Friday, October 21, 2011
This series is in response to a question from a reader. She wanted to know how to get through the day living with untreated bipolar disorder. Normally I would suggest looking into medication to go along with self coping techniques, but because in this case that is not possible I’m going to give you some tips on coping with bipolar disorder on your own. Which I know can be very hard to do especially if you don’t know where to start. Think of this as your road map to a successful day. All you have to do is follow it.
1 sheep…. 2 sheep….. 3 sheep….. Getting enough sleep is vital for anyone with Bipolar Disorder. Too little sleep and you could cycle into mania and too much sleep can trigger depression so a balance is needed. Eight to nine hours of sleep is the amount you need to function properly throughout the day. Losing just an hour or two of that time has a big impact on your day and your mood. Think of it like the difference between the grouch and the tooth fairy. The grouch is moody and quite honestly scary (sort of like me before my coffee) the tooth fairy is upbeat and full of energy (little too perky for me but that’s just my opinion) It helps to follow a routine with your sleep. Going to sleep the same time every night and waking up the same time every day will get your body used to that schedule and make it easier to go to sleep and wake up. If you have trouble sleeping avoid drinking caffeine late into the day. Yes that means putting down the mountain dew you’re having after dinner, and picking up the water or if you like flavor tea is good too. With the hundreds of different flavors out there your bound to never run our of options. I find peppermint tea before bed helps. If you have trouble with racing thoughts at night it’s also helpful to turn off the TV an hour before you go to bed, because studies have proven that watching TV right before heading to bed makes falling asleep harder, and turning it off an hour in advance gives your mind enough time to process all your thoughts from the show before heading to the land of darkness. And of course if necessary start counting those little sheep in your head. (Not to be confused with the little voice inside your head)
My mother always said that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through food, and the reason that is true is because everyone (girls included) loves food. Out of the 7 Billion people on the planet 7 Billion of us love food. You do the math on what percentage that is. However just because we like food doesn’t mean it’s good for us. Not just for our waistline but for our mood as well. Sometimes it can be hard to eat healthy. Especially when we see all the bad foods that tastes so good. The mood a person with bipolar has can depend on what type of food they put in there body. Chocolate may be the best food men have ever discovered in my opinion (this coming from a self proclaimed chocoholic), but if you eat a lot of chocolate your going to be sluggish. However if you eat a lot of fruit you’re going to have a higher energy level. The best mood enhancing foods are fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Adding in those foods can help bring your mood up. Try starting off the day with a fruit smoothie or oatmeal with fresh strawberries instead of sugar filled cereal or take some fruit for snacks throughout the day. They can be just as tasty as and more satisfying than the most appealing junk food. It’s also better to eat several smaller meals throughout the day so your blood sugar levels don’t drop. I know first hand as the sibling of a boy who acts like Grumpy from Snow White whenever he doesn’t eat and I can assure you it isn’t fun. (Not sure who it’s worse for him or me) Keeping a balanced diet is a necessary part of life, and the sooner you start the sooner you reap the benefits.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Brandon and the Bipolar Bear won the award it deserved, and as the grateful daughter of an amazing author I would like to thank each and every one of you who voted for your support. It wasn't easy and it took a lot of work, but thankfuly perseverence won out. Now the book will be recognized as the Favorite Special Needs Childrens Book. Thank you and goodnight. (Like my Grammy Speech? Hey you never know when you might need it)
Friday, February 18, 2011
Every parent who has a child with bipolar disorder has read them the book Brandon and the Bipolar Bear, and if you haven't pick up a copy right now and read it to them because it's an amazing book. And I'm not just saying that because my mother wrote it (I'm not biased at all, I swear)I'm saying it because it's true. For the first time Brandon and the Bipolar Bear has been nominated for the Favorite Special- Needs Children's Book on About.com We are all very excited, but since it's a contest for which book is the people's favorite (although I thought it was obvious)the people have to choose. The site that's having the contests is About.com here's the link http://specialchildren.about.com/b/2011/02/11/vote-for-favorite-special-needs-childrens-book.htmvote for the very first one Brandon and the Bipolar Bear so a very special writer, advocate, and parent, who has helped countless people understand bipolar disorder and how to cope with it, can win a very special award that it deserves.
