As some of you may know I am dealing with huge increased stress at work at the moment and obviously with a diagnosis of bipolar I am scared I am getting ill or may get ill in the future. I am though lucky that at the moment I am very well and so I have been able to put some strategies in place to safeguard myself and to also go someway to stop being so frightened.
One of the most important things I have done is to recognise the symptoms of stress and deal with these as they occur. I have felt my anxiety rise which is probably the most frightening symptom as I often experience horrendous anxiety when I am ill. I have used the same coping strategies as I do for any anxiety I experience and given myself praise for coping with the anxiety (something I wouldn’t do if I was ill)!
I have recognised that stress is serious and just because it isn’t a bipolar episode I still need to take care of myself and recognise the symptoms. I have kept in constant contact with my doctor and asked friends and family for their reassurance, advice and support.
I have also drawn on support at work. Whilst certain people or situations have caused stress I also know that the organisation have procedures and policies to assist where necessary. I have done everything I can to make the time at work easier and drawn on HR support, team support and support of my close colleagues where I can.
I have used my WRAP which really comes into its own in times like this and it is even more important to take care of oneself and the mundane eating, sleeping etc are vital. Last week I wasn’t sleeping that well because it was hot and so I took something to help me sleep after just a couple of days as I knew and recognised that sleep was even more important during this period of stress.
Last weekend has also given me huge confidence and something to remember during the week that has followed. I took 16 Brownies to the Zoo, helped lead a Church parade and Messy Church and I felt fantastic! If I was ill the whole weekend would of been a massive struggle and at difficult times during this week I have remembered this. I have found that because I have a diagnosis of bipolar certain people have said I must be experiencing a bipolar episode when I have raised concerns over the stress I am under. When this has happened this week I have been able to remember last weekend and even tell people what I did and how I felt which has given me and others the confidence that I am not experiencing bipolar symptoms.
It hasn’t been easy and I am exhausted, emotional and sometimes physically unwell but I am taking a day at a time, doing all I can to take care of myself and can draw strength from the last few weeks.