For anyone living with bipolar disorder, you know how hard it is to go from one extreme to another. When I was first diagnosed, I had an extremely hard time dealing with my depression, and a harder time managing my mania.
During my depression phase, I wouldn’t socialize, leave my home, I felt hopeless, and I always questioned the meaning of life. I’m sure we’ve all asked that question, but imagine asking the same question for two weeks straight. Things were tough. But, mania, on the other hand, can be an awesome experience for some because you’re the total opposite. You’re the type of person you wished you always were, for example, outgoing, social, productive, motivated, and ready to take on every challenge. However, for people like myself living with bipolar disorder, our hypo state, doesn’t last long. There’s a crash, and at this point I would start to question everything again i.e. the reason for living, my friends, and my life goals. However, this all changed once I started to implement the following strategies to remain calm after hypo/mania.
They are extremely effective because they help you remain positive during dark depressing times.
This can be anything like self-help books or content posted by someone else going through the same thing. Self-help books are great since they connect you at a deeper level. They help you understand that you’re the one in charge, and have the ability to snap out of depression. Years ago, I noticed how my depression was triggered by stress, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness. But, my hopelessness was caused by my own negative thinking, and NOT knowing how I truly do have the power to control my own life.
Reading powerful books snap me out of this mentality and provided me with effective techniques to use during dark times. For example, the power of living in the now and NOT dwelling on something I no longer have control over. Practicing mindfulness allowed me to find alternative positive thoughts to conquer the dark negative ones. Next,
Reading through support communities is a great place to connect with others. It helped me learn that I wasn’t alone and that others felt the way I did.
A regular exercise routine will improve your overall health, but for people like us living with bipolar disorder, the endorphins released in our blood during exercise can do a lot more. Endorphins are your bodies natural painkillers and reduce stress, fight anxiety, and can elevate your mood. Typically, it takes anywhere from 10-30 minutes to get your body to release extra endorphins in your blood. Your exercise doesn’t have to be intense but should get your heart rate high enough so you to break a sweat.
“According to Harvard Health Publications, exercise may be an effective way to help improve your mood. By releasing serotonin and other endorphins, exercise can be useful in treating depression.” – livestrong.com
3) Get A lot of Sleep
The sleep-wake cycle is regulated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), This is your body’s natural biological clock. Daylight activates the SCN through your retina, and neurotransmitters control your activity and rest times. The neurotransmitters involved are dopamine and serotonin which are both responsible for mood. Research shows how these two chemicals are sensitive in those living with bipolar disorder. With that said,
When coming off hypo/mania, it’s important you are getting enough sleep. The average amount of sleep varies among people, but it’s normally between 6-8 hours. You should know what’s been working for you over the years. I personally need 8-9 hours to keep things leveled for myself.
4) Re-evaluate Your Medication
You should be on medication which helps stabilize your mood. Ever since I was prescribed, Depakote (Divalproex Sodium) years ago, my manic episodes are less frequent and harsh. I would suspect your doctor has prescribed medication to keep you stable. If you’re still having frequent manic episodes, you may need to get your dose adjusted or switch to another medication. I mean, it’s normal to have some bad days where your mood will be off. It’s also normal to have softer manic episodes, but the severity should be controlled at this point.
Here’s a list of the MOST popular bipolar medications, and what others are saying about their effectiveness.
5) Ask For Support
If you take a step back and think for a moment, you know there are great people around you for support. But, here’s the secret – you need to ask them for help J. They won’t know what you are going through unless you tell them so be vocal about your what’s on your mind. For example, years back I would throw myself into a frenzy and create negative thoughts in my mind about close people in my life. It’s amazing because no one did anything to me, and I would just start to create negative thoughts which affected me a lot. What’s even more amazing is that over time I learned how talking to people about what’s on my mind provided an immediate solution. I wasn’t left to create negative thoughts in my mind and had a great group of people supporting me when I needed them. This was exactly the kind of positive reinforcement I needed to balance me out.
The next time you’re coming down after mania, be vocal about the way you feel. Express your thoughts, feelings, and the negative energy around you. This way your NOT left alone to create negative thoughts and scenarios on your own.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Provide your thoughts and share your experience on this topic. There are others who need your help and can learn a lot from your own personal experience.