I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2013.
At the time, I went through an extremely prolonged and painfully intense manic episode. But, not only have I not had one since, but I am also taking almost no medication currently.
I’ve been able to manage with lifestyle changes – discipline and self-awareness – along with a small support group. That’s all I’ve required, and I hope my experience can help you too!
1. Exercise regularly
Exercise is important for everyone, but it can also really help with bipolar disorder. If you engage in some sort of aerobic activity for at least thirty minutes, three times per week, this will likely do wonders when it comes to decreasing your anxiety and increasing your energy levels!
You can rock climb, go on the treadmill, walk your dog — whatever floats your boat.
Strength training is nice, of course, especially if you’re aiming for a specific physique, but I’ve found that cardiovascular exercise is more important when it comes to maintaining my mental health.
I’ve tried veganism, vegetarianism, paleo — pretty much all of the diets out there, to be honest!
I’ve found that pescetarianism (eating fish and dairy but no red meat) is the most beneficial for me: I can get adequate Omega-3s from fish, which helps me manage my tendency towards depression more easily.
In my experience, eating a balanced diet is maybe the most important element in feeling better: I make sure I have a little bit of protein every day and plenty of greens while minimizing my sugar intake.
Honestly, changing my diet has been the catalyst for me to cope reasonably with little to no medication.
I recently started therapy and am asking for the help I need from my relatives if I’m in a low place. I always have medication on me just in case I need it, and there have been a few months during which I’ve taken it because I knew it would help — which is better than having another episode.
There’s nothing wrong with taking medication, even if you just need a small maintenance dose.
Right now, I take about 25 milligrams of lithium per day — which is much less than the minimal dose a psychiatrist would prescribe for my condition — and I’m doing just fine.
I would strongly recommend consulting your doctor — and perhaps finding a naturopath who is more open to exploring alternatives –before taking this route so that you can decrease your dosage in a safe manner.
As I know firsthand, life with little to no medication isn’t easy if you have bipolar disorder. But it’s certainly possible – especially if you adopt the above habits!
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