Living with Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong mental illness that causes extreme highs and lows in both behavior and in state of mind. These sudden emotional shifts are referred to as either manic or depressive episodes, and they can be the source of great difficulties in the life of someone who suffers from bipolar disorder. If you are affected by this disorder, there are some things you can do to minimize the effect it has on your life.
If you are well-educated about your bipolar disorder and become an active participant in your treatment plan, you will feel more confident about your control over this aspect of your health. Become an expert on bipolar disorder and be able to recognize all of the signs and symptoms of an episode so that you can be more prepared when they happen to you. This will help you to make the best choices when it comes to managing your disorder.
It can take time to find which medications work best for you. It is important to communicate any concerns or changes in mood or behavior that you experience with your doctor so they can help you figure out if a medication is working or not. Don’t ever change or skip your medication without consulting with your doctor first.
Whether you turn to family or friends, join a bipolar disorder support group, or find new relationships, it can be extremely helpful to reach out to other people when you are dealing with this disorder. Simply having someone to talk to can relieve some depression symptoms and can help with your attitude and motivation. Support groups can be especially beneficial, because it can be very comforting to share experiences with people who share the same struggles and setbacks.
Develop a Routine
It has been proven that establishing a consistent daily routine can be very beneficial for people with bipolar disorder. Having order and predictability in your life can greatly reduce your risk for depressive and manic episodes. Build structure into your life by sticking to a schedule that includes all activities throughout your day, including sleeping, eating, and socializing. Make time to exercise regularly, as this can also help prevent depressive episodes. Get plenty of rest as well, since too little sleep has the potential to trigger manic episodes.
Stress is a known trigger for mania and depression in bipolar disorder people. Therefore, learning how to minimize it as much as possible can be very helpful in managing your symptoms. Learning how to relax with relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can all be very effective when trying to reduce stress. These techniques can also improve your overall mood.
Eat Healthy Foods
Everything you put into your body can affect your condition when you have bipolar disorder. For example, eating a healthy diet can have very positive effects on your mood, while foods such as chocolate, caffeine, and processed foods are considered “mood-damaging.” Also, abusing alcohol or drugs can be very detrimental to the healing process, since these substances can worsen your condition and are quick triggers for manic and depressive episodes.