7 Ways I’m Protecting My Mental Health In These Challenging Times

DISCLAIMER: The information and opinions on this site are for educational purposes only. This site, and any content herein, should not be seen as a substitute for an official mental or physical diagnosis, or for professional health care.
This is just my personal opinion.

OK, I’m not going to lie. I’ve been feeling anxious with all the recent news about the COVID-19. I feel overwhelmed with the daily announcements about event cancellations, empty store shelves, and of course, the fatalities. Because I have bipolar disorder, I tend to be especially sensitive to routine changes, bad news, and just general external triggers. Even people who don’t have underlying mental illness or anxiety issues are experiencing extreme stress right now.

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How Online Shopping Wrecks My Stability

I wrote an article several months ago about stopping hypomania by recognizing my thoughts and actions, one of which was excessive online shopping. It’s one of my biggest weaknesses, and probably the hardest one for me to keep in check. It’s a constant battle. I’m constantly bombarded with online ads, emails (no matter how many I unsubscribe to), and coupons luring me to “Buy! Buy! Buy!”

Online shopping can be dangerous for someone with bipolar disorder like myself. Why? Because by nature, my illness causes me to constantly seek stimulation and emotional highs. Because I have bipolar disorder, my brain is more vulnerable to dopamine rushes than people who don’t live with this illness. I’m lucky in a way, lots of people who live with bipolar disorder also struggle with drug, gambling or alcohol addiction as a means to achieving a highly sought after high. I don’t have any of these addictions, but I really feel empathy for those who do. I get it. I chase highs too, but mine are mostly achieved by purchasing stuff.

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