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We're Gonna Win, Despite Our Bipolar Diagnosis!

by Chuck Hinson 3 years ago in bipolar
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Part III of a Series to Help You Do Just That!!

In my last post, I listed a number of toll-free numbers that we can use in the event we need someone to talk to, and help us through a "cycle" (the word's used to describe either a manic or depressive stage). Then we covered the issue of medications (and, listen, I can't be too emphatic on this: If you've been prescribed med(s) to help you, then take them regularly! Don't skip a dose, or take too many of them! If you have bad side effects, discuss this with your psychiatrist. He or she can find a better one for you).

Then we talked about "triggers"—those occurrences that can cause you to begin a bipolar episode. At the end of this article, I'll post Part II so you can re-read it.

Now, another activity that can help us is to keep a written journal of how we're feeling—and, in this one, we need to let our feelings out completely (meaning "no holds barred"). It doesn't matter what we say on it (even if we "cuss up a storm"), or how it looks, because it's just meant for us (meaning, each individual writer)!! Whenever we really feel depressed, sometimes writing it all down, in no uncertain terms, helps out. And it doesn't matter if it's one page, or ends up the size of a dictionary—just getting it out can help.

When we're first faced with the occurrences that can go into our journals, we can do this (it's worked for me, my Charlotte friend Becky, and thousands of others):

Breathe slowly and deeply. Before reacting, take three deep breaths, and release them slowly.

Straightening our posture, keep our heads physically level. Then, as we speak, we do so more slowly than usual. Pronounce every word correctly (another bipolar patient told me this is reminiscent of an English teacher correcting one of her students!).

It bears repeating: Get outdoors for a brief break. You know, our parents or grandparents told us to "go outside" whenever we were upset, and they were right! With the beauty of the outdoors, the crisp air, Vitamin D from the sunshine, and endorphins it triggers in our minds, being outside definitely has healing qualities!

Be sure to drink plenty of water, and eat small, nutritious snacks. Don't "chug" or "gobble" these, either; we need to take our time with each drink or snack—that actually helps to calm us down, just as our breathing did in that earlier tip.

Now, at the end of our day, no matter how stressful is was, we can give ourselves a reward, even if it's just a good, relaxing bath, reading a good book, or watching a favorite TV show (by the way, if you have a cat, put your head on its side while it's relaxing, and just listen to it purr. For years, studies have shown that a cat's purring has a way of calming us down—and, as the owner of three Persians, I can attest to that).

I'm sure we've all come across people who are prejudiced against us because we're bipolar (no matter how they learned of it. That's why it's important never to "wear it on your sleeve," or tell just anybody you have it. They're more apt to make "snap judgments" about you, thanks to what they've heard on TV crime shows, or heard on the news).

More often than not, these people don't understand bipolar disorder except for what they've heard. If they're like this (and, yes, I've lost a few friends who found out), the best thing we can do is let them go their own way. If they return, they may be curious, and want to know more about the disorder we have. In time, that can establish a dialogue between you and that person.

If they don't then chances are they have other prejudices, such as against people of color. We're better off knowing their prejudice now than to know them and then find out. So just let them go. Again, we look at the "perspective" angle in this: there are thousands of people in our area, and millions across this country—and many of them will certainly understand and accept us. We can find many of them on Facebook (a good one to start with is here).

But, in either case, the best way to handle them is to smile and walk away (or, if at work, continue your duties) politely. By this, we show that we can't be made upset by their actions (they often look to bipolars for adverse reactions, much like school bullies who wanted to unnerve us and make us mad).

There's still a lot of ground to cover—including our next one, which deals with one of the biggest triggers of our disorder: looking back at the past. We have to remember that past issues—no matter what they are—are history, and we can't bring them back. All we have to deal with is what we have right this very moment. And the way we deal with it can set the stage, and pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. More about that in the next post. For now, let's re-read Part II:


About the author

Chuck Hinson

Chuck Hinson is a freelance writer, entertainment publicist, blogger and record promoter.

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