Inspiration works like a silver lining. Here I am (Jacob), sharing my story with you about my struggles with bipolar. I hope this gives you hope.
I was an enthusiastic boy in my college days. Even now, my friends remember me for how much fun it was being with me. Like having fun with friends and participating in college culturals. There are a lot of fresh memories to cherist, until the rise of my nervy days.
It all started slowly, I still remember those days I cried for no reason. Often feeling a sense of despair and I spent a lot of time alone. At a point, the symptoms I was experiencing became persistent and severe. There is an invisible handcuff in my bed that makes me stay put for more than 12 hours. Often I buried myself in the fear for the unknown. Because of these symptoms, my self-confidence was at an all-time low. Eventually, I was preoccupied with thoughts of suicide and engulfed with negativity.
Caged in thoughts
I suffered in silence, I wasn’t sure my family would respond to what I was going through. I thought my change in behaviours would isolate me from my family and friends.
A Mirage Miracle
After a few months, all of sudden everything became normal. I felt good. Better! And happy. I was back to full participation in the activities at my college. Actually, I felt better than before. Later after a couple of days, I observed that I wasn’t my normal self. Often I felt uneasy with racing thoughts and landed up in issues with my impulsive behaviour. My father made me realise my speech was illogical and rapid. I was easily irritable. Initially, I thought it was a miracle because the gloomy days were replaced by bright full of energy days.
All I needed was a spark
I didn’t feel myself anymore! My thoughts started haunting me from inside. And there some whispers in my head said: “you are done with your silence”. That’s was the point of breakdown. I decided to speak up. Shared all my experiences with my best friend.
I had him visit me. After a few seconds of silence, he asked, “Are you okay?”
That was the moment I was waiting for! It was like someone opened a door for me which was locked up for a number of days. I just hugged him and cried my heart out that day. That day, was the beginning of my recovery!
A Perfect Solution
After all the browsing and searching over the internet, I got help through one of my dad’s friend. He suggested me a mental health clinic for consultation. Initially, I was skeptical to go there. I wasn’t sure if this was the right thing. My dad held my hand and helped me through this phase. The psychiatrist there was friendly and communicative. A few visits later, I was made aware of that, what I was going through was bipolar disorder.
The counselor helped me understand bipolar. Also, I understood that I was swaying between depression and mania. However, the intervention with medication and counseling, didn’t seem to be enough as I delayed my treatment quite a bit. And then the only option I had was – treatment at a rehab centre.
Treatments for Bipolar
A 90 days course at the rehab center was my wise choice in my entire bipolar chapter. The change was little late and hard but worth it. I was provided with the right set of treatment and therapies. Treatments such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), group therapy, family therapy, and medication management gave me more confidence to deal with the disorder. (Click here to know the treatments in detail). Some of the other activities that boosted my recovery level was personal training, assisted employment, yoga and exercise.
Yes, treatment is essential for recovery, at the same time, self-help techniques can also aid in recovery. Following are the self-help techniques that helped me to manage bipolar disorder,
When I have fluctuations in mood, it used to reflect on my eating habits. During a depressive episode, I used to overeat. During the mania episode, I barely ate anything. Having a balance in the eating habits was important.
Have a sound sleep:
The counselor helped me understand that manias are normally associated with lack of sleep and the depressive episodes are associated with oversleeping. I tried to give myself a sufficient sleep time of 6-8 hours.
As soon I woke up, I would make a list of tasks that had to be finished for the day. Once that is organized, I would prioritize the tasks and finish it one by one. I feel organizing tasks helped me keep busy.
Avoid drug & other substances:
Drugs and alcohol consumption with bipolar is a strict no-no!
it plays a vital role in recovery. Sometimes the symptoms could cause relationship issues. This is due to social isolation or due to lack of open up to the support system. I always hold myself with the people who can understand you better in crisis situations.
We all know the physical workout is good for health. At the same time, it’s good for the mind too. The release of endorphins acts as a great coping tool against mental health problems. A 20-minute workout each day became a mandate for me.
From the lessons of sufferings and pain, I understood one thing in life: We should never give up on hope. If you are waiting to see a silver lining in life, trust hope, you are half way there towards recovery.