The following article talks about ways to manage bipolar disorder and things you can do in addition to taking medication.
Often it seems that bipolar disorder dictates and dominates the lives of sufferers, but bipolar disorder CAN be managed. Managing bipolar disorder is much more than getting diagnosed and taking prescribed medication.
Some of the strategies people can use to manage bipolar disorder (and live a healthier life anyway) include:
Walking / swimming
Project management for bipolar disorder is a life-long project whose goals are to keep illness at bay and live the fullest, happiest, most successful life that you want. Because there are two goals there are two groups of strategies.
To keep mental illness at bay, first learn to recognize your own particular idiosyncratic symptoms of becoming unwell. Secondly, plan how you will respond to those early warning signs. Involve your partner / family/ doctor/ shrink/ support group member/ peer mentor and decide together how you will stop your mood disorder or mental illness from getting worse. Organize what you will do when you spot the signs of getting very sick, so that you and your own “Early Warning Team” can all spring into action, be safe and take good care for you in a crisis.
To live your life to the fullest, try not to become overwhelmed by gloomy thoughts of bipolar, mental hospitals, or how you have to rebuild your life. When we think about those things, we are stereotyping ourselves and acting out the stigma associated with mental illness so that more non-bipolar people can judge us and remain ignorant of our condition.
Get your life back into the mainstream! Mix with people who do not have a mental illness outside of your support group.
Get a job, do some charity work for a cause that matters to you; set goals, live your dreams, play tennis, go skating, join a choir, get some running shoes and use them!
When you are ready, go back to your old dreams or create some new dreams, then follow them!
In the face of difficulty, rational thinking says, ‘I have a problem that I had better deal with.’ Too often, (and bipolar disorder makes this harder), we tend to say ‘I have a problem that is too big and too hard to fix, so I will just be miserable, or angry, instead of dealing with it.’
Between the two extremes of our bipolarity, when we are experiencing periods of ‘mood normalcy’ (whatever that is), we have a clear choice: we can think like a stoic, or we can give up and find ourselves at the mercy of future events. If, when well, you assume that you will be able to find a positive solution to your problems, then you are far more likely to find one!
However, try not to be hard on yourself if you can’t think this way. After all, our bipolar depression affects our thinking, attitude and shitty outlook as well as our mood.
Rational thinking also compels us to seek alternative natural remedies when our medication fails, or our bipolar moods transcend our medication and we are in need of a boost.
WALKING, SWIMMING, MEDITATION
As our mind slows and changes during meditation, rhythmic brainwaves have been observed. It has been found that rhythmic activities benefit everyone, regardless of whether it is rhythm of the mind, or rhythm of the body: the benefits of walking briskly five hours a week have been shown to lift even moderately severe depression! So get outside in the (moderately to severe) fresh air and take a hike! Meditation, too, improves our sense of well-being.
According to nutritional medicine, there are at least three biochemical subtypes of bipolar disorder. Depending on your subtype, there will be a specific range of supplements that will help you manage your mood disorder symptoms. If you visit a nutritional medicine practitioner, they will carry out detailed biological tests and the results will then indicate the supplements you need.
Nutritional supplements that are hugely useful in treating bipolar disorder include:
Omega-3 fatty acids
B group and other vitamins
Alkaline water or diet.