This year, I invite bipolar moms to join me in resolving to meet our own needs in 2017. Instead of focusing on our faults this January, we can instead look past those faults to see the needs they represent. And instead of berating ourselves over that need, discrepancy, or flaw, I want to make 2017 the year we find a way to meet our needs and live healthier lives (Taking Care of Myself is the Best Way to Care for My Family).
Wherever I have an unmet need, I tend to try to fill that need with things that aren’t good for me. When I pause to think about the underlying need I’m trying to cover up, I can find a way to fill it in a healthy way. Without even trying, I make healthier choices when I meet my own needs instead of trying to cover them up.
Do You Struggle to Meet Your Own Needs, Bipolar Moms?
- Do you struggle with anger issues? I do (The Relationship Between Bipolar and Anger). I am realizing that a lot of my anger comes from my need to people please. Because of my bipolar, I have neglected my own needs to please other people in an effort to prove myself to them. And the more I neglect myself, the angrier I become. In 2017, I’m resolving to deal with the places in myself that have been neglected and to set up better boundaries with the people I have done that for in the past. I want to get past this anger, and I’m only going to do that if I take better care of myself.
- Do you struggle with substance abuse? Just like my anger, whenever I abuse a substance it’s because I’m glossing over a need (Why Are So Many People with Bipolar Addicted to Drugs?). I over-indulge in food and alcohol when I’m overwhelmed, panicked, stressed, and struggling. I also crave alcohol when I haven’t eaten enough during the day. I have found that eating a healthy snack instead of reaching for a glass of wine satisfies my cravings every time. Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) uses the acronym H.A.L.T. to recognize when a person is in danger of relapse: hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Before you reach for a substance, check in with yourself to see if you are covering up one of these needs. And if you feel like you can’t control your substance abuse, get help. There is no shame in going to an A.A. meeting or checking yourself into treatment (Substance Abuse and Mental Illness).
- Do you struggle with your weight? If you struggle with weight gain due to medication, you are not alone (Confronting Weight Gain on Psychiatric Medications). I gained 40 pounds in the first few months of taking a mood stabilizer. But over time, I found ways to combat the cravings and slowly reduce my weight. Eating a diet high in lean protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates along with taking a good multivitamin can help cut down your cravings and curb your appetite. Eating more regularly and keeping healthy snacks in your car, purse, and at work can keep cravings at bay.
- Do you struggle with chronic pain? Bipolar pain is a real thing (Mental Illness Means Physical Pain, Too). Whether it is connected directly to our mental state or caused by higher stress levels, medications, or lifestyle choices, there are ways to address it. I have found that doing very low impact exercise, such as yoga, pilates, walking, and biking have helped my chronic pain. I also see a chiropractor regularly, which helps a great deal. I have also done acupuncture, massages, and physical therapy to help with pain at different stages of my journey. I started by going to my doctor and having a frank discussion about my pain. He was able to refer me to the specialists who could help me (Treating Physical Pain in Bipolar Neuropathic Pain). Taking the first step to just make an appointment may help you get started with dealing with your chronic pain and feeling better in 2017.
Bipolar Moms: Resolve to Meet Your Own Needs in 2017
No matter what your struggle is, resolving to meet the need that struggle represents is your first step to making progress. Make 2017 the year you start loving and treating yourself with respect and resolving to meet your needs. I’ll be right there with you.
For more on meeting your own needs as a bipolar mom, view: