31 days of bipolar: 5

Youuu dooo something to meme / something that simply mystifiiiiiiiies meme …

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5. What treatment, therapy etc do you do?

Disclaimer: this is not a treatment plan you should follow, it’s limited by and adapted to my circumstances. And I certainly don’t always get it all right.
Datclaimer: there is some good stuff there though.

Okay, here goes another 5km long post (sorrynotsorry).

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Psychiatrist: definitely the most important tool in my toolkit. I pay privately, because I have no medical aid and it still works out cheaper. State facilites in South Africa are usually pretty basic and frequently rather alarming. My psychiatrist is fabulous.
Medication: having spent the past two or three decades dancing with psychology and psychiatry and meds, as well as doing my best to only do it my way, I am unashamedly and unequivocally pro psychiatry and meds. With one caveat, the psychiatrist has to be bloody good, trustworthy and ethical. I’m only 6 months into the bipolar meds-go-round, having been misdiagnosed for most of my life. At the moment: lamotrigine, serdep, wellbutrin, concerta.
Love: for me this means friends and nextofkin. Very important for obvious reasons, like not isolating myself completely.
Dogs: the dogs keep me to a strict routine, get me out walking and are always available for cuddles. Girldog makes sure I get up by 6am at the very latest and she wakes me up after a couple of hours when I nap.
Calm: ptsd and panic attacks taught me that stress management is essential. I live quietly and avoid drama.
Routine: structure is important, to avoid sliding down the horrible depressive vortex of doom, soaring up the rainbow of giddy mania, or killing somebody while in a mixed episode.
Sleep: as regular as possible, and as uniform as possible.
Diet: as healthy and as close to a Mediterranean diet as possible. Plus zinc and magnesium, as recommended by my shrink. 3 meals per day and no cutting out carbs – also shrink instructions and intended to help allay anxiety. I don’t drink alcohol and I limit coffee to roughly one cup a week.
Exercise: walks on the beach with my dogs.
Writing: my version of talk therapy – with you guys as various types of therapist.
Reading: I read voraciously and always have. I read mental illness to learn and understand myself, and a wide, wide range of other stuff to understand the rest of the world.
Light: sunglasses outside, blue light filter on digital screens. Apparently it helps in avoiding mania being triggered by sunshine. Blue light = bad for bipolar.

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PRN:
Therapy: I’ve had a metric fuck-ton of therapy in my life, of varying levels of helpfulness. The most helpful, in the end, was CBT. I didn’t do it for long, but it taught me some invaluable skills. If I could afford therapy now … I don’t think I’d bother. I’m still content with taking a break from it. Idc if that’s wrong.

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