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Bipolar Disorder and Exercise

Does Exercise Help with Bipolar Disorder?

Everyone knows that exercise is good for your health.  It is a no-brainer, and it is repeated so often that you have probably gotten tired of it.  I know I should do some physical activity. It is good for my heart, my bones… blah, blah, blah.

Bipolar DepressionOn the other hand, aside from needing to exercise because I am getting old and tired – the idea, that exercise might be good for my Bipolar Disorder, might just motivate me to do it.
Nothing else has.

A research study conducted in 2012 showed that exercise may have positive benefits for people with Bipolar Disorder.  I should have thought of that – but I didn’t (probably because I am bipolar and tend to ignore obvious things that might help me).

When asked – I have given advice to those who have depression (major depressive disorder, clinical depression, situational depression – or even bipolar depression).  What I tell those people is in addition to taking their meds, they should get up.  Get out of bed, get outside, and get some exercise – even if it is just around the kitchen.  Exercise increases the blood supply to your brain and helps to rise your energy levels – even if you don’t want to, it will do you some good.

Bipolar Disorder ShadowI give that advice to people when they are depressed, but I am not usually depressed.  My disorder tends toward mania or at least a mixed mood state.  So I don’t think about the need to increase my energy level.

Evidence has shown that exercise has some positive effects for people with Bipolar Disorder – even those that are not depressed.  In addition to the obvious health benefits, it can help to regulate your mood levels and “bring structure to chaos”.

As “bipolar“, we are often subject to disorderDisordered mind, disordered days, disordered environment.  One of the biggest tools for a bipolar patient to get and keep their body and mind regulated is the establishment of a schedule.

Go to bed at bedtime (and not at 2 am when you fall asleep in front of the TV). Get up in the morning, go to work on time, eat on a schedule – and take your meds when you should.
Establishing a routine does, in fact, help to keep from extreme ups and downs.

Exercise can be a big part of this – and physically reinforce a schedule on your body – that then affects your brain.  Just like getting up at the same time and going to sleep at the same time helps to establish a normal circadian rhythmexercise can reinforce that in a big way.

There are other benefits to exercise as well.  Physical activity naturally increases blood flow to the brain, which gives it the best chance of functioning at optimum level. It also helps to “clear out the cobwebs” that can be especially important if you are teetering on the edge.
Bipolar ExerciseExercise can increase your self-esteem that may have taken many blows in the past.  It can also increase social activity – that is apparently good for you, even if you don’t like people.  I don’t.

In my opinion, the biggest benefit may be “getting in touch” with your body.  When you exercise, you are more likely to stay within yourself.  One of the greatest problems in people with any mental disorder, and one of the reasons why people abuse drugs or perform any other risky behavior is the inability to be comfortable within your skin.  If you are exercising, you don’t really have a choice; you have to stay there.  Over time, you feel better about yourself, you feel more comfortable there, and you learn what is and isn’t “normal” within your body.

Perhaps this can lead you to better response when something is going amiss – when you may be slipping into disorder.

I tend to disregard the advice given by those who are not bipolar experts… either those with Bipolar Disorder or those who know the disease intimately, but this advice looks pretty solid to me.

Exercise and take your medicines!

Melissa Lind

Bipolar Disorder and Exercise as text to speech article

(Mental health video for blind and partially sighted people)

Anxiety – When to Seek Help

When should one seek for help if anxiety occur?

(Video article) Article as text, and with Video for blind and partially sighted people

Some measure of anxiety is normal, and no treatment is necessary. However, there does come a point at
which seeking treatment for anxiety is vital to your well-being. Essentially, there are three instances where treatment should be sought.

The first is if you experience a panic attack. For people who have never experienced a panic attack, they may mistakenly think that they are suffering from a heart attack, and they will usually seek emergency treatment for that. Doctors perform tests to determine if a heart attack has occurred, and if it has not, based on the symptoms that occurred, a panic attack may be diagnosed.

When your anxiety has escalated to this point, you do need treatment for anxiety. The treatment that you receive from emergency medical professionals, thinking that you had a heart attack, is not sufficient treatment for anxiety.

Anxiety - by Telise RodelvIf your anxiety is unusual and extended, you should seek treatment. You know what a normal amount of stress is for you, but feeling anxious for a prolonged period or feeling an unexpected increase in the feelings of anxiety usually indicates that treatment is needed.

If the anxiety starts interfering in your life, treatment is required. Anxiety could keep one from doing things in life that they might do otherwise if that anxiety did not exist. For example, someone who is developing social anxiety may stop going to events or functions as frequently as they used to, and this does interfere in their life.

There is a fourth reason to seek treatment. Sometimes, we are too close to ourselves to see the big picture. If you have a fear or anxiety that you feel is perfectly normal, and someone close to you says it is not, it doesn’t hurt to seek the advice of a trained professional.

That other person may be wrong, and your fear or anxiety may be perfectly normal — but you do need to be sure.

Related article on Huffington Post – I Hate Being Bipolar – It’s Awesome!

Managing Your Stress Levels

Stress can be a double-edged sword

Double-edged Swords = Stress


Stress can be the cause of many issues, but at the same time is a result of your actions and your environment.

Let’s explain this in a simpler way.

Over a period, you start always to feel tired and worn out. You can’t put your finger on the reason, but you notice that your energy levels are down, and  that you just can’t sleep properly. This is a result of stress.

Your increased stress levels, is the same things that allowed you to get run down. Because you are feeling tired, you do not handle situations as well as you usually would. Getting enough rest is a key to managing your stress levels.
Stressors are items in your environment that cause you to feel stressed out. They add to your tiredness and drain your body of energy. This is a vicious circle that becomes a never ending one.

