There are a large variety of medications to help treat bipolar disorder including mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics, just to name a few. Some people take only one medication or treatment, while others take multiple medication and treatments; everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to medications. Some people do well on a group of medications for a period of time, but after a while the medications don’t work as well as they did initially. A person may slip back into a depression or manic episode.
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Traveling can be difficult for everyone, even more so for those that struggle with mental health conditions. Between packing, leaving your normal schedule, the crowds and hustle at the airport, the time change (when applicable), and the complete routine change, it’s no wonder why traveling can be so stressful.
Episodes can occur in patients with bipolar disorder for numerous reasons; sometimes episodes occur for no known reason at all. I have learned to pay attention to my triggers so I can try to stay ahead of my episodes; sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes it’s not. I also let those closest to me know about my triggers. At times, my family and friends can see my episodes before I can.
If I could tell myself anything when it all started, it would be the following: ‘Reach out to your parents and tell them what’s going on with you emotionally. Lean on your family for help. They will be very understanding and supportive; they only want what’s best for you. Stay away from drugs and alcohol, seriously! It’s only going to make your mental health worse. Your life will be full of ups and downs. It’s not going to be easy, but you can and will get through it with the support of others. Never give up, hold on and fight, you can do it.’
I have learned over time how to express anger. It’s taken me a while to figure this out. For the longest time I have thought that expressing anger meant that there was going to be an aggressive confrontation, which scares me. I am afraid of all forms of confrontation; I’m not sure what my reason is. However, expressing anger is vital to our mental health. It is just as important as expressing all of our other emotions. Stuffing emotions, especially anger, can result in an eventual burst of emotions. Emotions will come out at some point.
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.
Medications can be an excellent form of treatment for bipolar disorder. There are multiple forms of medications including anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety. For me, the most difficult aspect of taking medications is waiting for them start working. Whether I’m in a depression or a manic state, there aren’t any medications to take that work immediately. It can take between two and four weeks for medications to begin working, and sometimes even longer for them to reach their full effect.
For many months, I have been suffering from suicidal ideations. I was completely honest with my psychiatrist, my family and friends who support me. I told them that it was not something I wanted to act on, but I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind. For more than six months, the idea of suicide was constantly there. I didn’t have one day where I got a break from that horrible idea. Speaking honestly about it with my psychiatrist, family and friends helped me to push through the more difficult times.
I was diagnosed over a decade ago. I was young, a teenager, lost with no clue what to do. My first psychiatrist, who I met at age 14, didn’t want to diagnose me when I was too young. He waited a couple years to officially diagnose me with bipolar 1 disorder; I respect that. I tried medication after medication with this psychiatrist. Different doses and different combinations, but nothing was working. My recreational drug use probably had a lot to do with that. In the beginning, I wasn’t very honest with any of my doctors, especially regarding my drug abuse.
My name is Jodi Lee. I’m 31 years old, I grew up in Connecticut, but I live in Arizona with my husband and our dog. I have two adult step-kids and a granddaughter; I can’t have children of my own, but I love being a grandmother. I’m fortunate to have the love and support from my entire family. My husband works hard to make sure I feel comfortable and safe.