With tips on how to apply each lesson in your life.
I love quotes. If you’ve been around Speaking Bipolar for any time or follow me on social media, you know I share inspirational quotes often. I have notebooks and spreadsheets full of them.
Why? Because bipolar life is hard. Many days, you can’t read a long post. You can’t listen to a story or directions on how to improve. You need something short and simple, and inspirational quotes do the job every time.
What follows are 51 of my favorite bipolar quotes. With each one, there’s a suggestion on how to apply it to your bipolar life. Bookmark this page and come back often. You can also get an inspirational quote in your email inbox every morning. Sign up for the free Speaking Bipolar Positivity Club today.
Bipolar Quotes, Bicycles, and Bees
1. “The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” – Anna Quindlen
This is one of my favorite bipolar quotes. When bipolar disorder rears its ugly head, and we’re in the midst of depression or mania, it’s easy to believe that this is the only life we’ll ever have. That’s not true. Bipolar disorder is a part of who you are, but it doesn’t have to define you. You can have bipolar and still live the life you want. Create your story.
2. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein
When you let bipolar rob you of your peace, it’s easy to want to just stay in bed and hide from the world. But that’s not living. Keep moving, even when it’s hard. Reach into your very core and get up. Take small steps every day. That’s how you’ll find your balance again. Get on your bike and keep moving.
3. “Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it. Others could be given a single weed and only see the wildflower in it. Perception is a key component to gratitude. And gratitude a key component to joy.” – Amy Weatherly
Bipolar disorder can rock you to your very core. But if you look for roses, you’ll find them. Good things are there, even in the smallest things. Some of the prettiest flowers grow on so-called weeds. No mood disorder can steal that truth. Be grateful for what you have and joy will find its way into your life. It’s one of the best tools for fighting manic depression.
4. “A lot of people give up just before they’re about to make it. You never know when that next obstacle is going to be the last one.” – Chuck Norris
When bipolar disorder has you feeling like you can’t go on, remember that obstacles are just part of the journey. They’re not the end. Keep going and you’ll find your way through. Sometimes, just the strain of fighting every day makes you feel you have a raw deal. And maybe you do, but it’s no reason to stop. Things can and will improve. Trust that maybe this is your last obstacle.
5. “Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so goes on flying anyway.” – Mary Kay Ash
The bumble bee is a great example of what you can do when you set your mind to it. When bipolar robs you of forward momentum, believe you can still achieve your goals. Don’t let bipolar disorder define what you can and can’t do. With so much lingering stigma in the world, believing is tough. When it is, remember the bumble bee. Go on flying.
Wonderful Things, Defeats, and Mental Illness
6. “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
When bipolar disorder has you feeling like giving up, remember that many great things have been accomplished by people who didn’t give up. They kept going even when things were tough. You can do the same. Just keep trying.
7. “The world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet. Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them.” – J. K. Rowling
How much of the world have you seen? Most of us see very little. Remember that next time a day feels too dark to endure. There’s still so much you have yet to see. When the slow dawning pain of your mind tells you there’s nothing to hold on to, remember this quote. Your impulsive nature may tell you to let go, but the rest of the planet is waiting for you. Stay alive so you can see it.
8. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou
Bipolar will kick your butt some days. You will experience defeat. Many times. Be determined to not be defeated. Accept that you may lose some battles, but you’re still in the war. Suicidal thoughts are common with depression’s paranoid self loathing, but it’s the wrong path. Life is worth living – always. Choose to keep living.
9. “As long as a man imagines that he cannot do a certain thing, so long… is it impossible for him to do it.” – Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza
So much of coping with mental illness involves your mindset. Manic depression takes the color from your world. If you believe you will never get better, your thoughts will come true. Instead, imagine the best possible outcome. What would your best life look like? Work towards achieving the life you want. Believe anything is possible.
10. “When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” – Bernard Meltzer
Refusing to forgive is like carrying a heavy stone on your back. It accomplishes little and drags you down. Forgiveness can be an all-consuming challenge, but success is possible. Work to forgive – both yourself and others. Set down the weight and see how light you’ll feel. Change your future.
Kindness, Gratitude, and Courage
11. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama
Even on your darkest days, bipolar disorder doesn’t have to control how you treat others. You can always choose to be kind. Kindness is always possible. Be kind to yourself and others and it will improve your entire life. One of bipolar’s strongest symptoms is a desire to hate yourself, but you deserve better. Be kind to you.
12. “Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” – Og Mandino
Your bipolar disorder may feel like it’s holding you back, but don’t give up. Plant the seeds of hope and recovery now. Water them every day. Mental pain and mood swings may have given you a raw deal, but you can choose to carry on. Make this one of the bipolar quotes you hang on to each day. Focus on the future.
