Day 20 of the Blogtober challenge! Brought to you today by the infamous Bipolar Frequently Asked Questions section of this blog! Please do enjoy first and foremost and secondly, if you really enjoyed this post or others of mine here at Precarious Aquarius, pretty please like, comment, subscribe, and share! Thank you much.
A lot of you who are new here may be wondering who I am and what bipolar means in my life. So to explain a little about myself…. my name is Dani, and yes it is short for something (Danielle), but only doctors call me that, I am known socially and professionally as Dani. I am 23 years old. I am currently a university student studying my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. I intend to go for my Master’s in Social Work. This stemmed from my own struggles with mental health. At age 14, I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD. At 18, my diagnoses all changed and I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder.
My blog here at Precarious Aquarius is meant to be an outlet for me and for others to vent and relay our life experiences and knowledge when it comes to living with mental health. If you ever want to collaborate with me, please let me know in the comments or shoot me an email at email@example.com and I would be thrilled to speak with you and work on something cool and different!
Now let’s get to it:
1. What are you grateful for when it comes to bipolar disorder, or for your mental illness in general?
I think that personally having a mental illness makes it so I am more empathetic toward others in all regards. Because I struggle in some areas of my life due to bipolar such as being consistent in relationships, not hyper fixating on certain things, not feeling sad all of the time, I care and want to help those who struggle in other areas or even the same areas.
I am also grateful for working in the mental health industry. I use my bipolar disorder as a tool to say “Hey you aren’t alone. Things may be a downward spiral right now, I have been there, but they get better.” I use my adversity to bridge the gap and make connections with others. Mainly in the fact that we’re mentally ill. I share my coping mechanisms with folks and a lot of people get into it. At work, I am always writing or drawing something on a blank piece of paper so I ask my clients to help me with my drawing or have them give me ideas. Then I hang it in the unit and folks seem to get a kick out of that.
I am grateful for the community I have here online with you all in regard to mental health. I think writing has been my most consistent coping skill, even as a young kid. I was always told to read, write, or draw before bed and often times I did all three. By middle school, I completed four or five journals with the happenings of middle school life and being newly depressed. The writing continued in high school and I stopped for a couple of years and then I got this blog nearly two years ago and never looked back. It is very therapeutic.
2. Why do you hyper fixate on things?
I hyper fixate on things mainly when I am in a hypo manic episode of my bipolar disorder. The difference between hypo mania and mania is that hypo mania is a trait of bipolar 2 disorder, the lesser form, but still significant form of bipolar whereas mania is the trait of bipolar 1. Full blown mania can make you feel like you’re high on drugs, it can cause you to participate in reckless behavior you normally wouldn’t, it can cause no sleep for multiple days and hyper fixation and/or bouncing from one activity to the next because you can’t sit still.
The symptoms of mania happen in bipolar 2 disorder, but on a smaller scale. So for me, I bounce between hyper fixation and being indecisive. I have been more baseline, but on the verge of hypo mania for some odd months now. Some days I need to only work on budgeting or work on the blog or work on homework. Other days or even moments, I gotta be doing four things ineffectively at once.
I literally will try to work on homework and cannot concentrate because my head has deemed budgeting my next paycheck as top priority. It can be almost debilitating because unless I complete that task, I cannot move on. Luckily this has not effected my work as of yet, but it kind of concerns me and is something I will bring up at my next doctor’s appointment to maybe up my Abilify which is an anti psychotic which helps control hypo and manic features of the illness.
3. Do you compare yourself to the other mentally ill folks that you work with (your inpatient clients)?
I do not compare myself with my clients in the inpatient facility that I work at. I don’t think it is ever fair to compare mental illnesses or experiences because no two are the same. I think we can build and connect on both of these traits, but to compare one person to another us unfair. Not to mention that their diagnoses are often different than my own. Very few people who are inpatient have only bipolar two disorder. If they are bipolar either one or two, it is compounded with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or a combination of schizoaffective and bipolar. Not to mention a lot of people struggle with addiction issues such as drug, nicotine, and alcohol.
4. What are you trying to work on as far as your bipolar “bad habits” go?
I have the worst issues with being consistent in a lot of areas of my life. I discussed this thoroughly last post I made (yesterday, 10/19/2021). I am trying to work through my manic features of hyper fixation and bouncing around from idea to idea or from item to item. I really do need the help of a therapist but I know a lot of therapist offices are either shutting down or are at capacity so I can’t easily get in locally. I might need to use an online counseling service, but I am fearful of going back to therapy, I don’t really know why. So once I start that, I hope to be able to work on my issues that are holding me back from being prosperous.
5. What are your current coping skills for mental illness?
My current coping skills are as follows:
-Budgeting. It gives me a sense of control over my life after quitting gambling for now over one year. Only one person can dig me in and out of a hole and that’s me. Now time to dig me out of debt!
-School. It gives me structure to my free time. Because when I am not working, I used to do reckless things like go to the bar a lot and sleep around, but now that I have a shit ton of homework every day, I have to go home to it and so my free time is very limited. So I use that time wisely.
-Self care. I feel like this is now a very vague, yet overused term. For me, self care is something that helps me grow as a person and improves my mental health. This could be talking to a friend over FaceTime, watching funny videos on YouTube, doing a face scrub, basically whatever brings you comfort.
-Cooking. Being in control again of what goes into my body is important. Cooking is like a science, if you follow the recipe/experiment, you will get the desired results that you were hypothesizing about.
-Working out. I have been going on walks lately and get around 5-6,000 steps a day when I am working. It’s not much by any means but after being completely sedentary for the past three years after extensive foot, leg, and knee surgeries, it’s a great start! I have been walking my dog Poncho when I go over to Diego’s and I am about to create a schedule and get some things for at home work outs.
I could keep going on each of those questions but I got to go get ready for work. Long day ahead.