Living With Bipolar Disorder and Tips to Help Manage Symptoms
Riding The Roller Coaster
Living with bipolar is like living on a roller coaster ride every day of the week, often with little breaks in between. The intense highs, known as mania. Then the disabling lows, known as paralyzing depression. The continuous shifts in personality are known as mood swings. Shame is often attached to having bipolar disorder, there is the stigma of being "crazy". Sometimes to often, the treatment revolves around the never-ending cycle of the medication process. With that process comes the disagreeable side effects that encourage non-compliance.
There is no cure for bipolar, but there are treatment options and coping skills to help manage a bipolar illness diagnosis. Medication and therapy can often be excellent tools for recovery, while at the same time can be discouraging for many who have the illness. But it is far better than waiting for the roller coaster to derail.
The following examples are tips to help deal with a bipolar diagnosis. There is not a cure, but only treatment and management of symptoms. Even with medications and therapy, there are breakthrough cycles, triggers that set a mood cycle into motion. Committing to a routine is essential to well being. If you decide medications and therapy are not for you, you may have to work extra hard to tame the ugliness of those dangerous mood swings.
On The Bipolar Menu
- Psychiatric Medication
There are many psychiatric medications used to treat mental illness disorders. Many of these medications have side effects which can be extremely uncomfortable, yet needed to treat mood disorders.
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How To Deal With Bipolar
Master your triggers. This is extremely important. When you learn to identify your triggers you are able to manage your mood cycles when they begin instead of after they have already started. Knowing what triggers your mood can be an effective tool toward successful recovery.
Take your prescribed medications. Let your psychiatrist, nurse, or doctor know of any side affects you may have from the medication prescribed. If you have serious side effects your psychiatrist may want to change a medication or add something else to combat side effects.
Practice staying in a routine. Routine is huge part of staying well. Boring yes, but important nonetheless. By doing things the same each day you are creating a habit that will last a lifetime. Take medications at the same time everyday so you know that is the set time you must take your medications. Go to bed and rise at the same time everyday. Sleep is extremely crucial for someone with bipolar, lack of sleep oftentimes triggers a manic cycle in many people.
Get up and go. Give yourself at least 15 minutes of exercise each day. It will make you feel better. Bipolar medications tend to dull the senses sometimes, making exercise unmotivated. But give it your best shot, every little bit counts. And 15 minutes is a achievable goal.
Take a shower everyday. Washing away any negative thoughts is cathartic. Just that few minutes in the shower will reinvigorate your senses. Dump the negative down the drain. Start the day clean and fresh. Hygiene is the last thing on your mind when you are depressed, but pull yourself to the shower, and you will feel better for doing it.
Journal writing. Write it all down. Thoughts, ideas, dreams, mood cycles, triggers, appointments, art, poetry or anything else you can put in that awesome notebook you call a journal. Take it with you to therapy, discuss things that bother you, journaling can be freeing. Only you have to see it, so let it all go. A journal helps keep life in balance, it can help you remember things in detail when the roller coaster is plummeting out of control.
Keep therapy/psychiatry appointments. If you miss appointments, you tend to lose touch and can start to unwind. It is a good idea for your support team to know what is going on with you, so the right treatment plan is implemented. You may need a med change or even hospitalization, and regular appointments will keep you on base.
Have a hobby or two. Having a hobby gives you something you enjoy doing. Like taking pictures, or writing, watching movies, playing sports, knitting or crochet, swimming, or creating art are all great hobbies to choose from. With hobbies you have a purpose. They keep you busy,
Stay in touch with your support team. This might include close family and friends. Give them information on what you want done if you cannot make decisions for yourself. Be honest with them, so they can be there when you need them. Join a local support group, hospitals often have bipolar support groups. The Internet has a plethora of support groups available.
Get some Vitamin D. Get at least thirty minutes of sunshine a day. Go to the park, sit outside on your porch and breath in the sweet fresh air of sunshine. The light will make you feel awake and alive. When depressed the tendency to isolate is rampant. So any bit of sunshine is highly recommended.
Using the above tips everyday will help make a stable routine, making it easier to manage bipolar disorder. Bipolar can be an extremely impulsive illness. By building a set of tools to use to manage your illness, you can recognize the triggers and manage your cycles better while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There may be times your cycles are not manageable, you will need hospitalization, or need medication changes. It will not be easy, but with medication, therapy and support from family and friends you can live a stable, well managed life.