What happens if you’ve been newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder?
For some it may come as a relief. All those feelings you’ve had but couldn’t quite understand finally have a name. It may be comforting to know that you are not alone in your struggle and that it affects many people in many ways. One of the best ways that you can help yourself and those around you is by learning all you can about bipolar disorder.
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar affects the brain, mainly due to an imbalance in brain chemicals, although the exact cause is unknown. For most, it is a genetic condition but can also be due to biological and social stresses in your life, however it is not caused directly by stress which is a common misconception. There are two different forms of bipolar disorder:
Bipolar I: where the individual experiences extreme moods, both high and low.
Bipolar II: where the individual does not have such extreme symptoms of mood swings and instead they experience mild highs or hypomania.
A common occurrence in both forms is bipolar depression. The majority of those with bipolar will at one point or another experience depression. It is often those who seek treatment for depression and anxiety that end up being diagnosed with a form of bipolar disorder which has been overlooked for a number of years.
Learn about your triggers
Each individual has different triggers that causes their bipolar to worsen. By spending time learning what triggers you personally this will help you to spot your warning signs. Ask yourself what stresses you? Whether it be events, anniversaries, or disrupted sleep patterns, by doing this you’ll be able to set up practices that will help you in the long run.
Connect with others
You can often feel alone in how you feel, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are other people who are going through the same thing as you, reach out and connect with them, joining the Bipolar UK eCommunity is a great place to start. You can learn from their experiences and maybe one day you’ll be able to help another person coming to terms with their diagnosis too.
Keep track of your moods
There are a few good mobile apps that helps track not only your daily moods but also your activities, but you can also use a mood journal. This is another useful way for you to track your overall patterns and things that cause you stress, or your improvement of different medications so you and your doctor can see identify which works best for you.
Asking for help when you need does not make you weak or flawed, there will always be someone to help you along the way. Whether that be a trusted friend or family member you could talk to or your mental health team. There are resources out there to help you find your way through this diagnosis.