Many things about bipolar disorder seem out of our control. We can’t dictate when depression will hit us out of the blue, or when we’ll be left picking up the pieces in the aftermath of a manic episode.
Still, there are some things that we can control. And for those of us who are mums (or mums-to-be), with little ones depending on us, this is music to our ears.
Nearly six years ago, I was pregnant with my second child and terrified that things would go pear-shaped, like they did after my first son’s birth.
Trying to wrestle back some sense of control, I sat at the computer and wrote a Bipolar Action Plan.
This focused on manic episodes (the hallmark of my condition) and outlined a number of things – such as signs that I was becoming unwell, usual medications, contact details for my GP, psychiatrist and psychologist, and a list of the people I wanted to act as my ‘support crew’ during any future episode.
As a mum, the thought that I may not be in a state to care for, or see, my young children was terrifying. Writing down instructions for their care, as well as that of our dog and house, was somehow soothing to my anxious brain.
For those who don’t already have a Bipolar Action Plan, I would highly recommend putting one together. If you’re not sure where to start, why not adapt this sample one – based on the plan I put together: Bipolar Action Plan (sample).
Was the Bipolar Action Plan useful? I’d love to hear your feedback or suggested improvements!
4 thoughts on “Stay in control: be armed with an action plan!”
This is so helpful, thank you! I am currently pregnant with my second child and terrified if being hospitalised again so an action plan is a great idea.
You mention that the Australian Government has a scheme whereby they fund at-home assistance from nannies for mother’s with mental illness – do you know if this initiative is still running and if so where I can get further information? Thank you
Thanks for reaching out. I believe the first step is to speak with your psychiatrist (if you have one) who will need to write a letter outlining why you need this service. Your GP may be able to help you find out more. I think filing out the action plan is a great idea. I was terrified leading up to the birth of my first baby – and it helped a lot knowing everyone knew my wishes on case things went wrong again. Fortunately I didn’t need to use it. I went on medication as soon as baby number 2 and 3 were born and managed to stay well. Such a difference from my first experience!!