Your mind is racing, you’re not sleeping, you just maxed out your third credit card, and you’ve started scoping out properties for that brewery you’ve been planning (We’re going to be rich honey, I swear!). Uh oh, it’s obvious- you’re manic as hell!
Alright, but your wife told you that you can’t quit your job to start that brewery, so what now? Well, here are four tips I use when trying to quell that loud mind:
…(Oh, and obviously, listen to your doctor and take any prescribed medications).
#1: Put the Drink Down
This one’s tough. It’s very common for people like you and me who suffer with bipolar disorder to self-medicate with alcohol. Trust me, I know.
The thing is, you really shouldn’t.
I’m not going to pretend to be holier than thou; this is one I struggle with in particular. There’s a reason I listed it as number one.
But of course you shouldn’t drink alcohol in excess if you suffer from bipolar disorder (or really at all). It’s a depressant drug that has a significant effect on mood. This one’s obvious.
So why are you drinking then?
Well, let’s be honest, it’s hard not to drink. I mean, it’s the end of a shitty day at work. You and your colleagues just got over the hump. What do we do now? Drink.
Happy birthday! How do we celebrate? Drink.
Happy Friday! Drink.
But it becomes a problem when:
“Hi Daddy! Can we… – ” Drink.
I’ve found that the urge to drink often passes like a wave. When experiencing the intense urge to drink, maybe instead you could:
- Go for a walk.
- Call you parents, or another loved one.
- Read a book.
- Play video games.
- Take a bath.
- Drink some tea.
- Tell your friends you’re cutting down on drinking. Or if you’re too proud…
- Tell your friends you’re on some crazy diet (that your wife’s making you do… ugh!) and you’re not allowed to drink. For some reason we’re not allowed to talk about alcoholism or mental illness, but you can definitely talk about whatever diet craze you’re dabbling in.
Another one that works great for me is:
#2: Better Yourself – Learn Something New
Your thoughts are racing, you’re not sleeping, your brain is on overdrive. If you can, focus that, and use it to your advantage. Learn something new!
Personally, when I’m experiencing a period of mania, I like to use that energy to obtain new knowledge, or a new skill.
It’s the 21st century. There’s no excuse for not knowing anything. They call this the information era for a reason; you can learn anything online! Why not use your overclocked mind to your advantage.
Yes, I understand that this is not a silver-bullet for everybody, and it comes with its own drawbacks. But it’s better than a lot of other things you could be doing. And honestly, what better use for your time, what surer investment, than increasing your own knowledge?
#3: Spend Time With Loved Ones – Do Something Different
If you have young kids then congratulations! You’re not the only one with an inordinate amount of excess energy needing to be burned off. Why not do something with them?
Go somewhere new. Try something new. Go out to eat. Go for a walk. Switch it up a bit!
No kids? Do something with friends, your wife, your girlfriend or boyfriend, whatever. Just don’t spend all your time alone trying to keep it on the rails by yourself.
#4: Talk it Out, Sleep On It
This one applies if you’re thinking about doing something… well, something stupid. Like buying that BMW right now. Or quitting your job today.
Talk about what you’re wanting to do with someone you trust.
I find talking to my wife helps when I’m thinking of doing something particularly rash. Sometimes just saying it out loud will make me realize that quitting my job and moving out of state to start selling bicycle parts out of the back of my mini-van is probably a very terrible idea. Otherwise, if I don’t reach that conclusion myself she’ll help me find the right path.
Being patient, sleeping on it (if you’re sleeping) can help too. Anything that slows you down and makes you think through a big decision is important – especially if you identify that you’re experiencing a manic or hypomanic episode.
These are things that help me. Your mileage may vary.
What helps you?