What does “high functioning” bipolar mean?
Does it mean that you don’t need help?
Do you have less severe symptoms?
Before we answer these questions lets learn about bipolar disorder.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood.
It causes shifts in energy, activity levels and focus. Also, it affects the ability to finish out day-to-day tasks.
It affects 1 out of 100 people and needs to be managed long-term. For some people Bipolar Disorder is disabling but there are others that are high functioning.
Bipolar Is Different For Everyone
What it means to be bipolar is different for everyone who has it. There are some that have bipolar I and others that have bipolar II.
Someone with bipolar I has more severe manic or high energy episodes. Bipolar II has less severe manic episodes.
It’s common for someone to have at least one bipolar episode every few years. However, there are others that have “rapid cycling” bipolar. This means that they have at least 4 episodes a year.
Even high functioning bipolar is different for everyone.
What Does “High Functioning” Bipolar Mean?
The term “high functioning” bipolar disorder doesn’t apply to how severe the illness is. Instead it applies to how someone manages it. This means that symptoms like anxiety are happening, but they’re managed well enough to maintain daily functioning.
Someone with high functioning bipolar disorder can appear normal. They might have steady jobs and have solid relationships with others.
However, they put in a lot of energy and effort to handle the turmoil that comes with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar Disorder is managed with medication as well as therapy. Also it’s managed with lifestyle changes as well as using coping strategies.
How To Be “High Functioning” Bipolar?
High Functioning Bipolar Disorder doesn’t mean not having support from a therapist. This is far from the truth, having a therapist helps to manage symptoms.
Therapy is part of your bipolar treatment. There are different ways to manage symptoms alongside therapy.
Different Ways Include:
Keeping In Touch With Your Therapist
Keep in touch with your therapist as part of your treatment. Stress as well as anxiety can push you to the brink and trigger bipolar symptoms. When this happens your therapist will help you get through rough patches.
Making Lifestyle Changes
Bipolar Disorder is managed with lifestyle changes. Choosing a healthier lifestyle helps with overall well being as well as everyday functioning.
Regular exercise leads to less stress and anxiety. Also, it helps with boosting self-esteem and helps with brain function.
It turns out that diet plays a role in triggering bipolar episodes. It helps to avoid eating foods that are overly processed and high in fat, sugar and also salt. Instead try eating Whole Foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.
Sticking to a healthy diet is good for your mental health. As a result it sets you up for fewer mood episodes and leads to a happier life.
Here’s a related post, “B Vitamins For A Better Mind”.
Focusing Your Energy
Anxiety happens to all of us, especially if you have bipolar disorder. It may feel like you have “nervous energy”.
There are so many different ways to focus that nervous energy. Start by accepting that you’re anxious and release it.
Release it by breathing or listening to music. Then you should take action by focusing that energy into something good. As a result you can improve your overall functioning despite having bipolar disorder.
In a related post we discussed how cooking is a coping strategy, “Coping Through Cooking”.
A lot of famous artist, actors and musicians have or had bipolar disorder.
According to healthline.com they include artist Vincent Van Gough, actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and musician Kurt Cobain.
A lot of people with bipolar disorder might be creative. They’re more likely than others to have a creative talent.
Having a creative talent such as painting is a way to cope. When there’s nervous energy painting is a good thing to take up.
A lot of people with high functioning bipolar disorder cope in this way. As a result their symptoms improve.
Keeping a journal helps in many ways. It boosts your mood as well as sense of well being. Also, it helps you keep your thoughts organized.
There are other benefits to journaling. It not only improves your writing skills, but it also can become more than journaling. This blog started off as a journal entry.
How Do You Manage Bipolar Disorder?
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