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Forgetting About Bipolar Disorder

I’ve been writing about bipolar disorder for 11 years and I’ve been a professional in the field of mental illness for about four. In other words, I’ve been thinking about bipolar disorder, a lot, for a very long time.

And I’m not the only one. Whether you happen to write about bipolar or just suffer from it, bipolar can easily inhabit your life 24/7. There’s the bipolar routine, medications, sleep cycle worries and many, many other things that, when dealing with bipolar, creep into your daily life.

But sometimes it’s really important to forget about bipolar disorder for a while.

In the 11 years I’ve been doing this I’ve had many hobbies, jobs and side project that weren’t about mental illness and the more work I do in the mental illness arena, the more important that part of my life becomes. For example, when I see my friends, yes, we sometimes talk about my work and my bipolar disorder, but much of the time we just kibitz about inconsequential things. Chattering inconsequentially is good for the soul when everything else is always so life-and-death important (bipolar and mental illness tend to be that way).

Forgetting about Bipolar

Focusing on bipolar wellness is important but sometimes forgetting about bipolar disorder is just as important. Here's how to do it.I suppose I never forget about my bipolar completely, I think that’s probably a bit too much to ask given my history and my work, but I do put it in a box and lock it in a closet in my mind for a while. And this little while is a breath of fresh air. This little while exists without doctors and medications and mood tracking. This little while exists without therapy and schedules and rules. This little while allows me just to focus on other things.

I certainly admit that while in the midst of a severe mood episode forgetting about bipolar disorder may not be possible – even for a minute – but whenever it is possible, I think it’s a healthy thing to do, for a short space of time, anyway.

How to Forget about Bipolar Disorder

If you find you’re thinking about bipolar disorder too much, you might try one of these things:

  • Write something completely outside of your experience and comfort zone, if you’re a writer. Maybe try writing a thriller or comedy. It’s okay if it comes out badly – it’s just something to focus your mind on that’s not mental illness.
  • Try a hobby or a sport that’s all encompassing (I enjoyed skydiving and paragliding, but that’s me). Sports and hobbies often have their own subculture that you can become a part of.
  • Join a local, enthusiastic group for something you enjoy. Maybe it’s a photography club or a group that plans nature hikes. Just do something that isn’t related to bipolar.
  • Read a good book. I know reading isn’t for everyone, but great writers can wrap you in a reality that is completely unlike your own.
  • Do something social with people who don’t know you have bipolar disorder. Sometimes acquaintances are great because shallow interaction is exactly what can help us escape of the depths bipolar is always dragging us into.
  • Fantasize. Yes, I do this all the time. Enough said.

Now, you can’t escape your life or your bipolar by doing all these things every moment of every day – at some point someone still needs to take out the trash – but for small periods of time they’re so helpful because they give our brains a break and we really all deserve that, from time to time.

What do you like to do to forget about bipolar disorder?

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or Google+ or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar Burble, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

6 thoughts on “Forgetting About Bipolar Disorder”

  1. I have OCD. So, anxiety/depression can be real problems for me.

    I noticed that there are some sports that you HAVE to give your full concentration to. You have to exist in the moment.

    I rode a motorcycle for a couple years before I became pregnant with my son. You have to be totally aware of your surroundings when riding a bike. You have to watch all the cars around you, and make sure they SEE you. You have to be more aware of the road. There’s no room for texting (which there should be anyway), and very little room for worrying about things. You are in the moment.

