- Mental Health
The Highs and Lows of Bipolar Disorder
Sometimes it feels like you are on a roller coaster. It's hard to describe to someone who isn't bipolar. One day to the next, you may not know how you're going to feel. One day you might be totally exhilarated, and the next day in a pit of deep despair. Usually each phase last longer than that, for me it's a matter of months. But sometimes it's a day to day battle of swinging emotions.
How do you deal with it? Well, you do the best you can. Sometimes you don't manage it as well as other times. Staying on meds helps a great deal. Even when the side effects are really bad, I stay on my meds. Because I would be in a worse position if I were to quit.
Knowing you'll come up when you're down helps too. You have to put things in perspective. You have to remember this isn't going to last forever, and try to muddle through until you feel better again. I didn't say feel normal, because there really is no "normal" in bipolar disorder. At least not for me. It's always either up or down.
Then there are the dreaded "mixed episodes", when you're on a high but you feel bad emotionally, or on a low but you feel restless. These are worse than being depressed or manic. At least then things are orderly.
Writing helps me get through all phases of bipolar disorder. It helps me to organize my thoughts, and thus to organize my life. If I didn't have writing, I don't know where I'd be. I'd probably find some other way to cope. Luckily, though, I do have writing to help me get through the tough parts.
I keep writing even when I don't feel like it. It gives me a sense of purpose, and goals to reach. It helps me keep in tough with my inner feelings, and allows me to share them with other people, who may be going through the same thing that I am.
It helps to be really organized. To keep track of time and set your clock to remind you to do things. My time sense can get distorted, and it helps to use alarms and reminders. I use a daily planner, a calendar, and to-do lists. These all help me regulate what and when I need to do things.
I also keep a daily medication log. It helps me remember when and if I took my meds, and I keep notes on how I'm feeling as well, so I can recognize any patterns in how my meds are effecting me.
I will always be bipolar. I accept that, and try to live life to the best of my ability, despite the ups and downs.
I have been fighting depression on and off my whole life. Sometimes I give in to the apathy, and sometimes I don't. The times I don't make the depression much easier to deal with, and makes the depression go away sooner. If you are bipolar, then you know it's just a phase, and that you won't feel this way always. But knowing that doesn't always help when you're stuck in the middle of a depressive state.
Staying active in your life will help to keep your spirits up. It works for me. I always feel better when I am engaging actively in my life. I don't mean go out and do active things necessarily, although that does a lot to help. I mean stay active in whatever it is that makes up your life. If you're an artist, keep painting even when you don't feel like it. If you're a writer, keep writing even when you don't have any motivation.
Stick to what it is that you do that makes your life meaningful. Even if it seems purposeless right now, you will still feel somewhat better than if you just gave up and did nothing at all that was worthwhile. Don't just lay there in bed or watch TV all day when you're feeling apathetic. Get up and take control of your life.
You may have to force yourself to do it. Keep control, and don't let the depression be in control. You are the master of your life.
Don't let the depression win. Fight for yourself. Don't let apathy defeat you. If it feels like there is no meaning or purpose, then create one. You are the one who decides what your purpose in life is. Make it count. Take a deep look inside, and see what you are made of. Introspection is key in finding your purpose in life. If you can't find one, then MAKE one. Even if it seems small and insignificant, it doesn't have to be insignificant for you.
Anyone can claim the purpose of making the lives of those around them better. If you can't find a purpose for yourself, make it for others. If we all took a look around ourselves and tried to find things we could do to make the lives of other people better, this world would start being a better place.
Watch your self-talk. Are you saying negative things to and about yourself? If you are, then stop. Make sure everything you say about yourself is on a positive note. You don't have to say anything that isn't true. As long as you are trying to improve yourself and your life, there will always be something positive to think and say about yourself.
You don't need to feel good to act good. It's what you do that counts. And sometimes what you do and say will reflect on how you are feeling inside.