While we are setting millions of legal (and illegal) fireworks, there are also a number going off inside me––just as I knew there would.
Happy 4th of July to my American friends!
While the U.S. is setting off gosh knows millions or billions of legal (and illegal) fireworks, there are also a number going off inside me. I knew there would be; I just forgot about it for a while.
Independence never comes easy, nor does independence from this illness. Ever.
That’s a depressing thought.
Now I know I discussed mania already this year and probably quite a few times since I began blogging for BPHope, but alas, it a subject near and dear to my brain and heart. I covered some of these tips that post in February, but I’ve added some here today.
Then I was complaining about the snow while using my lightbox. Just after that post, who knew, I headed for the snow-filled mountains and valleys of Vermont in March. Thank you, Vermont Studio Center, you slowed down my mania while I was locked in my studio working on my next book(s). Thank you too, pneumonia, as you made me sleep twelve hours a day and you gotta love sleep to ward off mania. That slowed things down a bit from my typical spring mania.
When I returned home though, the rain put a damper on it. Thank God! After all, I couldn’t go to the beach and catch too many rays in the rain. No lying back at Aunt Carol’s pool or looking over the ocean from under my umbrella. (I only spend a half hour or hour out now after that very tan, very manic summer. That was a rough one!)
The bad weather has merely delayed the inevitable arrival of a little mania in the mail; and what a good thing.
But it’s back, predictably. I knew it would come, I guess I was pretending it wouldn’t. Like one of those silly little games you play with yourself. And since it’s here, I thought maybe, just maybe, I might be in good company.
Which brings me to some tips I gave you in February from my book and a few ad-libbed ones thrown in for good measure.
So, if you’re feeling manic, or for good mental health in general, why don’t you try:
Turning on a white noise machine or fan to block out unwanted noise for your best, uninterrupted sleep.
Blackout shades anyone? Style is nice, but sleep is better. (Or, you can have it all if you put up both.)
Pay attention to the amount of sun you are getting. We recently purchased a UVA-100 umbrella. We stay under it at home in the backyard at our table (sans watering the garden, etc.) and bring it to the beach when we go. They say twenty minutes is all you need and much more can send us to mania-town. Too much sun isn’t good for your skin anyway.
Try moving your bed if it is near the windows. Being near the light could hurt your sleep and wake you sooner. (My psychiatrist recently suggested sleeping with an eye mask on!)
Reading in bed is an excellent way to fall asleep, but avoid books that make you want to stay up, like action thrillers or scary, dark ones potentially causing nightmares.
With tips you are not good about enforcing, tell you loved ones and ask for help. (For me, it is spending.) For example, in late spring or early summer, every year like clockwork, I hand over my credit cards to Nora.
If you are experiencing hypomania or depression, step up appointments with your psychiatrist and therapists and put your inner circle on alert.
Listen to loved ones when they point out your mood has changed (I know, I know, this one is sometimes difficult) and try to remember their words that it will pass. I have learned to believe them even if I don’t feel like it. Sometimes, I’ll look at pictures around the house or on my phone to enforce this.
Minimize time at social events. This past year I blurted out two comments that needed months of damage control. Also, make sure you have your own “getaway” car so you’re never trapped if uncomfortable, depressed, manic or anxious.
Be careful with your fireworks and if you feel them inside, get in to see your doctor right away! 🙂
*Partial excerpts from: Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival: Tips for Living with Bipolar Disorder, Post Hill Press. Authors: Wendy K. Williamson & Honora Rose.
Wendy Williamson had her first manic episode while studying at Virginia Tech, eight weeks before graduation. It was then she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type I. After being downsized from corporate America, Wendy wrote her memoir of honesty and hope entitled I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar. She co-wrote her second book: Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival: Tips for Living With Bipolar Disorder with author Honora Rose.
Wendy writes for BPHope.com and The The Huffington Post. She has written for: BP Magazine, Bipolar Disorder for Dummies: 2nd Edition and The Two River Times. Her book has been reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly and National Alliance on Mental Illness’ The Advocate. Wendy is the founder of The Red Bank Writers Group and has been interviewed on over forty radio stations worldwide. Catch up with Wendy on Twitter and at her website.
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