13. “At the age of 18, I made up my mind to never have another bad day in my life. I dove into an endless sea of gratitude from which I’ve never emerged.” – Patch Adams
It’s never too late to make a change. If you’re not happy with your life, bipolar illness included, do something about it. I write every week on my blog, Medium, and in my Positivity Club with the hope fellows sufferers will get the validation and comfort they need. Being grateful for what I can accomplish keeps my internal light bright. What reasons do you have to be grateful? Make a list and add to it every day.
14. “Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” – Sam Levenson
This quote comes to mind every time I see a clock. I love clocks, so I have many. Bipolar disorder can make time feel like it’s dragging. But don’t wish your life away. Make the most of every moment, no matter how long it feels. Follow the example of your bipolar family of friends and keep going.
15. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” – Mary Anne Radmacher
You don’t have to be courageous all the time. Just take things one day at a time with your mood disorder. Some days will be harder than others, but not a hopeless destination. You can try again tomorrow. Bipolar disorder doesn’t have to control your life. These inspirational quotes prove that. Choose hope and try again tomorrow.
Failure, Success, and Mindsets
16. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
Every day is a new opportunity. If today didn’t go the way you wanted, don’t give up. Learn from your mistakes and try again. With practice and effort, you will improve. You are living with a brain disorder, so give yourself a break and trust tomorrow will be better. It’s hard to move on when in such depths, but success is possible. You can make improved choices tomorrow. Use your opportunity wisely.
17. “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
Taking small steps while mentally ill is still making progress. Bipolar disorder can make even the simplest tasks seem impossible. But don’t give up. Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. Start with a single step and keep going. I hope fellow sufferers see how my tiny steps have improved my life. If you haven’t already, take your first step today.
18. “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” – Dale Carnegie
You are in control of your thoughts. Bipolar disorder may try to convince you that you’re not good enough, but don’t believe it. You are in control of your thoughts and you can choose to be happy. Fight through the darkness and severe anxiety until normal emotions return.
19. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
Let’s face it. There’s not a lot of ease and quiet in bipolar life. We know trials and suffering, and often every day. You may not feel like it, but bipolar disorder can strengthen you. It’s through trials and suffering that we grow as people. Don’t give up. You can overcome your manic depressive illness and come out stronger on the other side. Learn from your trials and suffering.
20. “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” – Napoleon Hill
Bipolar disorder may try to convince you that your dreams are out of reach. But don’t listen. Your dreams are within your grasp. Don’t let bipolar disorder stop you from achieving your goals. I’m one of those bipolar writers. It’s always been my dream to write full-time. I start and stop endless projects, but keep coming back to writing. It may take time, but I’ll get there. You need to hold on to your dreams, too.
Family, Rain, and Riches
21. “If you feel rooted in your home and family, if you’re active in your community, there’s nothing more empowering. The best way to make a difference in the world is to start by making a difference in your own life.” – Julia Louis-Dreyfus
You can make a difference in the world, bipolar disorder or not. Start by making a difference in your own life. Root yourself deeply in your home and family. Be active in your community. These things are empowering, and from them you can make a difference in the world. Start making a difference now.
22. “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Like other mental illnesses, bipolar disorder can be like a storm. There will be good days and bad days. But your personal suffering won’t last forever. The best thing you can do is to ride it out. Let each episode run its course. Eventually, the sun will shine again. Better days are not a sudden miracle but the result of fighting on despite the rain. Let it rain.
23. “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia
You never know how much your actions can affect someone. Bipolar’s magic may try to convince you that you’re powerless, but the truth is completely opposite. You have the power to make a difference in someone’s life. Even the smallest act of kindness can turn a life around. A simple smile may be the kind of a gift a stranger needs to fight their own madness. Give kindness generously.
24. “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein
Your bipolar disorder doesn’t have to define you. It’s just a starting point. You can go anywhere you want to go. Don’t let bipolar rob you of your light. You are in control of your life. It’s okay to start here and now to treat your illness. With medication management and a professional care team, soon madness will stop. Start here and see what you can do.
25. “No man is rich enough to buy back his past.” – Oscar Wilde
People with bipolar disorder cope with feelings that their past defines them. But it doesn’t. Your past is in the past. Clinging to the past is classic bipolar disorder, but you can’t change yesterday, so focus on today. The manic imagination will lie to you, so recognize the falsehood and move on. Accept that the past is unchangeable.
