Self-Care In Action Via Photos: A Bipolar Consumer’s Attempt To Stave Off Mania

This is Part 3 in a 5-Part Series: “When the World is Too Bright: An Intensive View of Mania from On the Ground”
(Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, and Part 5 here)
I fancy myself an iPhone/Instagram photographer! I love taking pictures throughout my week to document where I’ve been, what I’ve eaten, and what I’ve seen. I’m not much of a selfie taker. In fact, if you scroll through my Instagram feed, I post more photos of “stuff” (such as food, places, things) than of people.

When I noticed that I was becoming manic, I decided that I wanted to document as much of this experience as possible – both through words (blogging) and photographs. What follows are images of me engaging in self-care in an attempt to stave off a full-blown manic episode and a potential hospitalization. I was overly ambitious with the first two pictures, in which I made collages of that day’s self-care. After the first two days, however, I no longer possessed the wherewithal to sit still long enough to make cutesy collages of text and images.


This is an old acupuncture picture. The other photos here are from that first Monday in September 2016.


On Tuesday, I had lunch with a friend and wrote a few mania-themed haikus. My bedroom always gets extremely messy when I am in the throes of depression or mania. This day, I took the time to straighten up.


This was at one of my acupuncture sessions. My acupuncturist showed me a move I could do to ground myself. Mania lives in my head, so I literally have to bring my head and heart closer to the earth.


These are called “ear seeds.” They are little adhesive squares that have a tiny black seed in the center. The seed is placed over a pressure point. And throughout the day, I massage the seed, sending pressure to that corresponding point. The pressure points I focus on correspond to relaxation and sleep.


It is extremely important to drink as much water as possible. One side effect of my medications is constipation. Increased water intake helps to keep my body hydrated and hopefully mitigate the drying effects of the meds.


I have a hard time focusing when I am manic, which often translates into me not eating enough. So when I am manic and finally do decide/take time to eat, I eat meals that I especially like. This is chicken teriyaki with brown rice and edamame.


Here’s another photo of a snack I ate; it is a cored apple with caramel dip. I’m sure you can tell that this photo made it onto my Instagram!


My meds are processed through the liver. Once, a few years back, one of my meds caused liver toxicity; I was immediately taken off that regimen.  I like to drink Yogi Detox tea to counteract the meds’ impact. I love colorful and beautiful things, and both the mug and my journal meet those requirements.



Part of my self-care is looking put-together. When I was depressed for the first time in 2006, I did not bathe or groom. When the depression ended a few months later, I vowed to myself that I would always have my hair done and I would always wear clothes that made me feel good.


This is my on-the-go pill box that I carry in my purse. I also have a much larger pill box for daily use. The reason I spiraled into mania is that I stopped taking my meds consistently a few months back. As much self-care as I do, none of it matters if I am not also taking my meds. The ultimate self-care for me is: adequate sleep, taking my meds consistently and as prescribed, and managing my stress.


When I am manic, I am extra spiritual and religious. I feel as if I commune better with God when I am manic. It becomes easier to see His hand in my life. On this day, I went to church with my mother and shared a blogging testimony. One of my readers left a comment on a recent blog post saying that he was suicidal, but because of my words he decided to live. His story was so humbling for me. I never really know if my blogging is impacting my audience and readers. But his comment touched me to my core.


As I mentioned, Instagram is my favorite form of social media. I’ve reposted memes, but it wasn’t until this year that I started creating my own memes. I am both a visual person and a logophile (lover of words). So memes combine both my loves. Here’s a meme I created recently.

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