It’s been a long road to understanding my condition but after many years I have the tools I need to explain and work with my condition.
I am working to be fit and healthy and get better everyday. I’ve been through the entire cycle of Bi-Polar from the very deepest depressions, through long hypo-manic periods to fully blown mania with hallucinations. Manic episodes of suffering delusions, feeling part of the universe, talking with God, and psychotic mania where I believed I was the new incarnation of Jesus Christ.
I realised sometime ago that if I want to conquer this condition I have to work on my health to have something to aim for, and stop Bi-Polar destroying my body as well as my mind. I worked hard to quit tobacco and succeeded with a just a few short relapses during my darkest times. 70% of Bi-Polar people self medicate with nicotine and invariably end up with a chain smoking habit that shortens their life.
I work out 1-3hrs per day, running, weight lifting, yoga, stretching, and cycling 100-300 miles per week. When I work out consistently I am fit and in good physical condition which helps over-ride the mental illness. I have no health complaints at all. Not even a filling. I had never been a doctor until a few months ago.
I really need to be able to work out everyday and be in nature to deal with manic depression. It's a vital ingredient, it gives me the ability to keep depression at bay, get decent sleep, work naturally to goals and raise my mood. Exercise improves my self esteem, confidence and gives me relief from the endless negative thoughts and suicidal periods. I only started to exercise again seriously 2 years ago and it has helped me immensely.
I eat only non-processed foods, no cakes, chocolate bars or fast food. I don’t eat any junk food or consume refined sugar. I eat lots of fruits, nuts and fish rich in Omega 3. Eating a natural sugar free, unprocessed diet, is important as sugar contributes to mood swings. I take vitamin supplements and fish oil. I drink minimal caffeine and plain water.
I stay away from all forms of drugs I consider harmful, including alcohol.
An important factor is also dealing with triggers. Triggers are lifestyle, environment and social stimulus that trigger shifts in my mood. These are hard to control and pinpoint, but with experience you learn what they are and when to walk away from something.
One of the main tools in my defence is using Cannabis. As you read this story I am going to tell you all about living with Bi-Polar, using cannabis to treat it, and how I got into the situation of facing a prison term for self-medicating against this life-threatening and serious mental disorder.