Bedtime and other changes

June 4, 2007

After reading through a few sites about how people with BD are successfully handling their lives (for example, this article on McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web), I’ve decided to take a few proactive steps in what will hopefully be the right direction. I think it’s really a good thing, to be able to read articles dealing with people who are successfully managing bipolar disorder – it shows, in a way smiling doctors just can’t, that there is hope. Besides, while I’m still waiting for my medication to kick in (or get adjusted to a level where it can kick in), and waiting for my next therapist, this will give me something to work on … that in itself, that I’m able to look around and take steps on my own, because I choose, is therapeutic.

So, starting last night, I have a set time in which I’ll be in bed. If I have to take sleeping pills to enforce this, then so be it. Next week, I’ll also introduce a set get-up time. I’ve read that a stable sleep schedule is vital for proper management, so I intend to develop one for myself. That’ll be a new thing for me – I’m usually a night-owl – but I’m looking at this as a change that needs to happen. Once my sleep schedule is in, I plan to tackle my eating habits – I love food, so this will be harder than tackling my sleep schedule (I don’t like sleeping very much, even if I sometimes sleep for ten hours). My problem is that I eat when I’m frustrated, and I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m nervous, and I love to eat when I’m calm. You get the idea, I’m sure. While I’m trying to find something to take my mind off of eating, I might try exercising. I had some brief success with this earlier this past year – I went on a diet and exercise routine that actually worked, made me feel not just great, but alive, and I dropped excess weight like butter melting in the hot sun. Problem was, family doctor told me I was losing weight too fast, and that I needed to bring my weight back up just a little bit. I told him somewhat sheepishly that I’d just had a candy bar that day, to which he responded that this was a good thing. Well, no greater encouragement did I need than that! I think I had two more candy bars that day, fell completely off my diet, and haven’t been back on since. If I can work up the will power, I’ll go back on the diet, and just not tell the family doctor what’s going on :-)

Ultimately, I’m going to drop the caffeine. That’s going to be the big bear for me, because I love adore worship crave caffeinated diet soda pop! I can drink liters of the stuff every day, and would no sooner imagine life without it than the average coffee drinker would imagine life without the morning cup of Joe. Where I live, the caffeine-free versions of popular diet sodas aren’t available (it was a big deal around here a couple of years ago when regular ol’ Dr. Pepper became available!); so I’m basically going to have to give up the stuff entirely. I know I’m not ready for that – I gave up cigarettes a year and a half ago (after over ten years of smoking), I’m giving myself a scheduled bed time, and am serious about putting myself back on a pretty strict diet – giving up the caffeine right now would be pushing myself too far. But that is my eventual goal.

The other thing I’ve read, that seems to make a difference, is recognizing triggers. I think that’s an area where I’m going to rely on working with my therapist for right now – I’m not really sure what is meant by triggers, nor am I sure how I’m supposed to recognize them. To be honest, some of what I’ve read about triggers reminds me of sensing a tremor in the Force … and I’m not Yoda … so for now, I think this little Jedi will just continue to work on a sleep schedule, followed by a decent diet and activity regimen.



  1. I am absolutely horrible in terms of a “regular” sleep schedule…I’m lucky if I get to bed by 2:00am, and I then don’t drag out of bed until between 7:00-10:00am (as you can see, a HUGE variable). I look forward to seeing how things work out for you! :-)
    Nice blog by the way, keep up the good work!

  2. Thank you for the comment and compliment, ariadneK :-)

    I’m also looking forward to seeing how these things work. If my inner core is defined by variation, then trying to turn basic daily rituals into set routines should have an interesting effect – perhaps give me something to anchor myself to. Have you ever seen the movie, Daredevil? If so, there is a part in that movie where Daredevil is momentarily assaulted by the loud noise of a subway train – he is able to smack one of his sticks against metal, creating a sort of cleansing /focusing gong effect. That is something I’ve been seeking for a long time, I guess ultimately I’m hoping that these routines will provide that for me, some way to make the spinning thoughts slow down.

  3. Please consider submitting your blog to the Bipolar Planet webring at bipolarplanet.blogspot.com; I think you would be a most welcome addition!


  4. Considered and submitted – I even went so far as to sign up for a second Web ring – thank you very much for the idea :-)

  5. No problem! There’s some very good people I’ve met through the ring…many excellent friends with good stories to share. :-)

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