Overnight I received quite a few messages welcoming me to the site and asking my advice (at 64 I am an old hand at dealing with bi-polar) and still standing.
There is a positive side to the illness. We are generally more creative and more sensitive than others. Finding an outlet for feelings is essential. (Writing and painting are my interests.) look outside your minds at the beautiful natural world around you. Burrowing deeper into your head is self destructive. Be interested in other people. Fake it at first when you are low, but you will become genuinely caring with time. But at the same time don't become too involved with others' problems if it affects your own peace of mind.
Physical exercise, especially out in the fresh air has been proved to lift the spirit. It's lovely sunny morning so I'm off for a brisk walk on the beach where I'll pick up shells, watch the birds and watch the light changing on the sea.
People with bi-polar FEEL things whereas others THINK. We are fortunate to possess a certain sensitivity which sends us into raptures of joy while others are taking stuff to give them 'highs'.
Nothing goes up without coming down so we have to endure the bad days too...but the don't last for ever.
Getting the right medication at the right levels for you is imperative for leading as stable a life as possible.
I've never been offered counselling (my swings were dangerously extreme so had to be treated with psychiatric drugs from the outset).
Last time I saw my consultant he said bi-polar appears to be on the increase as the spectrum has become larger. Mild mood swings can be diagnosed nowadays as bi-polar disorder.
But self esteem is certainly at the centre of the problem. Don't think of yourself as stigmatised....you are different but you are SPECIAL. You have lots to offer the world because you think and feel in a special way. Communication is the key. Put your thoughts, ideas, feelings...however the mood takes you...into words, on paper, as drawings, paintings etc. But get out of that darkness inside your head.
I'm off on my walk now to put into practice what I've been preaching. I'm defying that voice inside my own head which wants me to curl up in a darkened room and shut the world out.
That old song has popped into my head:
'When you're smiling the whole work smiles with you......
When you're crying you bring on the rain....stop your crying
Be happy again'
Plan tonight what you hope to achieve tomorrow but don't be hard on yourself if you fail. A structure to your day will give a routine and more sense to the passing of your time.
At the end of this 'sort of sermon' I am looking forward to another cup of tea, my walk, boiled eggs, meeting friends at a painting group followed by a quiet afternoon.
Look forward not back. No point in regrets at what we could have been (my illness robbed me of a career is true, but a negative statement.) Rather, my unique mind and personal circumstances enable me to sit here and send a message out to my new friends out there. Now THAT is a positive statement.
Love to you all. Thanks again for welcoming me to the site.
Hope something I've said can help.
Jan x (aka Hilo)