31 Days of Bipolar, Day 5: Treatment

What treatment, therapy etc do you do?

I think therapy for Bipolar comes under three categories:

Medication
Therapy
Lifestyle Choices

Few people can manage Manic Depression without a combination of all three.

While people may not be able to do one type or another for whatever reason, it is best to incorporate all of them into your treatment plan.

There are many different medications, and the most common class of drug prescribed to Bipolar patients are Mood Stabilisers, although Anti-Depressants, Anti-Anxiety Meds, Anti-convulsants and Anti-psychotics may be used as well.

(Wow, so much Anti.)

My medication consists solely of Lithium, which is a mood stabiliser. Although there are other mood stabilisers, Lithium is the most popular as it is highly effective and is a natural salt.

It also makes a cool song.

Originally I was on a standard Lithium pill, but as I reached higher doses I found that it was too hard on my stomach and I was throwing up often in the mornings. The doctor switched me to a kind with a special coating to make it easier on the stomach.

While I have no experience with most of the other kinds of medication, for a period of time I was on anti-psychotics. They worked fantastically to stop me hallucinating but I personally found the side effects so awful that they weren’t worth it, and stopped taking them.

On the bright side, it’s hilarious to scare people by telling them I’m off my meds.

This was a carefully weighed decision that I discussed with my doctor: do not stop taking your medication without approval.

Another important part of my treatment is therapy. I will attend hour long sessions either weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on how I am managing.

So far for me, therapy has mostly been about talking through all of the emotional baggage of being diagnosed. It was different when I was being treated for anxiety – I learnt techniques such as mindfulness and acceptance through CBT and ACT.

Even without anxiety, and when I’m stable, therapy is just the most wonderful tool. I still use what I learnt and I wouldn’t be the same person today without it.

The last part of treatment is Lifestyle Choices, and this is largely the same for everyone. No drinking, no mind altering drugs, no late nights, no late mornings, exercise every day and eat well.

Of course, I don’t know anyone who obeys all those rules.

I am quite strict with myself having a regular sleep cycle, and I never was one to take drugs. (Tried weed safely with a good friend once, and it was like every episode combined into the most terrifying, never ending, haunting experience. Not too keen to try again.)

I do drink a little, and I am aware of the risk. But I made a choice to enjoy my youth, and my knowledge means that I can enjoy myself with a couple of ciders once a month instead of binge drinking every weekend. I will cease altogether someday, but for now, I choose to live.

I have a problem though. I love food. And sleeping in. In fact right now I am eating MnMs and craving chips.

Technically a half hour jog each morning and a lack of sugar and caffeine in my diet are supposed to be part of my treatment plan, but these are the parts I struggle with most.

I’m not lazy – I love being productive – I just hate sweating and heat. And while I love salads and fruit smoothies, I also crave chips and chocolate like water in the desert.

My aim is to someday perfect my Lifestyle Choices like I have my Medication and Therapy, but I also think an important part of my treatment is not to be too hard on myself.

The most important thing is that I allow myself to still live and be human.

5 thoughts on “31 Days of Bipolar, Day 5: Treatment

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