Thursday , September 24 2020
Illness alters choices and may limit what you can do, but it doesn’t stop you from having or making choices.

A Helping Hand: Illness and Physical Appearance

Can being bipolar have an effect on your body and physical appearance?

Anything our minds and brains endure is going to have an impact on our bodies and how we look. This doesn't, however, mean a person who has bipolar disorder is in any way doomed to appear a certain way.

While many say "He/she is bipolar," the reality is that someone has bipolar disorder. They are not the disorder itself. We are whoever and whatever we choose to be. Disorders, illnesses, and injuries alter the choices we have and may limit what we're able to do, but they don't stop us from having choices nor do they keep us from making choices about who we are and what we do.

A healthy diet, regular exercise, keeping up with one's medications and treatment plan (therapy, checkups, and/or rehabilitation), pursuing one's interests, and staying on top of one's responsibilities all play a role in how we look and feel.

Knowing your limits and exerting the control you have over your own life also goes a long way in maintaining overall health. A healthy diet isn't necessarily going to include food from all food groups. If you're not a big fan of fruit, make sure you get more vegetables. No one ever died from too much of their favorite vegetable. Read labels and pick things that are best for you. Your body will get the message that you’re caring for it and it will respond positively to this kind of attention.

If you're not able to get to a gym, walking or bicycling is every bit as good as anything you do on a machine – and both are better for clearing the mind because it gets you out into your environment. I encourage regular outdoor activity even in less than perfect weather.

Your body will respond to anything you do for your mind — from reading, drawing, writing, and sculpting to cooking, volunteering, scrapbooking, building models, and fixing things around the house. The more you seek out your own interests, the more people you'll meet who share those interests. A healthy social network is good for the mind, the soul, and the body.

How we look is a reflection of how we feel. Pay attention to what you do and how you treat yourself and others. The rest will take care of itself.

About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.

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