What I do when bipolar makes things tough.
Sometimes we all need reminders. Even though I write almost every day about positivity and how to live successfully with bipolar disorder, I’m not always good about following my advice.
There are days when bipolar attacks me like a rabid dog and then pins me to the ground with the force of 100 men. On those days, I let myself have a good old-fashioned pity party. I don’t recommend doing it a lot, but there is some catharsis in letting yourself be in the dumps and whine about your lot in life.
It sucks to have a mental illness, especially when you know it’s likely to be part of your life all of your days. It’s why I recommend grieving the life that you thought you would have before your bipolar diagnosis.Start Today!
A pity party is healing for a day or two, and it’s helpful to get all the garbage out of your head by venting to someone or in your journal. But then it’s time to get back to work.
What do I do? The same things that I tell you to do.
First, I get out my journal. If I’ve not written in it for a few days, I explore the reason why. I ask myself questions like, What’s going on that I don’t want to write about? What am I feeling? What’s holding me back?
If I have been writing, I look through the last several entries to see if there are any trends. Is there a specific topic that keeps coming up or a person I keep drifting back to?
Many times, my worst days are because I’m refusing to face something head on.
When my journal reveals nothing, what do I do next? I hit my gratitude jar. I look at all the reasons I have to be grateful.
If you’re not already keeping a gratitude jar, you can find instructions on how to make one here. The great thing about a gratitude jar is that you can see the good things in your life and they’re written in your own handwriting. How can you argue with you?
Okay, so I know you can, but it’s harder to argue with yourself.
Next, I check my habits. Am I taking my meds every day at the right times? Am I eating healthy food? How are my sleep habits?
Usually, at least one thing is slipping. And truth be told, it’s usually the food part. What can I say? I love me some junk food. Hello, Cheetos!
If I do all these steps, and still don’t feel like I’m myself, then I just settle in. I know that the worst days always have an expiration date. Things may be dark today, but the sun always comes up.
I’ve lived with mental illness long enough to know that every awful episode eventually ends. You just have to hold on.
One thing that really helps me to stay on the positive side of life is writing the daily posts for the Positivity Club. One story that sticks with me is How To Cause a Chain Reaction of Positivity. I first it shared in the Club a few months ago. I hope it helps you find your way back to the light.
There will be times when bipolar walks up and smacks you upside the back of the head. You will have bad days, and they may last for a while. But if you keep doing the right things on the better days, you’ll have the strength to make it through even the darkest days.
If, like me, you’ve been slipping to the wrong side of the attitude scale, admit it to yourself today. Then, take positive steps and get back to work. You are strong, and you will fight and win this battle.
Until next time, keep fighting.