Living with bipolar disorder is difficult. Many symptoms can make living a fulfilling life very hard, and it’s often not possible to avoid the negative effects of living with mental illness. However, there are ways to manage to live with bipolar disorder so you can enjoy more happiness in your life- even if living with bipolar disorder means living an unconventional lifestyle. This article will explore some strategies for living happily while struggling with this mental health condition.
- 1 What Is A Bipolar Disorder
- 2 Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
- 3 When To Consult A Doctor
- 4 Tips On Living With Bipolar Disorder
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 A Word from MantraCare
What Is A Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), is a neurological condition characterized by changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These mood swings are generally from highs (mania or hypomania) to lows (depression).
There are many types of bipolar disorder, each characterized by a distinct pattern of mood and energy swings:
- Bipolar I disorder: Manic episodes last for at least seven days and are severe enough to require immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes also occur frequently, on average, and durations range from two weeks to several months. Mixed states may also be experienced.
- Bipolar II disorder: People who have had one or more manic episodes, but no full manic episode, are said to have “manic-depressive illness.”
- Cyclothymic disorder: At least two years of manic or depressive symptoms that do not meet the hypomanic or depressive episode criteria fall under this category.
Bipolar disorder can appear at any time, but most people are diagnosed in their teens or twenties, and you’re more likely to have it if you have a family history of it. The death of a loved one, as well as drug or alcohol abuse, may be the cause of the initial episode.
Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
To understand how to cope with living with bipolar one has first to know what symptoms would indicate that he or she may need professional help medicine for coping with living with bipolar.
The following are some signs & symptoms that could indicate that someone living with bipolar disorder –
- Abnormally upbeat, jumpy, or wired
- Increased activity, energy, or agitation
- An exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
- Decreased need for sleep
- Unusual talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Poor decision-making. for example, going on buying sprees, taking sexual risks, or making foolish investments
the symptoms depend on the episode the person is having.
Major Depressive Episode
A major depressive episode is a period of severe unhappiness that interferes significantly with daily life, such as work, school, social engagements, or relationships. The following are five or more of these symptoms:
- Depressed mood, such as feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or tearful (in children and teens, depressed mood can appear as irritability)
- Marked loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in all — or almost all — activities
- Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite (in children, failure to gain weight, as expected, can be a sign of depression)
- Either insomnia or sleeping too much
- Either restlessness or slowed behavior
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Decreased ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Thinking about, planning, or attempting suicide
Symptoms In Children And Teens
Bipolar disorder in children and teenagers is frequently difficult to detect. It’s sometimes tough to distinguish whether these are typical ups and downs, the consequences of pressure or trauma, or symptoms of a mental health issue other than bipolar disorder.
Although children and adolescents may have distinct major depressive or manic or hypomanic episodes, the pattern can vary from that of people with bipolar disorder. Moods may also fluctuate during episodes. Between episodes, some youngsters might experience periods without emotional symptoms.
Children and teenagers who have bipolar disorder may exhibit a variety of symptoms, including severe mood swings that are not characteristic of their normal behavior.
When To Consult A Doctor
While some people living with bipolar disorder may find euphoria and periodic bursts of productivity pleasurable, this sensation is generally followed by an emotional collapse that can leave you dejected, exhausted, and perhaps in legal or personal difficulties.
If you’re feeling down or manic, visit your doctor or mental health expert. Bipolar disorder doesn’t just go away on its own. Getting treatment from a specialist that understands bipolar disorder can assist you in managing your symptoms.
Tips On Living With Bipolar Disorder
Get Involved In Your Treatment
Your doctor can help you learn about bipolar disorder. You should talk to your doctor about what you learned. They might think of something that you didn’t think of. It is important to tell your doctor what you need, not just what they want to hear. You could make a contract with your therapist about the goals for this treatment.
Improve your treatment by:
- Getting therapy – Bipolar disorder symptoms include frequent mood swings, and while medication might be able to control some of these symptoms, therapy teaches you abilities that you may use in all areas of your life. Therapy can assist you in learning how to deal with your illness, cope with difficulties, regulate your emotions, change the way you think, and improve your relationships.
- Be patient -Don’t wait for your therapy to work right away. It might take a long time and you might also need to try different kinds of therapy.
- Communicating with your therapist – Your treatment plan will differ based on your progress, so stay in touch with your physician or therapist. If your condition or requirements change, speak to your doctor or therapist about it and be truthful about any symptoms you’re experiencing and any drug side effects.
- Take your medication as instructed – Follow all instructions for your medicine as carefully as you can. Don’t skip or alter your dose without first consulting with your doctor.
To stay well, it’s important to be closely attuned to the way you feel. By the time obvious symptoms of mania or depression appear, it is often too late to intercept the mood swing, so keep a close watch for subtle changes in your mood, sleeping patterns, energy level, and thoughts. If you catch the problem early and act swiftly, you may be able to prevent a minor mood change from turning into a full-blown episode of mania or depression.
Know Your Triggers And Early Warning Signs
It’s critical to be aware of the warning signals that indicate you’re on the verge of having a manic or depressive episode. Make a note of your earliest symptoms, as they may signal the start of another mood episode. Also, try to pinpoint any external factors that might trigger mania or sadness in the past. The following are some common triggers:
- financial difficulties
- arguments with your loved ones
- problems at school or work
- seasonal changes
- lack of sleep
Keeping a mood chart is one approach to keep track of your feelings and moods. A mood chart is a record of your emotional state as well as any other symptoms you’re experiencing. It can also contain data such as the number of hours you’re sleeping, your weight, drugs you’re taking, and any alcohol or drug usage. You may use your mood chart to discover trends and warning signs of trouble ahead.
Your condition, symptoms, and preferences will determine which strategies are most effective for you. It takes trial and error to discover a winning solution. However, many people with bipolar illness have found the following resources to help alleviate symptoms and stay healthy:
- Talk to a supportive person.
- Get a full eight hours of sleep.
- Cut back on your activities.
- Attend a support group.
- Call your doctor or therapist.
- Do something fun or creative, or write in your journal.
- Take time for yourself to relax and unwind.
- Increase your exposure to light.
- Ask for extra help from loved ones.
- Cut back on sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
- Increase or decrease the stimulation in your environment.
Having a solid network of friends, relatives, and coworkers can help you be happier and healthier. Simply talking to someone face-to-face might be quite beneficial in reducing bipolar depression and elevating your mood and motivation. Try –
- Reaching out
- Support for manic-depressive illness begins at home. It’s critical to have people you can count on when life gets tough.
- Regular contact with supportive friends and family members can be therapeutic in and of itself, especially if you are isolated or lonely. Preserving your friendships by reaching out to others is not a sign of cowardice.
- Build new relationships. Isolation and loneliness make bipolar disorder worse. If you don’t have a close circle of friends or family to rely on, consider making some new connections. Take a class, join a church or civic organization, volunteer, or participate in activities in your community if you don’t presently have one.
There are several things you can do every day to control your symptoms and prevent depression and mania from rearing their ugly heads.
- Build structure into your life – Developing and maintaining a daily routine can help to control mood swings in bipolar disorder. Set times for sleeping, eating, socializing, exercising, working, and relaxing should be established. Even though you go through emotional ups and downs, try to keep a regular activity schedule.
- Exercise frequently and avoid sitting for long periods -Exercise has a positive influence on mood and might decrease the number of bipolar episodes you have. Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, swimming, dancing, climbing, or drumming – all of which keep both arms and legs active – is particularly beneficial in treating depression.
- Keep a strict sleep schedule – Sleep deprivation can cause mania, so make sure you get enough rest. Losing even a few hours for some individuals may be harmful. However, sleeping too much might make you feel worse. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is the greatest advice for this situation.
Relax and Unwind
Stressed people with bipolar disorder can develop mania and depression, so maintaining a healthy level of stress is essential. Know your limits as well as those of your family and job. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t try to handle more than you can handle.
- Learn how to relax. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and guided imagery can all help you relax. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and guided imagery might all be useful in reducing tension and maintaining an even temperament. A daily relaxation exercise may significantly improve your mood while also preventing depression.
- Make leisure time a priority. Do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do so. Watching a funny film, going for a walk on the beach, listening to music, reading a wonderful book, or talking with a friend are all good ways to spend your time. It is not an extravagance to perform activities simply because they are pleasant.
Here are some healthy food habits.
- Eat a healthy diet -There is a strong connection between food and mood. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to promote a good mood, while restricting your fat and sugar intake. Throughout the day, space out your meals so that your blood sugar levels don’t plummet. Chocolate, caffeine, and processed foods can all hurt the mood.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs -Drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines can all induce mania, while alcohol and sedatives may induce depression. Even moderate social drinking has the potential to upset your emotional equilibrium.
Prepare for Emergency
There may be times when you relapse into full-blown mania or severe depression despite your best efforts. In emergencies where your safety is in danger, your loved ones or doctor may need to assume direct control of your care.
These occasions might make you feel powerless and out of command, but having a crisis plan in place allows you to retain some level of responsibility for your cure.
- For your doctor, therapist, and close relatives members, a list of emergency contact names.
- A list of all medicines you’ve taken, along with their dosages.
Living with bipolar is not an easy task, but it can be a lot easier if you have the right tools and resources to help cope. If this article has given you some new insight on how people living with bipolar disorder think or feel, we hope that will give you more empathy for those who are struggling as well. You may also want to check out these articles from our blog archive about mental health topics such as anxiety disorders and depression. When dealing with any mental illness, one of the best things anyone can do is educate themselves so they know what their loved ones might need from them to maintain healthy relationships during challenging times.
A Word from MantraCare
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.