Jump to content
CrazyBoards.org





Life lessons for those with a new bipolar diagnosis


Recommended Posts

Hello people,

I was wondering what life lessons you've learned and wish to convey to someone who has just become bipolar. It has only been 1.5 year since I had my first (hypo)mania where I destroyed my life tremendously. Everything is ok now, but I know it won't be that way forever. I noticed that I still have a long way ahead of me.

This isn't only for me, but for the people who have been recently diagnosed or people that need some good advice.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 139
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

1. What's done is done. If you've made a mistake, flown off the handle, done something reckless, said something you didn't mean, or anything else during the tempest of mania, it's already been done,

the most helpful thought i have is that each and every mood state passes. every time i'm in a bad way, i think i'm going to feel that way forever. but there's always an end to the depression (usuall

And for the love of God, have a sense of humor. BP is some serious shit, but injecting a little humor and levity in your life can keep you getting sucked into your own head and illness.

Guest Recluse

1. What's done is done. If you've made a mistake, flown off the handle, done something reckless, said something you didn't mean, or anything else during the tempest of mania, it's already been done, and aside from apologizing or making basic damage control, there's nothing else you can do about it. Learn to let moments like that go. If it isn't within the reach of your arm, you can't control it. If you can't control it, don't feel guilty about it at all. That guilt serves no purpose, and dwelling on things you can't change will only make you miserable and unstable.

2. Don't isolate yourself. Don't withdraw from your friends out of fear that they won't understand. They might not know a lot about mental health, but it doesn't take a degree in psychology to recognize when someone is hurting and depressed, they'll understand that at least. You need your friends and your family as a support structure. Most people desperately need socialization to stay sane and healthy, and when you are in a low period, you need it even more. Talk to people, even when all you feel like doing is staying in bed, make yourself do it.

3. Have an escape plan. You shouldn't live in fear of your next manic or hypomanic episode, but you should definitely be prepared for it. Find somewhere to go, like a friend or relative's house who understands the situation and can keep an eye on you when shit hits the fan, then make arrangements with them that when the time comes, you go there. One of the worst things you can do is be by yourself during the worst parts of a manic episode. Pack a little bug-out-bag just for that, with some of your toiletries, a change of comfortable clothes, a week's worth of extra medication, and important phone numbers. When it gets bad, bunker down in that safe place.

4. Get the right amount of sleep. Don't sleep to little, but don't sleep too much either. Both extremes will make you unstable. Depriving yourself of sleep will make you tend toward mania, while too much sleep will make you tend toward depression. Hypersomnia, or sleeping too much, is an especially vicious cycle I've seen many folks with BP fall into, including myself, and it's hard to claw your way out of. Don't let yourself wallow in bed, ever, because the more you wallow, the more you sleep, the sadder you'll get, and it will be that much harder to make yourself get out of bed.

That's all I've got, but I'll try to think of more. Some of this might not apply to you, or might seem ridiculous, and if that's the case, just ignore it. Everybody's experience of BP is going to be different in one way or another.

  • Like 14
Link to post
Share on other sites

the most helpful thought i have is that each and every mood state passes. every time i'm in a bad way, i think i'm going to feel that way forever. but there's always an end to the depression (usually after fooling with meds), an end to hypomania (ditto), and even an end to the better times (which is why i have to remember to enjoy these times as much as possible). no matter how bad it gets, it gets better again. every time.

  • Like 12
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you kill yourself, you will never, ever get better. Remember, if you hang on, things will eventually improve, even if being 100% stable is elusive.

Sleep is really important, although I have dreadful trouble sleeping.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

As another newbie to the diagnosis, I'd like to add this: Take advantage of the resources available to you and don't be afraid to ask for help.

