Understanding your own mental health is extremely important. Even though most of us have some type of support system, knowing your own illness is the best way to take care of ourselves. I know that I am diagnosed with Bipolar 1. I have manic, depressive, and mixed episodes. While others may be able to see some of my symptoms, I try to be the first person that can see them. I am aware of the symptoms I exhibit for each type of episode. Knowing my symptoms helps me to catch my episodes before they get too far. Those that I’m close with, such as my husband, family, and best friend are also able to see my symptoms when they start to appear. I can ask these individuals for help to better maintain my mental health.
Hopefully, by paying attention, I will be the first to notice when I’m not sleeping, if I become obsessive, if I have racing thoughts, if I spend too much money, or become overly talkative. These are all signs that I’m becoming manic. I also hope to be the first to notice if I’m sleeping too much, if I feel pathetic or empty, if I cannot find pleasure in activities, if I gain weight, or if I start planning a suicide. These are all signs that a depression is coming. A mixture of these symptoms can mean a mixed episode is starting. I want to be the first to notice my symptoms so that I can get a jump-start on treating the symptoms and episode.
It’s not easy to know and understand your own mental health. Every person’s bipolar disorder is different. Each person has different symptoms occur, and each person has different ways they have found that treat their symptoms. Knowing your symptoms also allows the individual to contact their doctor so he/she can alter medication as necessary. Some of our episodes come from medication changes, from stressful events, from medical changes, or even from out of the blue. The sooner we begin to treat our episodes, and allow our doctors to treat us, the better off we will be. Success comes from knowledge of our own diagnoses.