I don’t know much about bipolar disease. I am wondering what it feels like to have it. Is it hard to deal with? I am sure it is. But I was just wondering how you cope with it? What kinds of things do you do to take your mind off of it?
Bipolar is a mood disorder and as such, when you have this disorder, you constantly find yourself questioning what most people take for granted as normal, our emotions and thus actions based upon them. It’s an everyday is a struggle.
If you’re in treatment and mindful of staying well, part of that awareness is looking at each emotion or lack thereof and deciding is this a normal emotion to have for the particular situation or an extreme emotion? Those with bipolar specialize in extreme emotions. As I like to put it, our moods go up and down and all around. It’s kind of like a roller-coaster ride that never stops nor does it slow down.
You can receive some great insight by going to therapy and/or support groups. I find most of my support online through facebook support pages. For the further assistance I still see my therapist regularly. Strong support helps in fact I believe it’s a must in order to remain healthy when you have this illness. During the times I didn’t have medical insurance it was the support I found through others that helped me get through everyday situations which can become quite difficult especially when you’re not medicated.
For example when I’m in a depressive state and someone yells at me while I’m working, that action can put me on such a downward spiral. Those without bipolar would know that the person doing the yelling is not attacking you as a person, but they are just upset with the situation. With bipolar you have to constantly remind yourself that in situations like that it’s not your fault, you are not the worst person in the world, nor does everyone hate you. Basically most of the emotions which run through your mind instantly are the ones that are incorrect. Ninety percent of the time our brains tell us things that are incorrect. I like to call this negative thinking which we do so well, “stinkin’ thinkin’”.
The same is true when you’re manic. You feel on top of the world, full of confidence and as though you can do anything. Often when I’m manic I become very productive, I speak rapidly and want to do a million things all at once. Many times I get everything I can possibly think of doing in one day done in a few hours thus becoming bored. I can do what most people accomplish in a month within a few days. Honestly I sometimes like the manic me, however, it’s also the part of my illness which has gotten me into the most trouble. The worst trait I have when I’m manic is that I tend to overspend and not realize that I really don’t have all the money in the world. You can see where that would lead to some serious trouble. In a manic state my brain is telling me lots of good things which can have bad consequences if I follow through with them. During these times, I must remind myself to slow down. I don’t have to do everything so quickly or all at once. Most of all, I stay away from stores or the computer so my purchases do not make me very depressed later.
The best thing I’ve ever done for my illness is getting the right treatment and following through. A medical health professional can teach you what a manic or depressive state looks like, but if you don’t practice recognizing them and correcting your behavior during them, no doctor can ever help you. To effectively treat bipolar, not only are you medicated, but you practice what was preached. You must play an active role in your treatment in order to remain stable.
As to what I do to forget I have the illness, I’m not really sure how to answer that. I don’t think I ever forget, but the closest I ever come is when I’m exercising. I tend to zone out while working out. Especially while running, I tune out the world, most of all what stresses me out including my illness. I’m certain that if I didn’t run outside with others I would have been hit by a car already.