    It was the same with scuba diving for me. When you are underwater, you are there to be, well, there. It’s the whole point. And you have to be aware of the creatures around you, and be careful about what you touch (both for your own sake, and the sake of what you might touch). You have to be aware of your depth, your air supply, how you are feeling (confused, like you have nitrogen narcosis, or tired and maybe needing to cut the dive short to play it safe), if there’s a current, if you’ve got your current buoyancy dialed in or are sinking/rising unintentionally, etc. And as I said, you are down there to be down there… to watch the underwater world, take pictures of it, see all you can see until the safety rules of scuba diving require that you return carefully to the surface. Also very hard to be worrying about your job or your financial problems while being underwater. 🙂 It’s very freeing, and a very in-the-moment exercise. 🙂

  2. I’ve just had 2 Martinis in front of the TV, having felt too tired to go out to a jazz club this evening. Yes, luscious, but I know that more than 2 might make me wake at 3 a.m. and maybe end up making me an alcoholic. Not really the solution to my BPD. (To me BP means blood pressure.)

    I am missing my weekly choir and singing lessons, plus my therapy – all stopped for the summer. They definitely help and structure my week. They serve as a hobby, distraction from BPD and self-expression. Singing is also good for my self-image, since it wins me praise.

  3. Just to say I have tried sleeping antidepressants and they seem to work on day one and two but then stop maybe they are not strong enough or it was the 3 days of non sleep that knocked me out. This is the norm 3 to 4 days no sleep then a whole day, my mum had the same problem doctor told her to get a job so she did on the night shift lol on telling her doctor he replyed I ment in the day.
    Chris J Baker

  4. I have to AGREE WITH Kerry, yes i took the road of drugs and alcohol for years ( 30 + ) thinking it was the answer , life is life, bi-polar or not, drugs make you feel in a place of sheer ecstasy , it gets your crazy mind away from you,, so you think, until the crap hits the fan, and you have major manic episodes were your in the hospital checked in.
    yes alcohol feels so sweet and nice like a fire in the winter outside ,but the burn of that is than you depend on that 24/7 and both things mentioned so far are just magnifiers …… we heighten..our senses to escape the illusion of ourselves !!! WHY?
    Yes after a long time of abuse I am clean and sober for a year and ten months, my Cat’s love me more, but do I love me more????? I am trying, this is a hard path, I need a Angel to save me, when i say that,, it is saying it would be so nice to not be judge by the HAND I WAS DEALT but by the great loving human that i am. I will not get the tattoo on my forehead that says i’m bi-polar , i wear it enough to were it is,, not fun

    on the lighter side i live now for this second, not the past, yes sometimes i say yup no one will ever love me, but,, that is the wrong approach.

    being me is difficult but i love me,, so with that new aspect of life in due time my angel will come, i am just not ready for her.

    Sorry for writing the bible there, LIFE IS WHAT WE MAKE IT

    I love being Silly **** ****
    ( 0 ) ( 0 )

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    **

  5. Haven’t found your rabbit hole yet? C’mon its right there at path’s worn end where credence is given to fear and anger. Whose skin is so thick that never is a pill used to keep from being sick? Mentally anomalies do exist. Though it becomes harder to accept I am one among the many. All those blue pills, laughter and the crying man in the desert. Pushing the envelope of anything is how I rise above myself – consequently I now depend on email. giggles

  6. Great blog on a topic not often discussed. For bipolar individuals with highly addictive personalities (like moi), I think substances are often misused in an effort to step outside of our bipolar selves. Alcohol enables me to forget my bipolar woes, numbs me to overwhelming depressed thoughts and contains my manic hyper energy. But, I think most sober minds would agree that abusing something that is a depressant is not the wisest choice and 9 times out of 10 leads to greater harm than good.

    Because I know this about myself, I try as much as I can to forget about my BP in much healthier ways. Two additional coping approaches are to adopt a cat or dog and to help others through volunteer work. If you can switch your focus from your inner thoughts to the outer world and in particular to the needs of others around you (whether animals or peeps), this shift helps you forget. At least for me, adopting a kitty from the Humane Society and doing volunteer work (whether I feel like it or not) has not only allowed me to shelf my bipolar crap but has also enriched my life and injected self worth. Get high on life, not high on you-know-what. Easier said than done of course … particularly when you’re doing your darnest just to get through the bloody day! But, all you can do is give it your best shot.

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