Bipolar Disorder: Make Plans!

Bipolar Disorder: Make Plans!

The more prepared you are for a manic episode or depression, the better your friends and family will be able to help you.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder almost twenty years ago and have a truthful handle on my medication. Finally. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t need a good support network or a plan when things are tough. The most important thing for anyone who has just been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder to realize is that it is important to make a plan for when things go wrong.

The following lists and plans should be shared with any loved ones that you have, whether they are friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, or wives. It’s especially important to catch the symptoms of an episode early, so staying in contact with friends and family is a necessary part of the plan.

A plan for people with Bipolar Disorder should include:

A list of emergency contacts including friends, family, and your doctor’s name and phone number. Your close and trusted friends should have the numbers of your immediate family in case they need to call them with concerns. Your immediate family should have your doctor’s name and phone number.

A list of your current medications and doses. Again, in case you cannot recall your doses, you need to have a list on hand that is easily accessible by your friends and family in case something happens to you.

A list of your medication history. The medication history list should include which medications were prescribed and when and at what dose. You may not remember all of your medications, but be as thorough as possible.

A list of strategies for dealing with either mania or depression. The list might not be for you, but instead might be for your loved ones who probably don’t have enough experience dealing with Bipolar Disorder to thoroughly help you. The list should include the above-listed numbers to call, links to websites with resources for whoever is supporting you, and strategies that have and haven’t worked in the past. For example, if  you were agitated by such and such when depressed, include that on the list. A history of which medications worked for what should also be included. If you were just diagnosed, the list won’t be so specific, but can be added to with time. The important thing is showing your loved ones that Bipolar Disorder can be dealt with just as easily as any other health issue, as long as there is good support and a strong plan in place.