10 Habits of Highly Successful People With Bipolar Disorder

By bp Magazine

People who are successfully treating and living with bipolar disorder realize there’s no one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to behavioral, emotional and psychological protocols. Here are ten habits of what has worked for them:

#1 They’ve created their own treatment plan

Through trial and error, these folks have created a personalized treatment plan that works for them. For one person, focusing on therapy for the mind may work, while someone else is better treated with certain medication. All treatment—pharmacological, therapy and lifestyle—needs to be designed specifically for you.

#2 They rally a supportive team

First off, they are not afraid to ask for help and understand they need the assistance of others when they can’t help themselves. They know that support comes in many forms; perhaps they’ll join a support group, either online or in person. Successful people living with bipolar also nurture their support team—staying in contact, communicating and expressing deep appreciation for their help.

#3 They practice mindfulness

A meditation practice improves your ability to manage work, organize tasks and focus in stressful situations. Over the past decade, mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve a whole host of health and disease outcomes; new studies demonstrate what’s happening to the brain in order to produce these beneficial health effects. It shows that meditation reduces Interleukin-6, an inflammatory health biomarker, in high-stress adults.

#4 They know their triggers and have a plan

As with mania, knowing what stressors leave you vulnerable to depression can help prevent recurrences. Work-related stress, sleep disturbances and traumatic life events can all be triggers and having a plan to help prevent minor symptoms from turning into a full-blown episode is vital. Successful individuals have put together a comprehensive plan, usually with the help of their spouse and/or family. They understand how to recognize the beginnings of either depression or mania and what they will do in such cases.

#5 They have a healthy diet and exercise regularly

Whether they find it challenging or not, they know that having a healthy lifestyle—eating well and moving more—is a crucial complement to a treatment plan of medication to maintain mood stability. Studies now prove that people with bipolar disorder are more likely to have certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies, making a nutrient-dense diet all the more important.

#6 They have good sleep habits

For people living with bipolar, sleep is found to be a significant cause of stress. We know that sleep problems don’t just affect mood, they can also be the cause. People who are successful with their bipolar treatment plans know to keep a steady rhythm throughout their day…going to bed and rising the same time each day and following the same bedtime routine.

#7 They stick to a schedule/routine

The schedule itself is personalized to each individual but the point is they stick to their set routines—especially for the important aspects like their medication protocol, exercise, diet and sleep. They know that by doing something regularly, like brushing one’s teeth, it soon becomes second nature and doesn’t take willpower to stick to.

#8 They pay attention to their thoughts

They are aware of the loop that links bipolar depression, anxiety and negative thinking and work hard at breaking free of this; they learn to shift out of negative modes such as catastrophic escalation and pessimism and destructive self-talk and instead choose a more positive and practical outlook to almost every situation.

#9 They are grateful

They understand that gratitude has a strong association with well-being and that practicing this state of being has a positive influence on their mood, relationships, outlook, and overall happiness—all of which can protect against anxiety and depression. Some people have found it helpful to keep a daily journal and write what they are grateful for every day.

#10 They keep a journal

Whether it’s charting their moods, diets, exercise or even what they’re grateful for, the simple act of writing it down somewhere (or typing for that matter) does something to further instill the subject matter to memory. Besides its validating and therapeutic benefits, writing one’s thoughts down in a journal can be meditative as it forces one to think only of certain thoughts and not about everything at once.

  1. I am also bipolar 1 I have learned to notice my manic episodes at the age of 42 it’s still hard though I also take a low dose of trazadone and valium to help but kratom has been my biggest help …it makes me able to smile in my bad days or at least deal with life …i will never give up I was raped at the age of nine through 11 and also have ptsd very bad I also take cbd which honestly doesn’t help hugs to all 🙂

  2. I am bipolar 1, I struggle with mania and psychosis. It is especially hard when I come crashing from my highs ( that’s what I call it. When I’m manic, I can take on the world, I help everyone with their problems, I cook a hundred meals at a time, I run (240lbs) like hell, and I have a whole lotta sex. I spend money that I don’t have, and lastly I go into a rage mode that makes me into a monster, my kids become scared of me and my husband makes me close up in my room until I slowly come down from it. But just as fast as I go up that’s how fast I come down and way down, this is what I call my “lows” here I can’t function. I can’t get up off my bed, no bath, no hair combing, forget about my teeth…I eat like a pig and I cry Soo much you would think I’m going to dry up like a prune from all the crying. I get bad thoughts and even contemplate suicide, it’s a really hard time for me.
    I have recently started documenting my days and having a real treatment plan, with medication and therapy things are starting to look up for me.

    1. Before you consider me a Bible Thumping, religious addict, my recommendation is to have quiet time away from people, apps, TV, and all other distractions. Be with just you and God. Leave your past choices where you feel your judgement and choices have put you in a negative light and focus on where you are at this very moment. Stay present. Though I am a follower of Jesus Christ, I found Eckhart Tolle very helpful in his audiobook The Power Of Now.
      It’s a spiritual teaching book that teaches mindfulness as the present moment is all that matters. Yesterday is gone, the future doesn’t exist. Suicide is not an answer because you are not alone in this world. You are loved immensely by God and people are not your judge jury and executioner. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and nothing feels as calm and peaceful as a walk in His nature, where you marvel at the scenery of things often taken for granted. The symmetry of flowers clouds trees and the green grass. You will find love, peace and joy in your quiet time with God, I did and you can too once you put the illusion of the past and future behind you.

      1. Excellent!!! I agree!!! God helps all the time!!! Thanks for writing!!!!

  3. I was diagnosed at 14 after extreme mania and psychosis..I then just fumbled through it until getting sick at 21 and 22 and realizing I truly needed medication..now at 55 I am proud that I kept learning strategies to better manage the illness monitoring sleep..taking time off as necessary..I am a clinician in an out patient setting..I use my experience to help others

    1. I was finally diagnosed with Bi-polar 2 in my late 50’s after having my first episode at 17. Into my 30’s the mania was very active but now the depressions are more the norm for me.
      I won’t go into my endless trips to hell but will say that I have finally found the right treatment plan.
      Courage to do the hard work in therapy.
      The right combination of meds (trial and error is important..don’t give up).
      Journaling is my life savor.
      The belief that I’m not alone and the willingness to speak out..not feeling ashamed of my condition.
      And last but not least belief in God or a higher power so you can survive and overcome and yes flourish!

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