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Getting a Handle on Stress When You Have Bipolar Disorder, Part 1: The Basics of Stress

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Fall is upon us, and for many people it’s the season of stress. School starts back, work picks up, the days get shorter, the weather gets colder, and the holiday season begins—all potential sources of stress. So in honor of fall, I’m writing a series about managing stress when you have bipolar disorder. It will be divided into 3 parts: 

The Perfect Storm

I’m writing this three days fresh out of an acute treatment unit. It’s a locked facility similar to a mental hospital, but smaller. 

It’s not the first time I’ve voluntarily admitted myself to this unit due to extreme symptoms and personal safety issues, but it’s been at least two years since my last visit. 

Finding a workable med combination and being committed to therapy has kept me on track for the most part. Any episodes I’ve experienced over the past couple of years I’ve been able to manage at home with the support of family. 

The 12 Steps of Christmas

“My name is Sarah and I am a Holiday-holic”.

Yes, I love the holidays. In fact, I probably love them too much. I am so emotionally over-invested that I sometimes get overwhelmed, creating a horrible disconnect between the fantasy and the reality.

The truth is that I have gone through the same cycle of manic hyper-anticipation and inevitable anticlimax so many times that I have finally come to embrace the wisdom of AA:

"I have had to admit that I am powerless over Christmas and it is unmanageable for me"