How to Survive as a Manic Depressive
There are many things we can do or learn which can enable us to live a purposeful, successful life as a manic
depressive. They include the following :
(1) Medication. Grapple as hard as you like with your psychiatrist, but having once reached agreement on your
dosage stick to it until you see him/her again.
(2) Support Group. One by one assemble a support team whom you trust and who know you well. The list will
vary from person to person; yours may include
Friends (good listeners)
Psychotherapist / counsellor
Someone at work (colleague? manager? company doctor?)
Samaritan (The Samaritans give their services free and will talk to anyone, not only
potential suicides; you can find them in the telephone book)
When you are well, share with them as much as you can of yourself.
When you need a safety net, they will be there.
(3) Creativity. Seek to explore your creative gifts when you are well. Can you
create collections of stamps?
There must be many more. Whatever you choose, keep on lovingly polishing and refining your creation until you
are wholly satisfied with it. The idea is to surround yourself with a world of beautiful things of your own making.
When you are depressed they will lift you up. If you manage to sell, publish or market your products to someone
else, you will discover a double bonus.
(4) Structure. Seek to build into your life patterns of regularity - routines, things you do or enjoy frequently, often
at particular times, which require no special mental effort. For instance
A favourite radio or television programme on a particular
A bicycle ride
A weekly game of tennis or squash with a friend
The housework; tidying
A cup of tea or coffee at elevenses
A particular meal
Making bread or cakes
Attendance at a regular gathering eg in the pub
Routine gardening eg weeding
Tending your pets
Most of these are things you can continue to do when low or befogged. They require very little creativity but
provide you with tramlines to follow until you feel better. The feeling of familiarity - the absence of threat - will help
to keep you going.
(5) Journal Time. Once or twice a day keep an appointment with yourself and your journal. Choose a nice smart
volume and spend time sitting with it. Be still. As thoughts well up and crystallise in your mind, write them
down, so making place for further thoughts, and so on. Put the date. Try entering
poems (your own or someone else's)
- anything that describes where you are and how you feel.
Periodically re-read what you have written. As you do, see how you can turn it into an object of creativity in its own
right. Adorn it with
comments in different colours
titles and subtitles
Note which of your fears proved justified after the event, and which not. At all times be totally honest with yourself
in what you put down. Over the years you will be amazed at how far you have come. Your family must understand
that no one is allowed to see it without your permission, if at all.