Managing mental health during pandemic. Bipolar mania, anxiety, irritability, medications. PTSD.

My name is Xanthe Wyse. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder.

I am a bit irritable in this video (at a fly mainly) when I am usually relatively unflappable. I have been more elevated that usual with my mood (manic symptoms) so have started a temporary medication adjustment and more self-care to help manage it.

Some of my tips may be helpful for people without bipolar disorder who may have a lot of anxiety with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Chronic high levels of anxiety can activate other mental and physical health issues.

I get frustrated at anti-psychiatry people who want no meds for anyone. If they don’t want meds for themselves, it’s their choice but I get tired of the demonising of meds. Meds do have risks and side-effects and should be used responsibility. But they are also helping people like myself manage a life-threatening disorder.

I use exercise (walks, dance-walks, improvised dance to music) to activate myself when in a low mood or to discharge excess energy from anxiety or hyperarousal.

I use painting or other forms of improvised creative expression (usually to music) as a form of active meditation or mindfulness. I go into a trance-like state and it’s a break from the anxiety (unless I try to make things ‘perfect’ and then I get more anxious). Improvised creative expression has been therapeutic for me. It has been how I have gently processed the trauma & stuck emotions with PTSD.

I use music for different moods. Moods are different from emotions. Bipolar is a mood dysregulation disorder whereas borderline personality disorder (BPD) is an emotional dysregulation disorder.

I have the shutdown presentation of PTSD so usually I go into freeze/shutdowns when triggered. When my mood is elevated with bipolar, I will tend to go more into fight/flight yet may still look ‘calm’ on the surface even with extreme hypoarousal energy internally. This is very stressful and will result in a breakdown if sustained.

Source: Youtube