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I write. I draw. I drink too much coffee.

Managing Bipolar Disorder

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Medication


Part of my journey

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My first attempt at college did not go well. The second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth time went even worse. In a desperate final attempt, I boarded a plane to England, trod where Robin Hood trod, got mugged, loved long distance, and learned the meaning of a last call. Then one day, I found myself homesick.

At home I found myself falling deeper in love and even deeper in debt. I, on a whim, of which I’ll have many, attended Penn State University seeking a degree in anthropology. The only problem was that I was in Virginia and my courses…


Friends & Bipolar Disorder

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I like to think that I am fiercely independent and do not require friends. Acquaintances on social media are as close as I get. Most people believe that is sad, and I guess in some ways it could be, but I have never felt the loss.

However, I have recently been leafing through the pages of my life and highlighting moments of significant change or impact. Therapy is responsible, but I also want to see where I have been. In particular, I want to see the people who have passed through. …


Living Life

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Where I’ve Been:

For a few months, I have been too busy to write…well, that is what I’m telling myself as I ignore the computer sitting just a few feet away from me. I took on a full-time job, my first in years. It was overwhelming at first, but I think I have gotten into a rhythm now. The job is not what I had expected to be doing after getting my Ph.D., but work is work when you need money. I keep trying to tell myself that, but my pride took a hit.

It has been good for me. I have gotten…


Bipolar Disorder

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I have Bipolar I Disorder, and in my quest to understand my diagnosis, I scoured the internet for information and people like me. I have been lucky enough to have found both, and I’d like to share with you my sources. The following are bloggers who have and continue to share their experiences.

The Bipolar Battle

John Poehler is an award-winning blogger, author, and mental health advocate. You can follow him on Twitter as BipolarBattle. Here are some of their articles:


Mindfulness

Weekly Calendar with pen — Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash
Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

I know that the first part of my day can often set the tone for how the rest of the day will progress. So knowing that I have a penchant for ruining things with my overactive self-talk, I have to stop myself and make a plan. The first step for many is to make a list or plan for the day, but I think it takes a bit more to get focused. You need to get your mind right to focus on what is essential to a successful day. Remember, success is only defined by you. So take a deep…


SIMPLE GUIDE

Try these three five-minute exercises to quiet your mind and calm your body.

Breathe

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4–7–8 Breathing

When we are stressed, our breathing often becomes quick and shallow. By taking a deep breath, you are taking in oxygen and letting your body know everything is okay. The goal is to slow down your breathing, and with practice, this technique will be there in times of stress or anxiety.

  1. While counting to four inhale deeply through your nose.
  2. Now hold your breath as you count to seven.
  3. Then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of eight.
  4. Repeat this 4–7–8 breathing for five minutes.

Smile


Worry

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I know what you are thinking. It sounds counter-intuitive?! Surely this cannot be helpful, but it can if it is done correctly.

Worry-Time

  • Schedule 15 minutes of Worry Time every day.
  • Start by saying, “This time is for my worries, and I will not give attention to these worries outside of this time.”
  • Spend this entire time thinking ONLY about your worries
  • Write them all down (multiple times)
  • At the end of 15 minutes immediately let go of those worries with some deep breaths
  • Return to your regular activities letting all your worries go

The goal is to think of nothing…


The state of the world might have you down, but don’t have to let it steal your happy moments. If you need a distraction, here are some ways to do so:

Warning: This is for someone with a sense of humor.

Sunlight

Take a step outside into the sunlight, but only long enough to twinkle and not burn. The sunlight is restorative unless you’re vampire, in which case, please wait until the moon is high.

To-Do List

Finally, pick something from that to-do list to accomplish, a small something. Then reward yourself with tea and cookies. Not into tea? Have a brutally blonde cup of coffee and spin like a top for a…


When we look back on our lives, we’re going to have a story to tell. Like those that have lived through the Great Depression, we can say we’ve experienced an unprecedented time that could forever change the way we live our lives. If you want to remember this time, the thoughts, emotions, and events, I suggest writing it all down. Keeping a journal will help.

Top 3 Reasons to Write in Journal

No Judgement

Your journal can be a best friend or even a therapist who is there for you at any time of the day. The journal is there to absorb anything you would not dare to say…

Ash Dowdy, PhD

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