Sue was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 in 2004 and has been hospitalized 8 times with mania.
In 2017 she had a turning point after she stayed in hospital for her bipolar condition. She had a great doctor who got a bit stern with her before she was released back home and told her she just simply can’t keep going the way she has in the past.
It was crucial to her to manage her stress to avoid her manic episodes, as she can get complete blackouts and won’t know the next day what happened to her.
For example, a way she learned to manage one of her major stress triggers was, that she would finish the bookwork she had to do for three different companies within the given deadline and spread out her workload, compared to how she used to do it, by leaving it until the last minute and then using her manic episode to finish the work, which caused her to getting very unwell.
Unfortunately, during episodes of mania, she would upset friends and family, but she has learned that it’s crucial to own up to your behavior and apologize for upsetting your loved ones. She also suggests that it’s very important, that if you’ve become disconnected with family and friends to use Christmas as a time to write a card with a separate note apologizing about your behavior and for causing pain or embarrassment.
Sue’s father has bipolar 2 and vascular dementia and she’s his main carer. He has struggled with his medication and Sue, with the help of his doctors has changed the doses of his medications and moved them from morning to evening. He can now communicate much clearer, which became a real issue as no one could understand what he was saying, and he no longer shakes uncontrollable when he drinks a cup of coffee.
Sue strongly believes, if you have too many side effects or not doing well with your prescribed medications you should change the doses under the watchful eye of your doctor or psychiatrist. It’s very important to find the correct medications which work for you, so you can live a fulfilled and happy life.
A big impact on Sue’s life with bipolar has been, that she always has worked, which keeps her connected to the real world. She believes it’s important to work or study, even if it’s working as an Uber Eats driver or simply dog sitting, if you get involved with something that gives you a purpose and connects you with people.
Her advice to deal with bipolar better is, that it’s crucial to look after yourself, rest and repair when needed, be aware of triggers and manage them early to prevent your high or low episodes.