Is your mask of cheerfulness paper thin?
Living with bipolar disorder is difficult. It brings with it highs and lows of sometimes fierce intensity. It can wreck lives. If you have the disorder you know only too well how agonising depressive episodes can be, and how destructive periods of mania are, even when they start out as exhilarating or exciting. Over time, and despite the best efforts of all concerned, lives can become very hard and may be completely derailed. We know that medications can help. Symptoms can be reduced and full relapses may be eliminated. Many people are able to avoid stays in hospital and can pursue their former goals and ambitions. But medication can only do so much. Most often, people with bipolar disorder who are taking medication still struggle. For those with the disorder it is not easy to make sense of things and lead a full life.
This is where self management may help. Many people with bipolar disorder find that mood monitoring helps them detect factors that influence mood instability. It may be simple things like sleep patterns or exercise. Sometimes it is beliefs or attitudes that get in the way. For each individual, the pattern is different. But once a person has discovered their own pattern, they can begin to make changes to their habits and lifestyle accordingly. They can learn to work around their vulnerabilities so that they can play to their strengths.