Over the years, I have learned many tools to manage my life with bipolar disorder. As much as there is that I can do there are also some things I do not do to help maintain some stability.
I consider the following to be protective factors in my life.
Maintain a professional relationship with both a psychiatrist and a therapist. I need to regularly be in contact with both of these professionals.
Build a support network outside of the professionals in your life. Having safe people I can talk to can make all the difference when I am experiencing a mood episode.
Create and protect a healthy sleep schedule.
Take all medications as prescribed, regularly, and on time.
Exercise. I take long walks and practice yoga and qigong.
Listen to yourself. I have become more and more aware of my disorder over the years and I know myself best. Some days I need a little self-care and some days I need a lot.
Avoid stressful situations where possible. I have a hard time with change. For example, travel is very hard on my emotions. I can't count the number of times I've canceled a trip at the last minute. Traveling can be stressful so I plan far out and try to take one thing at a time.
Where possible, stick to routines. Daily, weekly or monthly. I find stability in patterns.
Try to avoid getting no more than one interrupted night's sleep in a row.
Do not hold back on your feelings and emotions with at least one safe person. We are not alone.
Don't decide on your own to lower, increase or discontinue any medication. If you want to adjust or discontinue medication, discuss it with your therapist and psychiatrist first. I m not a doctor so I don't play doctor with my medications. I know I can talk to the professionals in my life about anything and especially medication and side effects. If I couldn't be rigorously honest I'd find professionals that I could be honest with.
Don't skip on taking medication. Adhere to the prescription.
Do not be hard on yourself. We're all doing the best we can. Try kindness, patience, acceptance and being nonjudgmental with yourself.
I find these things helpful and I hope you do too,
Take good care,
"A great deal can be learned as a result of panful circumstances, but they are not my only teachers. I live in a world full of wonders. Today I will pay attention to their gentle wisdom." -- Courage To Change