When I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder in 2012 it was a true awakening for me. Looking back, it amazes me when I think about how long I lived the way I did. I self-medicated for years with alcohol and drugs. I was always very hard on myself and had low self-esteem from my early teenage years. I guess because alcohol is a depressant explains why I was a miserable drunk. I cried all the time and I thought that was normal. That’s the sad part. Yes, there were times when I was super hyper, “happy” yet agitated and didn’t sleep. I had so many of my friends tell me how moody I was. Who would’ve known it wasn’t actually me, but a condition that was influencing that. I used speed a lot back then, too..and also experimented with crack cocaine. I would be up for hours/days. It’s hard to believe I lived through all of that self-destruction and my body is nothing short of a miracle. For me to be able to run for miles and miles now you would never think I harmed my body in such a way. I am so thankful I got put on meds when I did. It was life-changing for me. Just like the video I posted I am not cured but my mood swings are no longer as extreme as they were in the past. The meds level me out. That doesn’t mean I can’t still have times of highs and lows. I do have to practice a lot of self-care and know when I’m slipping into one of them. I’m going to list below some of the ways I can tell when I’m losing ground on self-care and slipping.
For the mania side the signs are:
Being hyper-religious, over confident, motivated, can’t sit still, extremely goal oriented and pushing myself in an unhealthy manner, loss of appetite, thinking too much, talkative, very indecisive, strained relationships, trying to fix people’s problems, anger
For the depressed side the signs are:
Increased appetite, eating junk food, no motivation, extremely hard to get out of bed, wanting to sleep too much, forcing myself to practice good hygiene, shower and such, crying a lot sometimes having a hard time carrying on a conversation, quiet and withdrawn, anti-social with those outside of my family, focus too much on outward appearance making me more depressed when I don’t like what I see, sinking into the failure mentality
Things I try to do to avoid triggers:
A sleep schedule (go to sleep and wake up at the same times everyday), shower DAILY and practice good hygiene, exercise even if I just walk around the block/walk my dog, listen to music, go outside and get some sunshine, drink lots of water and eat somewhat healthy foods, journal, play games on my phone, watch a movie, just sit in the quiet, unplug from electronics and people, avoid miserable and negative people, stop reading religious material for a time, let my brain relax, laughing is the best!, smile, encourage people, etc….
I don’t have it all figured out, but right now I’m blessed to have meds that are working for me and a stable home with a loving, safe, and understanding environment. I have my health also and that is a blessing because exercise is a big deal to help with my depression. I would love to hear comments or treatment plans that are working for people that may be reading this. Thanks! ❤️😊