How much of being Bipolar has affected your daily life?

How about how much of being Bipolar has affected your daily life?

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Dear Bipolar,

Surprisingly little!  Before I was properly diagnosed, my life was always in a constant flux.  I was going from one extreme to the other and had no idea why.  My doctors were giving me one anti-anxiety medication after another, which made things worse.  I had panic attacks all the time.  I never knew which “me” I was going to wake up being.

You could say that being Bipolar has actually made my life easier.  Since my diagnosis, I am on a medication that is working and have learned so much.  Aside from sticking to a routine for my medication, I live just as anyone without Bipolar does.  I am not allowing Bipolar to rule my life, although I do closely monitor my moods.  I use a mood tracker to track how I am feeling from day to day so I can remember for my next doctor visit.

I’m also learning what triggers me into mania or depression, and making sure I avoid those activities.  For example, I know that I get very emotional and manic when I drink alcohol (and I shouldn’t be while on my medication anyway), so I avoid it.  My social activities do not revolve around drinking.  Another thing that can trigger mania in me is big projects.  This weekend my husband and I painted and redecorated our guest bedroom.  Instead of doing it all in one day, we spread it over several days so I didn’t feel overwhelmed.

I’ve also found that keeping a schedule in my daily life helps a lot.  I eat meals at the same time every day.  I write my blog posts at the same time every morning.  Everything is usually done at its regularly scheduled time in my house, which helps keep me balanced.  Then again, there are plenty of non-Bipolar people who do this, too.

Being Bipolar does not define who I am.  It’s just a part of me.  It does not cause me to wallow every day in self-pity that I have this condition.  It has driven me to become stronger, and push past the mood swings and side-effects of medication.  It has shown me that I am a lot stronger than I ever thought I was.

I do not want others feel sorry for me or treat me any differently.  I can do anything they can do (and then some!), and so can you.

3 thoughts on “How much of being Bipolar has affected your daily life?

  1. Gee, I sure wish I could be that stable and ok with my diagsones… I still struggle every single day-with pretty much everything… Boo…

  2. Kimberly,
    I can relate to a lot you’re saying. I was diagnosed with BP II. And, just like you I have found that a routine helps. I try to eat at the same times. I eat a lot healthier. I think with Bipolar we maybe more sensitive to what we put into our bodies. I take a fish oil supplement, too. I follow a gluten free diet. I’m on no mood stabilizer. My body has had horrible reactions to them, so I try natural ways to keep my moods in check. So, far so good!

    And, like you, big projects need to be broken down. My husband and I want to clean our garage. Instead of tackling the whole thing in one weekend…which would stress me out…we’re going to go through 5 boxes a weekend.

  3. Kimberly, very insightful answer. I also have learned so much about myself & never fully realized just how strong & intelligent of a person I really am. Before I was correctly diagnosed, I had severe issues with self esteem & confidence. People would say to me “you’re so smart & sure of yourself” or “you’re pretty”. I figured either they must be talking about someone else, or just being “nice” I still have an occasional issue with this, but it’s the normal kind that I think most people (bipolar or not) experience.
    As far as bipolar affecting my everyday life, for the most part I do pretty well. I take my meds, journal, keep a mood log, communicate with my adult kids pretty much daily & talk to my husband everyday (he travels several days a week). I love to read, listen to music & love spending time with my family & beautiful grandchildren. And of course, lets not forget the support, camaraderie and life enriching experience that participating in/on this page & site has provided for me! 🙂 If I feel I need, even on a good day, just a few words of encouragement or support, I let someone know.
    I also have my little routines that help keep me in balance.
    However, there are times when my bipolar disorder does affect my daily life. The following are what affects my daily life as a bipolar:
    1) Rapid (at times ultra) cycling
    I have some days when I have rapid or ultra rapid cycling. My mind can’t make up it’s own mind. It doesn’t know if it should be happy, sad, panicky, agitated etc…,poor thing, my mind, it just gets so confused. 🙁 It can be very difficult to deal with. Most times I can use my coping skills & support system to deal with it, & I can manage. There are some days, however when nothing helps & my functioning level is impaired, on these days I can’t even make it to work. Fortunately this doesn’t happen too often.
    2)Severe depressive episodes
    I have a mild depressive episodes that only minimally affect my everyday life. Again, with coping skills & support, I can basically manage to get through the day with only mild symptoms. I do, however (thankfully not very often) experience a severe depressive episode that most definitely affects my life, not everyday, but most. The days that it does affect my life. They are filled with overwhelming panic, crying spells, impaired thought processes, (irrational, paranoid,random,obsessive & thinking) feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness & apathy. I have overwhelming thoughts of death & dying (not to be confused with suicidal thoughts/ideations). I sleep too much/little, can’t eat & am unable to focus or concentrate on almost anything. I have episodes of agoraphobia where I’m completely unable to leave my home. Basically, I’m nonfunctional.
    I’m just now coming out of an extremely severe depressive episodes that lasted several months, (there are some unusual factors that contributed to length/severity,I’ll save story for another time or post). I was placed on STD for a period of time as I was unable to work due to severe inability to function in even in remotely normal way.

    Life as a bipolar can present many struggles & challenges (with the exception of the two events I mentioned), I’ve learned to manage & deal with my illness pretty well.
    C 🙂

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