Set a Goal to get More Control over Your Bipolar.
Over the years I’ve learned how to have more control of my bipolar.
I’ve been extremely sick, with deep depressions, long hypomania's that caused irresponsible dangerous behavior and paranoid psychosis, being an overmedicated zombie, having hash addictions, years of wanting to die, mixed episodes, never knowing what mood I would wake up in and have been hospitalized 5 times.
But I’ll rather tell you about how I’ve learned to have more control of my bipolar than my medical history, since I was diagnosed in 2008 (been sick since 2006).
I decided to change my life and I set a goal: to have longer stable periods, be able to work for at least a few hours a week, and to one day get so far that I could motivate and maybe help others learn how to have more control over their bipolar.
“Along the way, I paid attention to what caused unbalances and how to either avoid those things altogether or learn how to compromise with them. “
Let's get straight to it!
I had/have to find out what triggered my bipolar symptoms. I found these triggers:
· Communication, especially conversations. Face to Face, phone calls and especially texting.
· Action and drama series/movies.
· Dramatic people. People talking about their problems but not doing anything to make it better. Negative people.
· Dating. I get stressed and confused about the “dating rules”.
· Sleeping less than 9 hours.
· Moving fast, hurrying, being busy.
· Too many activities over a longer period. Even good ones.
· Noise, crowds, fast movements... pretty much living in a big city.
· Learning something new, trying to remember it and if they then change what I’ve done or learned.
· Spending too much time on my phone.
· And more...
So why do these things trigger my bipolar?
· I’m very sensitive to all kinds of stimulation, so I get overstimulated quickly.
· I get overstimulated and my brain gets stressed from the type of music/sounds they use in action and drama series/movies, plus the fast movements, scary scenes, conflicts, high energy, etc.
· It’s draining to get to know a new person and hard to open up/ trust.
· Conversations face to face or on the phone don’t give me time to reflect and when I get interrupted, I lose track of the conversation. Having to reply between the persons sentences is annoying to me. Small talk drains me! Debates and discussions are too fast for me. It somehow gets noisy. There’s nothing wrong with my intelligence, but other parts of my brain just don’t function normally or have the same resources as a normal brain.
· Conversations over text …. my fingers don’t have the patience, so my body gets total stress from all the typos. My mind (when I express myself) works faster than my fingers.
· My triggers get my pulse to rise by being distressing, annoying, uncomfortable or causes overthinking. Too much for my brain to absorb and my body to deal with.
· Because of the medication, I have to sleep for 10-12 hours, but also because my brain just needs extra rest/time to wash (yup the brain washes with water. No joke!)
What are my symptoms: (this is very important!)
· I get problems with taking deep breaths. I start yawning to get oxygen.
· I get an irritable claustrophobic sensation in my body.
· I tens my body parts.
· I clench my jaw/teeth.
· I feel like my body/chest wants to cry.
· I scratch myself or blink my eyes a lot.
· I feel very low in energy.
· I feel sad for no reason (not at a depression level yet).
· I get snappy, angry, aggressive.
· I withdraw socially.
· I feel too happy like I’m on coke.
· I feel over-energetic in my body.
· I do stupid irresponsible things while being too happy.
· I do things that are unsafe.
So, what do I do with these triggers and how do I take advantage of knowing the symptoms, telling me that if I don’t act now I’ll either get in a deep hole or f*ck my life up.... and end up in a deep hole.
I know I’m totally overstimulated and used up, so I have to remove things and/or people who are causing me negative stress first. For good!
That can be:
· Cutting off dramatic or negative people.
· Cutting off a man who causes emotional stress or confusion.
Even if it’s someone from my family!
· Stop doing stupid things. You know those things we know are unhealthy, but they’re hard to give up or change.
“Here comes the hard part: take a break from or stop doing positive things.”
Because they’re also stimulating me and if I have the above symptoms it means I’m overstimulated even by good things; things I like to do or hanging out with good people.
So, I’ll for example:
· Stop going to the gym with friends and go alone instead (for a while).
· Cut down the hours at work (I love my job)
· Stop an activity altogether. The least favorite one. That’s hard when you only have things you like to do to choose from.
· Don’t go out for a while. I love going to café's, bars and nightclubs.
· Take a break from hanging with friends.
· Take a break from social media
· Turn off my phone completely
· Turn off all electricity.
So, what can I do to feel better during those situations?
My tools to avoid depression or minimize it are:
· I watch calm old British crime series or stand up comedy and I snack.
· Get hugs
· Spend time alone with my mom and her dog. He rests on me when he can feel I’m not ok.
