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11 Unexpected Tips for Fighting Off a Bipolar Depressive Episode

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Everyone feels “low” from time to time. However, experiencing a bipolar depressive episode is more than just feeling low. For some, it’s losing interest in the things you once loved to do. For others, it’s feeling worthless or hopeless. Whatever symptoms of bipolar depression affect you the most, we are here to help you through it.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

Common ways people fight off bipolar depressive episodes can range from eating healthier to listening to relatable songs to spending time outside to exercising more often. While these ways are great and work for many people, we wanted to know what “unexpected” tips people have for getting through their bipolar depressive episodes.

That’s why we asked members of our bipolar and mental health communities to give us their tips for keeping their bipolar depressive episodes in check. Along with their suggestions, we’ve included a few of our own. We hope you find these tips helpful.

Here’s what our community members had to say:

1. Changing Your Hair Color

When you’re feeling down, sometimes shaking things up a bit can help. If you’re feeling adventurous, changing up your hairstyle can be a fun way to practice self-care.

“Do something fun that makes you happy. I have been fighting off a funk and today was a great day to go blue! I have been saving up for a fun hair makeover for a while and this, honestly, this has made my whole month! I feel like a new person,” Rebecca K. shared.

2. Getting a Tattoo

There are plenty of reasons to want a tattoo. They can be reminders of your journey through life with bipolar or they could just be fun designs to look at when you’re feeling low. If you’re someone who enjoys getting tattoos, getting a new tattoo may be something that helps lift you out of a depressive fog.

“Getting a new tattoo. It keeps me from self-harming and never fails to get me excited. I adore my tattooist — she is such a beautiful human and as I have to travel to see her, I make a special day of it,” Gaia F. shared.

3. Buying New Makeup

If changing up your look makes you feel better but you don’t want something permanent, you can consider buying new makeup or another beauty or fashion item. Trying out a new look can sometimes lift your spirit.

Buying a new piece of makeup encourages me to get up and try it out,” Emily W. wrote.

4. Playing Video Games

Sometimes we need a little break from real life. Playing video games for a little bit might help distract your mind to the point where you’re able to think about your situation from a different perspective.

Honestly? Playing video games. Getting lost in a virtual world for 30 to 45 minutes helped me calm down. When I was done with those I’d be able to ‘think myself out’ of an episode with rational thoughts,”  Andrea L. shared.

5. Caring for Plants

One of the pieces of advice people who are struggling with depression might often hear is: “go outside and be in nature.” When it’s too difficult to go outside, why not bring nature to you? Caring for a low-maintenance plant will not only spruce up your living space, but it might also help you feel better.

6. Watching Your Favorite TV Series

It’s easy to get lost in a TV show’s story arc. Maybe you have a favorite TV series you like to watch whose characters are super relatable. Or maybe you prefer to watch reruns of your favorite childhood show. Whatever the case may be, curling up on the couch or in your bed and watching some TV might make the tough stuff you’re going through a bit more bearable.

Watching ‘X-Files.’ For 10 years it’s always been my go-to when it comes to a bad episode,” Brittany T. wrote.

7. Starting a Blog

Writing for yourself can be therapeutic and help lift yourself out of a bipolar depressive episode. Putting your words out there for others to read might bring you the strength and support you need to feel better. Whether you start your own blog page or you submit to The Mighty, you’re bound to find support from those who can relate to what you’re going through.

“I blog, although not since December. The first half of this year has been pretty good,” Courtney L. shared.

8. Screaming

When you’re experiencing a bipolar depressive episode, you might feel a whole range of emotions building up. You may feel irritable and want to scream — do it! It’s OK to let it all out. Just make sure if you’re not able to be alone that your family or roommates know why you’re screaming (or scream into a pillow to muffle the sound a bit).

9. Participating in “Role-Playing” Games

Playing a role-playing game with friends can be helpful in fighting off a bipolar depressive episode. Being around others means you’re not isolating yourself and in playing a role-playing game you’re engaging in an activity that lets you unleash your creativity by creating a character you will portray. If you’re not familiar with role-playing games, think of it this way: it’s kind of like playing The Sims but you’re using a board game and playing with friends.

10. Looking at Pictures of Loved Ones

Remembering that you have a network of people who love and support you can sometimes be tough when you are struggling. Looking at pictures of your loved ones — whether that’s friends, family, a partner or all of the above — can remind you that there are people who love and care about you. After you look at those pictures, make sure to reach out to them and see if you can make plans to spend time together to create even more memories.

“Look at pictures of you with your friends, it’s very encouraging,” Lauren B. wrote.

11. Playing With a Pet

Having a pet or spending time with animals can be great for your health. Your pet does not have to be a service animal to help with your mental health recovery. Having a pet as a companion — whether it be a dog, cat, fish, horse or some other animal — can remind you you’re loved. This reminder might help lift you out of the depths of a bipolar depressive episode.

“I have a pet Russian tortoise and when I’m starting to feel low, I take her out of her enclosure and let her walk around and play with her because she’s super adorable,” Katherine K. shared.

If you’re struggling with a bipolar depressive episode, we hope that these tips help you feel a little better. It’s important to know that you don’t have to go through this alone and it’s OK to feel the way that you’re feeling. If you need a place to put your thoughts, you can always post in The Mighty community using the hashtag #CheckInWithMe. You will be met with nothing but support.

For more stories about how to care for yourself or someone going through a bipolar depressive episode, check out these stories from our community:

Originally published: June 25, 2019
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