I am currently sick as a dog with some cold my boyfriend brought home and was sweet enough to share with me, so I am trying to take care of myself and get better before I leave town next week. But it got me thinking about all the things I do to stay well while being beautifully bipolar.
Sleep is imperative for bipolar wellness. When I go without sleep things go from zero to manic overnight. And when I am manic I don’t think I need sleep. I have so much energy! But without proper sleep I am a mess so I make it a point to get more than eight hours every night.
I’ve learned there is no better therapy than talk therapy. And I don’t mean that you necessarily have to be talking to a therapist all the time, you can talk to your friends, family, or partner. But getting out all that stuff you bottle up is healthy. The bottling up is not.
I know some people see taking medication as a sign of weakness and I really don’t understand that. If you had a heart condition and required medication would you feel weak? If you were diabetic and required insulin would you feel weak? I believe the answer to these questions would be “no,” so there is absolutely no reason to feel weak because you need to take medication for your mental illness. Right now I take five medications which comes out to 12 pills a day. Do I wish I didn’t need medication? Yeah, but I know that it keeps me well so I take it and am not ashamed to do so.
If possible, I try to let sunlight hit my face for at least 15 minutes a day. I sit out in front of the house on the steps and talk on the phone, tilting my chin upwards like a sunflower to the sunlight. This time of year is harder for me to fight off depression because the sun disappears for days at a time. I have an energy light box that simulates sunlight that I use in place of natural sunlight. I simply set it up next to my computer and turn it on and while I am on the computer I am getting that necessary light fix I need to stay well.
I believe my two dogs help keep me well. Being responsible for something other than yourself gives you a sense of purpose – a reason to get out of bed, a reason to stick around.
There is nothing a good song can’t do for my mood. Create playlists of upbeat or inspirational songs you can listen to when you are feeling down. Create another playlist to keep you calm in anxiety provoking situations. For example, I take my iPod with me to my psychiatry and therapy appointments and listen to relaxing music while I sit in the tight waiting room. It keeps me from crawling out of my skin during long waits.
For me, writing is my art of choice. It allows me to get out all the things I need to say without anyone interrupting me. My cousin paints. Some people do crafts. Whatever it is, find something artistic you can do. I promise it will make you feel good.
These are just some of the things I do that keep me being beautifully bipolar. I’d love to hear some of the things you do to stay well. Leave a comment and share.