It is not easy, not at all!
For years I was in denial that something was wrong with me even though I knew that I had lost interest in or did not have the energy to engage myself in activities I thoroughly enjoyed doing in the past. I know I was straying from my true self. As I have mentioned in my earlier posts, I would literally get petrified even at the thought of someone entering into my room, my safe haven where I would spend countless hours scared to face the world.
Bipolar Disorder- How I am Coping
Having been diagnosed with the disorder some 16 years back, I was not fully aware that the condition, although treatable, is not curable. For more than a decade, I was in complete denial that a disorder of this nature would ever take hold of me so much so that I would not be able to think what to do with myself.
People now ask me as to what triggered the onset of bipolar disorder. However, I cannot really pinpoint any event that can be considered to be the real reason(s) for my condition.I believe it is more important at this point of time to talk about how I am dealing with the disorder than ruminating on the reason.
Allow me to list down my coping mechanisms below:
Unless one is completely aware that he or she has bipolar disorder, it is EXTREMELY difficult for the person to get treated. Accepting the fact that we will go through mood-swings and episodes of depression and mania will always be a potential challenge for us.
So how to overcome this challenge?
For me, ‘talk therapy‘ proved to be a medium. Although I stayed a recluse for most part of my illness, I later realized that keeping things to myself will never help me. I had to let my emotions and feelings out. And that for me was first through talking about my condition with my psychiatrist and two interns from Kathmandu Medical College, Sinamangal, Kathmandu. Then, it was through this blog when I first wrote my first blog dedicated to my experiences living with the disorder.
To tell you frankly, it wasn’t easy for me to express myself to my doctors or to the rest of the world. Having gone through so many relapses in the past and hospitalized for substantial periods of time, recent one being during our major festival, I vowed to myself that I will never let myself into the cruel clutches of the horrifying experiences of going into a relapse. It’s not a very nice experience to go into a relapse.
These days, I talk about the disorder with almost everyone whom I think are receptive and interested in. I joined a seven-day Brahma Kumari (BK) RajYog meditation course which has helped me tremendously to overcome any feelings of depression or elation. It would not be an exaggeration if I say that the BK meditation course has transformed me from a highly sensitive person to the one who can take this world as it comes.
- Taking medication seriously
Medication goes a long way towards stabilizing moods. Medication to treat bipolar disorder coupled with talk therapy reduces both the number of relapses and the severity of those relapses.
However, I couldn’t be on good terms with the old fashioned lithium. My doctors prescribed me a strong dose of lithium which is known for its miraculous properties of stabilizing your moods and is used as an effective drug to treat manic episodes. While it has a fair share of advantages to its credit, lithium is also known for its side effects. I would eternally have a dazed feeling while I was on lithium, not to forget the tremors I used to experience.
Having said that, I would strongly like to recommend and suggest that taking one’s medication regularly and diligently is the only way one can actually have control over mood swings and preventing, to a large extent, episodes of mania.
- Music Therapy
Music has always proved to by my best friend irrespective of the fact if I was ever bipolar or not. You might agree with me when I say that music is such a powerful force that can actually transform your mood in a jiffy.
I’ve even enlisted myself in an online course on music therapy offered by the University of Melbourne so as to get to the theory how music can be used as treatment for mental illnesses. I’ve reached the third week of the course and my journey so far has been useful in understanding the importance of patient-driven therapy.
Well, I’m still in the process of learning and re-learning what methods or ways can be helpful for me. Since we all have our own individual experiences of living with bipolar disorder, I truly and sincerely hope that you would be able to find your own ways of treating yourself.