Note: Collecting quotes is an excellent way to stay positive, and positivity is one of the best tools for fighting bipolar disorder. Besides this post, I share quotes every weekday morning in the Speaking Bipolar Positivity Club. It’s free to join. Sign up today.
Trails, Masters, and Fear
26. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mental illness may try to hold you back, but don’t let it. You are in control of your life. You can make your own path. Don’t let manic depressive thoughts define you. You may feel stark raving sane sometimes, but even the strongest feelings don’t last forever. Find your path to mental stability.
27. “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” – Ann Landers
After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may fight voices in your head. They may try to convince you that you’re not good enough. But don’t believe it. Only you can control your thoughts, and you can choose to be happy. You are good enough and worthy. Those negative thoughts are just a stand in front of you. Don’t let it stop you. Be willing to do the hard work.
28. “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” – Stephen McCranie
In your fight with your bipolar disorder, you will have times you fail. That’s okay. As you learn and grow, the days that don’t work out will be less and less. The vital thing is you keep trying to do better. Not every day will be pure harmony, but focusing on the positive will give you more good days than bad. With prior awareness that mistakes are part of the process, you will recover quicker. Remember, failure is part of becoming a master.
29. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
It’s scary to think about starting a new medication or going to see a different doctor. Yet, the only way to know what works for you is to try it. When I first presented symptoms, the psychotic mania coupled with hallucinations, it was terrifying. I can’t imagine if I had never sought help. I know I wouldn’t be still be here. But I did seek care and now lead a full life. You can too. Take the shot.
30. “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair
Fear stops many from getting help for their mental health. It’s why I chose this as one of the bipolar quotes for this post. This type of fear can be deadly. Mental illness is like any other serious illness and needs to be treated by a professional. Decide to overpower your fear and get help today.
Destiny and Bravery
31. “We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” – Rick Warren
It’s true, the past shaped you. There’s nothing you can do about what happened yesterday. But you can choose how it affects today. Choose to leave your past behind. Do an internet search for a famous bipolar list of celebrities and see the full lives people with mental illness are living. Then choose to live the life you want.
32. “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” – Thomas Paine
Is there a difference between climbing Mount Everest and the little hill in your backyard? Absolutely there is! The higher the hill, the greater the victory when you reach the top. Bipolar disorder is a massive mountain, but it’s one that you can crush. Hopelessness is a very clear symptom during depressive episodes, but each cycle is part of your climb. You can celebrate at the top of your mountain. Keep climbing.
33. “The secret of living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.” – Tibetan Proverb
Manic depression distorts moods and make everything gray and dark. Love makes everything better. Laughter can make you feel like a kid again and help you survive even the worst days. Seek out as much love and laughter as you can in your day.
34. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just because you have a mental illness doesn’t mean that you’re fated to become a certain type of person. Many had a bipolar mother and fear they will be just like her. Who you become next is up to you. You are the author of your story. Choose the words that will define you. Create your destiny.
35. “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brene Brown
How many of you hide your mental illness from others? Truth be told, even though I’m very open online and write on the Speaking Bipolar blog, there are many times in a group that I don’t tell anyone about my bipolar disorder. However, when I started sharing my story online, it was as if a heavy weight lifted for me. You don’t have to share your true self with everyone, but don’t keep that person a prisoner. Let your story run free.
Procrastination, Rats, and Memories
36. “Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” – Christopher Parker
Too many people put off caring for their mental health for too long. The results can be disastrous. If you know that you’re having mental health issues, get the help you need today. You don’t want to pay the price later for waiting to do what’s best today. Be wiser than the psychiatric patients who wait too long. Take action now.
37. “By gnawing through a dyke, even a rat may drown a nation.” – Edmund Burke
This is one of those bipolar quotes to make you think. What if a rat chewed through a dyke? What damage would the ensuing flood cause? A rat can change the world.
You may feel powerless. It’s part of having bipolar disorder. But when you feel weak, just remember the rat. A tiny creature that most people don’t like can change the world. You can do the same. Show the world your power.
38. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
Will everything you do in treating your mental illness succeed? Sadly, no. But that’s no reason not to try. It’s only by trying new things that you learn what will work for you. Trying to conceal mental pain increases your suffering. Stability can come if you learn the right way to treat your condition. Be willing to try new things.
39. “Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.” – Albert Schweitzer
It’s easy with bipolar to get stuck in the past. The bipolar brain loves to relive memories in the middle of the night, playing the worst scenes repeatedly until they’re etched into your brain. With effort, you can consciously choose to think about other things. Leave the worst behind and concentrate on today.
