Honestly, it was quite a relief to finally have a diagnosis after all these years of having episodes. It explained why I would have periods of highs, where everything would be great, followed by lows so bad I couldn’t move. I didn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed; I just felt relief.
I knew with the help of my Psychiatrist and Therapist I would get the treatment I really needed. Once we found the right combination of drugs, going to therapy a few times a week, and the following tips I am living a thriving life that is as “normal” as life can be!
As long as I can remember, I have thrived by routine. It is important for me to have consistency in my life. I am not saying I’m not flexible or capable of change. I just need to have a plan of action each day so that I function to the best of my ability. When I am not organized, I struggle.
On Saturdays, I sit down and plan for the week. I plug in all the activities for the family and my work appointments. Next, I work on my “success lists” of what I need to accomplish each day. I go into Monday knowing what my week looks like so that I be prepared.
The next thing I practice is Self-Care. I practice a self-care routine daily. I workout at least 5 days a week. I give myself facials, paint my nails, and wake up before my kid, so that I have time alone each morning. I also go to bed early every night. I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep so that my body can replenish and recharge.
It is also important to set boundaries. My therapist worked with me on setting them with people and learning to say no without feeling guilty. I had to learn than people are try to help and offer advice but sometimes their advice is not right for me. I had to learn what to accept and what not to accept and not feel guilty about it. I had to learn to use my voice and say no. It took time but I am quite good at it now.
Finally, I learned it is okay to ask for help. For so long, I thought asking for help was a sign of weakness. I was embarrassed to ask. I grew up thinking I needed to be perfect at everything. That if I asked for help then I was not perfect. This area is still a work in progress for me! I still do feel a sense of guilt if I ask someone to help me but I am getting better.
If you struggle with Bipolar or if you know someone that struggles with with it these tips work may or may not work. It takes time to figure out what works. You should always consult a professional such as your Therapist and/or Psychiatrist as they are valuable resources.