For years, I abstained from giving advice about mental health for the simple fact that I'm not a professional and would never want to jeopardize anyone's safety by giving them bad advice. In recent years, especially since I'm relatively healthy, I've been more open to talking about and I've that I have been able to help people talking about my experience with Bipolar I Disorder. More specifically Bipolar I with rapid cycles. Yeah, rapid cycling is pretty extreme.
I wrote a very lengthy blog about what I've done in my life to get to where I am and you can find that here. I think everything I wrote in that post is important, but that blog post got quite out of hand in length. So, I wanted to write a new post choosing one piece of advice to give someone who hasn't yet reached a level of stability with their disease; fight the inflammation.
For this blog, I originally wrote about trying to sleep on a normal schedule because that's the safe answer, but the truth is that I lived for years with episodes and still had a terrible sleep schedule. I finally did actively work on having a normal sleep schedule and I do believe that has helped my health, but that was really more of an icing on the cake for me.
But, in my personal/anecdotal experience, it was when I started fighting inflammation in my body did I stop having episodes. Again, I'm not a scientist or doctor and everybody is different. It's possible sleeping on a normal schedule for 7-9 hours is your key and the inflammation is a secondary component.
For me, it was when I stopped from eating an all red meat diet, this was when South Beach Diet was a thing, to becoming a pescatarian. A pescatarian is a person who follows a diet that includes fish and seafood but avoids other types of meat such as beef, pork, and poultry. Pescatarianism is a type of semi-vegetarianism, which means that while pescatarians exclude certain types of meat from their diet, they still consume animal products such as eggs and dairy.
I was still eating processed food, which is terrible for inflammation, but I guess just stopping the red meat and switching to seafood, which is rich in Omega-3, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B6/B12, was really the change I needed to essentially change my life. I ultimately did stop eating processed foods and really started adding plenty of vegetables and fruits into my diet, but that was years after I stopped having major episodes.
I don't want to ramble on too much, so I'll stop here, but here's a link to what a low inflammation diet looks like: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
Good luck and I truly believe you can get better. I'm honestly amazed I lived past 25-26 years old. Today, I'm in my early 40s with a wife and a 2 years old that we adore.