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Self-Care and Coping
Medications are not the only factor associated with recovery. Since bipolar disorder expresses itself in ways that are unique to each individual, it is important to understand the operation of the illness and gain insight into how the illness affects behavior. People need to develop habits and tools to cope, such as yoga or meditation, keeping a regular sleep cycle, exercise, avoiding stress, socializing, attending support group meetings, working or volunteering, and many other things. Each individual will develop a package of coping strategies to help avoid triggering manic or depressed swings. Mood charting can be a useful tool, especially in the early years of the diagnosis, to help identify the connection between medications, lifestyle habits and behaviors, and mood swings. Some people with bipolar disorder may not achieve sufficient stability to hold a job or manage money. In such cases, things such as job accommodation, trusts and applying for disability income should be considered.
  • Overcoming Denial / Lack of Insight - Overcoming denial (both our own and that of our bipolar SOs) is often the most difficult phase of recovery. Finding a good psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist is critical. The careless use of antidepressants is one of the most common triggers of first manic or dysphoric episodes.
  • Self-Care - Maintaining stability, or avoiding the extremities of cycling, requires insight and attitude and lifestyle adjustments (for both parties in the relationship). These links address these issues.
  • Mood Charting - Keeping a mood chart can be a useful tool to assist the psychiatrist in fine-tuning treatment.
  • Employment and Disability
  • Estates, Trusts and Other Legal Issues

Overcoming Denial / Lack of Insight
Families in Limbo By Margaret Leggatt, Ph.D. Past President of the World Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders. This paper demonstrates some of the contradictory or paradoxical situations in which families of seriously mentally ill adult offspring find themselves, and which justify the title 'Families in Limbo'. While 'Limbo' was the region on the border of Hell, its meaning now equates with a sense of being unable to move, to be in circumstances from which there seems to be no way out, to not know which way to turn – the feeling of being caught in a 'Catch 22'.
Five Stages of Bipolar Grief From the Fyreniyce web site
Impaired awareness of illness (anosognosia) From the Treatment Advocacy Center web site. A major problem because it is the single largest reason why individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not take their medications. It is caused by damage to specific parts of the brain, especially the right hemisphere. It affects approximately 50 percent of individuals with schizophrenia and 40 percent of individuals with bipolar disorder. When taking medications, awareness of illness improves in some patients.
Video by Xavier Amador on Lack of Insight in the Mentally Ill. Dr. Xavier Amador is an adjunct professor in Clinical Psychology at Teacher’s College, Columbia University in New York City and is on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). He is a clinical psychologist who treats adults, children, and adolescents in individual, couples and family therapy. See also Dr. Amador's web site http://xavieramador.com/.


Self-Care
Basket Weaving for Beginners A Self-Help Guide for Bipolar Disorder. An entertaining site with a great number of wise and useful tips on managing bipolar disorder.
Beating the Marriage Odds Despite these odds, bp Magazine has located and spoken with several long term couples facing bipolar issues who nonetheless are making it work. They all admit that their partnerships have been rocky at times, but that with counseling, love, and acceptance of the illness, they have not only stayed together, but have also grown stronger as a couple.
Being A Bipolar Christian Thousands of people suffer from a bipolar condition (severe mood swings). How can Christians deal with this malady? Can the Lord cure them, or are there biblical principles for dealing with this condition?
Better Place to Be Useful suggestions compiled by a person with bipolar disorder.
Bi-Polar Disorder From a personal site. A statement with some useful hints about self managment of bipolar disorder.
BP Magazine Filled with hope, inspiration, news features and educational information on building a healthy lifestyle, including: stress reduction, exercise and sleep, treatments, relationships and employment.
Depression Help Depression help and advice that will increase your happiness, self esteem, self confidence and success includes courses, books, articles and more.
Developing Detachment A tool for handling control issues. From livestrong.com web site
Expert Consensus Guidelines: Medication Treatment of Bipolar Disorder 2000 
How can I best take care of myself? The advice we're presenting here is GENERAL. Everyone with this illness is a unique individual, and individuals respond in unique and sometimes unexpected ways; use your best judgment and common sense about whether this advice is right for you.
How to Avoid a Manic Episode Taken from a paper by Dr. Julia Mayo, Chief, Clinical Studies, Department of Psychiatry, St. Vincent's Hospital.
Living Without Depression and Manic Depression: A Guide To Maintaining Mood Stability, an online conference transcript of a conversation with Mary Ellen Copeland. HealthyPlace Bipolar Community web site. Also see many other useful articles on this site at Articles on Depression and Manic Depression.
March Madness, September Slides. The Seasonal Aspects of Early-Onset Bipolar Disorder. While oriented toward bipolar disorder in children and adolescents, much that is said here applies to adults. This is an issue of the The Bipolar Child Newsletter, June, 2005 Vol. 20.
Self-Care and Management of Manic-Depression A parent's advice to a young adult child with bipolar disorcer.
Self-Care: Living With Affective Disorders From Bipolarhome.org web site.


Mood Charting
Bipolar Personal Calendar From the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).
Mike's Med and Mood Charts A BPSO member devised these charts for tracking medication schedules and moods: PDF Verions (required Acrobat Reader); MS Excel Version.
Mood Diary Psychiatry24x7.com. The mood chart is a useful tool to help you and your doctor monitor your illness. It allows you to bring together information about your daily mood, events happening in your life, sleep patterns and medications you are taking. You may notice patterns emerging which would otherwise be difficult to detect. When you visit your doctor, it will be very helpful for him or her to see how you have been progressing by reviewing your mood diary.


Employment and Disability
EEOC Enforcement Guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act and Psychiatric Disabilities From the web site of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This enforcement guidance sets forth the Commission's position on the application of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to individuals with psychiatric disabilities.
Reasonable Accommodations for People who have Psychiatric Disabilities An On-line Resource for Employers and Educators. Practical information for employers and educators about reasonable accommodations for people who have psychiatric disabilities. From the web site of the Center for Psychiatric Disabilities, Boston University.


Estates, Trusts and Other Legal Issues
Advance Psychiatric Directives If you are concerned that you may be subject to involuntary psychiatric commitment or treatment at some future time, you can prepare a legal document in advance to express your choices about treatment. The document is called an advance directive for mental health decision making. From the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.
Legal Resources From the Treatment Advocacy Center web site. Laws governing mental illness in many U.S. states may be found here.
PLAN (Planned Lifetime Assistance Network) PLAN programs are established to serve the future care planning needs of families who have an adult child with mental illness or other disabilities.

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