I have been seeing Michelle for over a year now and she wanted me to share some tips that I have given her to better help manage her bipolar disorder. All in all, she copes with her bipolar disorder very well. She has held down multiple jobs, owns her own house, and although she still struggles with severe depression and serious manic episodes, her determination and drive have helped her conquer her illness.
She copes with her diagnosis well, but there is still work to be done as she now sees me frequently. She does not see me when she is depressed as she says “it does not help because it is a chemical imbalance and there is not much to talk about. She also has stated that it takes too much effort to leave her house to eve go the grocery store so getting to the appointment is hard.
I would have to say that she is one of my favorite patients when she is manic as she is kind and funny and her true personality shows through. She has even brought me gum because she found out I like to chew gum, is open and hones and jokes around and makes me laugh. I enjoy my time with her.
Here are some things we have learned together while I have been counseling her:
- Don’t stress about not getting enough sleep
- Don’t borrow tomorrow’s problems
- Eat right: Stay away from sugars and carbohydrates
- Force yourself to go for walks and/or swim as great stress reliever
- Stress can make everything worse and recently she is moving into a new house and the best advice she things I have given her is to pace myself. Take time to do fun things with her husband, and take long walks, talk to friends, serf the internet, and other things we have talked about.
- One of her favorites I suggested was to not borrow tomorrow’s problems
- Another one of her favorites is to not live with what if’s. She is selling her house and buying a new house with her husband. She likes having her house with rent coming in and fears if something were to happen between her husband and her, that she could always have her home to fall back on. I told her to not have a backup plan.
- While she is manic, she has a hard time communicating with her husband and others. She has learned that we have one mouth and two ears and it is imporant to allow the other person to talk without interrupting. This has been a long process from before I met her. She has been able to function as a teacher, a manager without anyone knowing she has a mental illness because she can listen and on purpose refrain from talking too much even though she would like to talk a mile a minute. She has learned that others can’t keep up with her. Her mom used to call it being verbally over productive. It is not that it is easy for her, but it is beneficial to keep relationships to keep this in mind as it can turn people away.
- She has a hard time keeping friends due to the embarrassment of things she has done while she is manic. I think it is more of her doing than theirs. She has a lot to give to a relationship and is a great friend and her true friends accept her for who she is and try to understand that she goes through difficult times.
That is all for now, but I look forward to learning more about her and her family and give more advice in the future.