Bipolar disorder is a very wicked ailment and this is known not only by sufferers but also those who have lived around individuals with this mental illness. It attacks the mind from all angles and closes in all four walls of the proverbial cognitive room. There is no room for comfort and time is always running out.
What is someone do when feeling as though they are being backed into a lonely, torturous, and surging corner of their mind? Many times it isn’t so easy to decide, there is only more fuel to the fire.
Can’t Make Up My Mind!
Indecision is just one of many possible cognitive deficits brought about by bipolar disorder. It is most often associated with the depressive phases of manic depression, something ironed out of irony itself as this is a phase when sufferers must be able to act and progress forward. You can never get out of a rut if you can never decide on things that conceive the rut around you.
If you are someone with bipolar disorder who experiences a lot of indecision it’s important to know that you are not alone. If you’ve been searching for an explanation for this symptom you may have even jumped back and forth on the idea of this being a symptom at all. It’s a valid assessment and some people are truly more indecisive than others.
The best way to determine if in fact this is a symptom of the illness for you is to talk and get to the bottom of things with a therapist or psychiatrist. A third party professional helps most because they are able to identify trends in your behaviors and thoughts. By taking this one step further they will be able to pin point times when you tend to have a harder time making decisions.
The next best way to see if this cognitive symptom is just that, a symptom, is to regularly journal your thoughts in relation to your moods, mental blocks, fears, anxieties…anything that pertains to bipolar disorder. You would then want to see if the times when you are worst at making decisions are the times when you are the most ill.
These two things are much better to do than to jump to a conclusion amidst a buzzing head on your shoulders. When the mind is filled with stress and anxiety it can never jump to a logical conclusion. Logic is the answer and not wild theories or fears.
What’s the Fix?
If you’ve found your indecision to be rooted in bipolar disorder then the next thing to do is to treat the root of the episode(s). What’s the reason for your depressive episodes? Why are you experiencing a mixed episode? You get the idea. You need to find the root of the problem (episodes) before you can tackle the symptom of indecision.
This is why working with a professional is so important. It’s quite difficult to know what to do when you’re deep in the muck of the cognitive underworld. Always keep regular contact with a professional, this goes without saying. If you’re on a medication regimen then stick with it and do not make changes until speaking with your psychiatrist. Mixing this around and taking that away is always going to create more chaos, there’s no escaping it.
Finding the right medication cocktail, attending regularly therapy to correct your dysfunctional thoughts, and integrating yourself socially via friends and family are all pinnacles of good mental health. Throwing in regular physical activity is the cherry on top. You’ve heard these things touted a million times before and the reason for this is because they work, no matter how annoying to hear.
Keep it Simple, Avoid Paralysis
Something else to do along with the golden standards of bipolar disorder treatment is to jot down your daily and future goals in simplistic fashion on a piece of paper. Breaking things down into concise blocks makes it easier to avoid being overwhelmed and put into a state of mental paralysis. Keep things as simple as possible.
Most people have trouble with long term goals such as getting into shape or starting a new project or endeavor, even those without a mental illness, so it’s no surprise that those with bipolar disorder can have a particularly rough time with this sort of thing. It’s a must that you map things out for yourself (although there’s no need to construct the next three years of your life) if only to help yourself start doing instead of thinking. Thinking is the enemy here.
Above all writing things down in a concise and easy to follow manner allows you to see what you’re really thinking and not what fears are constantly bubbling to the surface. Most of our thoughts are just distractions and not to be taken seriously as they come about out of fear and other intense emotions. You must acknowledge them but also let them go.
Understanding and practicing mindfulness is very much worth looking into if you are someone with bipolar disorder struggling with indecision built by fear, depression, and anxiety. The idea behind mindfulness is to live entirely in the present moment by allowing your thoughts to flow through your mind without any kind of judgment. It is taking a step back from it all as a mere observer.
If we were to put all of this together we would have something like this:
- Evaluate mood trends with the help of a psychiatrist or therapist and determine the validity of this symptom
- Journal your moods, behaviors, mental blocks, anxieties, and any other issues pertaining to the illness to see when indecision is most prevalent
- Work with a psychiatrist in order to find the best medication(s) for you (remember that everyone is different when it comes to which medications they best respond to)
- Talk with a therapist regularly to correct dysfunctional thought patterns
- Jot daily and longer term goals down into simple and concise blocks
- Look into mindfulness and see what it can offer you
- Make small decisions as often as possible to show yourself what you’re capable of when it comes to long term goals (health goals, projects, new hobbies, professional life, etc.)