other illnesses. Learn ways to overcome self-hatred.

Even though it can be very hard to implement in your daily life, be patient with yourself. You can’t help what you feel, and feelings pass. You won’t feel bad forever.

I tend to overreact and turn every negative occurrence into something much worse than it actually is and it’s hard for me to identify when I do this. When in doubt, keep track of all of your negative thinking and critical self-talk.

Positive Self-Talk

If you’re stuck in repetitive personal criticism, write down what your dilemma is. Below it, write down all of the possible outcomes to your problem, regardless of how ridiculous it may be. Does your problem mean the end of the world for you? Is it as devastating as you originally thought? (Path to Positive Thinking) From here, you can…

Practice Mindfulness

Close your eyes and take in a deep breath. Is your heart pounding? Does it feel like something is pressing on your chest? Is your head aching? Continue to breathe deeply and stretch all of your muscles. Take note of all of your physical and emotional feelings (Increase Focus With This One Minute Meditation).

What do you do to manage and change your negative self-talk and personal criticism? What do you find helpful and unhelpful?

You can also find Alexa Poe on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

APA Reference
Poe, A. (2013, November 12). Self-Compassion and Positive Self-Talk in Bipolar Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from

Author: Alexa Poe

November, 26 2013 at 2:10 am

As wanting ( and hoping ) to at least become a peer support worker ( life experience &
Think maybe a course or 2)
Plus an coulda shoulda was accepted-by had a breakdown OMG!
English major & later physician wannabe.....
Your professional opinion is highly valued & appreciated!
Nice gift to me on a starting w depression day..hugs fr Canada :-)
Meds just arrived from my pharmacy...HOPE ..feel better...soon.
Everyone needs a confidence booster ESP me in a bummer mood,Ciao ..Sandra.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alexa Poe
November, 26 2013 at 4:08 am

Hi Sandra!
I'm sure you'll do fantastic! Also, though, keep in mind that I'm not a professional. I'm just a writer with things to say, and hopefully I'll become a professional!
Take care,

November, 25 2013 at 12:59 pm

I agree with everything you said,Alexa.
You said what I always felt,but couldn't even put into words.
I think,too,it can be harder for women ..sometimes.
When depressed I come down on myself incredibly hard,I'm stupid,fat,useless..
Then moodswing! I'm back,looking good for my age,proud of my hard work,seeing things totally different.
Like,you look in the mirror,things look great,when all is well,or right on!
In mania Kate Moss got nothing on me babe!!!! I'm the best smartest most gifted.....
Then the BS negativity...
There is somewhere way back in my mind..the part that just sees & during my normal times,getting somewhat more frequent ( bout time!) saying I look good,I'm a good person who never asked for this crappy disease..same as rest of us.
I'm learning..the hard way,natch,you do have some control,your coping skills,your support,family,friends,meds ( a must have for me,anyway) ...the not be so fearful of the emotions...were just like everyone else,it's just more intense,more feared as it's a misunderstood disorder.
Maybe one day it will be understood,the stigma gone...the chains of bondage broken.
But people must speak out,in order to to have a chance of burying the stigma of bipolar & all mental illness.this,I believe,but it's not just one singular voice..:-) HOPE.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alexa Poe
November, 26 2013 at 12:52 am

Hi there! Very beautifully said!
You are a beautiful person, never let anyone tell you differently, and always keep that in mind when things get tough!
Take care,

November, 14 2013 at 3:16 am

Defeating this behavior is so important. I have struggled with it and didn't even realize it wasn't normal until several times over the course of about a year it was brought to my attention.

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