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Coronavirus and Bipolar: My Story

I am a registered nurse with 30 years of experience who is also diagnosed with bipolar I disorder.


My bipolar experience during Coronavirus.

As one who struggles with bipolar disorder, most often bipolar depression, the Coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting lock down, put me at risk for deep, suicidal depression. I've been stable now for 4 years, and isolation is something I have been used to, but I found myself frustrated because I couldn't get out and interact with people. This is one of my first line coping skills when I start to feel depressed, and I was extremely anxious that depression would come crashing down on me again after so many years of a peaceful, even happy, life. I was terrified I'd go back into the loop of psychiatric hospitalizations and discharges home only to do it all again in a few month's time, and again, and again. That had been my life prior to my stability, and I never wanted to go back there. I know I had to step up my game to keep this from happening.

I reached out to my family and we found a way to connect online through a conference call type website. I don't want to mention the name of it here, but it's a popular site that you probably already know about. It helped me to be able to see my brother and sister while I was talking to them. It wasn't as good as getting out and visiting in person, but it saved me.

I spent a lot of time journaling, reading, watching positive videos online that lifted my spirits, talking with friends and family on the phone, texting, meditating 3 times a week (relaxation exercises) and getting out of the house for short walks everyday. I met with my psychiatrist through an online health app that served as an in person meeting. I continued to take my meds faithfully. I set my usual 3 small goals for the day and made sure I met them each and every day. I took charge of my wellness, and I have remained stable despite all of the negativity and chaos in the world today.

I'm sharing this here because I know there are others like me who might benefit from some of the coping skills that I use. Suicide has been on the rise during this pandemic and that is absolutely alarming and very sad. We don't know what the future holds. There may be future lock downs that we will need to survive. I'm wishing the best for all of us. May we take charge of our wellness and thrive through it all.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Michelle Pekel

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