Weathering My Bipolar Disorder 'Storm'
A lot of folks are getting to understand the nature of bipolar disorder and what it can do to a person. The “hurricanes” of emotions – high or low or both — and the aftermath can be daunting to consider.
However, I would have to say the “storms” in your mind can be weathered and the sun does shine many days.
What could you do to make this happen so you can thrive despite it all? Here’s what I’ve learned so far…
1. Know the storms are coming. They are a reality that one needs to accept and make preparations for. Have safety plans and people who can help you in your time of need.
2. Remember that storms will pass. They can be scary and ugly and cause some damage. But they do end.
3. Try to find the eye of the storm while you’re in it. Use your supports to help you find that place. It’s the place you can sit and recognize what is happening to you and hold yourself in compassion. Some people find it with the help of others, some can find it in their own minds, or some find it in the hospital.
4. Give yourself time in the “cleanup phase” to get back on your feet. Think about the cleanup after a storm… power needs restored, houses need repairs… your body and mind also need TLC after things settle.
5. Enjoy the sunshine. When it comes, bask in it and appreciate your stability for the gift that it is. Get things done or rest, or both, whatever works for you. Praise yourself for your strength.
6. Make the most of the lessons. I believe each storm holds a lesson to be learned about yourself, your illness, your supports (or need for them), and your general resilience. Store those lessons to help you be even more prepared for the next storm.
I’m in the eye of a mixed-mood storm right now. It’s whipping around me, and I get caught in it often. But I have to believe it’s going to end and take care of myself until it does.
I might have bipolar, but I won’t let it have me.
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Thinkstock photo by Ryan McVay