Managing emotions is something that comes along with many mental health diagnoses, especially bipolar disorder. It’s always one emotion or another and every one of them is usually to the extreme. Some of the emotions I deal with include anger, depression, hopelessness, loneliness, indifference, fear, sadness, love, happiness, trust, peacefulness, strength, and relaxation. I often feel multiple emotions at one time. Then there are times that I feel blank or empty. When this happens, nothing seems to faze me.
Trying to figure out how I’m feeling is a lot more difficult than it seems. I often feel more than one emotion at a time, and I also have a difficult time explaining my emotions to others. I can figure out if I’m in a depression, a manic episode, or a mixed state. However, determining anything further than that, such as emotional details, becomes extremely tricky. When friends, family, or even doctors ask how I’m feeling, I don’t always know what to say. Writing often helps me figure out my emotional state. I’ve also learned to ask myself series of questions, such as how and why I am feeling the way I feel. There’s not always an answer to those questions when dealing with bipolar disorder, because I can’t always determine why I feel the way I feel.
When dealing with emotions, there are actions that can be taken to help manage the emotions:
1. Workout: Exercising releases chemicals in the brain to help improve your emotions.
2. Talk to others: Reach out to your support system. Spend time with people and talk to them about what’s going on with you. Your support system can also be an online community.
3. Therapy: Various forms of talk therapy are beneficial for emotional situations.
4. Think positively: Try not to get caught up in negative thinking, even though it’s really easy. Try to think positively. You’ll get better at positive thinking over time.
5. Meditate: Meditation is known to help keep people calm and feeling peaceful.
6. Listen to music: Depending on the music, it can help relax people or bring them joy.
7. Express gratitude: Being grateful helps you realize all of the good things you have in your life.
8. Play games: Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, playing and having fun with others can help improve how you’re feeling.
9. Find a distraction: Sometimes, a simple distraction such as watching TV or reading a book can help you improve your mood.
10. Write: Writing down or keeping a log of your emotions helps you keep track of how you’ve been feeling over a period of time.
It’s very important to keep track of your emotions and how they fluctuate over time. Other people near us can also help determine our emotional status. Others can observe what we say and how we act to figure out what we’re feeling. Body language tells a lot about our emotional status; in fact, body language can tell us more about a person’s emotions than verbal communication. Try to pay attention to your own body language, especially when you don’t know what you’re feeling; this could be the key to figuring out your emotional state.
Monitoring and keeping track of our emotions is helpful, especially for our doctors. When we see our psychiatrists and therapists, they often start out by saying, “So, how have you been doing?” I usually don’t know how to answer their question, but if I keep track of my moods, then I have something to tell my doctors. In turn, this helps with my treatment and overall progress. If I can manage/monitor my emotions, then I can properly inform my doctors how I’ve been doing, and my treatment can be more accurate and helpful.