care and feeding of bi-polar

I'm terribly sorry to bother everyone but I need to beg a little help. Especially from other BP's.
I'm having a really bad low right now and I need some advice on dealing with it. More than just music, I need something to really distract me from the way I feel right now. I'm seeing my dr next week but I need some way other than counting the hours until my sppointment to pass the time. I get the really sucky disphoria where everything sucks and I hate myself and everything I do is terrible and I start sounding like an overwrought teenager dying of extreme agnst. And I hate that too.
And I get really stressed and anxious and find pain to be stress-relieving which can be dangerous. Just to assure everyone I don't ever cut myself or anything like that... but I will bite or punch myself... I have too much of a control thing to do anything that I deem TMD(too much dramma), or that would get me "caught", but I'm definately not in a good place right now. I need something to do and it's raining so I can't mow or jog or walk the dog or do something physical, and I'm in a high anxiety-phase so I can't be touched (which sucks because sex would be very stress-releiving in a good way) but I need something to do and I appologise for the ramblyness and such.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

1) Are you stuck in the thoughts-you-can't-get-out-of-your-head racing thoughts kind of anxiety? If so, find the nearest natural foods store and get a bottle of Bach Flower Remedy White Chestnut and follow the directions. It helps. If all you can find is Rescue Remedy, that'll do, but not as well. (I know, it's homeopathic, possibly a placebo, don't care, it works for me.)

2) Are you at all seasonally affected? Find a light source, preferably an actual SAD light. But be careful; they can rev you up if you've got BP. I have to use mine very judiciously or I get a little too manic. If you're in a down phase, though, that might help. Dunno. Might have to talk to your doctor about that.

3) Do you knit or crochet or anything like that? Get yourself a new project. Go for color or texture or whatever it is that makes you feel good. Always helps me. (I just got three new projects. eep.)

4) Beloved book? Sometimes immersing myself in a book I can read over and over helps. My Aubrey/Maturins are ideal for that because they really are immersive, and there are 21 of them. I also have several favorite audiobooks that I can plug into that sweep me away, my favorites being Patrick Tull reading the aforementioned, and Juliet Stevenson reading Austen. Also reading a big ol' stack of Georgette Heyer always helps me.

5) Complete darkness for ten hours a day helps some BPs. When you go to sleep, give yourself both ten hours to do it, and turn off every single light source--block windows, whatever you have to do. No one knows why, but it helps a significant number of BP folks.

Good luck, sweetheart, and we're here for you.

Blue Coyote's picture

Devotee

1) yes! I hate the "I hates..." and self-abuse, it's so hard to explain to others without sounding melodramatic, but I literally can't stop/slow the rush of thoughts and it's never helpful for writing or anything like that.
2)sigh, yes to the SAD also. I have good lights to paint under but too jittery to paint. But I'll have to rev up the lights. Meh- see the above comment about the rain...
3)Sewing. Actually I was working on a fuzzy rainbow quilt that I want to try and finish before Oct 11... I'll definately get back on that, it's physical enough, doing something "useful" and I've done all the cutting pieces out part already so I won't worry myself too much that I'll "ruin it".
4)But I want to write not read... but nothings coming out except this kind of Meirish "Oh woe, gloom and doom". I don't think anyone would want to read a novel about a girl who was thrown in a dumpster trying to find her birth-mother among the street-people eighteen years later...
5)There is a struggle with light/curtains. I argue that I can't sleep with any lights and the one partner can't deal with dark curtains and no light... but I have been actually sleeping well up until recently. The stupid thoughts keep me up, but at least it's not nightmares like I used to have (can't sleep,clown will eat me- simpsons)
Thank you.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Needlepointing might appeal? Or petitpoint. They come in simplistic or complicated, depending on your mood, and are REALLY easy to pull out stitches if you decide you dislike something you just did or if you change your mind about needing a stitch in that box or whatever. And they make lovely pillows, if you get soft thread.

V's picture

Embodiment

Blue Coyote wrote:
nothings coming out except this kind of Meirish "Oh woe, gloom and doom". I don't think anyone would want to read a novel about a girl who was thrown in a dumpster trying to find her birth-mother among the street-people eighteen years later...
The point of writing isn't necessarily to be read. Sometimes the point of writing is to perfect the craft, to make on paper a recreation of the mental image which was *just so*. You can still do it, and perfect it.

And you might even be surprised about who'd be willing to read it Smile Have you ever wanted a bunch of teenage emo groupies? Ever looked at Stephanie Meyer with envy?

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

Drives. I don't know what you're like, so I don't know if that would help. She'll disappear for an hour or two and just drive on the Lake Ontario Parkway. She does it even if it's gloomy out. It's got a meditative quality for her.

Other than what Mei's already suggested, I can't think of anything else she does.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

jumping jacks/pushups/situps/jog in place/jumprope (if you've got high ceilings)...

Mith's picture

Supplicant

but my 'lows' tend to be in small bits of time. I have one specific trick for combating them.

This will sound odd but- bake some cookies, or brownies, or what ever. If you don't like baking, buy some. Preferably with chocolate, because it has caffeine,theobromine, and tryptophan all of which make you happy and "up". Anything carbohydrate-y can also help lift moods, especially if you're the "meh, too depressed to eat kind of person" because it raises your blood sugar.

