Living with bipolar disorder can be tough. Previously known as manic depression, you can live a relatively normal life when you get bipolar help. A combination of treatment methods, such as medication, the support of friends and family, using talk therapy and positive psychology can help you cope with bipolar disorder symptoms.
One in 50 adult Australians live with bipolar affected disorder. They live relatively normal lives, go to work and have families. It is normal for people to experience mood swings triggered by life events. But people with bipolar have extreme mood swings. One minute they are manic and euphoric and the next they can plunge deep into the depths of depression.
Bipolar disorder is characterised by:
- Manic episodes. Manic episodes are when you have racing thoughts, you are extremely active and cannot sit still, speak quickly and have no need to sleep.
- Episodes of depression. When experiencing depressive episodes you may feel hopeless and extremely sad for no apparent reason, lose interest in the world around you, push people away and find no pleasure in the things you once enjoyed.
These mood swings can last for a week or more and will affect how you think and act.
There is no real cure for bipolar but you can learn to manage its symptoms. Without treatment your life will be like a constant roller coaster which affects how you function daily in many areas of your life. It will also affect your relationships. If you have bipolar you cannot control how you think and act. How bipolar disorder affects you will be different from someone else as it affects everyone differently.
Early signs of bipolar
Hypomania is an early warning sign of bipolar and it will make you feel great, but you will act impulsively, have a lot of energy and may not eat or sleep. Warning signs of hypomania and mania include:
- Being unable to focus on anything for more than a few seconds.
- Having a whole lot of new ideas and being highly motivated to pull off your plans and schemes.
- Extreme agitation, irritability and intense emotions.
- No need for sleep.
- Overspending that is out of character.
- Increased paranoia.
- Binging on alcohol and drugs.
- Losing track of time.
- Forgetting to eat or not feeling hungry.
- Arguing with friends and family.
- Becoming insistent and being overly persuasive.
- Increased interest in sex.
- Contacting all the people you know.
- Feeling invincible.
- More intense interest in spiritual or religious ideas.
Early warning signs of depression include:
- Loss of motivation and focus.
- Taking days off work sick.
- Withdrawing from social activities, friends and family.
- Changes in sleep patterns.
- Crying for no apparent reason.
- Increased interest in listening to sad music.
- Increasingly anxious, irritable and feeling worthless.
- Staying up late.
- Changes in eating habits.
- Reduced interest in sex.
- Thinking of suicide.
Do you recognise any of these signs in your own behaviour? If you do, seek the help of a professional for a diagnosis and help to get your symptoms under control.
Often positive psychology is confused with positive thinking. But it is much more than that. The most common definition is that “positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living” (Peterson, 2008).
It focuses on the positive things in your life such as:
- Experiences like feeling inspired, joy, happiness and love.
- Characteristics such as compassion and gratitude, and being resilient.
The founder of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, was frustrated with the narrow focus of traditional psychology on the negative. He believed it paid too much attention to suffering, trauma and pain and gave little thought to people learning to flourish, finding happiness and tapping into their strengths. There was little study on topics such as wellbeing and what that looks like, hope, self-esteem, finding satisfaction in life and what this looks like for individuals. These are the things that positive psychology focuses on.
After becoming president of the American Psychological Association in 1998, Seligman took the opportunity to release a paper on positive psychology with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in 2000. And this was the beginning of a new subset of psychology that focused on what gives people life rather than what depletes it. Seligman called for psychology to focus more on what is positive in people’s lives and there has now been thousands of studies on its positive effects on people in all parts of their lives. Now many psychologists use it when working with their clients.
Bipolar disorder in psychology
People with bipolar disorder usually see the glass as half empty rather than as half full, so they can be naturally pessimistic. In of itself, pessimism is a natural reaction inherent in our DNA that helps us recognise harmful situations to protect ourselves. With a bias of negativity it amplifies your pessimism so you end up overreacting or over thinking potentially dangerous situations. While this is good in an emergency, it is not good as part of everyday life. It may also cause a bipolar disorder relapse.
