Author: George Zou
As a 30 year old single man, I can tell you Bipolar Disorder affects men in a special way. Having a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis means staying away from the lively parties and concerts. During this Covid pandemic, Bipolar Disorder has prepared me for a life of solitude just like those old days in the hospital. I try my best to take medication every single day and always follow the proper dosage. For me, 8-12 hours of nightly sleep is a must or else I will have psychosis. 8-12 hrs may seem a lot for the average person, but for someone with Bipolar who primarily hangs out in the depression zones, 12 hrs of sleep is an understatement. I find myself having a good diet is crucial to recovery. This means limiting caffeine to one cup of coffee per day and reducing the amount of sugar intake. I primarily eat fruits and vegetables, limiting myself the amount of carbohydrates and red meat intake. Everyday, I always attempt to build enough free time into my schedule so I can limit the amount of stress and increase flexibility. As an Online Academic Advisor, I find that taking time in between calls with students recharges my mood and energy. I also have a wireless headset, allowing me to roam about my studio apartment without any constraints.
There’s a reason I’d like to keep a quiet, tidy room. Having a minimalist room ensures there won’t be any clutter or unnecessary junk. I have my computer(s) and monitor(s) and my medication on my desk. That’s it. Living a minimalist life means I don’t have to expense extra energy into possessions I don’t care for. Heck, I even sold my car after I started working from home. For men with Bipolar Disorder, there’s often symptoms of delusions and hallucinations that can be triggered during periods of psychosis. And no, you may have had feelings of grandiosity and super power during psychosis, but those feelings are not true. You may have said or promised certain people you would accomplish specific tasks and now you realize they are not possible. That’s completely ok. For example, I once walked into the School of Business Dean’s office and asked him how much I would have to donate to name the Business School after me. Even though some dreams are unrealistic, I keep on working toward them every day.
As men, we often feel the need to impress and increase our social status for mating and reproduction purposes. Social status can be obtained by going to an Ivy league institution, owning a mansion, driving a specific brand car, and/or dating a beautiful woman. From my experience, we are complete but the world will continue to keep you insecure through advertisements. As men with Bipolar Disorder, we must not let women’s standards of ourselves dictate how we should live our life. Because I have Bipolar Disorder, I may not be able to work 100 hrs as an Investment Banker or travel 80 hrs as a Consultant. That is completely fine. One thing I learned from my good friend in England is that it is not he who has the most possessions who is the richest, but rather the person who needs the least. Stress is often a trigger for a manic or depressed episode. Our moods already fluctuate on a daily basis. If we were to add a career that had fluctuating demands, our illness would get worse. It is best just to relax. Better to be bored than stressed. Free time is the golden nugget toward recovery, everything else will follow.