What keeps me well?
I live with a diagnosis of Bipolar Affective Disorder and over the years have had a couple of episodes of anxiety too.
The first thing I can to to be kind to myself and maintain my wellbeing is accept that I have a relapsing and remitting illness and that sometimes no matter what effort I put in I may not stay well. That’s not being pessimistic in my opinion rather it is being realistic.
There are lots of things I do to maintain my wellbeing though…
I lean on my friends and family for support, I am blessed with the most wonderful husband and daughter and knowing their love is unconditional is the best pill I have ever swallowed.
I count my blessings; an attitude of gratitude goes a long way with my health. I try to find something positive in every day even if some days that is more difficult than others.
My faith, knowing I am loved both by Jesus and by my church family is important. I’m surrounded each week by other Christians who genuinely care for my wellbeing.
My writing, whether anyone ever read my writing or not I would keep going as it’s my way of emptying my brain. As it happens I have nearly 14,000 readers of my blog so that figure along with some of the emails/comments I receive kind of proves to me that maybe I am doing some good by exposing myself in this way.
By taking time to exercise which I am doing again. As I gained 5 stone in 4 months 6 and a half stone overall on a particular medication I certainly don’t look like I exercise but I am getting back into it and it does improve how I feel.
Talk. And I don’t mean my usual brain farts but just telling those around me when I’m struggling. I’m not great at asking for help when I need it so next best thing is at least trying to be honest when people as me if I’m ok and remembering it’s ok not to be ok.
A supportive workplace who don’t just tolerate me but celebrate me and my quirks. Who helped me ease back in after depression and prevented me feeling too embarrassed after mania by normalising what had happened. I couldn’t do this without a supportive work place it’s vital for me.
Medication. I don’t want to take it. I hate taking it. I hate the side effects. I want to stamp my feet like a petulant child and refuse to take it but I know that for me personally medication works and is imperative to keeping me well.
Accepting the help that is offered. None of us are super human (although sans meds there is a chance I may think I am!) I am getting better at this but sometimes just accepting myself for who I am and with that accepting that some modifications may need to come with that just like if I had a physical illness is difficult but the benefits of my productivity are so worth it.
My advance statement. It’s a bit like a WRAP plan and mine is uber comprehensive, I have given a copy to a handful of people who would be likely to notice if I were to deteriorate. It felt deeply exposing to share this document but I HAVE to do everything I can to stay well and by sharing that I give people permission to call me out if needed.
Eat well and sleep well. I generally eat well as I enjoy cooking but sleep is currently a battle for me. I changed meds and I am barely sleeping at all, every few nights I have a better night which carries me through but I’m starting to be aware it is taking its toll so need to keep an eye on it to stay well. Oh and having very little caffeine does make a difference but still to get my head around that!
To do things I enjoy; I enjoy music although I don’t have a tuneful bone in my body, I enjoy writing, I enjoy spending time with my daughter, I enjoy visiting National Trust properties and getting back to nature. All these things help me stay well.
Saying NO! I sometimes need to say no to offers to go out and do things simply because I have had a busy week. The things I say no to may be enjoyable ones such as going out for lunch with a friend or something else just as nice but I have to keep control of my wellbeing and not overwhelm myself with plans is vital to that.
Quiet time, I try to give myself some quiet time each morning to think, pray and read my bible. My favourite few minutes of the day are when my hubby and daughter are still sleeping soundly and I have time to reflect. It’s vital to my wellbeing and I am very aware how I miss that time when I don’t get it. When I was on sedating meds I never had time in the mornings so missed this time hugely.
These are just some of the things I need to stay well… what about you? Have I missed anything? I’d love to know…