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Tips That Help Me Manage My Bipolar Disorder and My Working Life Living with manic depressive disorder, which is now known as bipolar disorder, is difficult but it's doable.

By Liz Abere Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Mental health has been a trending topic in society within the past few years, but in terms of discussing it and improving upon it as a whole, we're nowhere near where we need to be. Speaking from my own experience, I'm diagnosed with bipolar disorder type one, where I experience more waves of mania than depression, but that doesn't mean that I don't get depressed at times. Both mania and depression can get in my way when it comes to working, and while I can predict when a manic and/or depressive episode is coming on, I still struggle to manage my episodes when it comes to working. If you're anything like me, you'll find the following tips useful to help get back on your A game.

Related: 4 Ways to Help Employees With Their Mental Health and Emotional Needs as You Reopen Offices

Stick to a schedule.

Having a routine that you know won't fail you when everything and everyone else will help to provide you with structure in your life. Having structure will get you up and going and feel productive, even if you do minute projects such as running that one errand that you've been postponing for the longest time.

Seek therapy.

I know that this may seem a little out there, but seeking therapy can help bring some clarity to your life. Chances are, if you have mania and haven't already sought out help, you do have some form of mental illness (most likely bipolar disorder), and it shouldn't be left untreated for any longer. I understand that therapy can get expensive, but according to my article regarding freelancing and its impact on one's mental health, you're probably also in a state of decline — which isn't good. Remind yourself that therapy is cheaper than a psych ward bill, but if, for any reason, you feel as if you're going to harm yourself or someone else, go to the nearest emergency room right now. Don't even finish reading this article.

Related: Why Selena Gomez Is Cofounding a Mental Health Media Company With Her Mom Mandy Teefey and Newsletter Whiz Daniella Pierson: "Once I Understood What Was Happening In My Mind, I Gained a Sense of Purpose"

Identify your triggers and work on them.

Triggers are there not to scare you, but to help you grow as an individual. They're there to help get you out of old toxic behaviors that you might not even know that you're partaking in until you seek out healthy coping mechanisms. Once you face your triggers head-on, they might not seem so scary anymore, and then you can get back to working with a little bit more clarity knowing that you don't have that extra burden rolling over your mind — or as I'd say, like a carrot dangling in front of a bunny.

Identify a few people that are safe to talk to.

If you don't have anyone, that's alright — but having a few people that you can fall back on when things are starting to get rough can help to prevent a trip to the psych ward. These people could talk you out of doing risque behaviors that are usually associated with bipolar disorder, such as excessive spending of money that you might not have to begin with, or being overly sexual with multiple people simultaneously.

Realize what motivates you and use that to get some work done.

No two people with mania experience the same symptoms, so find what motivates you when you're not feeling overly manic and try to get some work done. You don't have to finish the biggest project in the entire world in order to be successful — try taking baby steps before going hardcore. You don't want to overload yourself and not only that, but you want to pay attention to what you're doing.

Learn how to say no.

I know, I know, sometimes you want to take on more than you think you can handle, but learning how to say no is much more beneficial for your mental health than if you said yes. I say learn how to say no because you need to learn what your boundaries and limits are. Boundaries aren't for weak people. Boundaries are in place to prevent burnout and to ensure that you're also taking care of yourself while getting your own stuff done while caring for others, too.

Think a few times before speaking.

This is something that I'm still learning how to work on, but if you're truly suffering, you need to speak up. You can't hide behind your feelings because nobody knows what you're thinking or what you're feeling until you say something. I learned this the hard way by blurting out a few things that truly scared people that wanted to help me in retrospect, but in reality, had I taken a few seconds to word my message in a manner that made more sense to them, it wouldn't have been so terrifying for them, but I could've potentially avoided going to the psych ward twice.

Related: Why Mental Health is Central to Your Business Continuity Plan

Think about what you want versus what you need.

Sometimes, what you need comes before what you want, and that's ok. You shouldn't let one dominate the other, and vice versa. Prioritize everything to your liking and work from the top down.

Liz Abere

Freelance Writer

Liz Abere is a 25-year-old freelance writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Abere has over 3.3 million views from Spoon University's website, and nearly five years of editorial experience thus far. Abere is also an MSW Candidate at Fordham University.

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