Diet, Exercise and Sleep (with or without meds) for BPII discussion

I was diagnosed Bi Polar II about 3 months ago. My pdoc prescribed seroquell. The first time I took it I woke up on the bathroom floor with little memory of how I got there. My wife couldn’t wake me or feel a pulse. It was very scary and it made me really think about all of the other components of my life that are out of balance. I decided that before taking medication again I would try balancing my health and sleep hygiene. I am not necessarily looking to forgo medications altogether, I just feel like It will be easier to find the right dose of the right drug if the rest of my body is functioning properly.

I am wondering if anyone else here has attempted this because I would like to compare notes.

The Good News:

Being conscious of only exercise and sleep It appears that my cycles become less severe but still present. They are generally much more manageable as long as sleep and activity levels are consistent.

I’ve been working out for 2 months, I’ve lost 6 lbs and put on a lot of muscle and I’ve mostly regulated my sleep. I get a full 7.5 to 8 hours almost every night and I get tired around 2230. I have struggled to regulate my sleep for at least 25 years and this is the best I can remember it being.

I have shared my situation with my employer and fortunately they are supportive. When I am in a very low mood I head to the gym even if it is the middle of the work day. I find that after a hard workout, shower, and something to spike my glucose levels I am able to be very productive. My mood picks up for at least a few hours allowing me to dig in to my work.

On the other side of the cycle, when I am hypomanic unfortunately the gym doesn’t help me come down but what it does do is help me sleep at night. Getting to sleep when I am manic does wonders for shortening the length and severity of the top end of the cycle.

The Bad News

Any disruption in my sleep schedule seems to guarantee that I’ll have severe cycling for a couple of days. One example early in this evolution was when I had a get together and was up after 1am wrapping things up. My sleep schedule was wrecked for several days and I was experiencing rapid cycling at least two of those days. I normally do not get rapid cycling but it seems that while my routine has made my cycles much more mild and manageable, any deviation from that routine actually makes them worse.

I wish there was medication I could take only when I needed it. I’m currently investigating melatonin for sleep regulation.

This is intriguing to me. I take Adderall for ADHD and I dislike how it affects my appetite, how its efficacy drops over time due to tolerance, and how I basically fall into severe depression and lethargy whenever I go without it for a couple of days.

I have read that cardiovascular exercise was a good alternative, but have not taken the due time to find a gym. I would love to be able to be productive or motivated without Adderall. It’s to the point where things I need to deal with in the day are outright inaccessible to me without it; I will procrastinate and put things off until the next day, every day. Replacing that with food (which I generally have to force myself to eat) and exercise (which could also help with weight gain) would be great, although I remain subjectively skeptical of its efficacy in lieu of stimulants. Still, your anecdote motivates me further to at least try it.

If finding a gym is difficult, Before I hit the gym and before I had a diagnosis I started taking walks when I was in a fowl mood. I tried to find natural places to walk around wherever I was working. Based on some research I had heard about years ago, a public park or a nature trail is supposedly better than a city block for your mental health. This also helped pull me out of a rut for a short time. It wasn’t quite as effective as a mile on the treadmill and some heavy weights but it did help. Often this was enough to get through whatever problem I was working but not enough to get me through the day.

I wish you luck. I have a business partner/close friend with ADHD and his focus after adderall has been incredible but he hasn’t been on it long enough for us to witness its long term efficacy with him.

If you give this a try please post here about it.

For me, when depressions really hit, my body feels like it shuts down and it takes a tremendous effort to even move enough to get up and go to the bathroom, let alone work out at a gym. Have you found any effective way to work up the energy needed to actually start the work out?