IBPF Community Answers
As those living with bipolar disorder learn more about their diagnosis and settle into a routine, there are several habits they learn benefit them tremendously. These habits can look different for everyone. We wanted to learn from our community members what helps them best manage their bipolar disorder.
What is one thing or activity that you ‘cannot live without’ while living with bipolar disorder?
“One activity I can’t live without in the management of my bipolar is a daily walk, usually towards the end of the day. I cherish my long walks because on the other side of them is a weightier sense of peace. During a walk my mind may be going in all directions, but often I can let my thoughts pass without as much judgment afterward. The physical exercise and the tan make it all the more worthwhile but if I’m going to strive for a euthymic mood state, daily walks are crucial. I also try to integrate longer walks in my day to day. For instance, I may park far away not only because finding the perfect spot is too stressful but also because it gives me more time to collect my thoughts.” Matthew, United States
“Journaling is something that helps me tremendously. Now the thing is with journaling is that you start off with a variety of questions, but the more the pen moves, the more questions you begin to answer yourself. Now I don’t know about you, but I find that quite magical. And it has healed and comforted me in so many ways. Just knowing that I can let out my thoughts, even if it’s on a piece of paper. My advice would be to let go of any inhibitions. Write what you like and most importantly, what you feel. It’s a personal journey, and at the end of the day, it just you and the most precious best friend anyone can have: your journal.” – Mihlali, South Africa
“There are many ways I manage bipolar disorder. The most important activity is my daily walk by the lake with my dog. I’m fortunate enough to live walking distance from the lake in my city. It has a long stretch of a walkable beach front. I love listening to music, breathing in the fresh air, moving my body, creating space in my mind just for myself and listening to the waves crash onto the shore. My morning walk sets the tone for my day. There has never been a time that I came home from a walk and wished I hadn’t gone.” – Mel, Canada
“One thing that really helps me with my bipolar disorder is listening to music, any place, anywhere. By doing exercise or simply being alone with my headphones. I listen to basically all types of music. Also I’m occasionally a DJ in bars and that liberates a very good energy. In short, music heals the emotions you are feeling.” – Ricardo, Portugal
“For me, I usually have four nighttime routines that I do. The first thing is taking my medication. I try to take them around the same time, so I take them at 8 PM. Sometimes I skip the medicine at night because I fall asleep but now I never skip them because I realize that medication helps me reach stable condition. The second thing in my nighttime routine is reflecting on some things, even it is in the past, present, or future. I usually think about what I have done today and what I should do tomorrow. Sometimes I contemplate about my future, and it makes me so happy when I imagine it. I also journal to release excessive things on my mind. Another thing I usually do is call my family or friends. Right now I am thousands of kilometres apart from them, so calling them to talk what has happened that day can make my mood better. I can tell them about my feelings, make a story about what was happened today, or just things in my mind. The last night routine is to listen to relaxing music or quran recite when I go to bed. They can calm my mind. Not only those, but sometimes I also listen rain and thunder sounds from Spotify. I take deep breath and exhale it slowly, taking deep breaths and exhaling it slowly many times until I fall asleep. So, the conclusion is when I do that nighttime routine it can helps me to manage bipolar disorder. – Jongko, Indonesia
“One thing or activity I can’t live without that helps manage my bipolar disorder is journaling/writing. I found that checking in with myself and gathering my thoughts into one place can really help relieve a lot of the emotional pressure that I may feel. There are many moments where journaling will also reveal things I didn’t know were weighing on my mind, and I’m able to discover them after jotting them down and seeing them in front of me on paper. Writing not only helps clear my mind, but it also provides a creative freedom that I’ve come to appreciate. It’s now a part of my daily routine, and it’s one of the best habits I could’ve picked up for managing my symptoms!” – Sara, United States