"I realized that bipolar disorder may be a part of my life, but it isn't who I am." -Demi Lovato.
Bipolar disorder is not just about the moods, it can disrupt your life until you can no longer recognize yourself.
The waves of bipolar when full blown cannot be managed without medication. And there is no shame in asking for help, 'again and again' as bipolar is not curable. And that’s okay. You are not alone. And it can be managed with and sometimes without medication.
There are many reasons bipolar people might refuse medical treatment. It could be financial pressure or the negative side effects of long-term use of drugs or the simple longing to feel the elevated mood(Hypomania/mania) a bipolar feel’s - Where a person might become hyperactive in a productive way. They may feel euphoria, increased intellect or becoming insightful plus increased confidence. Their creativity as well goes up a notch. These symptoms may appear as if they are harmless and they are to an extent but when mania increases they all may lead to negative roads. Sleep disorders. Psychosis (Hallucinations / Paranoia). Irritability. Racing thoughts. Carelessness. Risky behavior. Impulsivity. Grandiose delusions.
The depressive side of bipolar is no joke either. Every task feels like a burden. It might feel like being in a hellhole with the same repetitive thoughts that hurt. People might try to numb the pain which may give rise to substance abuse issues. Suicidal ideation is also a major symptom of the disorder.
All these symptoms CAN BE MANAGED, CONTROLLED AND EVEN USED TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. There is always hope.
Here are a few ways to manage the disorder without medication:
[NOTE: Every individual is unique and what works for one might not work for another.]
1) Exercise: I write this first because of the simple mechanism it works with, it activates brain pleasure system. Therefore, it induces ‘feel-good’ hormones. It increases blood circulation and promotes good physical health as well.
2) Maintaining a mood journal: This is a must. As it helps with dealing and coping better. There are questions to be asked. Like ‘finding the triggers.’ ‘Situations that caused stress.’ ‘What made you feel better?’ ‘Was there anything you could have done differently?’ These questions help build up resilience. [Resilience doesn’t mean that you won’t feel. It means you will feel but you will bounce back much faster. People with mental illnesses usually have a weak resilience but the ones who survive end up having more resilience than the average point.
4) Diet: This requires a whole article in itself. But the things that should be avoided are, artificial sweeteners, sodas, processed foods, jams, jellies- these cause a severe hormonal imbalance to everyone not just people with mental illnesses.
5) Avoid negative people: INFLUENCE matters. Some people are just not good for you. That’s it.
6) Omega-3 fatty acids: These with a proper healthy diet can make u better. Happier.
7) Light manipulation: The sun is our friend. Sunlight is important as well as darkness as both help with the wake(cortisol) and sleep(melatonin) hormones, respectively. -You cannot sacrifice sleep. The more healthy your sleep cycle is the better your mental health will be.
8) Psychological and self-help techniques: These can be best learned by going to therapy and/or reading self-help books.
Do not give up. I know its easier said than done but there's so much more to life than just running in circles of despair. Life gets better. Sometimes not quick enough but the wait will be worth it. Have this belief- Being bipolar is not a curse, it's a blessing.