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Got Bipolar?

from thelongwalk.org

Got Bipolar?

If you’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder,

then I don’t have to tell you that you are

dealing with one of the most challenging

mental health diagnoses that exist.

After Anorexia Nervosa, it’s the diagnosis in

our field most likely to lead to death.

 

Surviving the ups and downs of mania and

suicidal depression, decade after decade,

becomes harder and harder to do.

Without help and a plan, it’s near impossible.

Then I just have to take my meds?

I don’t have to tell you that you are going to be

in a lifelong course of learning how to manage

Bipolar symptoms and take care of yourself.

Or maybe I do.

 

Living with Bipolar Disorder is not as simple

as taking your psychotropic medication and

you’ll be “just fine.”   (Don’t you wish?)

As anyone who takes medication for Bipolar

will tell you, medication only does so much.

 

YOU have to do a whole lot more than that if

you are going to live a good quality of life

and achieve your goals and dreams.

Back To Basics

Human beings can achieve their best

quality of life if they make sure that they

are attending to the basics in their lives.

So what are the basics?

 

The basics are food, sleep, stress management,

social connection, and having meaning in your life.

If you are paying attention to these on a regular

basis, chances are you will not get out of balance

as often, get sick too much, or suffer from the

things that reduce your quality of life.

Bipolar Basics = Basics x 10

If you are trying to have a good life managing

Bipolar Disorder, then you have less “wiggle room”

when it comes to the basics.  You can’t ditch sleep.

You can’t mess around with your nutrition and

exercise program.  You can’t isolate and withdraw

from others.  You can’t have a philosophy of life

that is devoid of a greater sense of meaning.

Well, I guess you can, but you’re going to pay for

it…and you are going to pay a lot more than

someone who is not diagnosed with Bipolar.

Dos and Don’ts

Here is my short and not exhaustive list of DOs and

DON’Ts for living with Bipolar Disorder:

 

DO find the best psychiatrist you can afford.  Your partner

in medication management is going to be a huge factor

in how well you are able to function and with the

fewest and most livable side effects.

 

DON’T self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.  It cancels out

the benefits of working with a good psychiatrist, and you

will always end up feeling worse.

 

DO educate yourself about nutrition and exercise.  Both

have significant effects on brain functioning, and the

changes you can make in these areas give you the most

positive outcome for the least investment, hands down.

 

DO work with a psychologist or therapist.  Coping with

Bipolar Disorder affects every aspect of your life, and

you deserve to work with someone who understands

this and wants to help you cope with that.

 

DON’T neglect your friends, your community,or your

spiritual path.  These are all aspects of your life which

will help you in the difficult times, be with you in the

good times, and keep you steadier and more stable.

Resources, resources…

Two websites that give you accurate and honest

information about living with Bipolar Disorder are

livingmanicdepressive and Bipolar Burble, and I

encourage you to check them out.

There are also amazing blogs being written by

people living with Bipolar Disorder…

maybe you could be one of them?

You have my utmost respect if you are living with

Bipolar Disorder.  Yours is a more difficult path

to walk, and I appreciate your willingness to

continue to do so, so that you can offer your

unique contributions to the world.  :)

“Clear your energy, honor your rhythm, live your vision ”
George Denslow, Living Out of Darkness: A Personal Journey of Embracing the Bipolar Opportunity

 

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