When you have a bipolar disorder diagnosis you tend to feel negative information is more important than positive information. This makes you more pessimistic as you always expect the worst which can heighten your symptoms of bipolar. Research shows that your pessimism can predict the onset of a bipolar episode. With the use of positive psychology, you can recognise the symptoms and take steps and use strategies to prevent relapsing.
Here are a few strategies to use to prevent relapsing into a bipolar affected disorder episode.
Positive psychology will not cure your bipolar affected disorder. What it does is help you to build your inner strength and resilience and helps you recognise your own abilities and talents. It gives you the ability to help you see the positives in your life so you feel life is worth living. Positive psychology is a good mental wellness strategy when you have bipolar. So when you find yourself feeling pessimistic about life, remember to put your strategies into action.
Express your gratitude
Believe it or not, expressing gratitude for the things in your life is good for your physical and mental health. According to research it reduces stress, gives you a more positive outlook and changes the way you see the world. Instead of focusing on what you do not have which is negative and brings you down, being grateful makes you more optimistic about life.
Start by writing at least three things you are grateful for every day. Use your phone so you can look back on them whenever you start feeling stressed or your bipolar symptoms start taking over.
Create a good support system
There is no point shutting out the people who care about you when you feel miserable. You do not have to go through it alone. People want to support you when you are feeling down. Start reaching out to those you trust instead of pushing them away when you feel depressed.
Sharing openly with others can be enjoyable as they can share their own stories with you which can give you a new perspective. It also deepens the bonds you have with the people in your life and improves your quality of life.
Accept positive feedback
You may be all too ready to accept negative feedback and criticism, but you need to accept positive feedback too. It is all about balance. How often have you found yourself denying that the positive feedback people give you is real? Why is it so hard to accept positive feedback about yourself and what you do?
There is no real answer, but accept it on face value. Let people give you positive feedback. It helps you to focus on your strengths rather than on your weaknesses. This will help reduce the symptoms of depression and you may soon feel better about yourself.
Brain Wellness Spa
Managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be frustrating especially when your moods swing from extreme highs to the lowest of lows. This can be extremely tough on the people around you at home and at work. You need strategies to help you manage the symptoms so you can live life fulfilled.
When it is out of control, bipolar will be like a train crash through different parts of your life. It is difficult to manage bipolar when manic or depressed. But if you do not seek help, your life will continue to spiral out of control. Until you do something about how you feel, it will continue to negatively impact you and those around you.
The Brain Wellness Spa is pioneering a new technique, a natural treatment for bipolar disorder that may help. It only requires you to relax. Highly trained facilitators help you recognise the signs of your mood swings and learn strategies to help you manage the symptoms. It may help you take back control of your life. And you may notice an improvement after the first session.
If your bipolar has become a problem that affects your life, it is time to turn it around. Time to do something positive about it. Seek help. Take back control. You do not have to go through it alone. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can start taking good care of your mental health. And get back to enjoying life.
If you struggle with bipolar disorder symptoms, reach out to our professionals. When you are not coping, contact us. We can talk to you about getting your life back on track. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to support you.
We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spas. Book in today for my Emotional Empowerment Program. I have an introductory offer for just $99 so you may start taking back control of your life. We aim to help you cope with any mental health challenges and to help you learn strategies to manage your bipolar episodes. Our facilitators may alleviate the effects of these so you start to take control and enjoy life again.
Let me help alleviate the effects of bipolar disorder
My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people for more than a decade. My aim is to help manage your symptoms. This can give you a new hope for the future. A future filled with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years. Listen to what xxxxx has to say about my program after only a few sessions.
Take charge of your life. Book a free 25-minute telehealth consultation. Or discover a seamless way that may help you manage your emotional and mental health by becoming a Brain Wellness Spa member. It will give you access to more than 75 audio programs that may help you to live an inspired life.