If you have access to therapy, then go. If things aren't working out with your first pdoc, then find another one who is a great fit for you. Your treatment team consists of people who are on your side, who are there to help you. Never be afraid to reach out if you need extra support or if you recognize the signs of an on-coming episode.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

This seems pretty common sense, and it is something that everyone should do, but I find it especially important for some reason since I've been trying to get stable: take care of yourself. Stick to a schedule. Don't go out on booze/drug binges. Exercise (cringe). Eat stuff that our grandparents would actually recognize as food. Reign in that caffeine habit if you have one. Learn to calm yourself. "Normal" people do this crap all the time, but if you're manic or depressed, it's a lot harder than you'd think. The drugs you have to take to combat bipolar can do a number on some of your organ functions and your weight. If you don't stay on top of this kind of stuff, you end up getting to the point where you have a whole bunch of other health problems and/or it's too risky for you to take certain medications. This isn't really one of the first things that people will really tell you that you'll think is all that helpful when you're first diagnosed, but oh, if I had only realized this kind of stuff, my treatment plan may be a whole lot easier today.

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't let other people's ignorance interfere with your treatment. If I listened to some people I would think i don't need meds and I would have never tried therapy.

Different things work for other people, but hearing from other people with similar experiences, especially if they are doing well now, gives me hope and helps me feel understood. I would mention support groups and on-line forums.

Your docs work for you and if they aren't helping you try to find someone else

When I was first diagnosed I was fragile and got overwhelmed easily and it was hard for me to do simple household chores, so I learned to accept help when it was offered.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

- If you have to choose between a job with little stress and a job that pays more, seriously consider the cushy one. If you're stuck in a high stress job, be vigilant for a less stressful alternative. Overachieving is overrated.

- You don't have to tell everyone you're Bipolar. After almost 20 years I can count on one hand the people I've told.

- See Post #2, fourth point. Cut & paste it. Print it out. The difference between Heaven and Hell can be an hour of sleep.

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Always take your meds, take your meds, take your meds. Don't run out. Don't hoard.

P.S. thanks for the question and everyone else for posting, I've been playing this game for a long time and (how can it be?) had no notion of some of the strategies mentioned. Did some cuttin' and pastin' myself. :cool:

Edited by sheila2050
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Always take your meds, take your meds, take your meds. Don't run out. Don't hoard.

P.S. thanks for the question and everyone else for posting, I've been playing this game for a long time and (how can it be?) had no notion of some of the strategies mentioned. Did some cuttin' and pastin' myself. :cool:

Both of these things, in spades. Added to 'take your meds' I would also say, 'and don't change anything around dosage-wise without talking to your pdoc first.'

I know some others here think it's splitting hairs, but I always say, "I have bipolar", instead of "I am bipolar". Saying I have a disease, instead of saying I am a disease, makes me feel like I'm not defective or that it was something that I could somehow control. Saying I have a disease reminds me that it was the luck of the draw, not something I chose to be, and as a result, is something that can be treated. Most people wouldn't say, "I am diabetes", for example.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not bipolar, but I just want to say that the responses given here are simply wonderful and very useful to me as well. What I would like to add is: try not to make big decisions (employment, relationships, etc.) when in a mood episode. It almost invariably turns out badly.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

This has been very informative. I am newly diagnosed with BPD myself. However My boyfriend has BPDII and I have seen his various episodes over the years. After being diagnosed it explains so much that I have experienced throughout the past few years. However with feeling better I don't think i need my meds.I know I know, big no no..What I always tell my BF is the reason you feel better is because of your meds. So i know that's an important thing I can just see things so much better from his side now. and WOW...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Stick with your treatment plan. Take care of yourself. Know your limits. Have a backup plan in case of a bad episode. Don't share your diagnosis with the world, chances are they don't understand MI and will treat you differently. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but few. Try not to obsess about the diagnosis and every mood you are having at the moment. Everyone has shifts in mood - BP people just have bigger ones. CHART, daily. Make notes of your mood, sleep amounts, irritablity, having to take backup meds. My doc really appreciates this because I'm not always a great judge of my state, sometimes rating myself as mildly manic when I'm practically running people over in my car, shaking violently and can't focus for shit.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say this to someone new to BP: it gets better, it really does. There are always new medication combinations that can be tried, and if you happen to try them all (which I haven't seen on this board in the seven years I've been here) there are always new meds being introduced all the time. Sometimes you get a good day, sometimes it's a good month, and sometimes a good year. But it will come. You just have to remember that through the bad times.

