Seasonal Affected Bipolar Disorder 2

Learning to manage any aspect of bipolar disorder on the individual level is going to be by trial and error. Some people find what works quickly, like when their Psychiatrist prescribes a medication that works without side effects right away. These people are quite rare. For most of us learning manage our bipolar is a struggle of trying this or that until we find what works. What I encourage in myself and I also encourage in others is to embrace that struggle. Enjoy learning how your bipolar disorder affects you and how overcoming this illness makes you a better, stronger person. What works for me and helps me manage my bipolar may not work for you. However, what works for me may give you a starting point.

On the subject of seasonally affected bipolar disorder management, this was for me a many year journey. Even today I am tweaking my management system of what I need to do to ward off the winter blues. As I write this I have my sunglasses on and am bathed by the light of my Litebook Edge therapy light. This light was added a year ago when winter set in really early and what usually worked quit working or didn’t have time to work.  Another pitfall of bipolar management is sometimes our management system quits working and we have to develop a new one.

Today my management system for the fall/winter part of the seasonally affected bipolar disorder is very simple. I take 2000 IU of Vitamin D and 50 mg B6 + B12 starting in early August. I introduce 15 minutes of light therapy in early October.  I keep this routine up until the middle of May. Which is about when spring begins to come about where I live.

I want to point out why I take both Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 as well as B6. It has been scientifically proven that if you are low on Vitamin D you are more than likely low on Vitamin B12 as well. I take Vitamin B6 because of its scientifically proven link to cognitive function.

When spring has sprung this requires a whole new management system. The first requirement of this portion of the management system is compete honesty with myself. Why? Because no one ever complains about mania. Mania is great, we get stuff done. We are usually happy and excited about life.  I have had a handle on quelling the summer mania for a lot longer than I have the winter depression. For me, when the first urge to buy every garden tool in the Johnny’s seed catalog strikes that is my sign to have a talk with the doctor to decide this year’s course of action. Most years it has meant an increase in meds for a period of time. Some years it has only meant increased diligence on my part to do the tips set out later. This is when I need constant monitoring by my professional and non- professional network. This is my program for managing seasonal affected bipolar disorder. It works for me.

Bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it. The treatment of this illness in every aspect, be it medication or seasonal affected bipolar disorder, has to be individual as well. We each have to develop our own ways to manage our particular bipolar disorder.

Last week I promised some tips and techniques for dealing seasonal affected bipolar disorder. The first tip I want to offer is:

  1. build the best professional and non-professional support team you possibly can.
  2. build the best professional and non-professional support team you possibly can.

I can not stress this point enough. We are not rocks, and we cannot fight this illness alone, despite popular belief. If you have bipolar you inwardly believe you are alone.

We are the ones that have to do the work, but we need the best team we can put together to cheer us on and give us advice when we need it.

Tips for dealing with depression when your meds don’t seem to be. This happened to me last winter until the light therapy started to work.

  1. Take the initiative against depression. Get up and keep moving even though you feel like one of those deep-sea divers in the big suits walking through molasses. Force yourself to eat and wash the dishes. Make a gratitude list of 5 things you are grateful for every evening, try to do 5 different ones every night.
  2. Learn what triggers your depression besides the change of seasons. As a lifetime sufferer of seasonally affected bipolar, when I started to learn to manage seasonal depression I found other triggers that elevated that depression. Anything that I perceived to negatively affect me compounded my depression. When my management system was working if something negative happened I still became depressed. This is what I touched on last week.
  3. Make a commitment and keep on keeping it. I found this one very helpful. I hang out with a bunch of people every Sunday morning for breakfast. No matter how low I am I force myself to attend. Actually, if I am not there they come looking for me.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up for how you feel. This one is hard to get over. I practiced self-encouragement for a long time before I was able to use it effectively when I was deeply depressed.
  5. Do not let your mind convince you that you have to do some great thing or be perfect to beat your depression. It is by doing the simple things, some of them badly, that we overcome depression. Sticking to an already set routine does wonders for beating depression. This is similar to #3 but different. This has to do with a commitment to yourself the first thing that used to go when depression struck was my morning routine of daily reading of inspirational material. Now it doesn’t matter, I go through the motions of coffee and books no matter what. I may not comprehend what I am reading all the time, but I am there in body every day and I do it.
  6. Don’t let your mind create catastrophes that do not exist and thoughts of self-harm. These thoughts of loss, disaster and self-harm are the true dangers of depression. This is when we absolutely have to reach out to others. I also know that when these thoughts happen we most want to isolate. We can, with help, learn to defeat these thoughts but it takes time and effort. What we must quickly learn is to reach out whenever these thoughts appear.

Tips for dealing with Mania.

  1. Learn what triggers your mania. As I said earlier one of mine is wanting to spend.
  2. Monitor your thinking. Our feelings of self-importance start to grow when manic. Our thoughts begin to race. We are bombarded with one idea after the other. We become more mentally creative. These are all signs of mania. Learn yours.
  3. Watch your behaviors. Mania causes us to engage in risky behaviors and behaviors that will threaten our lives and relationships more easily.
  4. Keep your regular sleep/eat schedule. This is not easy. I don’t sleep, and I don’t eat when manic. Forcing your self to bed and to eat can reign in a manic episode.

Unfortunately for most of us, medication is the only way to effectively deal with mania.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.


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Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. Each week I attach a blog written by someone else that I found interesting that may inform you as well.  This is another author’s work I am just attaching their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog created by Hillary Jacobs Hendel.


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