David Hillman has lived with bipolar disorder for over 30 years. In his book ‘Bipolar Life Hacks, A Personal Guide to the Self-Management of Bipolar Disorder’ he provides strategies, hints and tips that he has found useful to manage his condition over the years. This week he shares the digital tools he’d found helpful in managing my condition over the years.

Tools to manage your condition

I finally got a diagnosis of bipolar in the year 2000. If you were around then will remember that the internet was young, we used to have to dial up to access the 'world wide web' and Google didn't exist – we had Netscape Navigator. It was all a bit clunky, but I discovered there was a world of information out there to help me manage my condition and I have been using digital tools ever since. New programmes and apps are being developed all the time, but these are my current top ten. What digital tools do you use? Should any of them be on this list? My starting criteria are that apps need to be available in all geographical locations and are free of charge for at least a basic version. They need to be effective and easy to use. 

Stay Alive

An app for those at risk of suicide and those worried about someone. National information but local information only available in certain areas. Free to use. 

Moodscope

This app came top of a competition by run by DHSC in 2011 to find the top health apps, so it's been around a long time. It's quite fun to

REACT Toolkit

REACT is the ‘Relatives Education And Coping Toolkit‘. REACT is an online self-help package (toolkit) for relatives and friends of people with mental health problems associated with psychosis or bipolar disorder. The toolkit has been put together by a team of people with expertise in this area, including clinicians, researchers and relatives of people with psychosis or bipolar disorder. Free to use.

Woebot

This is a fun little app – you have text conversations with a 'robot friend'. The programme was developed by psychologists at Stanford and teaches Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques.

Daylio

This is a mood tracker app. You give yourself a simple mood rating every day and can add diary entries. Simple and easy to use but you might need to set up your own daily reminder with a Google calendar entry (or similar) if you stick with the basic free version. 

NHS App

The app can be used to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and access a range of other healthcare services. The login set up is quite demanding but worth persisting with as the app has information about all health conditions and links to support.

BNF App

This app is a fantastic digital version of the British National Formulary, the big book about medication that doctors keep on their desks. Free to use.

Sleepio

People with SMI often suffer from poor sleep which exacerbates their condition. Sleepio incorporates an animated facilitator, 'the prof', so cleverly addresses the issue that digital tools are most effective if they include facilitation to prompt people to stick with the programme. Available soon and will be free to use.

Bipolar UK eCommunity

This online community is moderated by Bipolar UK staff and an excellent place to get support with self-management from other people with the condition. 

Mindfulness/meditation podcasts

Learning mindfulness techniques can help manage SMI conditions. Michael Chaskalson's guided mindfulness exercises are free to use. Search for them online.

A final word

If you are someone with bipolar disorder or you are a carer, I hope you may have found something useful in this chapter of my book but you will need to find your own answers for dealing with the condition. You may simply be someone who was interested in learning about bipolar disorder, in which case, I hope the book has shed some light on the condition. I wish you health and happiness now and for the future.

*David has kindly made his book available free of charge in the hope that if you find something useful in its pages, you will make a donation or regular giving to Bipolar UK to help other people affected by the condition. 

 

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Please see these other blog articles:

#Life Hack 1 Advice on preventing mania

# Life Hack 2 Advice on food and the importance of nutrition

#Life Hack 3 Navigating life triggers

Apps for managing moods

Staying connected during Covid-19