31 days of bipolar: 5

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


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).


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.


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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battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

28 thoughts on “31 days of bipolar: 5”

  1. My god your regime is impressive. I am still woefully short of sleep and may need med intervention (and discipline). I am working to build a social network but it’s slow – not really close to my brothers who live here and mom is over two hours away. I walk, walk, walk and go somewhere everyday. No alcohol but two cups of coffee/day. Two meals a day, little to no meat and lots of fruits and veg. Water too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you very much for this post. I learned a lot and I was reminded of other things that have taken the wayside in this past 3.5 months of mixed state. It is so incredibly difficult for me to maintain a regime, especially since I am borderline as well. I have 0 friends because of my behavior and my abject fear of abandon/rejection (founded in past experiences); my family is not very supportive; I can’t have pets where I live (always had big cuddly dogs before); depression and mean mania seriously affect my sleep and very limited income impacts my eating habits.
    I totally agree with you about meds and psychiatrist. Definitely, absolutely, and unabashedly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw that’s a horribly long mixed state – if you’re going for gold, my shrink says the longest recorded one in 9mnths (shudder). You in the UK? Hard to eat well on a budget there … too much processed food :(

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not so bad for me, last year I was in a really bad mixed state for 5.5 months! I also cycle rapidly so last year I didn’t even have one single stable month – up, down, both, up, down, both! What I find hardest is my manias are not pleasant; they are the rage, agitation, irritable, self-mutilation variety. YUCK! This particular one started semi-mild, then I went totally bonkers (dissociative states, 67 stitches, suicide attempt…).
        I am in Canada… same problem with processed foods. I am on a gov’t disability pensions and you just cannot buy much in the way of good fruits and veggies on what I get. :((

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Yeah you really have got it by George! I was not diagnosed Bipolar 1 til 03, began therapy in 85 though for codependency and alcoholism, I still don’t have my bipolar self-care down like you do lol… :) I could, but I am lazy/stubborn/too hedonistic … and don’t have a dog lol…

    I do have a therapist because my …

    shrink is only 15 min for med management, how long do you get with yours?

    Medication: seems stable, am on lamictal, trileptal, and abilify. (when I counted my meds I counted number of tablets, was that cheating?)

    Love: Oh! I didn’t even notice this category when I first read! I am def. an isolator but that is due to my tendency to be an introvert. So I really have to work at this one. I have a BFF who lives right upstairs from me – have known her for about 24 years. Church (one good friend from there) – love from my therapist haha altho yes he is good with boundaries. We both are. No hugs, altho occas. he will get me a present lol… Lots of love from internet friends I’ve made since probably 2001 (met on a site for people who were affected by 911). I tend to be a helper-bee, it is not usually the other way around, it is just too stressful to have too many relationships with people. I keep people at a distance.

    Dogs: as I said I don’t have one. I do love cats and have had them but I am not a great mommy so I don’t.

    Calm: I do boring stuff. Pretty moderate social phobia/anxiety, history gen. anxiety disorder. I don’t deal with it very well, I have had a number of jobs and when they don’t work I don’t work.I also avoid drama and I avoid romance.

    Routine: as I said I do boring stuff. I am recovering from my son living w/ me in a very small apt. (efficiency) so I am indulging in sleeping late when my body will let me. But my best is getting up around 6 am and bed at 10 or 11 am. haha. Maybe sometimes. But what I meant was pm.

    Sleep: as regular as possible, see above. I have taken to going to bed around 10 with a book until my meds including benadryl knock me out.

    Diet: very bad. I do take vitamins but that is probably as good as it gets right now.

    Exercise: not much

    Writing: off and on although lately much more frequent, the blog, comments, and also working on my novel.

    Reading: Have 4 books going but try to keep to one at a time, read a lot online of a great variety of things/articles.

    Light: Never really thought about it although recently read that computer/ phone light is not a good idea at bedtime (can trigger insomnia) I haven’t had mania since ’10 so I’m not too worried, meds seem to cover me pretty well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh cool answers. I usually pay for either 15 or 30 mins with my shrink and get double the time. She’s extremely awesome. It doesn’t turn into talk therapy, more advice and education in practical ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. – Not in meds. I want to be alive and do whatever I have to do to cope with my mood swings or my anxiety.

    – Self therapy most of my life, and two years with a good, but limited psychologist. Usually I do most of the work myself; I only do therapy on issues I can’t fix. I hate talking about my hell, or about my life and my pain… It depresses me, I just want to resume and go directly to what I need to work on.

