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How to Cope with Bipolar Disorder

There are currently nearly six million adults in the United States living with bipolar depression. With a number this staggering, it is truly a wonder there is still a stigma surrounding bipolar depression.

Bipolar disorder does not define you, but you can also cope with it so that it does not negatively affect your day-to-day life. If you or someone you love is living with bipolar depression, continue reading to learn more about the condition and how you can learn to cope with this condition.

What is bipolar depression? 

Before diving into the ins and outs of learning to live with bipolar depression, let’s first discuss what it truly is. Bipolar depression, formerly called manic depression, is a type of depression in which you experience both “poles” of the emotional spectrum. These different emotional poles include mania and depression.

When you think of depression, you are probably thinking of unipolar depression or major depression. This means you only experience extreme lows. With bipolar depression, you oscillate between high highs of mania and low lows of depression.

There are two common types of bipolar depression: bipolar I and bipolar II. With bipolar I, you only need to have experienced a manic episode, not a depressive one. Bipolar II is when you have experienced both a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode. For bipolar II, a person will experience severe depression and hypomania. Hypomania is a milder version of mania. However, the depression you experience with bipolar II can be debilitating. There is a common misconception that bipolar II is less severe than bipolar I. But, the depression people experience with bipolar II can be grueling.

Ways to cope 

There are plenty of habits you can implement in your life to cope with your bipolar and even lessen the symptoms. I encourage you to test out a few of these changes to see what fits best with you and your lifestyle.

Keep a mood journal 

A mood journal is just what it sounds like: a place to track your moods and emotions. This is a tool that can help you to recognize patterns and triggers for either manic or depressive episodes.

Join a support group 

Again, bipolar depression is a common condition. There are plenty of support groups to be found, either in person or online. Try reaching out to your therapist or another healthcare professional to help point you in the right direction.

Start and continue routines 

One of the biggest struggles of living with bipolar depression is the changing of your moods. There are plenty of unknowns when it comes to bipolar depression. Your routine does not need to be one of them. Try planning out your weeks in advance, such as what days you plan on doing laundry or when you want to go to the gym. Hopefully, these routines will become habits that increase your feelings of stability.

Discover the correct type of therapy treatment

Finding the right type of therapy to treat your specific concerns can be tricky. The following are a few great forms of talk therapy designed to help with symptoms of bipolar depression

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This form of talk therapy focuses on the relationship between your thoughts, behavior, and actions. Typically, you investigate how your thoughts influence your outside world and vice versa.
  • Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT): Social rhythm therapies promote stability of daily behaviors including sleep/wake in order to minimize the impact of disruptions to circadian rhythms. IPSRT was developed to help people living with mood disorders manage stressful life events. People living with bipolar have found this treatment to be helpful in maintaining stability and preventing relapse.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Another form of talk therapy, this closely draws on many of the same principles of CBT. However, in DBT, you will focus more on learning actions you can take to better your mindset and environment.
  • Family-Focused Therapy (FFT): This is a great option if you are a teen or young adult living with family or are simply living with family, in general. In FFT, you will attend sessions as a family unit to discover how bipolar depression is affecting you all.

We specialize in various forms of talk therapy and would love to help you navigate the tricky waters of bipolar depression. Living a healthier, more balanced lifestyle is well within your grasp. Let us help you begin your journey to stronger mental health today.