Treading Water and Health

So I have been in the full throttle of being a student and an adult. Although I’m very lucky because I still live at home and am being supported through my education – so I am a full time student and not working – let me repeat, I am very lucky.

I am a nursing student, and it takes a lot of time, energy and effort. I have been treading water with my health (physical and mental) and the point is just not to drown. I know this sounds a little dramatic but those who deal with or care for someone with mental health issues will understand. My bipolar does not define me, but it is a part of me. And it is something that is triggered easily by stress and bad health habits (like stressing over studying and not sleeping, or copious amounts of caffeine, etc). So I’m treading water until summer comes again and I can fully focus on my health.

I also deal with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Long story short, my hormones tend to mess with me and that doesn’t help the already fluctuating moods and my proneness to weight gain (+medication weight gain) and struggle to take it back off. I was diagnosed when I was 14 years old and am now 23, and have never really focused on it or dealt with it. So I am doing my research into things to help me.

I used to manage it well before being engulfed by post-secondary education, but I am determined to get back there.

I’ve also started to take a heap load of vitamins to help with overall health and problem specific issues.

So here are some things I’m doing [I am not a doctor and cannot give advice in such – this is just what I’m doing for me]: 

Vitamins –

  • vitamin D
    • there are some studies that show it can help with depression and mood fluctuations, especially with the seasons changing
  • multivitamin for women
    • general overall health
  • probiotic
    • this helps with stomach/intestine bacteria, it helps the body process foods and eliminates bloating pain, discomfort, can help with heartburn (I have GERD) and just overall improves the gut
  • magnesium
    • helps with such a variety of things but I’m taking it for migraines, mood swings, and pms symptoms,
  • evening primrose oil
    • this is to help with the PCOS, I’m still new to it but I’ve heard it can help with hormone fluctuations and therefore possibly east cystic pain
  • folic acid
    • this is for the mental health, its been shown in bipolar to help with both down swings and up swings
  • omega-3
    • this is also for the mental health and overall brain health, helping with moods

I also started drinking lemon water with apple cider vinegar in the mornings with my breakfast and coffee, its supposed to help with weight loss, digestion, lowers blood sugar levels, and helps heart health.

Other than that I am trying to eliminate processed food (so things like white bread), which I know I won’t completely rid of, but I am trying to cut down.

The next step is introducing exercise again, but thats a work in progress.

Until next time!

 

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Let’s Be Serious For A Minute

I’ve touched on it before – that I’m super passionate about mental health. I love learning and knowing different disorders and how it effects an individual. Today I wanted to touch on Bipolar Disorder and some coping with manic episodes.

A lot of the key things involve prevention, but just like any other illness, episodes are not always preventable no matter how hard you work and how healthy you are. So what do you do when you feel that energy and panic rushing in?

  1. Stop. Realize this is an episode and not you. It can feel like you’re losing it, but you are not you are totally ok. Deep breathes.
  2. Reach out. Let your support team know what’s going on. Whether this be your doctor, your family, your friends, whoever is your support – reach out to them.
  3. Assess. Is this manageable? If you can bring yourself down and ride it out then just hold on, if it is worse then let someone know you need more help

Then the coping begins:

  1. Bubble bath. This instantly brings peace, light a candle or some aroma, make huge bubbles and keep it warm but not too hot. Bring a water bottle beside you too because hydration is huge.
  2. Water. Drink it. The best thing you can do is be good to your body while you’re riding out a high.
  3. Meditation. Ok yes it will be extremely difficult but even 3 minutes of zen will help calm the onset.
  4. Yoga or walking. Really any form of low impact exercise. It helps to sweat it out, but you don’t want to work yourself up.
  5. Writing. Write it out. When mania or hypomania hits it can feel like a wall of a million thoughts hit you at once. Start to write it out, it will not only slow you down but allow for some room to form in your head.
  6. To-do lists. You may feel like doing everything NOW but you are not your most productive or focused. So keep a list of stuff you feeling like you NEED to do and re-assess it at a later point.
  7. Avoid caffeine and simple sugars/carbs. Chamomile tea is amazing. And avoiding the sugars and simple carbs will help your body not to spike in blood sugar making you feel sicker. A great mindless munch for a sweet tooth is almonds. (Maybe some chocolate or yogurt covered too).
  8. Ride it out. If you have been diagnosed for awhile you know this feeling. You know it will pass and its a big wave right now but you can do this, ride it.

In the end, help yourself, and reach out for help from a support group.