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BipolarLife 101 provides online mental health support along with online tools such as mental health articles, blogs and more to help those battling mental health issues. BipolarLife101 helps people learn to live life with a mental illness, strives to help end stigma, and assist the community, friends and family gain a better understanding of mental health issues.bq-o-rtl.png

Relapse Prevention

From the moment you are diagnosed with a mental illness, you begin an uphill journey, which so many have taken before you. Immediately you may begin to ask yourself a variety of stressful questions. What will my friends and family think? How will the medicines affect my life? How will I get through life taking medications, seeing a psychiatrist and talking to a therapist? Holy crap, I have a panic attack now when someone knocks at my front door. So how in the world can I live with the pitfalls of a mental illness?

First, you can never look at the entire mountain. Taking a look at only one area of the mountain at a time will help the climb much easier. Second, the climb and journey will test you physically and mentally, nevertheless, you just have to start by taking one small step at a time. Lastly, following a hospitalization stay or outpatient therapy, you will have taken a giant leap towards keeping your mental illness under control. Continually visiting and having honest and open talks with your psychiatrist and therapist about your medications, symptoms and how you’re dealing with life, communicating with friends and family; will help give you additional strength while climbing that mountain.

Then there will be one day you awake and find yourself face to face with the peak of the mountain. Starting this day, you can live your life as a person who has a mental illness, not a person who is controlled by their mental illness. Now remember, there will still be setbacks, medication changes and events in life that may throw your mental illness in to an uncontrollable spin. However, just recall the mountain you conquered and that these setbacks are just small hills you are prepared to take on. It’s also so important to remember that each mountain and hill will make you stronger, much stronger.

So how do you prepare for setbacks or relapses that may lead to another hospitalization or outpatient program? Relapse prevention recognizes your early warning signs and taking proper action.

BipolarLife101 along with many mental health organizations; highly recommend having a daily routine. When you begin to stop daily activities and the structure of your daily routine becomes almost non-existent. This is when many people recognize their mental illness begins to show its ugly head. If you have noticed your routine has fallen apart, and depression, anxiety, along with other mental health issues have taken control of your life. Ask a friend, family member or your therapist with help or advice to get yourself back on track. They also may be able to help you find the source of your relapse. If you’re not taking your prescribed medication correctly, start taking your medication correctly and also talk with your Psychiatrist. Get your routine back on track. Now it doesn’t have to be your entire routine when you begin again, take your time. Remember, very little stress or anxiety; preferably none.

Listed below is a list of early warning signs that many people recognize.

1. Stopping or missing prescribed medications.Relapse Prevention Depression

2. Missing scheduled appointments with the therapist and psychiatrist.

3. Your attitude becomes negative towards your life. Making negative statements “I suck”, “I can’t”, “things will never get better.”

4. Sleeping all the time.

5. Isolation, pushing love ones away.

6. No longer enjoying interest, friends and family members.


What to do when you notice warning signs.

1. Use your safest coping skills that have continually helped in the past. Breathing techniques, exercising daily, hobbies, writing.

2. Ask friends and/or family members for help and advice.

3. Make an appointment with the therapist or psychiatrist.

5. Start taking prescribed medications.

6. Watch how much you’re doing. Don’t take on too much and overdo it.


One trick that has worked for me and many others I’ve shown, are the use of daily bubbles. Here’s how it works. Every morning you take your wand, dip the wand in liquid soap and then blow bubbles. Now some days maybe three bubbles appear and on another day six bubbles may appear. Each bubble represents a task for that day, and there are just a couple of rules you have to follow. First, you can only work on one bubble at a time. People who attempt to complete two or three bubbles at a time, typically find themselves all over the place and that's where we let anxiety in the front door. Second, you don’t have to finish all your bubbles that day, there will be a tomorrow. Our goal is to have very little stress or anxiety; preferably none.

I remember my dad telling me a few things after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Living with my mom who battled mental health issues, my dad became very knowledgeable on the subject. He gave me three important tips concerning my bipolar disorder. First, listen to your doctors and take your medication as prescribed. Second, never think that you have your mental illness beat or under control. Lastly, you will have relapse(s) and have another hospital stay; it’s the nature of the beast. Mental health brings with it some of the toughest illnesses known to man, but we fight because we’re strong and together we’re stronger. Just to let you know, my dad was correct with all three tips and I became the king of saying, “I have this under control” which led to another hospital stay. I now know the power of my mental illness, and I understand that there will be times when I need a tune-up; and I can live with that.


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