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What Helps Pat, 65, With Bipolar Disorder

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Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

With our ongoing “What Helps Me” series, The Mighty is leaning into what sets us apart from other health sites: We aim to provide real health advice from real people who live it.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

In this spirit, we asked our community for the best insights and tips they’ve developed for managing their conditions. As always, they responded with their unique health stories and we are happy to pass along their well-tested resources to you.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Today, we meet Mighty member Pat. She is 65 years old and lives with bipolar disorder.

Pat, what helps you?

THE MIGHTY: What helps you most when your condition affects your physical health?

PAT: Sleep and exercise both help me. Sleep is the best respite I can get from the struggle of bipolar depression. While I’m asleep, I don’t have depressed thoughts or suicidal thinking. Exercise gets my blood pumping, which helps me too. If I can get out of bed, I put in earbuds and go for a walk.

What helps you most when your condition affects your mental health?

Mindfulness and meditation are both very helpful to me. They let my thoughts slow down, so I have a higher chance of focusing on something positive. Music is also a huge help to me. Sad music can help me feel “held” and understood — it matches my mood. Happy music can help pull my mood up. It just has to be the right music at the right time.

How do you cope when your normal self-care isn’t working?

I talk with my therapist. He offers me the ability to email between sessions, and I process feelings better in writing than by talking, so this is a really valuable tool for me. It lessens my feelings of loneliness because I know my therapist is there. This also helps with the kind of mindset that sets in when my symptoms are really severe. I tend to forget all my coping tools, and he will gently remind me of something I can do to cope.

Originally published: June 22, 2022
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