Advice for unmedicated/untreated

There are several things you can do to manage though medication primarily and also therapy are really important.

Good sleep patterns really matter. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep. Also try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day. Shift work or all night partying are toxic if done on a regular basis. A problem here is that many people with psychiatric disorders, including myself, have sleep problems which makes it even harder.

Exercise matters. Doing a decent amount of walking helps but a fair bit of vigorous exercise will keep your mood better and you feel great after it. Diet helps and people find that low gi and low sugar is a stabilising influence.

Social contact can help when you're depressed. I find that talking to people about normal stuff lifts my mood, especially with close friends or in groups so I don't have to do the work. It's often hard to force myself to leave the house but it really helps when I get there. It does depend on the depressive state. Sometimes social contact drains me. Being able to talk honestly with closely with close friends or others with bipolar helps you feel less alone.

Getting to know the disorder makes things less confusing. Books or boards like this help. You can get a cbt book and go through it yourself. Therapy is much better but it's a start. If you do start therapy, it would also mean you know the material and could move on to the practical applications or difficult stuff more quickly. That would save you time and money. I've found the acceptance and commitment approach works for me. When you get an uncomfortable feeling in your gut reading something then that's what needs work.

Constancy is a huge problem. I'm personally getting to bed too late which hasn't helped. I'm good sometimes and bad sometimes. My diet is crap lately but sometimes I eat much better. It's really hard to keep up good habits. I find writing in a diary each night about mood, thoughts, exercise etc really helps keep it at the forefront of my mind.

How old are you? Both high schools and colleges have counselors that you can see for free. It's all confidential. There are often a range of mental health community groups you could find nearby. Seeing a doctor might be a bit more tricky. It's great you recognise the need for medication and treatment though the lifestyle factors can improve symptoms significantly.

/r/BipolarReddit Thread