5 Things to consider when starting a treatment plan

I often have people reach out to me looking for solutions on how to treat their mental illness. Or they want suggestions for medications. I love being able to help other but I do know my limits. I understand that I am not a medical professional. I am just a blogger with bipolar disorder who only has experience. So this is what I offer those who approach me:

 

I want to say that it takes a lot of strength to realize that you need more help than what you are doing on your own. I am going to be honest, I can’t tell you what you should do. But I have a couple of suggestion that can really help you .

#1. Purchase a journal.

Keeping a journal is a great way see what is and isn’t working for you. When you start, journal at least 2-3 times a day. Things you want to keep track of is how you are feeling both physically and emotionally. Are you tired? Drowsy? Irritable? Depressed? Shaky? Dizzy? Anger? This is something you want to share with your doctor. It will help them see if this is something that is working. Most likely you will be the last to see the difference. It is hard to decipher things about yourself that is you and that is your disorder.

 

#2 Be Informed.

You are going to be faced with many options. Your doctor may narrow it down to a couple of choices based on what you told them. (On that note, always be honest with your doctor.) When given those options,. make sure you are aware of the side effects. The can range from nausea and weight gain to loss of fine motor skills and kidney damage. Some medications require regular blood-work to make sure they are at safe levels. It is a matter of give in take. Do the benefits outweigh the risks. It is why personally I have stopped taking Depakote and Lithium.  I began to lose my fine motor skills from taking Depakote. I still have trouble with it. However, some people have not had that issue.

 

#3 Not two treatment plans are the same.

Just because I may do well on something doesn’t meant someone else will have the same results. Just as individual as we are as people so can our illnesses. This is why I strongly urge that you focus on what works for you. People are going to give you all kinds of suggestions. Essential Oils. Yoga. Diet Changes.Medications. They will tell you what worked for them. And those things may have worked for them. You need to filter through and see what works best for you. This is where your journal comes into play. It is a great way to judge what works and what doesn’t work.

 

#4 You are not your disorder.

Some people may see your disorder before they see you. It is hard for people to recognize that people with particularly mood disorder are capable of having real feelings. This part is really tough and can be discouraging. Nothing is quite a blow to an ego when you are honestly upset about something, then someone responds with asking if you are taking your meds. It is infuriating and deflating. Most likely, it will happen when you are really thinking you are doing well. When you finally feel like a person again. Please don’t let that discourage from continuing with what it working. You are your own person who is not defined by your illness. You are allowed to have emotions like everyone else in the world. If you are feeling down, flip through your journal and see how far you have come.

 

#5 This is a lifetime dance.

So this is probably the hardest part about being open about seeking help, but do not let this discourage you. Chances are pretty good that this is a lifetime dance. I know with bipolar disorder there is no cure. There is just fluid treatment plans shifting ever so slightly to keep up with your brain. You may find something that really helps. It may help for months, even years. Then one day, it all stop working. It can happen. Matter of fact, it has happened to me. It can be a let down. A somber reminder that indeed we are not like everyone else. It can be tiring and frustrating but it is worth it. Life is a beautiful thing to be apart of. So in the end, at least to me, it is worth the dance.

 

I really hope that this helps you in some way. I wish I could tell you what exactly to do. But I can’t. Not in good faith in any way. My last piece of advice is follow your gut. If you feel like you are getting the help you need, go somewhere else. Your voice does indeed matter. Never forget that.

 

They say…

Go for a walk.

They say.

It is not so bad .

They say.

It is all in your head .

They say.

Aromatherapy helps.

They say.

Eat better.

They say.

You aren’t trying hard enough.

They say.

You are just trying to get attention.

They say.

I know it will help you.

They say.

Though I have no frame of reference.

They say.

I was really sad once.

They say.

So it is kinda the same.

They say.

Just snap out of it.

They say.

Just fake it until you make it.

They say.

You are just making worse than it is.

They say. 

They always have something to say.

They always seem to know better.

And we smile and say “Thank you.”

Because they cared

Or so they say.

Don’t deny who I am

ballerina

 

I have never been ashamed of my disorder. Shame was never the reason for me to bury my pain deep within my soul. Shame is not why I swallowed my tears and put on a brave face. Shame is not why I smile despite my brain was screaming. I was afraid people would see me based on some preconceived notion they were given from the media and poor education. I never understood why can’t people look into my eyes and see me? Why do they always see the disorder first?

Why is bipolar all that I am to some people? I am so much more. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a wife. I am a writer. I am a teammate. I am a lover of books and art. I am so much more than just bipolar. All it is is a small piece of a bigger puzzle that is me. I grow weary of being told of what I am and am not when people don’t truly know. How fat my bank account would be if I receive a nickel every time I have been told that I am not bipolar. I am so normal. They know someone who is bipolar and I am most definitely not.

There is a heartache when someone repeatedly denies the authenticity of your pain. It makes you question your existence. My battle is very much real. Mental illness does not fall into a neat little box. My illness is as individual as I am. My brain is very much my own. The clay I have been molded from has shaped my disease. Though I don’t meet your little checklist, it is very real. Nights when my brain screams ten thousand thoughts and I sob for silence, it is very real. Days when the sun is shining but my heart is clouded, those emotions are so real.

I will no longer suffer in silence. I will instead share. Share and educate, one person at a time. Slowly, I will change the world’s view on what bipolar looks like. I will do it in hopes that others may be able to find solace in someone they know. They can do it without judgement. They can do it with still being seen as themselves. We are all different. And that is what makes the world beautiful.