Nearly every person around the globe has been impacted on some level by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have concerns about our health, economy, and the ability to meet our basic needs. Living with bipolar disorder during a pandemic presents additional challenges. Not only are you coping with your mental health, now you have the changes to your life brought on by the pandemic on top.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can sometimes show up without any clear causes. That said, an individual with bipolar disorder can typically find themselves becoming strongly symptomatic during times of high stress.
Do you suffer from bipolar disorder? Please know there are ways to pursue and achieve wellness during the pandemic — in spite of your diagnosis .
Stop Unhelpful Thought Patterns
Constantly thinking about these uncertain times can put you at war with your thoughts. You may find yourself in a struggle with a black-and-white view of the world. Getting lost in negative thoughts and an ‘all-or-nothing’ pattern of thinking is easy.
Acknowledge these thought patterns for what they are: thoughts, not facts. Remind yourself that this type of distorted thinking is untrustworthy, inaccurate, and unhelpful. Once you realize the thoughts for what they are, you will proactively work towards stopping them.
Become the Witness
Repetitive thoughts can make it difficult to focus, disrupt sleep, and impact normal daily functioning. Curiosity is a helpful skill in coping with disruptive thought patterns. Try to observe them from a neutral standpoint by creating some distance between yourself and your thoughts.
This can be more challenging in times of crisis but it can help you gain a broader perspective. You can ask yourself, “What is the purpose of these thoughts? Are they helping me? Are they harming me?” Be curious and gain greater awareness about what your thoughts are doing for you.
Make a Mantra: ‘This will pass.
A mantra (a simple word or phrase repeated often) is a powerful instrument of the mind that can help you change your mindset and energize intention. A mantra such as ‘this will pass‘ is a useful tool for weathering uncertain times like the current COVID-19 crisis with the reminder that it is temporary.
Choose a mantra that is affirming to you and allow its meaning to resonate internally. This can help you shift negative thoughts into positive ones. Your mantra is here to help you find peace, guidance, and strength.
Get in Your Body
While your thoughts might not disappear, you can change your focus by doing something physical to break your thought patterns. Getting in your body takes you out of your mind.
You can become more mindful of your physical experience by focusing on sensations of touch, pressure, temperature and breath. Plus, research shows that being active reduces the body’s levels of stress hormones while boosting feel-good endorphins and distracts you from unwanted thoughts.
You are in Control
While you may not be able to control the fact that you have bipolar disorder and we are currently in a global pandemic, you can control your thoughts and feelings. Help is available if you need support in working through your struggles. Please reach out to our team. We are here to help.