I would also tell you to keep in constant contact with your pdoc when you are in trouble. They are being paid by you to help you, so don't try to go it alone. You may be unique, but your pdoc probably has a lot of unique patients just like you and can adjust meds/talk/offer advice when you need it the most. I think a call to the pdoc is the most underutilized resource BPers have.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

So much great advice! What a wonderful thread! I'm newly diagnosed...although I always had a feeling I was. After my breakdown I went to my doc to get help and he told me it was a process...I was a shell of a person at the time and I just burst into tears. He goes "hey hey! You're fixable! You like that better? You're fixable. I'm gonna help you feel like a human being again" And he's 100% correct, living with BP is a constant process. And you when you ae broken and beat down....you're still fixable! That phrase has helped me so much! Whenever I feel broken beyond repair I tell myself "I am fixable!" and go review the process with him.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Similar Content

    • By Poem
      Greetings,
      So, I found out recently that my diagnosis had changed from Bipolar 1 to Schizoaffective Disorder: Bipolar Type. This diagnoses switch was done 2 YEARS ago and nobody told me. Sure, my Pdoc at the time said it might be a possibility, but I was really upset that no one bothered to clue me in. Anyway. The thing is, I've been shuffled around through so many Pdocs and psychiatric nurse practitioners and I have never told them my whole story. 
      My first ever Pdoc asked if I ever had any psychotic symptoms. I said that I would hear my name being called, and before I could say anything else, they laughed me off saying that everyone experiences that. So, being the shy person I am, I thought that I was being silly and never mentioned it again. My last Pdoc, I tried to be more open with and told them about some hallucinations/paranoid thoughts I had...hence change in diagnosis.
      Now I am with a new provider whom I don't trust at all. They don't seem to know how to manage me at all, and every session seems to be more and more a waste of time. I am currently switching to another provider, but it will take a bit before I can go. I'm a little nervous because I've tried so many anti psychotics, and am currently not taking one. Sorry, the point is I am planning to give my therapist all the details about things that have been going on for years. Stuff I never had the guts to say, because I know they will listen to me. I am just afraid that since I never said anything to my new provider (or even in the past) my future provider might think that I am making it up since I found out about my new diagnosis. Maybe I'm overthinking things. I don't know. But the only people on my support team that I trust are my family and my therapist.
      Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble. I've been in a bad state the last few days and this has been edited and re-edited for your perusal. If there is anyone out there with the same disorder, or just someone with advice, please help me! There is so little info on Schizoaffective disorder, that I would really like to hear from others, maybe hear some coping skills? Everyone is different, but I am open to anything at this moment. Falling asleep last night was hell. My mind was racing all over the place, with layers of thought over layers of thought. I have to sleep with a light now, because shadows will creep the hell out of me. I have poor memory and forget words/mis-say them. My concentration is shot. I lash out in anger and always have this simmering irritability underneath. I'm starting to get the feeling that something is watching me again.
      Help!
      Poem
       
    • By Angeni Mai
      I'm mostly looking for advice at this moment on how to foster and encourage my significant other's (soon to be married) interests. She seems to want to share a lot of things with me, such as things about other people and all; however, when it comes to her interests, she tells me about them but doesn't include me in them. I know she tries but she also gives up if she even perceives that I'm not interested. Often times it isn't a lack of interest but rather that I may be having a bad day or an having difficulties with things and processing. (I have Cerebral Palsy and multiple mental health diagnoses) 

      I don't mean to make her feel like I have no interest or I don't want to get along, but is it not ok to indulge in my own thing/ have some alone time? A lot of things I do bother her sensory issues (singing opera, playing jokes, touch randomly without remembering her boundaries because my memory is shit). I want to better our relationship by sharing some in each other's interests but I also still have that need to do my own thing when it is something I know she can't handle. She's also pregnant which makes her sensory issues twice as bad, which has lead to some hard feelings, especially when I would like to sing (as I have a generally loud singing voice as I've sung opera for the past 8 years. 

