The Energy Challenge: Bipolar Question of the Week

John McManamy Health Guide
  • It pays to think of bipolar as much as a dysregulation of energy as it is a dysregulation in mood. Indeed, the DSM-5, due out in 2013, explicitly recognizes this in its new criteria for a manic and hypomanic episode. Here is how they word it:

    “A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased activity or energy ...”

    In other words, mood and energy are a package deal. We need to be as mindful of our energy levels as we are of our mood swings.

    The last three days for me represented a major energy challenge. With deadlines fast approaching, I performed the equivalent of materializing rabbits out of hats for a nonprofit mental health group I am involved in. On one hand, I was energized by the effort, but when it was over I was a wrung-out dishrag.

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    Fortunately, I did all the right things in pacing myself, with plenty of breaks. Also, I was smart enough not to tempt fate by trying to crank out my usual work. Anyway, I woke up this morning with the intention of getting off this piece. My brain refused to cooperate. Back down I went for a nap.

    So here I am, with my brain booted back up. I will go out for a walk soon and enjoy the sun and fresh air. Then I will figure out what to do with this evening. I have work piling up, but those energy levels - I really have to watch them.

    Question: How do you manage your energy challenges? What happens when you are slammed with a particularly special challenge?

    Comments below ...

Published On: October 22, 2011