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what non-med things have helped you deal with being bipolar?

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Old 07-12-2005, 06:50 AM   #1
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Posts: 35
Catie HB User
what non-med things have helped you deal with being bipolar?

For those of you who have been dealing with being bipolar for a while, will you share what types of non-med coping mechanisms you have found to be helpful?

I'm just feeling like there have got to be things I could do to help myself live with this, and I don't know what they are.


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Old 07-12-2005, 10:02 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,335
Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: what non-med things have helped you deal with being bipolar?

Great Question, Catie!

The two most important things you can do in my book are:

1) Reduce your Stress!!
2) Set a regular bedtime and waking time and stick to it faithfully!!

Also here are a couple other things -
1) Reduce the caffeine as much as you possibly can. I don't even keep pop in the house - I have to out to get one!
2) Try to eat a truly balanced meal - sounds like something your mom would tell you, but the truth is that our body chemistry is challenged enough without eating fad diets, or no fruits/vegetables, or all sugar!
3) Read everything you can get your hands on - medical books, internet searches, novels, biographies about people who are Bipolar.
4) I finally (at age 35) found myself in a stable & Healthy relationship. It makes all the difference in the world.

And, I have to tell you that one of the main things I did to help me cope over the lasat few years was come here once - and return over and over again. What a great bunch of people - some are still here from that long ago - and so many people have helped. And understood mania and depression unlike trying to explain it to the average person.
And have been there - like you have!

Ok, nuff from me - I know there are other people out there with things that help!

Old 07-12-2005, 01:22 PM   #3
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Catie HB User
Re: what non-med things have helped you deal with being bipolar?

Thanks Ruth--I sure could learn a lot from that. I'm a bit of a caffiene junkie--got that way in college and have cut back, but I still do two cups of coffee a day plus a diet soda or two.

--As for bedtime, I'm so bad about that. Well, let me re-phrase. Even if I go to bed at a normal hour, I end up lying in bed for an hour or two, unable to make my mind relax enough to drift off. In that situation, is it better to just stay there and try to sleep, or to get up and do something until you get tired?

What have you found regarding alcohol? I know it's best to drink in moderation, which I do, but have any of you found that you do better without drinking at all?

And Ruth--great advice regarding this forum. I only found it recently, and I am so glad I did. You guys are great, seriously.


Old 07-12-2005, 02:23 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 470
Picali HB User
Re: what non-med things have helped you deal with being bipolar?

Hiya Catie

Want to echo everything Ruth suggested and add a few things I find useful - yoga is great for calming the mind and relaxing - I've used to lie awake for hours like you do - found that yoga, a bath and lots of chamomile tea did the trick and now I tend to drop off very quickly. Exercising regularly is a big plus. I've stopped drinking all together and it has helped massively, plus now I know whether what I'm experiencing is 'real' and I don't wonder whether it is just the drink.

Being around people in the same situation helps - any support groups in your area? Having people you can talk to is a big bonus, as is surrounding yourself with people who understand and just accept you as you are. When I first got really ill (ie hospital) I thought I had about 30 friends. I now know I have 5 - they are the ones that I cherish and I hang out with them as often as I can.

Allowing yourself to have your moods is important - I don't feel guilty now about spending the afternoon in bed if I don't feel good - it doesn't happen very often but when I do feel lousy I just take myself off and I don't beat myself up over it. I also keep two lists by my bed - one of things I like to do and one of people I like to be with. When I'm finding things difficult I find it helps to pick things off the lists and go and do/be with those people.

Diet is definitely important, as Ruth said. Reduce stimulants and sugar, lots of water and veggies is the way to go! Takes a bit of getting used to, but I couldn't go back to my old way of eating now, I'm amazed at the rubbish I used to consume. Good time scrapbook - I've still not got around to making one, but putting together pictures of friends and 'good times' sounds like a good thing to do.

If I think of any more I'll post again, but you are absolutely right - the meds help but you can do a lot for yourself to improve the situation. A bit of pampering if money allows is great - a massage for stress or a sauna and jacuzzi are great. My little boy and I go swimming every Sunday and I find it so relaxing. We walk there and back (it's about a mile and a half) and spend at least an hour in the pool. I always feel really good afterwards. I think the key is to try as many different things as possible and pick the ones that work best for you.

Let us know how you're doing and if you find anything good to share with us along the way!

Take it easy

Picali xx

Old 07-12-2005, 02:28 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: what non-med things have helped you deal with being bipolar?

Hi Catie, I don't know what to tell you about alcohol to be honest.
I lived with an alcoholic for three years - I don't have too much trouble wanting to avoid it myself thanks to the experience with him.

The sleep thing can be tough. Technically I'm pretty much stabilized and going to bed by 10 is no problem for me. Otherwise it's true, going to sleep is alot harder if your brain chemistry is giving you self-made amphetamines!! (Of course I also wake up about 4 times a night to go to the bathroom - ah sweet lithiuim...)

One idea (and your caffeine intake could be alot worse) is to switch to "half-caff" so you can have your two cups, but with half the caffeine.
I was a Mountain Dew addict. I drank probably 8-10 cans a day. Bad, bad, bad......!

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