This Bipolar Life: Trifecta of Freedom

Today has me thinking and I want to share. Especially about how deeply I long for the relief of independence from this condition. I wish my bipolar would go away and I could go through even a single day without thinking about it. Just one day where I didn’t have to remember meds, walking on eggshells so I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings, and constantly being on guard for triggers.

It took me a few years to understand the importance of what my personal treatment plan and I want to share it with you in the hopes that you or someone you know are able to gain some benefit from this model. It’s not perfect by any means but it does work and I hope you find it helpful to read my experience.

MEDS: I understood a long time ago that I could either live a tumultuous life without them or take them and make life easier for me and everyone who had to deal with an unmedicated me. Without them I risked relationships, hurt others, and caused sometimes serious and unnecessary problems for myself. I personally take several and the combination I’ve finally landed on include an anti-psychotic, an anti-depressant, an anti-anxiety and a mood stabilizer. Between the four of them I function well. It took me several different tries and has changed over the years as my needs and body change (and yes the body does change over time so meds have to be adjusted to adapt).

THERAPY: There are many different approaches and I’ve tried a few over the years. What I’ve found most helpful is to have a couple of therapists at once. I need someone to talk with me about my emotions and I have realized I also need a therapist who can teach me functional skills to use during my episodes. I am a rapid cycling BP1 so these skills have been essential to learn. One I’ve tried recently that has been very helpful is Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) which teaches mindfulness along with techniques to adjust thoughts, recognize emotions, and ways to push back against the negatives of both. I highly recommend giving it a try.

CARE CIRCLE: Mine has saved my life at least once and probably will again in the future. This is my group of friends and family (kids included to a certain extent) with whom I am absolutely honest and transparent with who understand my condition and are able to support me through episodes. I check in with them regularly to see where they think things are at. They listen, share, and they are all aware of my “normal” and will draw my attention to any odd behaviors so I can take any necessary actions to change and be healthy.

So, there you go. In the end I don’t know that I’ll ever feel independent but I celebrate the very real freedom I’ve worked hard to achieve and continue to strive for. My ability to function with it is largely in my own hands and I know for certain that my family is better because of my willingness to follow this approach and I strongly believe I am as well.

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