Classroom Setting

What is one of the most comfortable settings in a classroom for someone with bipolar?

I have thought long and hard about how to answer this question.  So I decided that I will go with the setting of high school.

I did not know that I had Bipolar disorder in high school.  I knew I had something wrong with me, but I couldn’t tell you what it was at the time.  I found out that I have Bipolar disorder in my twenties.

One thing that mattered to me is where I sat.  I sat in the front of the room where I could pay attention without distraction.  I was able to block noises from other students behind me and focus better on my schoolwork.  A couple of the teachers I had were very compassionate about this, but some others were not.  In my senior year I had more teachers that understood my need for the front of the room.

Also, the teachers make a big difference.  I had two teachers that knew something was wrong so they were very supportive when I was ‘off’.  I may not have finished my work on time but they were lenient with me and I think that’s important.  I was also raised in an abusive home so my life was filled with constant fear.  I focused on school to get my mind off of my home life.

I would encourage you to find a place in the room that makes you comfortable.  Let your teacher know you need a certain seat.  Some teachers will comply with it.  Others will blow it off and that’s when we just have to deal with it.  I didn’t like that one bit.

Also, some teachers would play quiet music during seat work which was quiet time and that helped to soothe my inner soul.  I could focus better and calm myself, too.  I would hope that some of today’s teachers would be up to date on the issues of mental illnesses amongst our high school students.

One thing I found out is that I had to advocate for myself so I could get what I needed.  Educate yourself on your disease so you can educate others.

Knowledge is power and can be used at times for your benefit.

If you are having trouble with your settings in the classroom then I encourage you to talk with your teachers.  If your teachers don’t respond then I suggest you talk with a guidance counselor.  That is what guidance counselors are for.  It is their job to help you be successful regardless of your circumstances.

3 thoughts on “Classroom Setting

  1. I want to add something here on a pediatric level. My daughter is 9 and bipolar. She is in the 4th grade. She was diagnosed when she was 7yrs old and in 2nd grade. Last yr in 3rd grade was her worst year she has had so far. At the beginning of the year she was in a school where they used a buddy system to do work. This didnt work for her because she didnt feel she was getting the help she needed. She was constantly asking the teacher for help and was not getting it there either. After some major personal issues she switched schools. Her issues with classroom got worse however. Finally at the end of the Year, working together to come up with a plan that worked we got her into smaller group settings where she could get more one on one attention for when she needed help. Also the noise of the classroom tends to overstimulate her at times so she tends to set AWAY from the rest of the students. Also, when she feels she has had TOO MUCH she has the option of taking her own time out on the pillows for a few minutes completely away from the rest of the class. The main Idea for her is teaching with a smaller group of students, maybe 5 or 6, and getting away from distractions. I’ve also noticed this in another student that I have had the opportunity to observe in my youngest daughters kindergarten class. By her behavior I have my opinions that this child has early onset bipolar but I am in no position to discuss it. However when I first started volunteering in my daughters kindergarten classroom this child was unruly, acting out, throwing fits, uncontrolable temper, sometimes withdrawn. eventually one day I walked into class and she had a desk against the wall away from all the other students when I asked the teacher why she was being punished now, she said she hadnt punished her, the little girl had asked if she could set there because she felt like she would be better off away from the other students because they got on her nerves and distracted her.

  2. There is a great deal of common sense in the answer. Be honest with your teachers, then they will all know of your difficulties. As a result more of them will cut you some slack.
    I was had finished school before I was diagnosed with bipolar type 1. I still believe to this day that I was inflicted with bipolar as a teenager. I do recall that I did tend to sit at the front of the room.
    To me the most important piece of advice is to educate yourself on bipolar disorder. I have done so. I believe this one of the major reasons I have not had a bipolar episode since 1997.

  3. I always tended to sit up front as well, and as close to the door as I could get-just in case I needed a quick escape… Even if the teachers wouldn’t accomodate me by letting me choose my seat, it really helped that my last name begins with a ‘c’ and I was usually near the front anyways!!! 🙂

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