Life is all about change. There was a time in my life when change itself was enough to throw me into manic episode after manic episode because I was so ill-prepared to cope with those changes. However, with time and therapy, and learning how to manage my bipolar disorder, I have been able to deal with change.
The key to dealing with the changes that have occurred in my life has come through one word: consistency. It has also been one of the biggest keys to learning how to deal with my bipolar disorder in general.
The mania of bipolar disorder used to rule my life. In fact, bipolar mania at one point used to be the rule rather than the exception in my life, and my life was in continual chaos! Things were totally out of control for me – this was right before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Thankfully, with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder and the subsequent medications, my life eventually began to become more controlled, and eventually the mania subsided. However, I still had to deal with depression from time to time.
That’s where consistency came in. One of the things I learned was that I would have ups and downs in life – that was just a part of living. Even people who don’t have bipolar disorder have to deal with that. But I had to learn that not every “bad” day meant the beginning of a bipolar depressive episode.
I had to learn to look at things in perspective. In other words, to look at that “bad” day as part of the whole week. I had to ask myself if that day was part of a pattern, or just an isolated incident. If it was just a bad day, well, that was ok – everybody has them, and it was ok for me to have one, too. “This too shall pass” became my way of getting through those days. I learned to wait them out and not to overreact to them; in other words, not to make myself even more depressed because of that one day.
After awhile, my behavior as a whole became more consistent. I began doing those things that were under my control to do to manage my bipolar disorder (instead of it managing me, like it had been previously).
I took my medications religiously, and without complaint. I knew that I needed them to remain stable and out of episodes. I went to see my psychiatrist and therapist on a regular basis and did what they told me to do. I kept to a good sleep schedule, getting 9 hours of sleep every night, going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time each morning. I ate a good diet, staying away from sweets and fatty foods, and definitely didn’t drink alcohol. And I exercised three times a week.
There was a routine to my life, and relatively little stress in it, as I had found that stress was one of my triggers to a bipolar episode. By doing these things consistently, I was able to avoid bipolar episodes and remain stable for a long time.
Wishing you joy and stability,
Remember that God loves you and so do I,