Mornings can be a very uncomfortable time for many of us who have Bipolar Disorder. Those of us who take sleep medications or certain mood stabilizers can often still feel strong effects from them in the mornings. Strong episodes of Bipolar mania and depression can also compound the way we feel when we wake up.
There have been many times myself where I would awake, assess how I feel, and literally just start crying. Starting the day off like this can be very overwhelming and impact the rest of my entire day.
Considering how difficult mornings have always been for me, I started looking into techniques I could use to make those rough days a little easier to manage. I’ve tried many things like “positive incantations,” distraction like listening to music, and if I’m lucky – muster up the energy to get in the shower. I’ve only found limited relief from these techniques.
I’ve noticed that “mindless” distraction like listening to background music isn’t strong enough sometimes to disrupt the flow of negative feelings. The “distraction” needs to be stronger than the feelings inside to be effective. Many people resort to things like cutting themselves (or other self-destructive behavior) to achieve a strong-enough distraction and this is obviously very unhealthy / dangerous. There has to be a better way! This is why I have a great appreciation for “mindful” practices… Activities that engage the mind enough to where it’s hard to think about anything else.
A lifelong friend of mine (Austin Holt – New York) shared a technique he developed called “The Alphabet of Positivity” and I think it’s a great tool for Polar Warriors to have. PLEASE NOTE that techniques like this are NOT a “fix-all.” The goal of tools like this is to use them at the start of a bad episode and not wait until things get so bad they are beyond our control. The more tools we have, the easier it can be to find something that works. We all have a different threshold for symptoms and have to know ourselves well enough to decide which techniques might offer relief and when it’s time to get outside help.
If you have any similar “mindful” techniques of your own that you would like to share, please post them in the comments. We’re all here to help each other grow and learn on this Polar Warrior journey!
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