Bipolar Depression treatment tips and tools. Learn how to manage your symptoms of Bipolar Depression.
The secret to managing BIPOLAR Depression follows the same three steps I used to explain the differences between depression and bipolar depression.
- Mania must be managed and prevented
- Medications must address the myriad of symptoms that often accompany this kind of depression
- Management must include specific mood swing management, help from family and friends and a stable health care team
My articles on HealthyPlace.com on Depression and Bipolar and my books (Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder, Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner, and Get it Done When You're Depressed) offer an in-depth treatment plan for Depression and Bipolar Disorder, as well as a detailed explanation of the medications used to treat each.
Lifestyle Changes to Successfully Manage Bipolar Depression
There are many inexpensive ways a person can successfully manage their moods. When the following ideas are combined with the right medications, success is often much easier than expected and lifelong. Before you get too overwhelmed with all of the information in this article, remember that this is an overview of the two depressions! Taking the time to learn about and manage Bipolar Depression may be overwhelming and possibly scary now, but it makes life a lot easier in the future!
After over ten years of managing chronic Bipolar Depression - seven of them without finding the right medication - I've found there are areas I can change that lead to immediate symptom reduction and, in many cases, actually prevent Bipolar Depression in general. In turn, it significantly lessens my other bipolar disorder symptoms including mania, psychosis and anxiety.
Tips to Manage Bipolar Depression
Relationships: Outside of medications, the best way to manage Bipolar Depression is to manage your relationships. The author W. Clement Stone said,
"Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them."
I have found this to be very true. Moods are often directly related to the people you let in your life. Especially romantic relationships! If there is stress in any relationship, it can lead to depression. If you are already depressed, your symptoms can lead you to choose the wrong relationship and stay longer than you should. Assess the people in your life.
- Who understands depression and offers love and support?
- What relationships currently in your life lead you to depression and what do you want to do about it?
I know that contentious relationships not only cause depression in my life, but they can also lead to other symptoms such as anxiety and psychosis. Positive relationships are a reflection of your self confidence and the first step to loving relationships is to improve, or possibly (and always gently) end, the ones that cause you pain. This requires a lot of self-reflection and possibly discussions with the person you feel is causing you pain, but ultimately, if you really want to find stability, your relationships need to be stable as well.
Finding a Purpose: BIPOLAR Depression is very good at taking away a sense of purpose. This can be especially devastating after a manic episode that made everything seem full of purpose!
It's essential that you determine your purpose in life when you're not depressed so that you can use this information when you go down. You may have to search far and wide for your purpose, but it's in there.
Our personalities are a good indication of what we want from life. If you're an extrovert, working with groups may be your purpose. If you're an introvert, it may be writing or being in nature. For many people, spirituality provides a great deal of purpose. And finally, relationships, even those you take for granted, may be the purpose in your life without your knowing it. I remember being very depressed one day in my car. I was crying and kept thinking, "What is the purpose of my life? Why is my life so hard?" At that moment, after years of asking that question when I was depressed, I realized that my family is the purpose of my life. My mother, brother and, especially, my seven year old nephew. Now, when I have the thought, "Life has no meaning," I can honestly answer and say, 'Oh yes it does. My family gives me meaning and purpose. I won't listen to this depression!" I didn't really believe what I was saying at the time, but I said it anyway and it helped me get out of the depressive thoughts.
If you're not sure of your purpose, start thinking now and you may be surprised that you already have one that is just waiting to be expressed.
Sleep: Over the years, I have learned to go to bed early, sleep more and stick to a very regimented sleep routine. Of course, this is not always possible and it can be darn boring, but it helps me stay stable. When I was out every night being the social butterfly, I couldn't get to sleep without medications and often felt hopeless and depressed the next morning. Giving up a fun nightlife has been hard- but I knew if I really wanted to manage this illness, regimented sleep was essential. It's also a sign that you've taken on too much. How is your sleep schedule?
Know your limits: BIPOLAR Depression is often triggered or exacerbated when a person takes on too much; such as offering to plan a birthday party or write an article for a large website! At the beginning of Bipolar Depression treatment, many people have to cut back on regular activities in order to get stable, especially if they have been in the hospital. Hopefully, this is when a treatment plan is created and the person finds the right medications and support.