3 Tips to Manage Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that has the highest rate of self-harm and suicide. Now the mainstream of treating bipolar disorder is using medication. But there are some ways to help you manage it in addition to the medication.

  1. Keep a mood diary

When people are in the midst of a bipolar episode, it's very hard to predict from day to day how they are going to be feeling. The constant fluctuation is the main characteristic of this mental disorder. When you note down your mood and try to observe it, you will feel peaceful and calm. You can create a simple rating system of your feelings from -5 to +5. -5 refers to the worse depressive mood, persistent thoughts of suicide. +5 means mania or overseeding ordinary feeling of joy, racing thoughts, rapid speech, even risky behaviours.


You can also track and record your sleeping hours, menstrual cycle for women, and changes in diet. You even might find out your mood pattern and identify the triggers, thus you can even prevent some episode from happening. Common triggers are physical or emotional stress from work and study, arguments and sleep deprivation. Research has shown that lack of sleep is likely to lead to mania or even hypomania episode.


2. Establish a daily routine


Having a daily routine will help you have a sense of control. Sleeping and waking up approximately the same time on the daily bases are a good start. You need to have a regular time frame to be organized and feel productive at the end of the day. Otherwise, you are likely to sit around and sleep for all day, feeling unfulfilled and guilty at the night. You might want to do some physical exercises which are beneficial to your body and brain, such as running and swimming. Walking your dog in the garden after dinner is also a good choice. Having an appointment with your psychiatrist or counsellor regularly, not only in the crisis state, can keep your condition in check.


3. Talk to the people you trust


Communicate your feelings to someone you trust. They don't necessarily need to be therapists, they can just be your family members or friends who are willing to be you listening ears. Tell them your worries and your thoughts. Open up to them as they are the people you can show the real self and don't need to hide your feelings. They will give you the support and warmth that you need.


Living with bipolar disorder might be challenging, but it could be done. Believe in yourself. Just as Shelly said, "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?".

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