There are many things that affect the moods of people with bipolar disorder. One of them is the changing of the seasons. It sounds weird but its true different times of the year have different effects on people with Bipolar Disorder. The most drastic months are fall and spring. This next segment talks about the changes and side effects this can cause.
The months of fall are tough months for people with depressive tendencies. The change of weather, lack of a bright sunny atmosphere, and excessive amounts of dull and dreary days often causes a mood shift. (Just writing about it is making me depressed) It can take someone from a happy mood, (or at least not too grumpy) to sad and depressed. October has always been a hard month for me personally. The transition from summer to fall often puts me, and others, into a more depressed state. I usually need a temporary medicine change to get me through those months. If you are into alternative methods or natural remedies I also take something called Omega 3 it’s an all natural fish oil that boosts your mood, reduces anxiety, and helps you feel better. It has been amazing for me. It helps not only my moods from bipolar but also my anxiety I can tell a difference when I miss a dose automatically. However in interest of full disclosure there are a small percentage of people who take it that it sends into a more manic state. So if you’re going to try it start out with one and if you feel good then you can take more. You can find it at any store that sells vitamins it’s just concentrated Omega 3s and Fish oil.
Lack of Enjoyment- A person may lose interest in things they previously enjoyed. They may start something and then suddenly lose interest and stop. A person may not want to do anything at all. Low Energy- A lack of energy may make the most insignificant tasks difficult. The person may not feel like they have the strength to get out of bed. Change in Sleep Pattern- A person may sleep more often and for longer periods of time. Excessive sleeping can make it hard for a person to get up for school or work in the morning and may cause some school absences. Changes in Eating- A person may start overeating or eating more comfort foods and carbohydrates, which can cause weight gain. Difficulty Concentrating- A person may have trouble concentrating on a task they’ve been assigned or may forget what they just read easily, which can cause problems in school or work.
Experts believe that seasonal depression is triggered by the decrease of daylight. Nobody knows for sure why this happens, but scientists theorize that sunlight may play a role in making some of the brains hormones. With less sunlight less of one hormone is made and more of another so those hormones are unbalanced, (which is a lot like bipolar disorder itself.) The decreased hormone is called serotonin and the increased hormone is called melatonin. Melatonin is what the body produces when it’s dark to make you sleepy so if it’s darker longer then it makes more melatonin which is what makes you have a lack of energy, sleepy and moody. (Bonus points for anyone who can name the other 5 of the 7 dwarfs) All these variables combined is what makes a higher risk of depression.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Every parent who has a child with bipolar disorder has read them the book Brandon and the Bipolar Bear, and if you haven't pick up a copy right now and read it to them because it's an amazing book. And I'm not just saying that because my mother wrote it (I'm not biased at all, I swear)I'm saying it because it's true. For the first time Brandon and the Bipolar Bear has been nominated for the Favorite Special- Needs Children's Book on About.com We are all very excited, but since it's a contest for which book is the people's favorite (although I thought it was obvious)the people have to choose. The site that's having the contests is About.com here's the link http://specialchildren.about.com/b/2011/02/11/vote-for-favorite-special-needs-childrens-book.htm vote for the very first one Brandon and the Bipolar Bear so a very special writer, advocate, and parent, who has helped countless people understand bipolar disorder and how to cope with it, can win a very special award that it deserves.
The turning of a new year means accomplishment. We must have done something right the year before to still be here. So pat yourself on the back for that. Some think it means another year of challenges, dissapointments, and heartache. I say stop thinking that right now! Instead think another year of happy moments, new learning experiences, and successful life. Take each day one at a time and you'll make it through with a smile.(ok at least a half smile) I wanted to share with you one of my favorit quotes. It inspires me I hope it does the same to you. "When life gives you a hundred reasons to break down and cry, show life you have a million reasons to smile and laugh!"