Why You Should Start Practicing Mood Hygiene

We practice personal hygiene, dental hygiene, etc. But have you ever thought to practice mood or mental health hygiene?

The word hygiene was derived from the Greek goddess of health, Hygiea. Hygiene is defined as the science of the establishment and maintenance of health. Mood hygiene is when you practice and build habits that will promote good control of your mood symptoms. For those who have a mental illness this helps take preventive measures to improve the symptoms over time.

Living with mental illness, I never thought to add mood hygiene into my routine. The more I learned about it made me realize how beneficial it can be. Practicing mood hygiene doesn’t have to be just for those who have mental illness; it can be for everyone to practice. There are a few ways to practice mood hygiene and incorporate it into your daily life.

  1. Stress and conflict management

When you find yourself in stressful situations, it can sometimes trigger symptoms of your illness like a depressive episode or anxiety attack. There are several ways that you can take to help and prevent stress in your life such as exercising regularly or meditating.

I’ve learned that when I find myself in stressful situations is when my depressive episodes start to surface again. It’s why I’ve added exercise and meditation into my routine because it does help eliminate the stress and lifts that weight off of your shoulders.

  1. Lifestyle regularity

Having structure in your day-to-day life is extremely important. By establishing and sticking to a schedule will help build that structure in your life. For example, I wake up at the same time everyday and have a morning routine that I stick to everyday. I start my mornings by journaling and listing out a few things that I am grateful for each morning. By practicing that gratitude also helps get me in a positive mindset for the day. I then get my workout in before I start my workday.

By having a schedule you stick to on a regular basis builds the structure in your life that will help you feel in control of your life.

  1. Track your moods

By keeping track of your moods will help you determine if there is a certain pattern or cycle in your moods. I started tracking my moods a couple months ago in my journal and it has helped me become more self-aware. It’s helped me notice a pattern in my moods and it allows me to get my moods more under control. It allows me to prepare for the month so I can be strategic with my commitments and make sure I don’t over extend myself.

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These are just a few ways on how you can practice mood hygiene and start implementing them into your own daily life. Practicing mood hygiene on a regular basis will help immensely in the mental health recovery process. It allows you to have a new sense of control in your life and can be empowering for the individual.

Stabilizing

It has been a little shy of two weeks since beginning my mood stabilizer. To add this and wean off of Buspirone has been nothing short of the rollercoaster I imagined and then some. Between feelings of anger for things out of my control, to becoming used to feeling a drive to get up through depressive episodes, it has been an interesting process to say the least.

If you remember from my last post, Stabilize, you may remember me discussing the side effects including dizziness and lethargy. I am very happy to report that those side effects did in fact make their way out of my life. I am currently taking fifty milligrams of Topiramate daily along with my Lexapro and Welbutrin and although I have said this in the past, I feel as though this must be how it feels to be “normal”. However normality is very similar to beauty: it is in the eye of the beholder. No matter who you are or what your mental state is, you will always have good and bad days. The difference in my opinion is when your days control your life to the point that you can’t actually live in the way you are supposed to.

I have noticed that small remarks or comments that used to ruin my entire day do not seem to dictate my mood anymore. I continue to deal with frustration, but it does not stop me from finishing tasks. Every day it becomes easier to wake up and get dressed. Every day it becomes easier to prioritize. Every day is not perfect by any means, but it is one step closer to a better version of myself. There are also several things I have learned about controlling my surroundings to maintain a stable mood.

I am in no way monetized, so this is not a plug but just simply the streaming service I use. I decided to try something different and searched for relaxing music on Pandora. As it turns out, there is a wide variety of genres from nature sounds, to spa music, to classical music, and many more all within their own station. I am usually the most stressed when I am work, so I turned it on and it made a huge difference in my day! I felt level-headed and remained calm in situations that would have normally sent me spiraling. After trying this, I highly recommend it to anyone trying to remain calm or combat anxiety, depression, or anger. Even if you are younger, you may be able to find relaxing EDM online by groups like ODEZA or Lindsey Stirling.

This is a fairly short post, but this is all tied together as I am: a work in progress. I honestly thought that the dizziness was going to get the best of me while stabilizing, but in the end it seems to have proven to be well worth the struggle. As the weeks go on I will continue to write about this experience as well as others, engage with you over various topics to reach out to the mental health community and gather your opinions on things, and work on some poetry between both blogs as well. Thank you so much for your time and please take time to take care of yourself today!

