Posted by: Scott | 2012/02/03

Rules for coping with bipolar disorder

Hi doc

I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 about 2 years ago and although I drink a sizable -|- tail of anti-depros, anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers each day the meds only relieve about 50% of my symptoms. I have devised a set a set of rules to enable me to cope with this illness and all the challenges it brings and would just like to share with you and welcome any input where necessary.

Rule 1
Accepting this illness. It does not help to fight it, wish it away or kick against it. It is my reality and I need to deal with it. There is no silver bullet panacea and it something to managed and not cured.

Rule 2
Do not waste energy doing countless hours of research on the pro''s and con''s of medication, facts and figures of bipolar, visiting web forums and thinking, pondering and obsessing about this illness all the time. Rather find something to divert my attention away from it.

Rule 3
Developing a mental filtering system. Learn which negative thoughts, emotions and sensations are irrational and part of the illness and by not paying to much attention to them let them play themselves off in the background of my psyche. All legitimate negative thoughts and emotions (such as I need to pay my speeding ticket) need to be dealt with.

Rule 4
Stop thinking of the days before I got diagnosed with this illness as the " good old days"  and rather work constructively to see that even on this roller coaster there are good days.

Rule 5
Eat healthy food, do regular exercise and get sufficient rest.

Rule 6
Rather focus on all the positive aspects of my life (which are much more than the negative)

Rule 7
Socialise with positive people who are an inspiration and who think healthy in order for me to benefit from their thinking habits.

Sorry about the ramble but after 2 years of living with this condition I have recently revised my coping strategies and would love some professional opinions in it. In closing I can say that what makes mental illnesses so different and challenging in coping with to physical illnesses is the impact that it has on you as a person. People always say that one HAS flu, diabetes or cancer but when they talk about mental illness its always: you ARE depressed, bipolar or schitzophrenic.

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Our expert says:
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re point 1 : Yes. remarkably few diseases and disorders are ever cured. They can be managed, controlled to some extent, and lived with better in some ways than others.
Re point 2 --- well, obviously time spent on THIS forum is remarkably valuable. But the trouble with over-indulging in web research is its so hard for a layperson to evaluate whether you;re reading good stuff or the ravings of a fanatic. You're so riht about the need not to obsess --- to spnd as much time as possible, even when not well, being more than only one's illness or problems.
re point -- great smary of why i like CBT as a method, because it improves our skills at controlling unhelpful negative habits of thought and deed, and at distinguishing between things wory of our attention and concern, and things NOT thus worthy
re point. Yes. The good old days were never as good as they seem when we look back, and he challenge is to find an enjoy some good new days
re point 5 --- ALways worth doing
re point 6 Right --- not focussing on your posiives, is like ignoring the content of your bank account.
re point 7 Yes, otherwise it's like an alcoholic wanting to stay sober, spending each night in a pub and beriending only heavy drinkers.
Excellent thoughts. Though actually, having worked with all types of illness, the real difference is how some people have a disease, and some allow the disease to have them

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Our users say:
Posted by: Komal | 2012/02/18

I''m ipesesrmd by the resources here that are being put into supporting the elderly through depression. It''s a growing problem, as older people live more isolated lives. My dad has been helped tremendously by caring professionals, and I''m really grateful.

Reply to Komal
Posted by: Obvious | 2012/02/03

Two points

Whilst physical illness provides different challenges they also impact you as a person.

The reason one says you HAVE cancer etc rather than l ARE cancer is because it is grammatically correct.

Otherwise a sensible post.

Reply to Obvious

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