9 Ways to Manage Bipolar Disorder & Depression at the Same Time

About Bipolar Disorder & Depression

Bipolar disorder is a mental disease that is characterized by extreme mood swings. Bipolar disorder was earlier termed as manic depression. These moods shift between exhaustive lows (depression), energetic highs, sad and joyful. They vary between unusually elevated moods to periods of extreme depression.

It is difficult for someone with a bipolar disorder to handle episodes of depression. Depressive episodes can involve a totally negative outlook towards life, low eye contact with people around you and a lot of crying. In some severe cases, it may also involve suicidal thoughts and inflict self-harm. People with bipolar disorder find it difficult managing daily life tasks and relationships. You cannot really cure this bipolar disorder, but you can keep it under the wing with the knowledge of a few bipolar disorder treatment options. Proper treatment from an experienced psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist will definitely help you keep the symptoms in control.

9 Ways to Manage Bipolar Disorder & Depression at the Same Time

Some of the ways in which you can treat the depressive episodes related to bipolar disorder and keep your mood elevated are:

Healthy Routine Leads To A Healthy Mind: Getting attracted to bad habits while you are depressed is very easy. You may face excessive hunger pangs even when you are full or not feel like eating when you are hungry. You may also face sleeping issues. You will either sleep too much or too little or indulge in sleeping at odd hours when going through bipolar disorder and depression at the same time. Unhealthy sleeping and eating habits can worsen the situation. Hence, irrespective of when a depressive episode hits you, having a healthy routine will help you sustain good habits and combat depression and bipolar disorder. Some of the easy to follow healthy habits for a patient with bipolar disorder are:-

  • Sleep at least 8 hours every night. Ensure you go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time to maintain consistency.
  • Maintain snack and meal timings. Eat at equal intervals and at same time.
  • Increase your intake of vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.

Structure Each Day: Scheduling your sleep time and eating time does help reduce bipolar disorder symptoms and its associated depression. Structuring and scheduling the rest of your day can also drastically help you combat depressive episodes. It can be difficult for a bipolar disorder patient to deal with a schedule or a daily routine, but the whole point of this bipolar treatment method is to make daily life tasks easy for them. You can start by making a to-do list for the day and checking them off the list once you complete them. Maintaining a calendar or using the sticky notes can be very useful to keep yourself away from the derailment. Ensure that even while you are structuring your day with different daily tasks, you must give yourself enough time for relaxing and resting. Keeping too busy can also worsen bipolar disorder symptoms and lead to frustration. Also, set aside some time for attending medical appointments. Structure and plan your day well, just don’t overdo it.

Don’t Be Scared: The silver lining about bipolar disorder is that you are not in a depressive mood all the time. This gives you enough time to involve yourself in activities such as baking, reading, playing basketball, listening to music etc. However, when you are facing a depressive episode of bipolar disorder, you may not find enough motivation to do things that you enjoy or like. This depressive episode can fill you with the fear that if you do the activities that you like, you may not enjoy them as much; however, you will have to push yourself despite low energy levels to do things that make you happy and elevate your mood. This will definitely make you feel better and combat the depressive episode well. Do not be scared to do anything just because the depression is trying to catch you. Remember, you have to run away from it and keep your energy levels high, motivated and if not happy, at least not be depressed.

Daily Physical Activity: Exercise is usually the best medicine for a number of medical conditions and bipolar disorder with its associated depression is no different. Researchers suggest that exercise releases happy hormones and as a result it alleviates symptoms of depression. Moderate intensity workout like biking, jogging and walking can be very effective. Experts suggest that if you are suffering from bipolar disorder you must exercise 40 minutes at a go, at least 3 to 4 times a week. Exercise can actually dramatically help you fight depressive episodes and bipolar disorder at the same time like nothing else.

Isolation Is Not The Solution: When you are undergoing a depressive episode, social situations may look very overwhelming. You may constantly feel like being alone, but isolating yourself is only going to worsen depression. Hence, it is important that you understand that isolation is not the solution to your problem. On the contrary, you must get involved in different social activities that interest you and you must spend time with your friends and family. The closer you keep your support system, the higher remains your confidence to fight your daunting ailment that is bipolar disorder and depression.

Indulge In Stress-Busting Activities: Bipolar disorder brings depression, stress and anxiety. The last thing you would want to do when a depressive episode hits you is to try out new things, however, trying out novel activities can actually help you reduce your symptoms and keep your mood meter on a high. If you have not tried taking spa before, then it’s the right time to give it a try. Yoga and meditation also helps a lot in the management of bipolar disorder and depression occurring at the same time. If you call yourself an athlete at heart and like sports, you can go play a game of football or badminton to elevate your mood and feel better. A bipolar disorder patient with a sporty streak in him/her can definitely benefit from this.

Active Participation In A Support Group: If you are suffering from bipolar disorder and depression at the same time, the first thing that you need to know is that you are not alone and the second thing that you need to know is that you are not the only one out there fighting the demons that this disease brings along. Joining a support group will give you the confidence and the motivation to fight your disease. In support groups, you will find a lot of other people with similar conditions and similar experiences of depressive episodes with bipolar disorder. You can share your problems, experiences, achievements with people there. You can take and give advice from and to people in this group. In a way, you will also be contributing to the cause. This shall boost your morale, confidence and motivation levels. You can either ask your doctor about any support group active in your neighborhood or you can simply find them online.

Taking Medication & Getting Therapy: Medication and therapy go hand in hand when it comes to treating bipolar disorder and depression at the same time. You must ensure that you are taking your medicines in the right doses at the right time as instructed by your doctor. Don’t change your medicine or dose and don’t skip your medicines without consulting your doctor. While medications help you manage some bipolar disorder symptoms, taking appropriate therapy can equip you with skills that can help you manage symptoms like depression that interfere with routine life activities and manage your disease better. Therapy is significant because it can teach you to aptly deal with symptoms, monitor mood swings as well as maintain relationships. Faithfully following your medications and therapy can work wonders in managing bipolar disorder and depression at the same time.

Identify Your Symptoms: Start identifying the symptoms that usually trigger episodes of depression, if you happen to suffer from bipolar disorder. Start figuring out things, people and circumstances that trigger your depressive symptoms. Start noticing which time of the day your energy level is the highest or the lowest. Try to learn that one activity that you like to do in that time of the day when your energy level is low to elevate mood and energies. One way of doing this is maintaining a mood chart. You can also ask your friends and family to help you recognize your mood patterns which can be of great help in managing your bipolar disorder and depression at the same time.

Knowing your demons well is the best way to fight them. Once you are capable of understanding what leads to a symptom or an episode of depression, you can make efforts at the right time to avoid the episodes or at least reduce its impact to start with. Eventually, you will learn to handle your symptoms.

Take Away

Getting through a bipolar disorder depressive episode can be extremely challenging; however, with the right approach, as discussed, its management becomes easier. Even though bipolar disorder is not curable and is a lifelong medical condition, with the right guidance of a good doctor and therapist, a bipolar disorder patient can lead a normal life.

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