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Living with Bipolar

Living with Bipolar
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Bipolar disorder affects a huge number of people in the UK, with one in twenty being on the spectrum and 1%-2% of the population having a diagnoses of it. With these stats in mind, it’s important to find ways to support yourself or others to live well alongside this condition.

Information is power!

Educate yourself through recommended websites and information. Trust the well-known big charities such as Mind and Bipolar UK and take your time to research the different perspectives from medics, mental health workers and people who have experience of living with this diagnoses.

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the general picture, take some time to explore your personal experience of Bipolar. There are online interactive tools that help you to assess how this condition affects you and what your unique experience of it is.

Get to know your signs and symptoms

In the same way that it makes sense to listen when we are tired or hungry, it also makes sense to take notice of when you can feel yourself becoming low or high. Many people say one of the hardest things about Bipolar is that they don’t want to give up the highs as they are so enjoyable. This is understandable, however if you are someone who’s highs leave you with difficult consequences (such as debt or losing friends) then be honest with yourself about the overall picture and ask a couple of people who you trust well to identify the signs and help catch the early stages of a manic episode.

Wellbeing

Living with BipolarLook after your wellbeing as a rule, not just when you feel unwell. If you commit to taking care of your physical  health with good diet and exercise and your mental health with meditation and relaxation, you will minimise the difficult symptoms of the highs and lows of bipolar because your body and mind will be more resourced to cope.

Get a support network that feels good

Ideally this would include someone who knows about medication such as a GP or psychiatrist so that you can discuss how you are finding your medicine and talk through any changes that are needed. A good support structure would also have people that you can talk very honestly with about how you feel and what you are going through. This may be friends, family members or professionals.

Labels shouldn’t define

Remember that the label and condition is not who you are, it is what you live with. People don’t say ‘I am cancer, or I am flu, they say I have …’ and the same goes for mental health diagnoses. Conditions that carry stigma like Bipolar, run the risk of engulfing the people that they affect, so regularly remind yourself of all the other things that make up your identity such as the activities that you enjoy, the values you believe in and the dreams you have for your life, so that bipolar stays appropriately proportioned in your life.

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About Jenny Smith

About Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith is a freelance writer and facilitator specialising in mental health, well-being and ecotherapy. She writes for National Mind and The Working Parent and facilitates training in the Work that Reconnects and Ecotherapy. She is inspired by nature, gardening, love and non-duality teachings

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