Quality of Life When You Have Bipolar Disorder
There are so many intricate details that go into the life of a human being. Mental illness throws a wrench into the whole equation.
When you have a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, your moods, energy level and activity level can fluctuate as much as the waves of the sea. Trying to find balance in this sea of chaos seems unfathomable, but it is doable.
When you are first diagnosed, your fight or flight response is making most of the decisions. The question of life or death can come up. When it does, survival is the number one priority.
Once your different treatment modalities kick in and you start to level off, the question of quality of life comes up.
The dictionary defines quality of life as “the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group”.
Psychotropic medications have some unsavory side effects that some can deal with and others cannot. Generally, the question is do the positive benefits outweigh the negative? This can go for medication management, types of treatment and any other aspects of your treatment plan.
What can you handle and what can you not when it comes to your quality of life?
This goes on to the topic of standards. Each individual has their own personal set of standards and values that they live by. This can be dictated by your environment, personal drive and belief system.
This set of standards are created for your family, work, finances, health and any other dimension of your life. You decide what constitutes a high and low standard for each particular part of your life.
These standards can change almost as quickly as your illness.
When it comes to having bipolar disorder, your mental illness will dictate a large portion of these standards in your life. However, you still do have a degree of control.
Your medications are your initial primary defense against your battle with bipolar disorder. You get to decide what you will handle when it comes to the side effects of medication.
Let me give you an example. When I was first diagnosed back in 1999, my doctor started me on lithium. I gained weight, felt lethargic, had a tremor and my thyroid got all messed up. At the time, I decided the benefits did not outweigh the side effects. I found another medication.
The past year or so, my doctor tried me back on lithium once again. I gained some weight, I still feel lethargic and I take another medication to combat my thyroid. I do not have a tremor anymore and lithium has been a miracle drug now that I can feel it’s positive mood stabilizing and antimanic properties.
Just remember that individuals can react differently to the same medication.
Wrapping Things Up
Having a mental illness changes every aspect of your life. In fact, when you are diagnosed with a severe mental illness, your quality of life will be completely different compared to someone who does not have a severe mental illness.
Standards are different between individuals and can change depending on circumstances. You need to determine what you can and cannot handle based on having a mental illness.
It will do you no good if you create a quality of life and standards based on your healthy self. Simply grieve the loss of your healthy self and base everything on yourself having a bipolar disorder.
I am not saying this is the easiest thing to do. On the contrary, it is one of the hardest things you will ever do.
Nowadays, doctors are more aware of the patient’s quality of life. They can provide numerous resources to help you on your journey. If you need other ideas, simply check out the internet.