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.