      She also has a developmental delay that causes her to need to speak things aloud and get that feedback on social situations and some other things to process them, in which she is quite long-winded most of the time. That has also lead to more hard feelings as it leads to limited time to indulge in anything else but talking from the time we are up until the time she goes to bed. Any other time that's left during the day, she usually insists that we spend it together because she wants to be close but she has also said that if we don't have that closeness each and every day, multiple times a day even (most days) then she and I will be too distant and she won't be able to open back up to me because I'll be a stranger (she has had issues with selective mutism when she was a child is the only thing I could assume she means by she will stop opening up). It may just be a matter of her mental health and I just misunderstood what she meant, however, is it wrong of me to feel like she is somewhat playing mind games/ manipulating me/ twisting my arm for me to pay all of my attention to her?

      She is currently visiting from Canada and I live 422 miles away from her home. She has said that things will be different when we go back to Canada in 5 days, but I don't know whether or not I can trust this as I have seen different happen when she's back home and we just talk over video call. She says she doesn't really lie, and I know that, but is it bad of me to feel like she just doesn't really know herself all that well in what she really and needs from a person, especially when she's never really been in a long term relationship before us getting together? I'm really trying to let go of the past but this is just a lot to handle. 

      Does anybody have any advice on how to cope with these situations? Is it too much for me to continue to wish for and sometimes expect her to understand my needs? Is it too much for me to want to be left alone sometimes (as it helps me to cope with life and process my own emotions)?

      I really don't want her or our relationship to suffer because I'm not giving her what she needs. 

      Thanks for any responses. They are much appreciated.

      P.S. ~ Are there any books you would recommend somebody in a relationship with somebody who has ASD reads to have a better understanding of what it is like to have autism or books on how to cope with the differences in their partner? 

      P.P.S. ~ I know she's not a manipulative person and she wouldn't mindfully force me to do what I don't wish to,  it's just I feel backed into a corner most days and I lash out emotionally in anger and start to yell when she's annoying me, most often times at the expense of being called mean when I say something she doesn't view as true and, at the best of times, neither do I. I guess it's just hard when both parties have mental health issues that result in a lot of emotions (and a TON of anger) and developmental issues, and social skills deficits on her end. I love her to death though and just want to make things easier on the both of us, more so on her though.
    • By Blanche
      I am married to my husband almost 20 years and I have spent the last 5 years thinking/ acting out constantly about other men. Usually it is one obsession that lasts about 12 months or so and is quickly followed by another Sometimes it goes to emotional affairs, flirting, once to sexting but always, always in my head, constant intrusive fantasy of a ‘new life’. Husb doesn’t know all of it but enough to hurt and dismay. We are in therapy and no, i will not tell all - that’s just me unburdening my crap. He is a good man. I need this to stop in my head. I’m BPII, CPTSD etc, already on Lith, Efexor, Lamotrigine, anti-ep
      So tired of running from thoughts. Doc not sure what to do- tells me to  buy lingerie to wear for husband?. Been there done that. She thinks it is kind of funny but that my life would not be very good if i left him with MI (he is ‘big’ around town).
      He really is great and my best friend. The thoughts won’t stop though continuous rumination about other blokes. THAT’S what is most distressing. I hate myself for this. I’m so very very tired.
      I’m thinking of asking doc for quetiapine or similar to calm this mind? Anyone been the same position of feeling like a lying, sneaky whore? Any thoughts received gratitude. Except maybe more marriage counselling, talking, hurting him and the kids. This is my crappy rumination, i need it out. This is on me. 
       
    • By X Anime Lover X
      I’ll get straight to it, I cut myself.
      This was my first time cutting. 
      I don’t know why, the thought of cutting kept haunting my mind. I decided after school I would do it. Just once.
      I was alone in the house at the time and got everything I needed. I had a first aid kit, a small screwdriver and a sharpener. 
      I took out the blade and I was nervous and did it high up on my thigh. I cut twice on my thigh then on my hips. I got carried away and cleaned up the cuts. There were more cuts then I intended and I cleaned everything up hiding the evidence.
      I’m a little shaky from what I did but I don’t regret it.
      I don’t believe I did it and it doesn’t bother me. 
      I’m scared what others will think if they find out. 
      Help me.
×
×
  • Create New...