· I sleep more or just lay in bed doing absolutely nothing for hours or days. I sometimes take sleeping pills till I can feel it’s over.
· Make audio messages to my best friend, using it as therapy.
· Video call my ex (other best friend) who tells me all the things I need to hear. Reminds me that I’ll feel good soon again. I can cry when I talk to him. Most of the time I can't cry in general.
My tools to stop the hypomania is:
· Call my third best friend. She can knock me down in one conversation. It’s like those challenges/games where you hammer a nail or wooden stick into a tree stump. One blow at a time and at the end of the conversation I’m sitting calmly and I/she just prevented me going bat shit crazy.
· Snack and watch calm series. That’s my solution for everything.
· Force me to sit down. It’s a battle trying to stop the hypomania. It’s like calming down a 5-year-old on speed!
My greatest tools for having become more and more stable over the years, having fewer episodes and them being shorter and milder is my thoughts. My stubborn mind.
“After 6 years of being a deeply depressed, anxious, paranoid, psychotic, overmedicated, wrongly medicated, irresponsible hypomanic, hash addict with repeated long visits at the psychiatrist hospital always being told that I’d never get any better... One doctor told me that she believed in me and I could take control of my bipolar. That it was all in my mind and my mind could change my actions and that would change my life completely. It did!“
I set a goal!
That I would reach a point in my life where I would no longer be 100% economically supported by the government.
That one day I would reach a level of stability that would make it possible to work some hours and make some of my money myself. That one day I would need less medicine and my biggest goal was that one day I could stand in front of people telling them my story and maybe help one person getting more control over their mental illness as well.
I decided that from now on I would fight for that and I would learn to take control over my mind and my life. I never expected that it would happen fast, but I would get there if I never gave up. No matter how hard life hit me and how many times it knocked me down, I’d get back up even stronger and have learned more about my illness.
When that one doctor told me that it was possible, that she’d seen others in the same deep hole rise, so could I and I have. I do it every day.
My brain gets stronger and stronger. I don’t have that many depressed episodes and the ones I have are way less scary.
I no longer wish to die every day.
The last time I was hypomanic was 5 days in January 2017.
“I’ve become an introvert person. I spend a lot of time on my own and I enjoy it.“
It so calming and since I’ve dealt with so much of the trauma I’ve been through in life, I don’t do much negative overthinking anymore. So, my mind is a nicer place to be in now.
I stay positive, the majority of the time. I look for solutions and ways to get even stronger in my mind.
I work out. Fitness has saved my life. It's 50% of the reason I feel so much better and can take less medicine (I don’t take any for hypomania anymore).
When I do good, I tell myself! When something hurts me, I find out why and what to do about it. I’m told that I think too much, but that’s what’s helping me.
Some people see me as cold or arrogant when they don’t know me. I’m not. I’ve just become very tough and I’m proud of myself. It’s hard for me to be vulnerable. That’s something I’m practicing now. One step at a time.
It’s taken me 7 years to get to where I am now since the doctor told me she believed in me and she’s my angel!
I do have a lot of control over my illness now. Life can get even better and so can I, but I am so thankful for no longer suffering as I did before.
Compared to many people without mental illness, I’m still challenged, but my mood is stable most of the time and I’m happy most of the time.
I’m not earning some of my own money yet and I haven't stood in front of a crowd telling them my story, but I have an Instagram account I get so much positive feedback from.
I've started opening up about my bipolar there and on my new blog. I’ve been asked to write articles to this amazing website and there’s a chance that someone reads this and believes that they can get more control over their illness, have a much better life and feel so much better inside.
I know you can!
Take the first step and make a goal. Make that goal!
Dig deep for your dream and go for it. It might take years, but every year you’ll feel better and better and one day the goal will be in your reach. Maybe in another form as what has happened in my case now.
I didn’t get the job first and started doing speeches afterward to educate people about what bipolar is.
I opened up on social media and I’ve become someone relatable for people with mental illness. To my surprise! I suddenly have a voice. I make a difference.
I make people laugh and motivate them to get better. I never saw this coming and it wasn’t even my plan when I started my Instagram account. I just needed an outlet and I was lonely with my illness.
“Now I’m connecting with beautiful people around the world who feel alone with their illnesses. needing someone to relate to. I couldn’t be happier and more humbled.“
So, my hard shell is breaking down and all my amazing followers are allowing me to be vulnerable and fierce at the same time. I add value to people's lives, while they also support me and add value to my life.
I’m so thankful for someone believing in me 7 years ago and helped me take the first step to be happy. Like I am (most of the time) now.
Make that goal and believe in your ability and strength.
I believe in you.