When Flu Hits - Watching Your Mental Health
I’ve been in bed for the last seven days in an advanced state of flu-induced misery. I didn’t think this was anything worth writing about, but then today I’ve been getting confirmation that my misery has plenty of company. All over the news, I am reading reports of a major nationwide flu outbreak. I assume all of you know best how to take care of yourself. But with the added complication of our bipolar, here are a few reminders, respectfully submitted:
- Be mindful of drug interactions. A number of psychiatry meds have drowsiness effects, as do many over-the-counter cough and cold medications. Please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
- Watch for dehydration. This may affect meds bloodstream levels in a way that could turn a normal meds dose into an abnormal one. Lithium users need to be especially careful. Again, do not hesitate to consult your doctor or pharmacist.
- Watch for depression. Being physically sick is a major bummer in and of itself. Allow yourself to feel miserable, but watch when your thoughts turn to feeling miserable about feeling miserable.
- Watch your sleep. Chances are you are going to want to do nothing but sleep, and it’s best not to fight it. But you need to be looking ahead to going back to the real world with your sleep-wake cycle reasonably intact, which is vital for maintaining good mental health. In the meantime, see if you can at least make some concession to separating day from night.
- Don’t be a hero. Nature is the boss. Nature will let you know when you can return to work or other obligations.
- Time is the healer. Let time do its job.
Back to bed for me. Sigh …
John is an author and advocate for Mental Health. He wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Depression and Bipolar Disorder.