Nancy is a 21 year old model who blogs about health and wellness. Here she writes about how she manages bipolar through both healthy living and medication.

Healthy living and bipolar

I am a 21 year old health nut and hippy vegan who has sulphate-free shampoo, uses a wooden toothbrush and a good 30% of my diet consisters of powdered superfoods I cannot even pronounce. I ride my bike most days, meditate, stretch as much as possible and I'm really into natural holisitc remedies and ways of living.

I also have bipolar and take both anti-depressants and a mood stabiliser/anti-psychotic daily as well as anxiety medication as and when I need it.

Am I a hypocrite?

It's been something I have contemplated ever since medication became a daily part of my life, which is over two years ago now. Can I advocate and promote holistic natural living whilst medicating to keep my mental state under control? I think I can.

I have worked my butt off to get myself to a place where I can function as a member of society and something I've learned is that living with bipolar isn't about curing yourself. It's about learning to balance and allowing the bipolar to exist as part of you but not control you. How to do this is completely personal and vary greatly.

Diet, exercise, art, meditation, medication. All these methods have a place in helping people cope with their symptoms. My appetite varies greatly depending on my current mental state and I have often looked to food to cure myself of intense and unpleasant emotions. Ensuring all the foods I eat are healthy and nutritious has meant I don't have a lot of chemicals entering my system when I am already fraught. My mind is clearer because I'm getting all the nutrients I need.

Exercise is a crucial part of controlling the depressive and manic parts of bipolar for me. The best way to describe being manic would be to say I am buzzing. This is when I get on my bike. When I'm on my bike I am having to focus on what I'm doing and am fully engaged in the activity. 

I also use exercise to help with depressive elements of bipolar. It's no secret that exercise releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals). When I am depressed, I also make a very simple checklist of things I must do daily. Brush teeth, shower, change clothes, some sort of physical activity, three meals. I complete the checklist every day and wait for the depressive period to pass.

Then I have the medication part of treatment. Anti-depressants in the morning and mood stabiliser/anti-psychotic at night. I have accepted them as part of the way I handle bipolar. They help all the other things I am doing to control bipolar. They make life slightly more manageable.

Living with bipolar is learning how to use different methods in conjunction to allow you to live your life to the fullest. Why should you be ashamed of implementing multiple methods to do that? Find out what works for you and stick to it.