Regulating Bipolar


ludwigs dude 10b, Grand Ledge, MI

Had a pretty nice day yesterday, the weather warmed up and got some nice climbs in. Sending two of my problems clean and feeling it today.
Moving from somewhere that had multiple areas and types of climbing available to a place where only top rope is available was a struggle at first. Absolutely no sport, trad, or repelling is aloud, (that includes top rope soloing) and very little bouldering. But it’s taught me to make the most of what I have and to appreciate it so much more. You can tell a lot about a persons dedication by how they use what’s available to them when the picking is slim. It’s pretty easy to pass it off as an excuse, which as climbers we like to use a lot of them.
After yesterday especially, my sleep deprivation has been getting to me lately so I passed out pretty quickly after getting home. Keeping a regulated life style is important when managing your bipolar to prevent any relapse in episodes. Right now I’m in a fairly normal phase. I’m not experiences highs or lows or struggling with anxiety. It feels like a true blessing when I get these breaks. It’s a daily goal in my life to focus on my routine eating, sleeping, and workout habits to reduce risk of falling into a manic or depressive episode.

From personal experience and many lectures from doctors and reading articles, managing your sleep is one of the best things you can do to regulate episodes. For myself I try to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Which my friends never fail to crack a joke at. 😜 Anything less than that I start to get emotional, cranky, and irritable. Anything more than that I will start to get lazy, unmotivated and unable to focus on my goals. Either of these after a long period of time will most likely trigger a hypomanic stage for me. It’s different from person to person but in my life hypomanic is the winner.

Hypomanic stages are when you experience a low grade level of mania mixed with some low grade level of depression at the same time. This is a phase I suffer from the most. Over the past week I’ve been so busy with building this site, focused on school, and personal events that my sleep was effected greatly. Averaging about 4-6 hours a night. After about 5 days I could feel my hypomanic signs coming on. It feels like running on empty, knowing you’re going to fail and crash at any point but ignoring the signs because of the false confidence your mania gives you. Making you believe you’re fine and you want to take on even more.

I can tell when I start to get this way and will usually do whatever it takes to get out of it. In this case I skipped a training session and hanging out on my best friends birthday to catch up on sleep and clear my mind. BUT the downside is if you sleep too much at once it can just trigger slight depression. I don’t know if anyone else deals with such sensitivity to shifts as I do. But I’ve had 5 years to learn my body and what happens when I do certain things. My social life does get affected the most when trying to manage it.

Other things that affect me are my diet and workout routine. As with everyone, if you don’t give your body the nutrients it needs or if you feed it unhealthy foods you can see and most importantly feel the effects. My diet closely resembles a paleo one. Eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and avoiding processed foods. My training schedule is about 3-5 days a week with active rest days. My favorite saying is “A body in motion, stays in motion” and it couldn’t be more true.

I shake my head at my friends when they say they know their mood shifts when they put certain things in there body or are not as active when they should be and yet still do it. In the bipolar world, in my opinion, you just don’t have that option at least if you want to stay stable. Everyone, even people without a mental illness benefit greatly by taking care of themselves. Being clear headed, happy, and motivated are goals for myself and hopefully inspiring everyone around me to do the same.

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