Through my years of being personally linked to a spouse who suffers from Bipolar Disorder, I have come to gain a lot of knowledge about the disease. The sufferer and those linked to them may lose all hope that there is no managing Bipolar but let me tell you…there is! Here are some ways we are managing Bipolar symptoms and find happiness.
The first few years of our relationship was so hard and honestly frightening. I was not prepared to deal with and support what I was experiencing. I came into the relationship only knowing that Bipolar was “moody” which I naively believed I could handle “no problem”!
The unexpected surprise of what Bipolar really consisted of was a harsh reality. So, after feeling many times that I would have to pack up our kids and leave for our and his protection, I realized that I was looking at it all the wrong way.
Beginning to dive deep into the world of information on managing Bipolar, I studied all I could get my hands on. The determination I had to learn the management skills to save him and our family, was overwhelming. I lost one spouse and I wasn’t ready to lose another…and neither were our children.
Step One – Medication
We found a fantastic family doctor and a psychiatrist who was so readily helpful. They would suggest what cocktail of medications to try and after years of trial and error with some of the medications, we have now hit the jackpot with his current combination.
Now I must add that not all medications work the same on every individual. So you do have to go through the unfortunate trials of your own, but when you do finally find that right blend, it is so amazing and worth it!
That was step one of our managing Bipolar success. But, being on the severe end of the Bipolar spectrum, and suffering from social anxiety and learning blocks factored in, he still had mood crashes, depression
Step Two – Exercise and Routine
Now is when step two of our management strategies came into play. Exercise and a daily routine. These two strategies are vital to coping daily with Bipolar. Fatigue is such a huge part of Bipolar that a sufferer often feels they cannot push forward in their days. And some days, you may need that time to go and sleep until you can cope.
You will, however, find that the more that you can push yourself to be active and focused on something, the more you will not have the mood drops that cause that feeling of wanting to sleep.
In my spouse’s experience, through his very low times, he was inactive and had no daily schedule or focuses. Too much time to think is bad for anyone but someone suffering from Bipolar will bring very serious and sometimes dangerous thoughts.
My spouse has had to retire in his 40’s due to his Bipolar Disorder as his track record of employment experiences was less than good by a long shot. He is on a permanent disability pension and the sudden inactivity was too much for him. We just didn’t realize the negative effects it has had until lately.
He has in this past few months found a woodworking hobby. His new hobby has completely changed everything to the positive in his days. The routine, focus, and physical activity have been the turning point in his Bipolar Disorder. Our family for the first time is functioning for the majority,
Step Three – Quiet Individual Time
For step three, I have learned that someone with Bipolar has a very small tolerance for noise and stress. So another important management of Bipolar is the family of the sufferer must give them “quiet times” without the noise and pressures of family life around them constantly.
When it is safe to leave them to themselves and they are at the point of that need, go out for several hours or a day to respect that need. They will miss you and often show that they did upon your return. But you will have blessed them with some refreshing time alone.
Step Four – Words
Step four brings us to words. Words hurt any of us but a Bipolar sufferer is very delicate in their emotions and how they interpret statements and words spoken to them. What may seem like an innocent statement to most may not be to a person with Bipolar.
So always go the best route in your conversations with them and try to keep the content as positive as possible. You can scholar your children in their ways they approach them through conversation and interactions as well. Positive = happy a lot of the time in managing Bipolar.
Step Five – Nutrition
And step five is another very important key in Bipolar management. Nutrition! Some enemies of Bipolar management are sugar, too much caffeine or alcohol, and poor nutritional eating habits.
Since my spouse who had a sugar addiction ruled out 90% of his sugar intake, it has made a huge difference in mood management and he has lost almost 70 pounds in under two years! That has driven his ability and desire to be much more active.
He limits himself to one coffee per day and has made a pretty good effort to eat more fruit and veggies I include in our diet. Fried foods we do eat but less of. Processed foods are a danger to health in general but are an added heal danger to those already suffering health problems.
Step Six – Habits
Now, number six. Good, clean, positive habits. Things you watch and activities you partake in can be a major and overpowering temptation to a Bipolar sufferer as
Step Seven – Sleep
And lastly, number six. Sleep. A very helpful tip is to try to follow a good sleep pattern. Try to go to bed within about the same hour each night and get a recommended 8 hours or close to. Lack of sleep makes any of us function poorly but managing Bipolar requires adequate sleep.
These are the ways we have turned the Bipolar suffering around for my spouse and the rest of the family. There are many coping strategies and I have listed the most important here.
You may find several more healthy ways to help manage Bipolar disorder but I do hope our strategies can help you or someone you know to live a happier and healthier existence in your daily lives. Here are some links that really helped us through managing Bipolar and gave us more knowledge.