Introduction

If you have ever ridden a roller coaster, you understand the excitement and fear that courses through your mind and body as you burst through the track. You experience such an intense jolt of so many emotions as your breath is stolen from falling and you only have enough time to take another breath as you ascend. In a lot of ways, bipolar disorder seems to share many similarities. It seems to change a person drastically in mere moments and can even span episodes for days at a time. You never know how you will feel when you wake up in the morning. You never know what will happen to send you spiraling into a depressive episode. I often like to call it a “Jekyll and Hyde” effect in my personal blog.

I am Shelton Fisher and recently I have been given the privilege to be a contributing writer for The Bipolar Writer. I am a 25 year old with a full time job, an amazing wife, and the two best dogs in the world. I used to be a decent musician and writing has become a passion of mine. Amid the wonderful things that life has provided for me, I have mental health issues that fight me tooth and nail on a regular basis. Anxiety has been a familiar part of my life since I was a child, but alcoholism and panic attacks made me realize that I needed to finally address these problem medically. In September of last year I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and began a regimen of serotonin inhibitors and recently I have began seeing a therapist. After several sessions addressing my childhood behaviors and my current behaviors, we have discussed that I may be bipolar and the symptoms honestly surprised me.

As I continue the journey into my mental health to confirm a diagnosis and discover how to live a better life, I want to include you through personal stories, free verse poetry, and the occasional informative post. I am not a professional by any means, but I am living proof that mental health is a war to be won. If you have ever been afraid to speak, afraid to make a move, lost motivation and hope, hurt yourself because you couldn’t find the right words or felt trapped inside your body, screamed at the top of your lungs with tears rolling down your boiling red cheeks, self medicated with alcohol or drugs, fallen into depression for no apparent reason, or just want to know how I am handling things, my posts are for you.

Bipolar Medication, What Works?

In my ten plus years since my diagnosis, I have been on so many different medications. It has been especially hard for me to keep an anti-depressant for more than a year at a time. I will talk in this blog post about my medications associated with my diagnosis of Bipolar One and what was given for depression.

One of the questions that a blogger asked of me recently was about anti-depressants. The blogger wanted me to discuss if anti-depressants have gotten better. The other part of the blogger’s question was this. Can Bipolar medication help someone get to a point of normalcy? The blogger wanted me to share my experience in this area.

So here we go.

Have Antidepressants Improved?

In my personal opinion, and my experience, anti-depressants have improved. Since my first diagnosis of severe depression, it was always anti-depressants that were given. It was the first medication I was ever given. It was about three weeks before my second diagnosis. I honestly don’t remember my first anti-depressant but it lasted only about three weeks. It was before my diagnosis of the Schizoaffective disorder, and then to my diagnosis of Bipolar One that my anti-depressant that was changed by my first real psychiatrist. These diagnosis‘ came on the heels of my first suicide attempt.

I can remember my second anti-depressant, Zoloft. I took that off and on for a year. Since then I changed anti-depressants at a rate of once a year until about two years ago. My doctor gave me a new medication called Venaflaxine that has been my most consistent anti-depressant. Of course, I don’t take just an anti-depressant for depression and my Bipolar Disorder. I take other effective medication that I have found balance.

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Lithium, My Most Consistent Medication

Lithium has been with me since the beginning but there was about a year when I went off of it. But, for the most part, I have been taking lithium as my main mood stabilizer. It has some bad side effects like making me thirsty 24/7 and the uncontrollable shaking of my hands. But, my psychiatrist says it is the most effective medicine to treat Bipolar disorder.

Since going back on lithium I have seen myself gain better control over my depression. It’s not the only reason. Its a combination of that help like my anti-depressant, my mood stabilizer, and my anti-psychotic medication. Seroquel is the other medication that I take for Bipolar disorder. I have chronicled my struggles with this medicine, you can find it here.

What Does it all Mean?

To put everything into perspective, my level of anxiety that I track daily has seen a steady decrease. Over the last twelve months, I have seen my depression levels, on a scale of 1-10, go from high levels to manageable. Over the last six months, for example, I have been registering more in the 4-5 and 2-4 range for my depression most days.

There have been days where my depression will spike, but that never lasts. It has been good to finally get my depression in a manageable range. I can even see my depression disappear for weeks at a time.

Medication is a big part of it. There are other factors like diet, exercise, and the time of the year. It helps to write about it.

To answer the questions posed by my fellow blogger. Yes, anti-depressants have improved. I see them improving even more in the coming years. They now have medication that does the job of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers.

As for the question if Bipolar medicine can help you achieve some normalcy? The answer for me is yes. It’s never going to cure you, but the right combination of medication means you can feel normal most days. That in my book is a win.

So talk you your medical provider. Whether it be a psychiatrist, therapist, counselor, or wherever you get your meds. Find what works for you. Sometimes it will take trial and error. That’s okay. That’s life, to be honest. Keep working at it.

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

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