Finding a Routine with Bipolar Disorder Is No Easy Task
Tuesday, December 12 2017 Hannah Blum
In my experience living with bipolar 2 disorder, finding and following a routine has always been a challenge. While it's necessary to have a sequential daily regiment, it's also natural for those living with bipolar disorder to reject routine. (What is Bipolar Routine?)
My Struggle to Incorporate Routine into My Life with Bipolar 2 Disorder
I compare bipolar disorder to mother nature. Every day is different, and although you can do your best to predict the future, nothing is ever "for sure".
I realized my struggle to incorporate routine into my life two years ago during an appointment with my therapist. At one point he said, “In my life, and in the lives of those around you, a routine is a good thing. Going through every day in a normal sequence and being content is part of how we define happiness. What does that kind of life look like for you, Hannah?” Without thinking, I immediately responded, “Awful!”
I was a bit shocked by my harsh answer. I think those who live with a mental health condition can agree that we usually give the answer that people will most likely agree with. In the situation with my therapist, the right answer would have been, “Routine looks great!” However, my honest feelings about it came forth before I could even contemplate the right way to respond. My answer revealed my fear of living a routine lifestyle because it is something that is so unnatural to me.
In the lives of people who do not live with bipolar disorder, routine and an organized lifestyle come naturally, but it does not for those of us who live with bipolar disorder. The problem is learning to balance what my bipolar mind wants to do, and what is necessary for me to manage it.
Incorporating Routine into Our Lives with Bipolar Disorder
Incorporating routine into our lives with bipolar disorder is no easy task, but it is necessary. In my opinion, the first step is being honest with ourselves. Finding a way to live a balanced life while satisfying the bipolar side of your mind that begs for us to be unbalanced.
I am not afraid to admit, that I do not like routine, but know that it is necessary for managing my bipolar disorder. I work in a career that is fast-paced and not necessarily routine based. I have learned to control it by incorporating simple, yet effective methods. Each day, I try to do a morning reflection, affirmations, and a 30-minute exercise routine. At night, I try to read for an hour before sleep. Sometimes I change it up or add to it, such as eating on a more scheduled basis, which can be difficult for me. Simple things like this help me satisfy the part of me that secretly enjoys being scrambled, while still realistically managing my bipolar 2 disorder.