I’m an avid animal lover in general, and dog lover in specific. I take a lot of life’s cues from dogs because they are such happy creatures. They greet every day with joy, rarely obsess and generally live in the moment, which seems to make them content. And I want that. I was listening to the Dog Whisperer give advice on how to walk a dog, and it occurred to me how useful his tips are for learning to live with, and enjoy, your bipolar head. Like a dog, if you aren’t walking your bipolar disorder, it’s walking you. And just like in a dog pack, you have to show your disorder who the alpha is. Here are 3 Tips for Mastering Your Brain:
1. Walk in front of your brain.
Your bipolar brain is your loyal life long companion and if you aren’t leading the way, it won’t follow. If you aren’t setting up boundaries and helping it focus all that raw energy, it will tear the house apart, so to speak. You’ll be dragged by the leash and constantly running to keep up. You can train your brain with practice – by paying attention to your feelings you can learn how to control your reactions to things like hyper-sensitivity and anger.
2. Use a short leash.
While you are in training, keep your brain on a very short leash, which means take all the work for healing seriously – meds, tracking moods, regular therapy and general health and wellness. I ignored this advice and continued to party and self-medicate for the first year following my diagnosis (denial), which was obviously dumb. I now wish I’d just looked at my healing like boot camp and focused all my awesome bipolar passion and single mindedness on conquering my head. So be a bit hard on yourself – you’ll thank you later.
3. Give yourself enough time for the ‘dog’ walk.
In other words, make time to focus on your recovery. Sorry but this needs to be your new favorite hobby. Make time for it. Set aside an hour of time each day to assess your healing. If you’re like me, it will take you awhile to distinguish the subtleties of depression and mania, which you have to learn to do so you can stop yourself from being pulled too far in either direction. This takes focus. Give yourself the time to focus.