If the love of your life has a mental illness, dialing down a fast-paced lifestyle can help your partner maintain emotional equilibrium.
Bipolar disorder is a cyclical illness that is impacted by daily lifestyle choices. The following habits are healthy mental hygiene practices for anyone, and essential for someone with bipolar I or II disorder.
Routine is everything.
People with bipolar disorder thrive on routine. Wake at 6 a.m., breakfast at 6:30, a chat over coffee, a workout after work, in bed by 10 p.m. Throw a wrench in the schedule and anxiety, tension, worry and fear can creep in.
Difficulty sleeping, or a reduced need for sleep, can signal the beginning of a hypomanic or manic episode. (3) A few too many cups of coffee and a few too many nights of “just one more chapter” can become a habit that leads to a crisis.
Your willingness to turn in at a regular hour will help your partner prioritize sleep.
When traveling through time zones, maintain equilibrium with healthy meals and regular sleep. During international travel, allow for a “down” day on each end to recover.
The world is a noisy place.
Many people with bipolar disorder suffer from hyperacusis, a condition which makes normal environmental noises seem very loud. (5) Movies in the theater may be off-limits, since the person one row back reaching into his popcorn bag might as well be shaking a can full of rocks.
At home, you may love your high-decibel action movies at full-volume surround sound, but the noise may drive your bipolar partner from the room or out the front door. Sometimes he likes music in the car, and sometimes it’s too distracting.
Loud restaurants and large parties can be overstimulating. A persone with bipolar disorder is usually a highly sensitive person or HSP, and is less able to filter out background noise. (4) It’s hard to engage in a conversation if your brain is following every conversation in the room.