Friday, October 23, 2009

Rachel's Story - Balance

Life is so busy – especially when you’re young and your friends want to be socializing many nights and you have work commitments and exercise routines to fit in and family engagements…pretty soon there are so many demands on one’s time that it becomes stressful for anyone, let alone someone living with a mental illness. I know from experience that a big part of staying healthy with my bipolar disorder involves getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night and maintaining a healthy balance in my life (ie: not working too much, not socializing at the expense of my sleep, making sure I get regular exercise, etc.).

In the beginning, it was difficult for some of my friends to understand that occasionally I had to turn them down, choosing instead to stay in and get some rest. My true friends, though, have learned to accept this over time and it helps me to create a balanced lifestyle.

The exercise piece is difficult sometimes. When I’m really depressed, the last thing I feel like doing is dragging myself out for a run or to a yoga class. But when I’m feeling good or only mildly depressed, exercise can keep me from spiraling down. It definitely helps me to de-stress and to sleep better.

In combination with meds and regular visits to my psychiatrist & CBT, these are the elements that seem to be keeping me relatively healthy and balanced these days.