If you are a person suffering from bipolar disorder (or what used to be called manic depression) you already know that the extreme mood swings and the emotional highs and lows can completely derail your day and your life, if not handled with self-care and compassion.
If you haven’t been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but recognize some of the following symptoms in yourself, these tips can help, but it is important to seek help from a licensed professional for diagnosis and next steps.
Some common effects of bipolar mood swings include sleep deprivation or insomnia, anger and irritability, inability to think clearly, leading to detrimental impacts to work, relationships and health.
Educating yourself about how bipolar disorder can manifest in your symptoms, and how your behavior can change based on the manic and depressive episodes can help you recognize and identify such behaviors in yourself. Educating yourself is the first step you can take towards helping yourself.
Each person experiences their bipolar symptoms differently. Keeping a daily journal of your moods, feelings, emotions and thoughts is a great way to track your symptoms so that you can recognize patterns of behavior and the triggers that may be causing them. Doing this can help you prevent or manage your symptoms before or during an episode.
Your therapist may be able to provide you some guidance on coping skills that can work specifically for your condition, and in addition, you can experiment and add to the toolkit of activities, so that you can implement them when you need them. Creating this toolkit for yourself ensures that you have a planned way to manage your symptoms as they occur.
Despite all your coping skills, there are times that an episode may get out of control, and in times of crisis, it is important to have an emergency plan to fall back on. Your emergency plan may include people to contact, medication information, a list of hotline numbers, or any other alternatives that you think can help you in such a situation.
Isolation and lack of social connection can often lead to depressive or manic episodes, so it is important to create a support system of family, friends, therapists and counselors who have your best interests in mind, and have the ability to help you prevent or work through the emotions and mood swings you may encounter on a daily basis.
If you recognize yourself in one or more of the above, take the first step of reaching out for help. Taking that first step can be a huge relief to unburden yourself of your issues and be able to receive help that you didn’t know you needed. Call us to see how we can help.
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