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Bipolar Disorder and What It Means To Eat the Frog

How to apply the Mark Twain quote to your mental health.

By Scott NinnemanPublished 4 months ago 9 min read
Bipolar Disorder and What It Means To Eat the Frog
Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash

I used to wake up every day dreading my biggest challenge.

I put it off for as long as possible, but knew I would have to confront it head-on. It is always such a relief when you don’t procrastinate and get the hard tasks over and done with.

My important task was to eat my frog. The big, ugly, slimy frog that represented my bipolar disorder.

For years, I tried to ignore my biggest task. I didn’t want to believe there was something wrong with me. But the more I tried to hide from it, the more mental illness seemed to take over my life. It was like a big black cloud that followed me everywhere I went.

It haunted my days and chased away sleep at night.

Eventually, I accepted the only way to have a productive life was to stop running from my bipolar disorder. I had to face it head-on and learn to deal with it.

I wish I took less time to do the right thing.

The Origin of the “Eat the Frog” Phrase

Where did the phrase “eat the frog” come from?

It was a great idea I read in the Mark Twain quote, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

This quote really resonated with me.

I realized that if I wanted to get my life back on track, I had to start by tackling my bipolar disorder. I had to do the important things, eat my frog early, and stop procrastinating.

Eating the Frog With Bipolar Disorder

Eating the frog means facing your biggest task head-on.

It means taking on your bipolar disorder and learning to live with it. With effort, you can not only live but learn to thrive.

It’s not always easy, but it’s worth any effort.

When you eat the frog, you take back control of your life. You take the first step towards recovery. Eating the frog might mean finally seeking professional help or opening up to your family about your condition. It could mean taking your medication or getting out of bed when you want to stay there all day.

Whatever the obstacle is between you and better mental health, that’s the frog you need to eat.

The Challenges of Living With Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can be a tough nut to crack.

It’s hard to know what’s coming next, and even harder to explain it to other people. The most common challenge is the unpredictable nature of the illness. One day you’re on top of the world, and the next day you’re in the depths of despair.

This can make it difficult to maintain relationships, keep a job, or stick to a treatment plan.

Other common challenges include sleep problems, anxiety, and depression. Many people with bipolar disorder self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. And then there are the little things, like forgetting to eat or taking too much medication.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever accidentally taken your nighttime meds in the morning.

Man, those are some fun days. Try being an effective bookkeeper when you can barely keep your eyes open.

All of this can add up to one big challenge: living with bipolar disorder.

Success is possible.

You can accomplish anything if you learn to eat that frog.

By David Clode on Unsplash

How Eating the Frog Helps Manage Bipolar Disorder

The best way to manage bipolar disorder is by using the frog method.

This method entails fighting mental resistance and tackling your most difficult task first thing in the morning. If you can get the hardest task out of the way early on, the rest of your day will be a breeze in comparison.

And trust me, when you’re living with bipolar disorder, there are plenty of things that can seem like live frogs.

One thing about bipolar life that most struggle with is the mood swings.

These drastic changes in mood can make it hard to stick to any sort of routine or schedule. However, by adding the tough tasks to your to-do list, you can train your brain to focus on one task at a time, which can help to minimize the impact of mood swings.

Hello, Amazon!

Another common difficulty for people with bipolar disorder is impulsivity. When you’re in a hypomanic or manic state, it’s hard to resist the urge to do something reckless or impulsive.

Hello, Amazon, at 3:00 in the morning! Let’s buy some hoodies we don’t need.

However, if you have a plan in place and focus on one task at a time, you’re less likely to act on those impulses.

The whole point of eating the frog is to help you stick to your treatment plan. When you’re feeling good, it’s easy to forget about taking your medication or going to therapy. However, if you conquer your most important task first thing in the morning, you’re more likely to stick with it even when you’re feeling down.

The Benefits of Learning To Eat a Live Frog

There are plenty of benefits to adding "eat that frog" to your to do list.

This is especially true with managing bipolar disorder. For one, it can help to jumpstart your day and get you out of bed on those mornings when you just don’t want to get up.

Second, when you complete the big task first, it can help to set the tone for the rest of your day.

It gives you a sense of accomplishment that can carry you through the rest of your tasks. Success with mental illness is easier if you celebrate every win. If you eat your frog first thing, you’ll always have a win to celebrate.

Finally, eating the frog helps to release some of your stress and anxiety.

When you know the important task is done, there’s less to worry about.

So if you’re looking for ways to improve your life with bipolar disorder, consider starting your day by swallowing the frog.

Don’t procrastinate. Then focus on the smaller tasks.

By Stephen Hocking on Unsplash

Resources To Help Accomplish Your Goals

If you’re like me, you find it hard enough to eat a frog first thing in the morning without also having to deal with bipolar disorder.

Unfortunately, we don’t always get to choose our frogs. Some days, we have to eat two or three of them. Fortunately, there are some great resources to help you manage bipolar and get your frog-eating done.

The National Institute of Mental Health and The Mayo Clinic both have a wealth of information on bipolar disorder, including articles on treatment and coping mechanisms.

Read books to help you progress with the biggest tasks, such as The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide by David J. Miklowitz and The Bipolar Workbook by Monica Ramirez Basco. (Affiliate links)

Find support groups for people with bipolar disorder, such as the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. These groups offer support and resources to help you manage your disorder when you’re having a hard time. Many also benefit from online therapy.

Of course, I highly recommend the free 30 Days of Positivity course from Speaking Bipolar. Writing it helped me immensely, and I know it can help you too. Dozens of readers take the course each month and write to thank me or leave five-star reviews.

What To Remember About Eating Frogs and Bipolar

In summary, here’s what you should remember from this post.

  • The “Eat That Frog” technique can help to minimize the impact of mood swings.
  • Doing the big tasks helps to minimize impulsivity and stick to your treatment plan.
  • There are plenty of benefits to devouring the frog first thing in the morning.
  • You can improve your life with bipolar disorder by starting your day by eating the frog.
  • There are many resources available to help you eat your morning frog, including the positive impact of the free level of the Speaking Bipolar Positivity Club.

Keep Fighting

Eating one frog first thing in the morning isn’t as gross as it sounds.

In fact, if you swallow that frog, the rest of your day will be much easier. Stop stressing over the things you don’t want to do. Instead, do them first and get them out of your way. Then, you can focus on the easier things for the rest of your day.

Until next time, keep fighting.

This story first appeared on Speaking Bipolar on August 3, 2022.

By Camylla Battani on Unsplash


Who started eat the frog?

The phrase was popularized by Mark Twain, but it’s unclear who actually coined the phrase.

What is the eat the frog quote?

The eat the frog quote is: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

How do you eat a frog every day?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as everyone has different frogs to eat and different ways of eating them. However, some tips on how to eat a frog every day include:

  • Wake up early and get the frog out of the way first thing in the morning.
  • Make a list of the frogs you need to eat and tackle the biggest, most difficult ones first.
  • Break the frog down into smaller pieces so that it’s more manageable.
  • Find a friend or support group to help you eat your frogs.
  • Use resources like the Speaking Bipolar Positivity Club to help you eat your frogs.

Where can I learn more about bipolar disorder?

There are several great resources available to learn more about bipolar disorder. A few of our favorites include:

how toselfcarecopingbipolaradvice

About the Creator

Scott Ninneman

Bipolar for 49 years, chronically ill for 36. The voice behind the Speaking Bipolar blog. Wrestles taxes by day, wrangles words at night. Thinker. TV Addict. Poet. Links:

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