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3 Bipolar Depression Coping Skills You Need to Have

Bipolar depression coping skills are the keys to your happiness, wellbeing, and quality life even while you’re in the throes of a depressive episode in bipolar disorder. You can create the life you want to live, and you can be the person you want to be. Thanks in large part to bipolar depression coping skills, you don’t have to wait for “someday” but can begin today.

As powerful as they are, coping skills alone, however, can’t help depression symptoms. These skills are part of a bigger plan to treat and manage bipolar depression. Medication and therapy are almost always the top two recommended treatments for bipolar depression. Coping skills are an adjunct to medication and therapy, and they let you do little things every day to build your quality of life.

Bipolar Depression Coping Skills Come First, Before Depression Eases

A crucial note before we dive into the three bipolar depression coping skills you need to have: You don’t have to like them or feel anything positive right away. As you are likely well aware, bipolar depression zaps your energy, motivation, drive, and sense of pleasure and joy. People, places, and activities you once cherished can feel heavy, dull, and difficult.

Coping skills help you deal with the general “lack” that bipolar depression causes. Depression can feel so miserable that people believe they can’t start using coping skills until they start to feel better; however, it’s the opposite that’s true. Taking action and using coping skills are what lead to improvement.

Of course, this means that at first, whatever you’re doing might feel hollow and meaningless. You might not feel anything positive when you begin. Feel the depression and use your coping skills anyway, perhaps recalling a time when you did enjoy certain things and activities. The positive feelings, energy, and motivation will follow.

3 Bipolar Depression Coping Skills You Must Have and Develop

The term “coping skill” is incredibly broad. It encompasses anything you do intentionally to reduce and/or manage the symptoms of bipolar depression. They’re tools that put your life in your own hands rather than keeping it in depression’s stranglehold. Out of the myriad bipolar depression coping skills at your disposal, the following three are instrumental in helping you grow and thrive.

  • Develop your perspective. How do you see yourself and your world? Bipolar depression clouds your thoughts and interpretations of your life. Begin to shape what you see and how you see it. Start to appreciate beauty. Even if nothing looks beautiful right now, find and record things that you used to enjoy or might appreciate again. Keep a gratitude journal in which each night before bed you record three good things from your day. They don’t have to be great; just good is helpful. As you change how you interpret your world, your world will begin to change.
  • Create a vision. Bipolar depression robs you of a sense of purpose. Take it back by visualizing what you want your life to be like and how you want to be in your life. When living with depression, it can be almost impossible to look far down the road and imagine a bright future. That’s not what creating a vision is about as a coping skill for bipolar depression. Keep it small. Create a notebook, journal, or poster board to collect small ideas, images, and quotations that have the potential to inspire you. Study it daily, add to it at least every other day, and visualize the potential. Make a list of small steps to take to realize your vision. It’s one of the best ways to actively take back your life.
  • Enhance your presence. Many people describe feeling invisible, insignificant, or worthless because of bipolar depression. This coping skill helps you change that. You can believe in yourself again, and you can be confident in who you are and what you do. To enhance your presence, allow yourself to simply be. Perhaps sit in meditation or move around mindfully. Let judgmental thoughts go and repeat, “I am simply being. I’m worthy of being.” You can remind yourself, too, that bipolar depression isn’t who you are. It’s only something you’re dealing with.

Perspective, vision, and presence are three coping skills that help bipolar depression on a deep level because they help you broaden your thoughts and fine-tune your actions. These activities are intentional and lead you to action while also respecting the fact that depression is difficult. These bipolar depression coping skills are big-picture skills that inspire and motivate yet don’t pressure or force. Use them on purpose, each day doing at least one thing to develop one of them, and begin to enjoy the feeling of rising up from the depths of bipolar depression.

article references

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2019, June 12). 3 Bipolar Depression Coping Skills You Need to Have, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-depression/3-bipolar-depression-coping-skills-you-need-to-have

Last Updated: June 15, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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