Bipolar Diaries: What It’s Like During Quarantine

The world is experiencing a challenging time. A virus has infected thousands of people. Lives are lost and lives are sacrificed. The Philippines is one of the countries that is badly hit. Luzon is currently in an Enhanced Community Quarantine or ECQ. We have been told to stay home.

Being stuck in one place is never easy. For many Filipinos, it is a very challenging situation.

During this trying time, I hope we remember the people who see this quarantine as a challenge to their mental health.

I am one of those people.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2016. It has been a bumpy road, but we are getting there.

Bipolar plus quarantine is not a great combination. For one, you can’t talk to your psychiatrist and therapist face to face, which is a big part of everyone’s wellness. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, though, I was able to have a virtual consultation with my doctor. Consulting with your doctor (even virtually) really helps. Try it out; it may work for you, too.

Medicine plays a big part in my wellness, as well, but getting stocks during quarantine was hard. My sister had to find my meds at different drugstores. I’m guessing this may also be the case for a lot of you out there who are taking medicine. Another way is through online deliveries. There are a number of apps and websites that offer medicine deliveries.

“It’s okay to not be okay” I hear that all the time. I read it on social media. They make posters with it written on it. It is okay, but sometimes, all of those self-affirming words get thrown out the window and you still get stuck in your own dark place. You are left with just acting like you’re okay. During quarantine, depression can be hard to handle. There are challenges to having this invisible illness. What gets me through those days is sleeping and separating myself from people. I go on my phone and distract myself or I try to text my friends (thanks, friends!).

Irritability. A common symptom of Bipolar Disorder. Being in one place for 24 hours gets frustrating. Being with the same people for 24 hours also gets frustrating. I love my family; but it becomes an issue when I get my flare ups. I get in heated discussions with my parents that result in someone walking out or me stomping my feet in frustration.

Still, my family is what gets me through everything. I hope you have that same support system. Friends are also a good support system. You can even be your own support system. With the right mindset and self-care, you can get through it. Just remember the acronym HENS: Hygiene. Exercise. Nutrition. Sleep.

Quarantine time is maybe the most time I’ve bonded with my parents – and I’m actually enjoying it. Even though you are enjoying your day, though, depression is just around the corner. It’s this tiny voice in your head telling you, “I’m not good enough”, “What if I just contract the virus and just die?”, “I just want my life to end”, or plainly “I want to die”. These are the thoughts that run through my head. It’s like this exit strategy I have – ways to just not exist.

Dark thoughts may run through your head, but you have to be strong and have the will power to set all of it aside and see the good in life. I know it’s hard. I know it can take a lot of effort, but we need to do it. Life is so precious. There is always something to live for. I may sound annoying and cliche because you’ve probably heard this countless of times before, but even the little things are worth living for. If you are looking for a sign, this is it. Get out of bed. Take a shower. Eat. Make a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy the beauty of life. Breathe in some fresh air (within your property and away from people – social distancing, please).

Your life is precious and quarantine does not make it any less so.

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