Tackling Bipolar : A Step-by-Step Guide for Living with Bipolar

 

The Mayo Clinic states on its website, “Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood shifts may occur only a few times a year or as often as several times a week.”

It’s hard for a person to know whether or not he is experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder. “Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency,” according to HelpGuide.org. “Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime.”

The most common and widely observed symptoms of bipolar disorder include (but are not limited to):

  • Mood episodes

  • Reckless behavior

  • Irritability

  • Struggling to concentrate

  • Shifts in sleeping patterns

  • Talking quickly

  • Weight fluctuations

  • Suicidal thoughts

Depending on the type of bipolar disorder you are experiencing, symptoms and treatment options vary. There are three different types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder (mania or a mixed episode)

  • Bipolar II Disorder (hypomania and depression)

  • Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression)

On HelpGuide.org, the website highlights three very important points about bipolar disorder treatment.

  1. “Bipolar disorder requires long-term treatment.”

  2. “There is more to treatment than medication.”

  3. “It’s best to work with an experienced psychiatrist.”

Once diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it’s important to understand that this will be something you have to deal with for the rest of your life. That is why a crucial treatment to use when combating this disorder is a support system. A parent, your best friend, a support group, these are all excellent examples of where a person with bipolar disorder can turn to when they are struggling emotionally.

Also, while medication plays an important role in the treatment of your bipolar disorder, it’s only one tool of the many available. Journaling your emotions with an app such as T2 Mood Tracker and Bipolar Disorder Connect makes it simple and easy to track your feelings and thus have a better understanding of them. Another crucial component to treating your bipolar disorder is educating yourself. Visit your local library for books on the topic and check out helpful videos on YouTube.

Establishing a basic routine for your life also helps battle bipolar disorder episodes. Having set times where you sleep, work, exercise, and eat allows you to stay on track and normalize your life patterns. While establishing this routine, find healthy alternatives for your bipolar triggers. For example, if you would regularly turn to alcohol when you were feeling depressed, commit to yourself that instead you’ll attend a yoga class.

With the help of a therapist, the support of your loved ones, healthy habits, and journaling, those with bipolar disorder can lead a full and balanced life. Yes, it might seem easier to just ignore your symptoms and power through your emotions but ultimately this decision is short-sighted and possibly harmful. Invest in yourself by treating your bipolar disorder properly and thoroughly.