I decided to move to France for one year to learn French and finally write another book. Everything got in my way: Then I injured my knee.
My bipolar disorder acted up and I had to try new meds and gained weight. The savings I had managed to set aside for my trip went to hospital bills for three years!
Over and over again my plans hit the wall, but guess where I am now? Four years after I planned to be here. A lot older than I thought I would be and with much smaller goals than at the beginning.
But here I am! You can dream big with bipolar disorder.
Respecting bipolar every step of the way is what makes it possible. Treating my illness first —regular phone sessions with my therapist back home, forcing myself to practice good sleep habits, staying in close contact with family, and most of all using the treatment plan I write about in my books—made it possible for me to stay in France, living my dream.
There is no doubt that bipolar is a lifelong challenge. But respecting the power it has over me—not giving in to it, but respecting it—allows me to reach my goals. This makes so much sense to the fact it took 10 years to get to being 2 courses away from my B. We can still partake in activities we love if we understand how to modify our focus on pastimes that promote stability. We have to be so careful about everything.
For three out of four people with bipolar disorder, sleep problems are the most common signal that a period of mania is about to occur. Sleep deprivation , as well as jet lag , can also trigger manic or hypomanic episodes for some people with bipolar disorder.
When sleep is in short supply, someone with bipolar disorder may not miss it the way other people would. But even though you seem to get by on so little sleep, lack of sleep can take quite a toll. For example, you may:. You may already know the ups and downs of how bipolar disorder affects sleep. But even between acute episodes of bipolar disorder, sleep may still be affected.
Disrupted sleep can really aggravate a mood disorder. A first step may be figuring out all the factors that may be affecting sleep and discussing them with your doctor.
Disturbed sleep is common in people who have bipolar disorder. Many experience vivid dreams and nightmares, coupled with either insomnia. My dreams are incredibly vivid and detailed, and it might be because I have bipolar disorder.
Keeping a sleep diary may help. Certain bipolar medications may also affect sleep as a side effect. For example, they may disrupt the sleep-wake cycle. One way to address this is to move bedtime and waking time later and later each day until you reach your desired goal.
Two other ways to handle this situation are bright light therapy in the morning and use of the hormone melatonin at bedtime , as well as to avoid bright light or over-stimulating activity near bedtime. This can include exercise and TV, phone, and computer screens. With it comes distraction, which can sometimes bleed straight into the inability to focus. It can be difficult or impossible to complete a task without doing several other things at the same time.
Mania can be mean and make you mean, too. So you lash out at people, pick fights with your husband, let yourself be goaded into losing your temper at work.
That would be the accompanying recklessness. Recklessness nudged me into moving two states away without proper financial support or even a plan. It nearly allowed me to go home with a stranger I met in a bar. It helps me speak before thinking or without thinking , causing irrevocable damage with the things I say. Being reckless means living without consequences, but they always catch up — and when they do, the blow can be staggering.
They collude with each other and work together to create a perfect mental storm. Impulsivity and recklessness can drain a bank account.
Negative mental feedback loops and jittery nerves can leave you bedridden and shaking. Irritability and sleeplessness can end a job. None of these things have happened to me yet — knock on wood , but they could. The world feels oppressive.