We have made it through the holidays in one piece. Hip. Hip. Hooray. I know how hard it was to sometimes bite your tongue and to stick to your schedule. But I ate my through it with cookies.
- PUT THE COOKIES DOWN
Sorry, dear reader, but we need to lighten the load. I ate so many cookies it is embarrassing. So now we have to get back in the habit of that dreaded word, “exercise.” Start gently with walking a bit several times a week. If you have a dog – bond. If you are up for it, join a gym (especially one with no contract). Remember, no one walks into a gym looking the way he or she will if they work out consistently. You can do it for appearance sake, but while your are trying to whittle that middle, your brain is becoming happier. Exercise is good for everyone, especially those of us who are overweight and/or have a mood disorder.
- GO TO BED
Sleep plays a big part of managing our mental illness. Too little can ignite mania in me and too much means I am depressed. I think they say eight hours is a good night’s rest. For me, that is just unrealistic. I need about nine. I usually sleep much more than that, as I am sure some other people living with bipolar disorder can understand.
- TAKE YOUR MEDICATION
Please, please, please take your medication if your psychiatrist prescribes it. I know how hard it is, how mundane – day after day swallowing pills that you may not be helping yet or at all. I have been a part of the prescription party since 1999. I have tried a lot of medication and a lot of medication cocktails. I’ve achieved stability and then lost it. Even today we are tweaking my medication as my illness changes. There is a dangerous thing that I should warn you about – thinking it is us that is making us better. We start to find stability and think, “Well then, no more meds for me I am well now.” Dear reader, that is just the medication working, doing its job.
- MAKE SOME NEW FRIENDS
Friends are the best and I know from forums I see, a lot of us do not have many or any, really. A lot of us live with anxiety disorder as well and it makes it hard for us to go out and meet new people. I am guilty of such. It just overwhelms me completely. It is good to have a friend who is intimate with mental illness, but it is just as important to be friends with people whose brain chemistry is “normal.” You need people in your corner. You need people you call to chat with and you also need some friends who can be there for you when life is not fair.
- CREATE A SCHEDULE.
Sticking to a schedule can be very important. Back to my plea for you to take your medication, do so at the appropriate times. It can help to get a pill calendar box. You place your meds in everyday boxes that represent different times. There are even calendars where you can pop out the day and take it with you. For ‘as needed’ pills there are little keychains you can buy. This stuff can all be found at a chain pharmacy. In this schedule you are creating, you can write in exercise where you can fit it, and you can find events where you might make like-minded friends. For example, I am going to try and join a writing group that meets not too far away from my house. We will see if I am brave enough on Tuesday. If I can try, you can try.
New Year’s Resolution Bipolar Patients Can Stick To