Living with bipolar disorder is like riding on a never-ending roller coaster. Some days I’m up, others I’m down. Sometimes I’m sitting at baseline. Even when I’m at baseline, I still have to make sure I’m taking care of myself and managing my illness. It’s not easy and even when things are great, I’m in constant fear of them going downhill. Today I want to give an update on my life with bipolar disorder.
This year, like many others has been filled with moments of darkness as well as some of the most peaceful moments of my life. I’ve shed rivers of tears, I’ve self-harmed, I’ve contemplated suicide (no attempts this year though, yay!) …but I’ve also smiled more. I’ve found peace, I’m taking my healing and self-love journey seriously and I’ve started unpacking some of my bags. At this current moment I’d say I’m at baseline. For the past few months things have improved greatly. Every day I wake up in a great mood and it feels good to be able to function. My therapist asked me how I know the difference between a great mood and being manic and we went over what symptoms I have when I’m manic vs. what I’m currently feeling. However, I have noticed my mood starting to decrease a little bit. I wouldn’t say I’m going into a depressive episode but with the seasons changing I am on high alert. I’ve already discussed this with my significant other, mom, and therapist and we’ve gone over some coping mechanisms should depression present itself. The holiday season can be rough for me and in past years I usually wind up in the hospital due to a suicide attempt. I’m hopeful that with life being better, that won’t happen but I’m also aware that anything can be a potential trigger for an episode.
What I’m doing to manage bipolar disorder
Currently the way I’m being treated is with therapy and medication. I see my therapist on Tuesdays and it’s really made a difference in how I feel about myself and my life. The medications I take are Geodon (ziprasidone) twice a day, Paxil (paroxetine), Melatonin for insomnia, and hydroxyzine for anxiety. While these are the primary ways I’m being treated there are other things I do to manage. I practice regular self-care and try to use my coping skills as needed. The combination of all these things ensures I’m at my best and helps me when I’m not.
Overall, I’m doing well and I’m extremely grateful for this. Even when you’re living well with bipolar disorder, you have to be aware that there’s always a possibility of an episode arising. A combination of medication and therapy are the recommended treatment methods but outside of this, you have to find ways to take care of yourself. Lately for me this looks like daily meditation, journaling, and trying to go on walks if it’s not freezing. I like to do these things first thing in the morning to kickstart my day. I’ll be talking more about ways to care for yourself during a manic or depressive episode in the coming weeks because I know it can be a struggle.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash