Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme fluctuations of emotion, from tremendously upbeat and capable mania to feeling completely paralyzed and incapable, known as depressive episodes. Feelings of sadness and self-reproach make even simple tasks like conversing or grooming seem monumental, and working feels impossible. Many with the disorder say these emotional shifts are triggered by certain situations. Monitoring those triggers can reduce the number and severity of bipolar episodes.
Sleep – the Right Amount
Not enough sleep can trigger depression. What might make a non-bipolar person just a bit cranky can set off days or weeks of unpleasantness. On the other hand, too much sleep can also initiate problems. The best results come from a well-regulated sleep schedule.
Going to bed the same time each night and rising at the same time each morning is key to stabilizing mood. It will mean going to bed ahead of others on occasion, but the pay-off for regularity is more desirable than the cost of interrupted sleep.
Stress – At Home or at the Office
No one likes stress, but for the person with bipolar unmanaged stress can derail an entire week. Part of positive stress management is learning how to take control of thoughts and feelings regarding stressful situations.
Whether it’s office pressures or conflicts at home a good portion of the negative experience is brought on by how we frame these issues in our mind. Stress is unavoidable, but learning sound coping skills can lessen the impact. Part of stress reduction must be regular counseling sessions where these skills are honed and developed.
Medication – Faithfulness Above All
Medications are designed to be effective when taken in a steady dose, and bipolar disorder medication is no different. Forgetting to take one’s meds will affect chemical balances in the body and sooner or later unwanted symptoms will start to appear.
Make sure to take medication on the days you feel on top of the world. Make sure to take it even when swallowing it feels like a huge demand. Take it every day in-between. Medication compliance is a strong defense against an unnecessary episode, or one that is unnecessarily pronounced.