Hello! I’m currently live on my Julie A. Fast Facebook page for the next few hours to answer your questions about mental health disorders including bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, psychosis, borderline, ADD and medications.
I will also post the questions and answer here.
Julie, What do you do when your psychosis is raging, and manic/hypo manic. How do you manage your daily goals?
Let’s start at the beginning. We share the same symptoms as we both have bipolar disorder with psychosis. (The diagnosis is called schizoaffective disorder.) This means we have to deal with a lot of mood swings- sometimes all at once. I have an overall plan that I used for symptom management. This is in my books. Here is what I do specifically:
Getting started: I know my symptoms from the very beginning. I have a list of ALL of my mania and psychosis symptoms that I have compiled for many years. I did this through charting my moods. This process is outlined in my books Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder and The Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder. I will post the links below. You obviously know your symptoms as well. Do you have them written down? It helps to have a very detailed list.
Step #1. Manage your sleep. Once I wrote down my symptoms- and believe me, I add to the list regularly, I created a plan to deal with each symptom in a way that keeps me from going further into the mood swing.
For example, ALL management plans have to have a plan for regular sleep. Let’s start there.
If you are manic and psychotic, sleep is going to be a huge issue. What is your plan tonight to sleep no matter what? For many of us, that means a good dose of sleep meds or taking more of the meds we take for mania and psychosis. This isn’t fun and I’m sorry we have to sometimes medicate ourselves this way, but sleep is paramount. Knock yourself out and sleep for at least eight hours and let the brain help you heal.
One of the main reasons hospitals work so well when a person is manic and psychosis is the regimented sleep.
Step #2. Be careful not to take your symptoms out on the people around you. I have to do this as I can get very aggressive and loud, mean and nasty, negative and bombastic when the mania is raging. This is my dysphoric mania and it’s so unpleasant! I make sure that I warn the people around me that I’m in an episode and I ask for help. I say, “As you can see, I’m having a hard time controlling my negativity. I don’t want to be this way. It’s the mania. You can help by reminding me that this is an illness and I will get through this as I always do. ”
Step #3. Look for triggers. What do you think led to the current mania and psychosis? If you can pinpoint the trigger, make changes in that area immediately. I just had a relationship issue and believe me, the paranoia was raging. That is my regular symptom when I have contentious conversations. It is no one’s fault. It is my brain. I have to remind myself that for me, paranoia is simply a symptom. Nothing terrible has happened. I just had an argument with a family member. Nothing has changed. This leads to the next step.
Step #4. Talk to yourself about your symptoms. I do this regularly. Julie, when you are manic you talk too fast, spend too much money and love to drink. This is a sign you are sick. It’s ok to have these symptoms, but you don’t have to act on them. What do you need to do right now to make sure you minimize mistakes and don’t do something you will regret? I have a plan in place for this and I USE it.
Step #5 Ask for help. You are already doing this by writing me. If you need to talk to a health care person, even if it’s just to check in, do it. I will write my therapist or call a friend when I need help. My illness tells me I have no friends, but I don’t listen and force myself to call!
This is a short list of what I do!
Julie, I have talked to u before. Which book of yours should I start with? I’m specially interested in ur card system. Thnx!
I would start with Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder and then move to the Health Cards. I call the Health Cards the Moneyball of bipolar disorder management. They really work, but are only for those who are ready to make a lot of changes in lifestyle in order to get better. I use them with all of the parents and partners I coach. Take Charge outlines the basic system and really explains bipolar disorder management for the whole family. I would definitely start with this book!