I have been living with bipolar for the last 15 years and I have reached a ‘managed stability.’ Unfortunately, there are triggers around every corner that can affect my mood. I have to be really diligent when handling stressful situations as to not cause a major change in my mood. There are regular ups and downs, and that is forever.
Having bipolar requires me to take medication on a daily basis. These medications come with an array of side effects. Weight gain is a major side effect, therefore eating healthy and exercis[ing] are imperative to my health. Getting the right amount of sleep is probably the most important thing I can do for myself next to medication.
In social settings, I do not drink alcohol as to not mix it with my medication. I also don’t stay out to late hours due to the need of sleep. I have regular constipation from my medication. I have also lost my sex drive due to the side effects. I require regular blood work and EKGs to make sure the medications are not affecting my organs. There is always a concern that my medication will stop working and I will have to find another. These concerns are daily concerns.
I have to live my life around my mood disorder. If I am compliant, I am able to live a happy life with minor disruptions. I would tell other women… they can be functional and participate in their own life with happiness and love. You just have to work at it.
— Brandi, East Hartford, Connecticut
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