The very first thing you have to work on is coping with bad times. Keep in mind that suicidal thoughts are temporary. However, coping with the disorder on your own can be dangerous. You need to have a proper recovery plan.
Dealing with depression and suicide thoughts
- Call your friends, relatives, case manager or the doctor.
- Let them help you in managing your symptoms.
- Avoid being alone.
Have contact details of your therapist so that you can talk about your symptoms, situation and bipolar treatment. If you find it necessary, visit your doctor for a follow-up.
- Go for a walk, watch a movie, go swimming, do anything that makes you feel relaxed.
- Use some active relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or mindfulness-based practices.
Understanding the warning signs
- Watch all the changes in your thinking and body.
- Have a mood diary to track your mood patterns.
- If you feel that something is not going right then call your psychiatrist or mental health team.
- Avoid situations that can trigger mania.
- Have a plan to manage the early signs of relapse. Involve your family and friends.
Take care of your body
- Have a healthy lifestyle. You must see it as a part of your bipolar treatment.
- Have healthy eating habits and workout routine.
- Get lifestyle, eating habits and exercise-related advice from your healthcare team.
- Say no to smoking. Nicotine makes your blood vessels to constrict and as a result, limits the flow of blood. This is how smoking interferes with your medications. The medication does not work properly. Take advantage of programs that can help you in quitting smoking. Your case manager or doctor can tell you about local programs. It is not easy to quit smoking. However, you have to keep trying.
- Avoid drinking or be sensible while consuming alcohol. It is not easy to control the ups and downs when you are heavily drunk. You might even forget that you have to take your medication and take care of your body.
- Avoid taking illegal drugs. You are increasing the risk of having an episode of depression or mania. This can also lead to hospitalization.
- Avoid taking too much caffeine.
- Sleep and wake-up on time and don’t change your sleep pattern.
- If you feel that you need, book an appointment with a healthcare professional for bipolar treatment.
- The doctor knows the disease and treatment. You know your symptoms. Your knowledge and your doctor’s knowledge, both help in managing the disorder. So, talk openly.
- Don’t skip your medications.
- Don’t skip appointments. Have regular health check-ups and screening tests.
Involve your family and friends
- You need to have a team that will help you in managing symptoms and tracking treatment. Your family and friends are important parts of the team. Let them help you in making the best choices. Listen to them. Take help to stay well.
- Make sure that the healthcare professional also involves your partner and family when it comes to making decisions and providing information to manage bipolar disorder.
Have a relapse recovery plan
Your relapse recovery plan should include:
- Stressful situations triggering the symptoms of bipolar disorder
- Early signs of mania
- Early signs of depression
- Taking extra medication, getting enough sleep or whatever step you can take
- The person to contact if the symptoms appear
- Contacting the healthcare professional when symptoms last more than 48 hours
Write down your plan and share it with your family members, and your healthcare professionals. Your plan should also involve your children if you have. There should be someone to look after your kids.
The bipolar treatment works only when you get help and have a healthy lifestyle.