Page 51

criticism from others coupled with high expectations of oneself can lead to some people with bipolar disorder identifying the need to be kinder to oneself as the key goal of recovery. This can be particularly important when someone has experienced thoughts or acted in a way they feel was incongruent with their own or other people’s expectations during a manic episode. Not engaging in excessive self criticism and learning to be compassionate with oneself can be a fundamental part of recovery for some people. ‘Self acceptance for me is linked to a sense of balance and stability and being able to enjoy the here and now without being haunted by the past. All of those were a major trigger for my first depression. Being able to deal with that and move forward was a huge thing, and will always risk being a trigger again.’ Interviewee 13.2 Strategies for recovery People use a variety of strategies (Mansell et al., 2009; Russell & Browne, 2005). There is little evidence to tell us which of these, or which combination of these, is more effective, and so the most common strategies are included in Figure 13.2 below. ‘What goes around in my head is also important for me to keep track of to detect eventual relapses. I am lucky that I have fairly clear signs of impending illness. If I start irrationally worrying about insignificant little things and when these thoughts start to take over most of my day (and night!) it is a warning sign that things aren’t going too well. It’s hard to do much about this, though. The best solution to these symptoms is to take some anxiolytics like diazepam but I can only take these in absolute crisis since they’re very addictive, and dependence on them is a problem that I really can do without. So, I have to come up with other ideas. I guess it’s very individual what practical strategies are best employed in these situations. I generally go out for a power walk and then I feel a bit better. If I don’t, and things are getting from bad to worse, I keep the number for psych in my wallet at all times.” Karin Falk – service user The following quote illustrates how recovery can be a way of life, which taps into basic human needs: ‘I am on [medication] daily, which I make sure that I take, sadly. I have tried to cut them down or stop them, but each time this ended in disaster. I attend a mental health day centre, where I do voluntary work, classes, and my art work, and talk to the other clients and staff. Occupation helps me a lot. My religion helps me a lot too. I regularly talk to God, and tell him all my problems. He/She quite often talks back, but I’m aware this is only a voice, so I try to ignore it. I pray and meditate. Talking helps me a lot, and I have very good relations with some very good mental health professionals, who I see regularly. Exercise too, I try to get out every day, even if it just a trip to the shops. Contact with people helps, and country walks. A proper balanced life is very important, just life and living really, keeps me well.” John Exell – service user

Part 4: Recovery

49

Understanding Bipolar Disorder  

This report was written by a working party of clinical psychologists who were chosen because of their particular expertise on the subject of...

Understanding Bipolar Disorder  

This report was written by a working party of clinical psychologists who were chosen because of their particular expertise on the subject of...