Bipolar can prevent you from being your best self at times, but it gets better once you’re diagnosed. Around 5.7 million adult Americans suffer from bipolar disorder.
Dealing with a mental illness can be a scary thing when you’re first diagnosed. Getting diagnosed is the first step towards feeling better and more like yourself. Read below to discover some tips on how to deal with bipolar disorder.
Learn About Bipolar Disorder
The first step in treatment is learning about bipolar disorder. This disorder affects your brain and causes unusual shifts in your mood. Bipolar disorder also affects your mood and energy levels. Combine all these symptoms and they impact your ability to carry out normal tasks.
Bipolar disorder also brings periods of intense emotional states. A manic episode is when you feel overly happy and excited. A depressive episode causes you to feel extreme hopelessness and sadness. Some people experience symptoms of both episodes at the same time, called a mixed state.
To learn more about dealing with bipolar disorder, read one of these books:
- An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
- Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher
- Manic: A Memoir by Terri Cheney
- The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide by David Miklowitz
Ask your doctor or psychiatrist questions you have about your specific symptoms. Being informed and knowledgeable makes the bipolar disorder manageable.
Concentrate on Self-Improvement
Dealing with bipolar disorder is easier when you take time for self-improvement.
Everyone should concentrate on self-improvement, especially when battling a mental illness. Self-improvement gives you a positive attitude and a better outlook on life.
Get started with these tips:
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Each person has their own successes and failures in life. Don’t worry so much about the people around you and instead concentrate on yourself.
- Step away from social media. Social media shows the best parts of someone’s life but rarely shows the negative aspects. By taking a step back from social media, you’ll become a better version of yourself.
- Try practicing daily gratitude. Each day, name three things you are thankful for. These can be big things, like a new job, or small things, like getting out of bed. By naming things you’re grateful for, you’ll help achieve the right mindset.
Visit this blog for more helpful tips for self improvement.
Keep Track of Your Symptoms
Keeping track of your symptoms can help with coping with bipolar disorder. Start a daily log or journal. Make sections that relate to your mood, behaviors, and thinking. Take time to track these things when you wake up, sometime in the afternoon, and before you go to bed.
By keeping track of these things, it’s easier to identify any triggers you may have. Do you always have a manic episode when you’re low on sleep? Does your hopelessness feel worse right before you go to work?
Consider adding these other items to your tracking journal:
- How many glasses of water you drank.
- What you ate that day.
- Any forms of exercise completed each day.
- How much time you spent outdoors.
- Your productivity levels for the day.
Once you have a better idea of your own patterns and behaviors, you’ll be better prepared for the future.
Use a Medication and Therapy Routine
The world’s understanding and acceptance of bipolar disorder have come a long way.
Today, there are many medications that can help offset bipolar disorder symptoms. Doctors can prescribe mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications, antidepressants based on your specific needs. What works for one person, might be completely different for others. A great way to learn more about the different remedies and options out there, is to continually read through personal health and fitness blogs and see what types of success stories and results others are sharing with their audiences.
It’s important to keep seeking treatment if the first medication you try doesn’t work. Everyone reacts to medications in a different way. It can take a while before you find one that works for you.
On top of medication, set up regular appointments with your doctor or psychiatrist. These experts will be able to track your symptoms and help you feel better. Sometimes, talking to a professional who understands your illness makes all the difference.
Taking medication and seeing your doctor is hard during a depressive episode. Try these tricks to keep you on track:
- Schedule your appointments ahead of time.
- Buy a weekly pill box to remind you to take your medication as prescribed.
- Write your medication schedule and doctor appointments in a planner. Add an inspirational quote to the entry to encourage you.
- Have a family member or close friend check-up on you during rough times.
Want access to therapy without leaving your house? Check out this article on new mobile apps to help conquer your mental illness.
Communicate About Your Illness
Communicating with others about your bipolar disorder diagnosis is important.
Start by telling close family members and friends that you trust. Mental illness still has a stigma attached and can be a hard thing to discuss. Start your discussion by letting them know you are sharing because you trust them.
Your boss and coworkers are another group of people you should tell about your diagnosis. You spend a lot of your time at work and it’s important they know you may need flexibility moving forward. This is a harder conversation to have but it can pay off with understanding.
Communicating with these people means you aren’t fighting bipolar disorder on your own. Talking through feelings with someone when times get tough helps your mental health. It’s also reassuring to know someone will check up on you if you are having a bad day or need a friend.
You may not feel comfortable telling anyone about your diagnosis yet. That’s okay. Look for support groups in your area. These are safe places where you can share your own story about bipolar disorder.
Beyond How To Deal With Bipolar Disorder
Receiving your bipolar diagnosis isn’t the end of the world. In fact, your diagnosis is the first step towards living a healthy, happy life.
Remember these tips for how to deal with bipolar disorder.
- Communicate with others.
- Follow a routine, especially with your medication.
- Keep track of your symptoms to identify triggers.
- Make time for self-improvement.
Want to learn more? Read this article about the five factors improving the state of mental health care.