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5 Not-So-Obvious Ways Bipolar Affects Me

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There are things you have no clue about until it happens to you. You go through life and can’t understand what others are dealing with until you walk their same path. I remember the days before bipolar struck, and remember how hard it was to adjust my life to this disorder. These are some not-so-obvious ways living with bipolar disorder has affected my life.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

1. I have to have a routine.

Before bipolar, I didn’t have to stick to a schedule. Now, it’s so important for me to have a routine. I have to go to bed at a certain time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. If I stray from this, I have a tough day filled with depression and irritability. Sometimes if I don’t stick to this routine, I end up so depressed that I get nothing done all day. I can’t go to work, and I stare at my phone wishing for the motivation to do something, anything, but I just can’t. This is why it’s imperative I stick to my schedule.

2. I depend on medication.

Before bipolar, I didn’t have to take medication in order to function. Now, I can’t survive without medication. The times when I went without medication, or my medication didn’t work, were some of the most disastrous times in my life. During these times, my mind didn’t shut down; the thoughts constantly raced with no reprieve. My moods fluctuated like a roller coaster with no end in sight. The pain of this relentless torture often led to repeated thoughts of suicide. This is why I take my medication every night and never miss a dose.

3. I have to watch what I eat.

Before bipolar, I could eat junk food and drink as much caffeine as I wanted to. Now, I have to watch what I put into my body. Too much caffeine can affect my moods and ruin my whole day. It’s not fun to have to try and reign in the irritability caused from the caffeine. Too much junk food can make me spiral into a depression. I also engage in moderate exercise a couple of times a week to keep my moods in check. This is why I drink very little caffeine, eat a balanced diet without too many processed foods and exercise regularly.

 4. It makes me feel guilty.

Before bipolar, I didn’t have to see a counselor regularly. Now, I have to see a counselor. I deal with the heavy weight of guilt following me around everywhere. I feel guilty for getting sick. I feel guilty for the things I did while I was sick. I feel guilty for not getting more done. I feel guilty for not being normal like everyone else. This is why I talk it out with someone more knowledgeable than me.

5. I struggle with negative thoughts. 

Before bipolar, I didn’t have many negative thoughts. Now, I frequently have to deal with negative thoughts. These negative thoughts are mostly self-deprecation and anxiety. I have learned how to redirect these thoughts. I have to endlessly talk myself out of my vivid, imaginative fears about something bad happening to me or a loved one. I have to battle self-deprecating thoughts with positive thoughts about myself. This is why I have become good at redirecting my thoughts.

What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo by Ansley Ventura on Unsplash

Originally published: May 23, 2019
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