Wednesday, April 15, 2020

TW/ Talk of Bipolar Disorder, Mental Health, Mania.
I am very open about my mental health and my struggles with it but something I tend to avoid telling people is what (if any) medication I am currently using to treat my Bipolar Disorder. I think of our reaction to medicinal treatment for bipolar in a similar way to how I view female contraception. Sure, it's nice to share experiences and all but the reaction and results to specific medications or cocktails of medications can vary so much person to person that I wouldn't feel comfortable recommending for or against any medications myself. As we know, I am not a profession and this is just a personal account of someone trying to navigate through life with Bipolar. However, there are some things that have helped me keep this under control besides medication and I wanted to share these with you.

~ A Bit Of Background ~

I have always struggled with mood swings for almost as long as I can remember. Rather long periods of euphoria, racing thoughts, risky behaviour, staying up for nights on end writing things that no longer make sense to me now. This leading shortly after to a pit of despair and shame. This went misdiagnosed as many things including depression and Borderline Personality Disorder for a long time. I was finally diagnosed after being hospitalised during a manic episode that left me jobless and in over £9,000 worth of debt from credit cards and loans I'd taken out (I have very little memory of this period of time) If you'd like to read more about Bipolar Disorder you can visit the NHS site here.

1. Routine, Routine, Routine

Admittedly this is important for most people but it's especially helped me manage my moods and even more so keep a track of how I'm doing. Having a routine with meal times, wake and bedtimes and meditation means I'm immediately aware of any shifts in my want or need to do things and can, therefore, identify triggers more easily. If I've lost my appetite, am more tired than usual or the opposite and I can't stop eating or I have a decreased need for sleep then I know it's something for me (with the help of my partner to keep an eye on). 

2. Mood Charts and trackers

Apps like Daylio and Moodnotes are something that has really helped me identify patterns in my mood and again, like the routine, identify triggers. Admittedly I'm not perfect and I can fall in and out of using these apps depending on how stable my mood is and I'm working on remaining consistent. If you can, I'd recommend turning on notifications for your app of choice to remind you to make a 2 min entry every day. Although if you'd prefer you can, of course, use a paper diary to make these entries but just make sure you continue the practice daily.

Side note: Having a mood tracker is also helpful for you when you're attending regular mental health appointments with a psychiatrist when the dreaded "so how have you been?" is asked.

3. Subreddit r/bipolar

My main reasons for opening Reddit are admittedly to laugh at posts on r/CasualUK or to watch porn but r/bipolar has slowly become a place I feel most supported when looking for help, advice or simply admire some artwork. It is described as "A safe haven for bipolar related issues. We are a community here not just a help page. Be a part of something that cares about who you are." The thing I like about using Reddit as opposed to mental health groups on Facebook etc is nobody can see that you've joined or are looking and so there's no pressure to post. I lurked on the subreddit for a while before I finally started contributing. Take part when you're comfortable of course. 

4. Write Out and Keep Updating Your Crisis Plan

A crisis plan is something anyone with a hospital admission will be aware of but often after discharge it's something that is filed away and forgotten about. Crisis plans are important for not only you but those around you to know what action to take if an episode hits. This can include who to contact and in what order, helpline numbers and details of any short-term medications you need to take depending on whether it's to treat the depression or the mania. I have a detailed crisis plan in the house which my boyfriend has access too. This can be particularly helpful as I, along with many others, may not realise they are in the midst of mania and will rely on those around us to help.

*General Crisis Support

Please note: due to the ongoing coronavirus situation some organisations are closed or are working at a reduced capacity, therefore please check their website for the most recent update on their services.
  • Call the Samaritans on 116 123 or contact jo@samaritans.org
  • If you are under the care of your local mental health team you can contact them for support along with the local crisis team. You can request out of hours help too.
  • You can also request an urgent GP appointment.
  • Ring SANEline on 0300 304 7000 between 4.30pm and 10.30pm each evening.
  • The Calmzone provides emotional support for men nationwide. Dial 0800 58 58 58 between 5pm and midnight each evening.

Urgent Help!

If you are feeling suicidal or have thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else:
  • Contact 999
  • Go to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department- you can find this through NHS Choices

Share your opinion:

  1. Thanks for sharing - I am learning more and more about bipoloar disorders and really appreciate the first-hand information.

    1. Thanks for reading Lisa! I'm glad you could take something from it

  2. I am glad you found some things that help you! This post was very informative, thanks so much for sharing it!

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed reading!

  3. As someone who also lives with bipolar this was very appreciated. I also function best with routine. I'm going to check out those apps you mentioned as well. Thank you so much.

    1. I'm so glad you took something away from this Enn, thanks for reading!

  4. Thanks for this informative post. I have my mood swings every now and then, I don't know if I'm a bipolar (yet) and even though I'am not. Your post helps on how to cool down my mood swings.

    1. Yeah, there's definitely parts which apply to everyone! Thanks for reading

  5. This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have an excellent knowledge about this topic. Thanks for sharing such a great blogs to us. Outpatient rehab centers in Clovis, CA


Why not drop me a comment? Please leave any links to your blogs or websites and I'll be sure to check them out!