Tips on dealing with symptoms of Bipolar

“Honour the physical temple that houses your body by eating healthfully, exercising, listening to your body’s needs and treating it with dignity and love” Wayne Dyer

One way to manage Mania is not to engage too much with the Ego. I learned about the Ego in Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth [1]. “Unless you know the basic mechanics of the ego, it will trick you into identifying with it again and again”.

Other ways of managing the highs and lows of Manic Depression ~

  • Learn about nutrition & cook nutritious meals. Watch diet and sugar intake. Take a good quality multi-vitamin (without copper). Learn about foods that help to balance mood [2]

  • Work on developing self-awareness, as sometimes awareness is lost during an episode e.g. with money & spending. Learn to recognise the symptoms at an early stage and use techniques to get some balance back. Keeping a journal.

  • When you develop self-knowledge, work with that knowledge and try not to repeat past mistakes

  • Use a calendar or yearly diary / planner to track changes in symptoms

  • Don’t be seduced by the “high” as it can be very seductive. Try not to feed it and not to over-stimulate yourself.

  • Mind yourself and take it easy, but at the same time have goals

  • Avoid alcohol or street drugs. Alcohol is like adding fuel to the fire. It can make the highs higher and the lows lower.

  • Learn about WRAP (Wellness Recover Action Plan) and have a WRAP plan [3]. The plan needs to be very specific about the steps you need to take to alleviate low or overly elevated mood.

  • Develop self confidence and a sense of Self [4]

  • Try to create a support network made up of people who are understanding of the symptoms and supportive of your healing journey. Join a support group.

  • Work on relaxation daily e.g. daily meditation, Yoga

  • Drink enough water

  • Stay hopeful for Recovery and healing. Visualise the end result.

  • Bibliotherapy ~ reading books can help with mood but some of what’s learned from books will need to be put into action for the knowledge to be effective.

  • Develop structure in the day and week. Manage time as much as possible. Use a diary.

  • Write down important things that need to be done each week.

  • Work with your skills, strengths and creativity

  • Work towards achieving balance in the various areas of life. The Happiness Habit identifies the following areas ~ Career & Finance, Personal development, Health & Fitness, Spiritual, Contribution, Family & Social, Fun & Creativity, Mental & Emotional [5]

  • Ask yourself the question if you had only one month to live what would you do

  • Learn to replace bad habits with more useful habits and build this into a daily routine

  • Reward yourself each time you make progress and remind yourself how much better you are getting. When it comes to any setbacks be gentle and kind to yourself, like you would be with a good friend. Pick up the pieces and start again.

  • Learn how to self-sooth in positive ways. This can be written into a WRAP plan, which I have already mentioned.

  • Let go of Perfectionism

  • Accept where you are on your journey

  • Try not to be too self-critical

  • Develop a good sleeping pattern and wind down in the evening

  • Avoid too much stimulants e.g. a doctor once advised me that I should have only one coffee a day and in the morning

  • Identify and resolve triggers, including those that can trigger strong emotions and learn constructive ways of dealing with this.

  • If there is trauma from the past or issues that need to be discussed, some Psychotherapy and/or counseling can be helpful.

  • People need to feel that their life has meaning and a purpose and to be able to make a contribution to their community [6]. This may be through paid work or voluntarily. It may not be possible to work, but having a part-time or full-time job can give the week structure. Some jobs are more stressful than others, so that needs to be factored in. People should not be pressured about their work status but instead should be gently encouraged or told about potential opportunities that are out there. Trying to intimidate a person about their work status can be very unhelpful. Some people are doing their best. Their is a lot of social stigma out there relating to unemployment.

There is an energy that comes from a mild ‘high’ (hypomania) that just needs to be channeled in the right direction. I try to be self-aware of my mood and take corrective action. Even 10 mins of Yoga and some meditation can help ground me.

Recovery and healing usually just doesn’t happen. Time has to be made for it. Changes need to be made in daily and weekly routines. Sacrifices may have to be made to make progress. The body needs balance and depends on biorhythms. Regular eating and sleeping patterns are important. And routine.

“A person should be enabled to reach a point of inner peace, self-empowerment and contentment” Dr Terry Lynch [7]

* This list is a work in progress


[1] A New Earth Eckhart Tolle, 2009

[2] Action plan for Bipolar ~

[3] Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) by Mary Ellen Copeland et al 

WRAP Crisis Plan & Working Through Hard Times (includes link to pdf)

[4] Selfhood by Dr Terry Lynch, 2011 (includes practical exercises to work through)

[5] The Happiness Habit by Brian Colbert, 2010
See exercise on pg. 79 (Cutting the cord) and The Magpie Technique (involves recognising achievements in life)

[6] Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (first published in 1946) ~ Happiness Habitiktor-Frankl/dp/080701429X

Viktor Frankl was a Psychiatrist that survived the concentration camps in WWII

[7] Depression Delusion: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance by Dr Terry Lynch, 2015

Other Resources

Dr. Terry Lynch has information and courses on the topic of Manic Depression / Bipolar ~

Why Bipolar by Declan Henry, 2013 ( I highly recommend this good book)

Antidepressant-associated mania and psychosis resulting in psychiatric admissions.

Yale study (2001) ~

Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being

Sean Blackwell’s work (which I found very useful)

Corrina Rachel speaking to Sean Blackwell about Bipolar

How to Avoid a Manic Episode ~

I agree with some but not all of what’s in this link but it has useful tips e.g. Reduce stimulation and decrease activity

GROWing towards recovery: a re-enchantment with life – Mike Watts ~

Mary Maddock: a survivor of ECT and decades of Psychiatric drugging ~

Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry ~

The Feel Good Factor: 10 Proven Ways to Feel Happy and Motivated by Patrick Holford, 2011

The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns, 1999 (CBT ~ Cognitive Behaviour Therapy)

The Power of your subconscious mind by Joseph Murphy (first published 1963) ~

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey, 1998

Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzer (2006)

Suicide remains a taboo subject, something few people are prepared to talk about

Men’s Sheds ~

Severe PMS (Pre-menstral tension) misdiagnosed as Bipolar

Soteria ~ a network of people in the UK promoting the development of drug-free and minimum medication therapeutic environments for people experiencing ‘psychosis’ or extreme states

A collection of resources on Open Dialogue and Open Dialogue practices ~

8 Tips to Help Stop Ruminating ~

Fish oil Bipolar treatment benefits ~

The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive presented by Stephen Fry

Bipolar InOrder by Tom Wootton et al ~

Moving From Bipolar Disorder To Bipolar IN Order ~

Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and their Families

by Dr Peter Breggin, 2012