    For me, my symptoms come and go in intensity; my personal issues are for life. I need to burn the energy they carry into my life and move on. Fixing and understanding what fed my bipolar disorder so intensely, will help me to just deal with bipolar symptoms.
    I understand where is my personality, my nature, and my disorder, separately and that’s something…

    – I’m not loved or have any emotional support from my “family”, although they value too much what people think of them to let anyone see that they’ve died a long time ago. A fake image is everything… End.

    I was always blessed with good friends and there, I have all I need and more. I don’t and will not have a dog ever again. I’ve lost my dog and not only she took my heart with her but the pain and the guilt never goes away. I miss her too much even though she died more than 20 years ago. I was not with her when she died.

    I have a cat, a she, I took her from the street, she with 4 months old. She will take the rest of my heart when she’s gone. But for now we are very happy. She’s like me LOL I can’t believe she has the same personality as me, crazy, sweet, most forgiven, and the love is all we have :D. Time is passing too fast and she is 4 years and 4 months old already… And I take care of my best friend’s cat, and he is my baby too.

    – I have a routine of making sure I do 3 activities, minimum, a day that I really love doing, that will feed my soul and prevent me to fall into depression, anxiety or psychotic shi..

    – As for sleep, it’s very irregularly, I slept 3 hours today. It’s enough for now.
    – Diet, I wish I could eat everything organic but don’t. I just make sure I don’t eat food that can higher my inflammation levels. I take vitamins, magnesium, and my favorite, Iron (prescribed) wish does wonders for me I almost fell “normal”.

    – For some reason I fall asleep if I read a book LOL, I have to read having a specific light or my brain will turn itself off :D amazing…

    A 10 km comment (thank god I don’t have to read it, I apologize for my bad English and bad grammar (not). I need air after writing none stop…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I liked how you broke down your situation in managing your disorder. As for CBT, it’s for the birds for me. I’m glad you had good results, I think I just had a shit therapist that only made me do workbooks like I was in school and then had me talk to empty chairs. I quit him and now am using writing as my therapy. Glad you have such a wonderful psychiatrist – that is of the utmost importance!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m curious – why does your doc recommend zinc and magnesium supplements? And why no cutting out carbs? I’m 2 weeks on the banting diet, which is no carbs, and I’ve researched and seems to respond well with bipolar II patients.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello … zinc for immune system – but I can’t remember why I’m deficient. Well, not as far as zinc goes anyway. Magnesium – heart, bones, blood pressure. Carbs – anxiety. :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay. Thanks so much for letting me know. I’m having a problem with muscle weakness in my legs. I’ve done some research and suspect its a potassium deficiency. That’s why I was curious about your supplements :)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Really enjoyed reading your answers and also I’m curious about your pdoc’s magnesium rationale. I’ve been hearing lots of positive buzz about magnesium this week and my pdoc said it’s fine for me to take it. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Clearly I am an utter and complete *fail* at this one :) (Can I mention though, my excitement that dyane said pdoc…as I felt so completely happy for some reason)

    I do none of these things. Oh wait…I see a pdoc..well, I don’t consider her that, but she does. So, if that counts, I do that, and take medication…not a word of reply to that either.. :)
    One interesting thing though…I do find if I do not get carbs in my diet I feel awful. So that may be something. I just do the no fat gram thing..but that is really just for my own eating thing…not healthy eating…so don’t count that.
    You are so amazing to me how well you do, at everything. Especially routine. Well, everything. I do not even always wear sunglasses. I just don’t think. But I don’t know why it is so hard for me. I have just always been this way.
    Really loving this 31 day thing though. xx -CC

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I follow a similar regime, except I don’t have dogs, I don’t live near the beach, I live in a country that is grey for about nine months of the year, I have three twadults (my made-up word for my teenagers now nearly adult children), mind you they can be right twats at times, so lots of stress inherent in that. I forget about myself when I am well, and promise myself when I am coming out of a bad patch I will do more for ‘myself’ to protect who I am from now on! but HA! never happens… Didn’t know about the blue light, so must get a filter. But I do believe in drugs (lots of em!) and a really good psychiatrist. And some of my pals have decided I’m not worth the effort any more (damn that hurts) so trying viscously(!!!!), to hold on to the rest. Other than that, we are exactly the same!!!!! bahahaha

    Liked by 1 person

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