When a Bipolar Coping Skill Stops Working
Unfortunately, it is the case that bipolar coping skills can sometimes stop working. This echoes the unpleasant experience of many with medications that can stop working due to tolerance. One doesn’t develop a physical tolerance to a coping skill, but sometimes changes in life or treatment can cause a bipolar coping skill to stop working. Here’s how to handle it when you rely on a bipolar coping skill that just stops working.
My Bipolar Coping Skill that Stopped Working
I used to rely on a bipolar coping skill somewhat like meditation pretty much every day. Every day in the afternoon, I would spend time being quiet, with my eyes closed, focusing my thoughts. When I did this, the unwanted thoughts of bipolar disorder would lessen. My brain would be more under my control. It was like a mini bipolar vacation that I needed to make it through the day.
Unfortunately for me, this bipolar coping skill stopped working a few months ago. I, literally, just can’t do it anymore.
Why Might a Bipolar Coping Skill Stop Working?
Bipolar coping skills are great but they sometimes are time-dependent. Sometimes they work in one situation but the identical skill won’t work in another.
Additionally, bipolar coping skills often work depending on your level of illness. For example, if you’re experiencing moderate depression, a coping skill is much more likely to be effective than if your depression is severe and life-threatening.
Also, medications can change your brain to the point where bipolar coping skills stop working. Such is the case for me. I’m on a medication cocktail right now that is highly problematic because of its induction of severe agitation.
What to Do When a Bipolar Coping Skill Stops Working
Unfortunately, it’s really hard when a bipolar coping skill that you rely on stops working. I really relied on this one and now it’s no longer in my toolbox. I’m not happy.
But, it is a toolbox. More than one thing fits in that toolbox. And if something has changed in my life to the point where a specific bipolar coping skill stops working, it stands to reason that a different skill might take its place. This is what I’m looking for now. To some extent, moving around (one might call it “exercising”) seems to help at times but I’m still looking for something better. I will say that exercise would have never worked before because of the severe depression, so things have definitely changed.
I think the important part is to be open to new techniques and even try old techniques that didn’t work the last time. Because I do believe there are effective bipolar coping skills out there for everyone, but we have to do the work to find them.
Tracy, N. (2018, April 8). When a Bipolar Coping Skill Stops Working, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2018/04/when-a-bipolar-coping-skill-stops-working
Author: Natasha Tracy
Things DO change: maybe there will be more options this time.
By about 20 years ago, had to give up most of that due to fibromyalgia, so switched to daily hour long brisk walks each morning and occasional brief cross country skiing or swimming. That worked for another 15 years.
Then, 5 years ago, problems with RA got so bad I couldn't exercise much. BP got much worse, especially deeper depressive episodes and lack of focus / organization, really messed up sleeping patterns.
Am 65 years young, and also have very severe MCS [multiple chemical sensitivity] and had very atypical severe reactions to psych meds taken briefly when I was much younger, so very hesitant to even consider them as an option.
Also, have recently lost most of my support network, too. Mainly to sudden death or disability: most were older than me.
So, at this point, trying to find my way out of a stuck place...
I'm very sorry to read this. I hope you're seeing a therapist as they may be able to help you through this difficult time.
- Natasha Tracy