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Philosophy


Harbor of Refuge members believe in the principle that each member must find and adhere to an effective plan of treatment for herself or himself that includes qualified medical care, regular and proper rest, and moderate exercise. Additionally, we believe that in helping others to navigate the sometimes stormy waters of this illness, we also help ourselves.


The Harbor of Refuge strives to provide a safe refuge for interaction between bipolars, their families, and close friends -- without judgment, condemnation, or outside enforcement. We encourage and nurture each other as we seek to overcome this illness through good medical and self-care strategies. However, we know that each one of us must be responsible for our own actions and their impact on our emotional and physical well-being.


In addition to serving the needs of people with bipolar illness, the Harbor of Refuge is also a place where affected family members and close friends will always be welcome, and are often active contributors. In the sharing of these different perspectives, we believe that many valuable insights are gained.


Our greatest strength lies in being a place of peer to peer support. We are not licensed therapists or doctors, and strive to be clear about the boundaries of what we can accomplish here. The support we provide is a compliment to (and not a substitute for) proper medical treatment. As an on-line, volunteer-based, non-professional organization, the Harbor of Refuge is not equipped to provide suicide intervention or referral. We strongly encourage anyone in that situation to seek out help from crisis intervention services in their home community.


The Harbor of Refuge owes a debt of gratitude to all of the support services and organizations that have gone before us, both on the Internet and off of it. We know that powerful things that can happen when people break the isolation and reach out to each other -- and hope that the Harbor of Refuge will be one more place where people experiencing the effects of bipolar illness can also experience that universal truth.



Self-Care Strategies

Some Basic Self-Care Strategies for People Living With Bipolar Illness:

  • Establish a relationship of trust with a psychiatrist who is experienced in working with bipolar illness;

  • Take your medication as directed by your physician (even at times when you are feeling better -- treatments and their effects are for the long term);

  • Eat healthy foods, at regular meal times;

  • Get adequate sleep on a regular schedule (because mania or depression can be triggered by poor sleep patterns, immediately contact your doctor to secure assistance if your sleep pattern becomes disrupted);

  • Establish a routine of regular exercise;

  • Avoid excessive intake of caffeine;

  • Don't let yourself become isolated -- seek out support from family and friends (including, of course, the support available to you at the Harbor of Refuge).