When they are done, rent a mindless romantic comedy- nothing too stupid looking, but one where everyone is independently wealthy, attractive, and, if you can find it, smart. Try the BBC mini series of Pride and Prejudice.

Get really into it. Like, really into it. If you do, when everyone gets together in the end, and it's sappy and adorable, you'll feel sappy and adorable too.

Also, anything really funny- something you know will make you laugh, because it's hard to remain depressed while laughing.

For me, the hardest thing to do when I'm feeling that... angsty, is to make myself feel better. I know that doing x, y, z will make me feel better, but I can't make myself do them.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Make bread! Kneading bread is awesome.

Mith's picture

Supplicant

It is awesome...

But chocolate in bread is... usually not. There's one recipe I've found that manages to combine the two, but it's not particularly fun to kneed- and bread takes longer to make then cookies. They're more of a quickie Wink

Blue Coyote's picture

Devotee

chocolate and coffee both help me... strangely caffine makes me less jittery. And yeah, it's the motivation that's the hard part, especially when I have the demotivational poster-child inner-voice driving me down.
Gah these are some lousy metaphors... my ups are downs, my lows are high and more like mania... I'm just too freaking contrary to live sometimes
metaphoricly speaking of course.

Mith's picture

Supplicant

Blue Coyote wrote:
my ups are downs, my lows are high and more like mania...

As in your 'lows' are jittery, say? But your highs feel lower, like contentment, rather than elation?

Blue Coyote's picture

Devotee

Sorry, I'm bad with terms and they don't seem to quite work with me anyway. When I'm depressed I'm really irritable as well as anxious. When I'm manic it's more like irritable with a big helping of loathing. One way I can't sleep for nightmares, the other I can't sleep for nerves. One good thing about the meds- I've been sleeping at least for the first time in years(which has probably led to a great deal of relief of sypmtoms such as paranioa) and I find I miss it quite a lot now that I've gotten used to it.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Even if you can't go outside, you can still exercise indoors. Good ol' push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks, and so on, until your muscles hurt and you're winded and tired. All I know about BP I pretty much learned from this site, so I dunno if it'll actually help, but it helps me when I'm in a regular kind of bad mood. Like right now, for instance (real life is pissing me off, so I'm gonna go get snarly on my muscles now).

ETA: less "PE class"-tastic alternatives would be some hardcore yoga or tai chi to work up a sweat and a distraction (obsessing over perfect form, meditatively emptying the mind, etc.)

MeiLin's picture

Most High

My therapist prescribed the Marx Bros and old I Love Lucy eps. Dig into hulu.com and Netflix Online (if you have it), babe, and pull out some silly stuff.

Blue Coyote's picture

Devotee

Harpo and Lucy doing the mirror routine... I so died
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iNLlYOgFZ4

MeiLin's picture

Most High

And if you can find the original (in "Duck Soup," where Harpo and Groucho do it), it's even better! Keep that up!

Blue Coyote's picture

Devotee

Thanks again for your support, it means a lot. Taking the day off work (even tho I'm out of PTO- I don't care, it's mental health day) so I can sew and draw today. And I have kitten-love to make things better. http://sakonige.deviantart.com/art/laughing-atchoo-139650389 (you can see the quilt I'm working on under her)
Thank you all so much.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

That's a hilarious/adorable picture. It needs cheezburger'ed. Smile

Amy's picture

Supplicant

I have a patient whom I convinced to plaster HIS place with sunny pics of tropical places with lots of blue skies, sunshine, pretty oceans & flowers. Then start trying to paint copies of them for himself. The bright colors and painting helps him a lot, Not to mention focusing on sunshine. Even fake sunshine can help a lot.

I get a new painting every year from him as a thank you.

Blue Coyote's picture

Devotee

That's a good plan, although I get stressed sometimes painting (because I want it to be perfect) but I do love it. But pictures of beaches around would be great. I'll have to look into that. I've got kitten pictures, I go for a daily dose of LOLcats and CuteOverload to bring my mood up too.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

both sites are great fun as are the kitten pics.

If painting adds to your stress than, Maybe find a color book or two and a few boxes of crayons. I love getting adultish colouring books and using my water color pencils in them. Very therapeutic when I'm stressed out. And I get to choose the bright happy colors to use.

I've very fond of color books of nature, mandalas, romance, animals, & Native Americans. Pics that come out great, I often frame and hang on the wall, or give as gifts.

Pedes's picture

Postulant

It's nutritional, healthy and will bring you up, if only a little.

There is also my Cocoa Extra Deluxe recipe:
http://www.meilinmiranda.com/node/1825

It can work wonders.

Also, punching bag works for me when I'm down and anxious/angly; I really miss it now.

Cheez-It Lady's picture

then just try some stream-of-consciousness writing just for yourself. No one ever has to read it, and it can be very therapeutic, IMO. You put so much energy into getting all of the anxieties and worries out on a page that by the time you're done, you get a little bit of a calm and the things you were looping in your head don't bother you as much.
The really nice thing is, that if you write it on paper, you can burn it when you're done. You can watch all that negative emotion literally go up in smoke. Smile

I'm just regular depressed with an anxiety disorder and OCD, but I kinda know what its like to be on your lows and your highs Blue Coyote.

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