IS it possible to manage Bipolar without medication?

Self Help Art-Therapy

I am back!! I had another one of my various months off from blogging/creating products! Again I had various family/personal issues to deal with in the family, my Bipolar symptoms flared up again.

Oh YES! I may have been a little shy about announcing that little problem!

My husband and I have even debating on whether or not I aught to go into detail. I feel that despite my husband fears on giving too much information away online. In the long term, I may be of more benefit to people if I do come out with it. Also, I am using my “online name” to blog and sell my items. If anyone in his or my family figure out who it is posting this blog or selling the products, frankly I am prepared to deal with it. If there’s a possibility of my helping even a few people, I’m old enough to deal with any consequences.

My symptoms do flare up pretty badly and sometimes unfortunately it takes me quite a while before I’m able to find my confidence and time management skills in order to be able to manage my housekeeping and blog/create products to try to sell to pay for my “self-art/craft therapy”.

I started connecting Art and Therapy from a Self-Help book I found in my local bookstore. Although I was never quite able to try all of the activities listed and described in the book, it reminded me of how much I love creating art/craft.

I made an effort never to completely give-up on creating art/craft since then and even though I have various months in the year where I may stop creating. So far I’ve always managed to remember how beneficial and how much fun it is and always get back to creating art/craft work.

For me, there are several benefits to creating art/craft pieces. There is the general enjoyment factor and it creates feelings of completion and accomplishment. I’ve also started learning how to accept negative comments or criticism about my work and I am fairly confident in continuing to create as I am able to see that not everyone likes the same sort of art/craft. It helps to see that it’s ok for not everyone to like my work, if I feel proud and happy with a piece of work, I am usually able to see that if it’s fairly well produced, there is always a chance that someone else in the world may still like it even if my immediate friends/family don’t.

Creating craft/art work is a form of distraction therapy for me, as I am able to keep a more clear mind from negative thoughts. As long as I am emotional healthy enough to focus on a piece of art/craft work, I am more easily able to keep at least some of the negative symptoms of mental health at bay. Any level of reducing mental health symptoms is always a God send and a miracle, especially if you are not taking any medication.

For approximately 5 years now I have been managing my Bipolar symptoms without any medication. I have my Husband, my Mother, one of my cousins and some of my friends (on and offline) as my main support group. I use mainly distraction methods to reduce anxiety/panic symptoms, which also help reduce negative symptoms. I also use various different breathing methods that I read in my self-help books and online, in order to help reduce anxiety/panic attacks. The simple theory of focusing on one part of your body, which is often easiest focussing on slowing down your breathing, really does work. I have used breathing and relaxation methods for more then 10 years since I first realised I was having panic attacks, and even though it can take a short while when you first try, it really does help focus a busy mind/body.

I have made a “habit” of trying to remember to stop allowing negative intrusive thoughts to take over my thought patterns. By “reminding” myself to stop thinking any negative thoughts that enter my brain, I pretty much try to refuse to allow myself to follow the negative train of thought. As long as you keep track of how bad your symptoms are, don’t allow yourself to be fooled into using alcohol/drugs or any other outside stimulants, I believe that it can be possible to manage majority of mental health symptoms without medication.

You do however, need to be extra vigilant and extra watchful of all and any negative symptoms that may be extra hard to avoid or stop. You need to ensure careful monitoring of how good/bad you feel. There is no point of self-care or self management of mental health issues if you ignore escalating negative symptoms that may be dangerous or harmful. You need to be extra careful to ensure that no negative symptom goes without investigation, if you are able to pin point and understand and reasonably control/reduce negative symptoms, you should be ok. There is no need to take any unnecessary risks, you always need to keep medical health practitioners updated on your situation, especially if you are not taking medication.

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