40. “We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Barbara De Angelis
This is another of my favorite bipolar disorder quotes. There’s no doubt you’ll have difficult times while dealing with your illness. It’s part of the package. However, every time you conquer one of those troublesome times, you come out realizing how strong you are. You are powerful, and each trial will prove your strength. Keep confronting your manic depression.
Trying, Little Things, and Detours
41. “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Elbert Hubbard
I won’t lie. Some days, living with bipolar disorder is a hard fight. There will be times you feel knocked to the mat. Like living in someone else’s reality, it seems there’s no way to get up again. No matter how hard it is, get back up. Even if you have a string of terrible experiences, it’s not the end. The only end is when you quit fighting. So get up and fight again.
42. “It’s not the big things that add up in the end; it’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.” – Darren Hardy
It really is the little things that conquer mental illness. It’s the getting enough rest, eating nutritious meals, exercising, and taking your medications on time that makes you a success at battling your enemy. No matter what it is, not every day is huge win. It’s the regular days that matter. So take your meds and keep taking the small steps. They all add up. Do the little things.
43. “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu
Many with bipolar also have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The added anxiety of PTSD makes your world feel even darker. Hope is a vital tool for dealing with mental illness. You must believe that better days will come. Trust that every dark cycle will end. And it will. Hold on to hope, and it will get you through until the next good time.
44. “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” – H. G. Wells
Every mental health setback feels like being flung to the ground. Part of you wants to just keep laying there in your mental and physical pain. But you have to get back up. Life doesn’t end when you fall down, so nurse your wounds and get back in the fight. Stand up tall.
45. “See any detour as an opportunity to experience new things.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
When you receive a chronic illness diagnosis, it feels like they have sent you on an unexpected detour. Suddenly, your life is going in directions that you never imagined. However, detours can be amazing. Unexpected routes can make you see sites you never knew existed. So accept this detour and know it’s not the end. Amazing scenes might be around the next corner. Enjoy the detour.
Reputation, Education, and Preparation
46. “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford
I know this is a business quote, but it applies to mental health. We all have reputations. Whether it’s with our friends and family or just with ourself, the life we live determines how people view us. You can choose what reputation you will have by how you choose to live each day. Build the one you want.
47. “Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.” – Napoleon Hill
The education you gain about yourself while fighting a bipolar illness is probably the most valuable education you will ever get. Learning what works and what doesn’t takes trial and error. In time, you figure out which things help and which make things worse. Both are the keys to succeeding at winning your fight. Journaling is a great way to track what you’re learning. Write down your lessons and grow.
48. “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway
Do you sometimes feel broken? That’s okay. Everyone does. Even those who claim to have perfect mental health feel broken from time to time. It’s part of living in this chaotic world. But feeling broken isn’t the end. It’s just proof that you’ve been through rough times. You’re still here living this bipolar life and that’s what matters. Find strength in your broken places.
49. “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
I used to love playing tennis. I loved how each match wasn’t final, but tallied together to determine who won the game. Mental health is a lot the same. There will be days you feel you are losing your fight, but it’s just one match. What matters is the total game. Your game isn’t over yet. Play on.
50. “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
No one knows what tomorrow holds, and that’s especially true when you have bipolar disorder. Things can change in an instant and be completely opposite from what you hoped. Knowing what to expect tomorrow is impossible. Yet, you can make tomorrow better by making wise choices today. On the days when you can, make smart decisions, and it will make the harder days easier to handle. Do your best today.
51. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller
It’s a struggle to see the glass is half full, especially on days when bipolar life is especially turbulent. Some days you can’t be optimistic, no matter how hard you try. But you have to keep trying. Hold on to hope and know that better days will come. Every storm ends and the sun always rises. Build your confidence by celebrating the times you succeed. Knowing that every episode has an expiration date will give you the strength to keep fighting. Hold on to hope and confidence.
Sometimes bipolar robs you of positivity, so having helpful quotes on hand will get you back on track. Mood swings are tough, but not impossible to manage. Relying on bipolar quotes will help you carry on.
No matter where your challenges are coming from, you can find success. Fighting bipolar disorder is a long game. You win by gaining thousands of tiny victories. Some days, the only win is staying alive, but it counts. Do what you can today.
I hope this collection of quotes inspires you to live your best life. The world is full of negativity, so you have to do all you can to combat it. It takes work, but you can have a great bipolar life.
Remember, I publish inspirational quotes and stories every weekday in the Speaking Bipolar Positivity Club. Each weekday lesson includes an inspirational story to help you apply the quote to your life. The lessons also contain journal prompts and creative writing prompts so you can think deeper about the day’s topic. If you still haven’t signed up, today is the day. It’s free, so come on over!
I also share quotes every morning on my Instagram feed.
Until next time, keep fighting.