By no means do I have all the right answers, but I have learned some valuable lessons along the way. I wish I had someone with bipolar who walked along side of me to help me get through the highs and lows and everything in between by sharing their bipolar advice. That would have saved me a lot of headache. I must be honest, there were times it was so difficult, I thought about suicide. Then there were times when I couldn’t wait to share what I had learned with someone else in order to help them. The path of bipolar is different for everybody. However, you can learn from other people’s mistakes and lessons learned which can make it much easier on you.
Below are some lessons I have learned along the way.
Bipolar Advice #1: Medications
Medicine, I have learned, is just a part of the solution. I believe that at the beginning I put too much faith in my medicine. To me, it was the be-all and end-all of my treatment. I have learned since then that medicine takes you only so far and my bipolar advice is that therapy, support groups, friends and family, and your faith in God takes you the rest of the way.
I have been on so many drugs, I have lost count. To be honest, I was probably a bit melodramatic back then concerning side effects so I’m sure whatever happened was blown out of proportion some of the time. Try your best to look at new medication with unbiased eyes. It is important to be aware of the possible side effects. Do not focus on the side effects. Focus on what the drug was prescribed for you to take.
Be patient in the process of tweaking your medicine. It has taken me nine years to get this latest cocktail of drugs. It is not perfect, but pretty close. Each person’s body chemistry is different. Be flexible. It might take you only a few months to get your medicines right for you or it can take longer. However, time allows for trust in a medicine. What happened would be I became too trusting too soon of the latest med prescribed to me. My word of advice to you is to be patient with the new medicine your psychiatrist is prescribing you. Who knows? It might do nothing for you, totally mess with your symptoms or be the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Bipolar Advice #2: Psychiatrists
So far I have had four psychiatrists in nine years. My bipolar advice? Bipolar is a bitch. It chews you up and spits you out. That professional sitting across the room from you holds the key to information that can unlock the deep mysteries of bipolar. A trusting doctor/patient relationship needs to be established. I have shared very personal information with these doctors in hopes to get closer to bipolar stability. In the meantime, one psychiatrist helped me to discover that I have CPAP. My latest doctor is exploring whether I am having absence seizures. You must feel comfortable with your physician. Keep a mood journal and use the data from it to help you share with the doctor what the bipolar is doing in your life.
Bipolar Advice #3: Psychologists/Therapists
I have had just about as many therapists as psychiatrists. My bipolar advice would say this is a relationship that above all else needs to be built on trust. From day one, I have felt a level of trust with my psychologist that has helped me to talk about my life and my many issues. DO NOT SETTLE! If you have a bad therapist, fire them and find a new one! There are plenty out there. Take your time and try them out. If it doesn’t feel right, go somewhere else. I did just that. The therapist was not communicating professionally, so I canceled all appointments. Besides, I did not feel like I could be myself with her. It was the best decision because it brought me to my psychologist that I am seeing now. He is very knowledgeable about bipolar. Due to my history with therapists, I was a bit gun shy.
I use my memo section on my smart phone to jot down topics and issues I want to discuss with my psychologist. It is very helpful because I always have my phone with me and it takes just a few seconds for me to type what I want to discuss. I used to rely on my memory and wait until the appointment to write it down somewhere. Bad idea. I mostly forgot what I wanted to discuss with my psychologist.
These are my bipolar advice from my perspective. You can read another blog or another website and find completely different ideas. Take a look at these websites for some help on your journey with bipolar.
Disclaimer: I do not agree with 100% of what she says.