Impact of Bipolar and Stress
Increased stress is an unpleasant consequence of modern living with or without bipolar.
Stress is our response to unfavorable challenges that upset our rhythm. Everyone faces demands and obstacles during life that pose a threat to mental harmony. Often this results from unrealistic self imposed expectations or the expectations of others on our behalf. Whether we cant actually rise to the challenge, or our perception is that we can’t makes little difference, either way we will encounter a degree of stress relative to the extent of the shortfall.
Stress sets off a chain of chemical changes in the brain which in the bipolar individual could potentially trigger both depression and mania so it is critical for bipolar individuals to strive for a stress free existence.
Bipolar disorder is associated with stress inducing behavior like the anxiety and irritability of depressive episodes or the excesses, risks and reckless behavior during mania. This can make it rather difficult to eliminate stress if there is no long term management of the disorder in place.
With many of the bipolar symptoms, being aware of the danger signs is half the problem. If you know the problem and can measure the effect then it is a lot easier to prevent the occurrence e.g. if you know your safe limits for sleep deprivation or alcohol consumption you can stay within those limits and avoid stressful situations. Its up to you to organize your life wherever possible to ensure your psychological and physiological needs are met. This is one area in which your needs should take priority. If your travel plans involve different time zones take this into account and plan accordingly.
Try to set realistic goals and make small incremental achievable behavioral modifications. Re-enforce your achievements rather than berating yourself for falling short on unrealistic goals.