To manage your stress you need to get enough sleep, and learn how to relax your body. How many times have you stayed up at night, just because you can’t get certain things out of your mind? These are your stressors – the things you have to learn to let go off.

Practical ways to manage stress include listening to soothing music. Soothing music can be especially helpful if you have trouble falling asleep. Turn off all lights but a candle light in your bedroom, and listen to some soft music, and then set the radio or disc player to auto shut, off after about an hour.

Another great way of learning how to relax your body is to soak in a hot bath, or to take a warm shower. Going for a massage can help to; this is great if your muscles feel stiff and knotted.

Your stress levels can also be kept down getting enough exercises on a regular basis. A particularly useful way for helping you relax, and sleep better at night, is exercise, such as yoga, walking and swimming.

To disallow stress to have you running around in circles is your goal. If your stress levels are super high then look for a reason, then take action to minimize your levels. At work, you may have too much on your plate – or you may find that you never spend any time on yourself.

Your family needs you to stay healthy, and remember you are important to them. It is possible to find ways to manage your stress, and keep those levels at bay.

Stop the things that allowed you to get run down, and gave you increased stress levels.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Women

Lots of women first develop generalized anxiety disorder during childhood

GAD and Women


Studies have shown that while 19 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders each year, of that number, the majority of them are women.

Feeling anxious is quite normal — until and unless it starts interfering with one’s day-to-day life, or preventing one from reaching their goals. In fact, normal anxiety is a contributing factor to helping us get things accomplished — especially in women.

What most people don’t realize is that many women suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. Women are “natural born worriers” for the most part, but there are those women who suffer a bit more than others. Women who suffer from GAD worry about everything, and that fear brings about physical problems, such as headaches, muscle tension, an inability to relax, fatigue, lack of focus, and more.

Would you believe that many of these women first develop GAD during childhood?

It is true — and because of this, they never even realize that there is a problem. In fact, they often will assume that everyone worries as much as they do. It’s completely “normal” as far as they are concerned, because it has always been a part of their lives. Most of these women cope very well with the anxiety — simply because they are used to it.

Then there are those who have never suffered from GAD, and actually never have had worried more than anyone else about things. Suddenly, they are overwhelmed with anxious feelings. And because this is new, and they are not used to it, it becomes a huge thing to worry about — on top of whatever else they may be worrying about.

Often, for women, the cause of the anxiety in this situation is hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone levels change over time. In fact, a woman is likely to experience more anxiety during PMS, perimenopause, menopause, and even pregnancy. Estrogen affects the levels of serotonin that the brain is producing. This serotonin gives us our “sense of well-being.”

For lots of women, the anxiety passes as either time or medication puts the hormone levels back into check. Other women may discover that they have been suffering from GAD for most of their lives, with the change in hormone levels drastically elevating the condition.

In any case, there is treatment and help available. You can go through life without so much worry and anxiety.

Knowledge Conquer the Shame of Mental Disorder

People Do Not Understand Mental Illness

Article as text, and with Video for blind and partially sighted people (Text-to-Speech Video article)


Suicide is not a weak or cowardly person that takes the lightweight solution. Suicide is a result of a disease called depression. With increased knowledge, understanding, with an increased understanding the shame disappears.

Bipolarity - Catherine Zeta-JonesCatherine Zeta-Jones has got a place in our hearts. Now that she has stood out as a bipolar, we love her only more. She is not only a great artist, but a woman with courage, rant, empathy and honesty. She is a role model for all girls who grow up in the day, and a daughter-in-law all mothers want.

But what about the ordinary man or lady in the street that does not have any film career behind him or her, that is not a familiar face among the population?

To expect a person that we have never heard of, or meant something about, should open and stand naked in front of a whole country and tell about his (or her) inner hell, is a lot to claim. But it is needed to break down the taboo by having it painful.

The constant negativity is not something a depressed person has decided to have, but the result of the disorder depression.

And when it`s downward spiral no end will take, suicide thoughts come.
Suicide is not a selfish act!

Not Like in the Movies

People with cancer can also have good times, even though the physical pain is present. I think some program for people with a
mental disorder would have the same effect. It would scare away all horror stories about the psychiatric department is a “mad house” and that people with furthering psychosis are crazy.

It is no secret that people who have never experienced or seen mentally ill people at close range only refer to what they have seen the movie or even imagined. All based on the little knowledge they have about what a mental disorder is.

And just this little knowledge people who do not have experienced mental illness is sitting inside with, is crucial to do something about. With increased knowledge comes understanding. And with understanding it will be easier to deal with the shame for the mentally ill, and openness will appear.

A Taboos’ Disease

The question is how to reach out with this knowledge.

A solution could be to have designated subjects in high school that was mandatory for all Mental Disorder Taboostudents where they taught young people about what a mental disorder is. Inform about why it occurs, how to help people who suffer and how one can help themselves and seek help if they should be hit by a mental disorder.

A depression is not a bad day. A depression is not whining over a couple of weeks.
Depression is a disease in the head. A disease in the same line as cancer and other diseases that are not equally taboo’s.
If one is in a state of depression, one loses oneself? It can feel as if life is completely meaningless. One can’t get out of bed. Curtains are pulled down. Darkness – a depressive person wants the darkness.

SSRIs – Not a Pill of “Happiness”

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

The balance in the brain is gone, and it is here the anti-depressive pills come into the picture – a means to restore balance in the brain. But it is not a “pill of happiness“.

Pills don`t make you happy automatically. Antidepressant does only half the job. The psychologist can do something, your friends and family also, but the rest is up to the depressed him or herself.

The depressed must have determination of another world and a false belief that everything is going to be OK. For the depressed it never feels like anything it’s ever going to be OK again. The depressed will get a different view of the world than before, and the pain feels like unbearable.

We Must Try to Understand Mental Disorder!