Author: Jessica Kaushik
I was diagnosed in 2004 and have been largely living hospital-free for the last thirteen years. So, I do have a few coping strategies for living with Bipolar Disorder that I’d like to share with the newly diagnosed.
…I wouldn’t say the list is comprehensive, but it is kinda long. When one thing doesn’t seem to work, I have other strategies to fall back on. The following allows me to take charge of my illness – in control, I don’t think we ever are but that’s a personal philosophy on life. First & foremost I share that Bipolar Disorder is ongoing & for life – managing one’s mental health is not achieved with one strategy alone; they work together – collectively in my humble opinion.
I take my medicine at the same time every day. This I, personally, think is the most important for me. As I believe, taking meds to begin with is most necessary to maintaining balance but at the same time everyday allows the chemicals in my brain some consistency.
I go to bed at the same time, almost every day – often sleeping 8+ hours.
I practice Yoga.
I meditate. Not every day & not always traditionally on a cushion – sometimes I just turn the radio off while driving in my car, but I return to silence/stillness again & again.
I keep my house neat and tidy. Our environment is huge. Yours does not have to be beautiful but relatively clean & organized makes all things domestic so much easier. Sure, my dishes pile up on occasion & I have to make room for the other people that I choose to live with.
I manage & monitor my alcohol consumption. Some days it’s hard. I need a social life & many a party revolve around drinking but to mitigate that – if one day I drink 2 or 3 glasses of alcohol, at a ‘party’ for example, then I might not drink again for 3 or 4 days. OR on the contrary – sometimes – when the mood/craving strikes and life is particularly stressful, I might drink a glass of something a day for a handful of days, but I cut myself off most days at one – if I am seeing a pattern.
I stay connected with my friends. Forget the news and or the latest sitcom – I really can’t entertain that stuff much, it’ll make me go all mental but social media and regular chats with my besties I do.
I write. I write a blog. I’ve written a Screenplay that I might be turning into a book. I journal. I write letters to people, often letters that never get sent!
I listen to uplifting music.
I talk to a professional, on occasion. In the beginning, I needed help making sense of my thoughts and emotions but today, after many years, I have gratefully landed with one woman that I respect & trust a great deal and now I just see her when there’s something significant to discuss. The key here is to find, and I admit it can be a search, someone you respect & trust.
I keep communication open with my support network. By now we know my triggers and when I/we suspect mania especially is on the rise – we alert one another to it.
I have a gratitude practice. Sometimes that’s demonstrative & physically in the form of a gratitude jar. Other times it’s just when I put my son to bed & we recall our blessings.
I eat healthy.
I put the phone down and try to connect with those around me, especially when life gets hairy.
Jessica Kaushik was diagnosed Bipolar 1 after her first psychotic break, after suffering from severe depression, in her early thirties! Like many, Jessica owes her stability today to her closest family & friends and a few key doctors that have helped her see her true self along the way. She views her disease as a God given gift and wouldn’t give it away if she could! In her newly coined blog, Being Bipolar is EASY & the Art of Slowing it Down, she writes about how she finds stability time and time again. Jessica dreams of telling her story, on the BIG screen, and as such is currently dusting off the first draft of her Screenplay that she shelved many moons ago from her home in Las Vegas where she lives with her relentlessly supportive husband and little boy wonder.