With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it’s understandable that it would take a toll on anyone’s mental health, especially if you struggle with mental illness. I have found it really tough, but I feel that I’m coping fairly well. I wanted to share how I’m coping and managing my bipolar disorder in these tough times, in case it can help someone else who may be struggling.
Only reading the news once a day
I find that when I watch the news it makes me feel really anxious, so instead of watching it, I’m reading reliable news resources once a day. I usually take about 10 minutes to catch up with updates after I finish work, and then that’s it for the night. That way I stop my mind from being totally consumed by it (as much as possible anyway) and I can try to enjoy the rest of my day.
Talking about my feelings
If I’m feeling anxious, if I find something triggering or if I feel my mood starting to slip, I talk over what’s on my mind with my husband or a friend. It helps me to get things off my chest, and ensures I have someone else who can calm me down if I need them to.
I’m always very self-aware of my mood so that I can take note of any changes and deal with them sooner rather than later, but at the moment I’m being even more vigilant. It’s a balancing act between trying to not overthink every feeling I have, and trying to be aware enough that I am able to keep my mood stable despite all of the stress.
Keeping my husband aware of how I feel mentally each day
I keep my husband up to date with how I feel each day and let him know if there are any changes. This way we can tackle any issues together, and he knows what’s going on with me. He can point out any changes he notices that I don’t, and be there for me, as he always is so wonderfully.
Ensuring we’re stocked up with medication
We’ve made sure that we have plenty of my medication so that we don’t run out by ordering medication a couple of weeks in advance in comparison to when we usually would. I’ve also made sure that my PRN medication (meaning medication I take when and if I need it) is on hand.
Ensuring my crisis plan is up to date
I’ve mentally run through my crisis plan and made sure that everything is in place if I need it. I’ve checked whether my crisis team are still contactable by phone, and checked in with my psychiatrist.
Keeping busy and sticking to my routine
I’ve been trying to stick to my usual routine and working schedule as much as possible. Since I work from home usually, this has been fairly easy for me, although I’ve found I need more rests as I’m not sleeping as well.
Distracting myself when my mind starts to spiral
When I find my find spiralling (meaning running away with itself and worrying about every possible thing that could go wrong) I distract myself to stop it in its tracks.
Trying to practice self-care when I feel anxiety rising
When I feel my anxiety levels rising, I take time to go and lie down for 10 minutes to relax before things escalate.
Trying to appreciate simple joys
I’ve been trying to appreciate what I do have and what I can do, rather than focusing on the negatives. This has helped me to feel more in control and much more positive.
Not being too hard on myself
When I do have a hard time or things don’t go to plan, I’ve tried to be understanding with myself and not be too harsh with myself about it, although this is much easier said than done.
It’s a hard time right now, and I’m struggling but at the same time, I feel that I’m coping fairly well with my struggles. I hope that you’re all doing as well as you can be. I’m sending my love to all of you.