This past year, I stressed myself out way past my limit time and time again. All of the goals I set at the beginning of 2016 led me to one of the toughest years of my life and left me mentally, physically, and emotionally burnt out.
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If you live with a mental illness like bipolar disorder, the holidays can be a tough time of year. Between crowds, dysfunctional families, and pressure to buy gifts, the holidays can bring bouts of depression, battles with mania, and huge helpings of anxiety. Here are twelve tips (kind of like the twelve days) of Christmas that can help you through this holiday season.
Tip 1: Make a List and Check it Twice
Being a parent and having a bipolar diagnosis is hard.
It’s inevitable at times for something to happen that will shatter the beautiful recovery we’ve worked so hard to maintain. This is life. Reclaiming that recovery after a crisis will happen, but it may take some time. I recently had to deal with a few crises that happened all at once, which almost broke me. Here is a list of some tips that helped me and may help you get back on the road to recovery.
1. Focus on Getting Sleep
Imagine you’re sailing on a ship full speed ahead to your next destination with naught a care in the world. All of a sudden, the ship springs a leak. It’s a small leak, so you patch it and continue to sail on. You don’t go much further before that small leak turns into a bunch of random leaks all over the ship. You don’t have enough materials or energy to keep fighting all the small leaks that are now throughout the ship. Do you let yourself sink when you could just SOS another ship to help patch the holes?
I have been dealing with social anxiety since around the time I was diagnosed with Bipolar. That’s 8 long years dealing with both Bipolar and social anxiety. I used to keep myself at arms-length from people for fear of being rejected, since my social anxiety causes weird behaviors. These can be misconstrued very easily if you don’t know me well. My initial solution to my social anxiety was never to get close to people. My thinking was that if I didn’t form close relationships with people, I would be safe from rejection.
I hate coincidences. Ever since I’ve recovered from my bipolar psychosis, I’ve had to be wary of coincidences. Psychosis is a very difficult thing to deal with and understand. I’m going to attempt to delve into this very taboo subject because I want people to know what it is like to live with psychosis. I also want to dispel the myth that once diagnosed with psychosis, that person will always have delusions. This is definitely a myth.
Dear, dear friend,
I want to say that I’m glad that you did not succeed. Life without you would be a very dull place indeed. You have made it. You are still breathing. Your heart is beating and you have been given a second chance. There are many things I would like to tell you now that you are on the other side of suicide.
I’m a teacher so a good, supportive environment is essential to my success in the classroom. This is doubly so for anyone with a mental illness. Support for a person with a mental illness diagnosis is crucial for their success in the workplace and they CAN be successful!
It’s so important with a mental illness to be vigilant of errant emotions because it could be a warning sign of the start of an episode. This has happened only a few times since I’ve been stable on medication. The first time was during the summer a couple of years ago. I’m a teacher so I have the summers off. That year I didn’t get a summer teaching position so there was relatively no stress for me. It started off with just slight irritability and sleeping more than usual.