With its mood swings, shifting energy levels, sleep difficulties and anxiety, bipolar disorder can feel extremely overwhelming. Managing bipolar and its symptoms can feel never-ending; however, by taking small, feasible steps every day, you can start to feel better and get better. Here are a few strategies to help manage your bipolar disorder:
- Seek Professional Help: If you are not receiving any treatment for your bipolar disorder, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Medication is crucial for managing bipolar disorder. Psychotherapy is also important for helping you to better understand your symptoms and learning effective coping skills.
- Take Medication as Prescribed: When taking medication, make sure to follow your doctor’s precise instructions. Never discontinue your medication on your own. It can worsen your symptoms and trigger an episode. If you are struggling with side effects or other concerns, speak with your doctor. You have every right to voice your questions and concerns and doing so will help you find the most effective treatment for you.
- Organize Your Medication: To make it easy for you to take your medication, prefill a few pillboxes at a time and keep them in different places such as your car, purse and kitchen. This way you will always have your medication at-hand in convenient spots.
- Create a Bedtime Routine: Sleep is critical for those with bipolar disorder. Sleep deprivation is also one of the most common triggers for a manic episode. Having a regular sleep schedule is very important for people with bipolar disorder and this should be followed meticulously.
- Chart Your Symptoms: Keep a daily chart of your mood, sleep, irritability, anxiety, exercise and other important symptoms and/or habits. This can be a helpful way to prevent or lessen a mood episode and will provide you with information about your personal symptoms and how they manifest. It can also help you to spot patterns.
- Focus on the Present: “Focusing on the present, rather than allowing yourself to get stuck in thoughts of the past and future…help to reduce the emotional pain in your life,” according to Sheri Van Dijk, a psychotherapist. It can also help you to notice racing thoughts and take healthy action more quickly. One way for you to pay attention to the present is by focusing on your breath. “Notice when your attention wanders, bring it back to the breath, and accept whatever comes into your awareness.”