When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I struggled with getting use to taking meds every day. Just coming down from a hypomanic episode that lasted six years (due to a misdiagnoses and anti-depressants), I’d struggle to remember taking them when I was supposed to, or if I did remember, I couldn’t recall if I’d actually taken them or not.
If you’ve struggled with a similar problem forgetting to take your meds, don’t fret. I’ve gathered nine easy ways to help you remember!
Use a Ziplock Bag
I put all of my meds in a large ziplock bag. I keep them under my bathroom sink until I need to take them. I also leave them by the things I’ll need to get ready for the day, you know, shaving cream, deodorant…that kind of stuff. When I take out those things, I remember to take out my bag of meds since they are all gathered together. I then take my med bag out and put it on my bathroom counter. It stays there until I take my meds and then it goes back under the sink with the other things. This way, if I see the bag on the counter I know I did not take them and if the bag is under the sink, and I have already gotten ready for the day, then I must have taken them. Here are several more suggestions that people have told me about:
Use a Pillbox
It may seem like something your grandma would do, and maybe it is, but there’s a reason pillboxes and organizers are still around. They work! Instead of wondering every day if you took your pills, or trying to figure out when you’re supposed to take what, just take 10 minutes once a week to prepare your pill organizer. It’s easy and rather foolproof once you get the hang of it.
Combine it with a Daily Activity
If you always take your medication when you brush your teeth, brushing your teeth will automatically prompt you to take your pills. I know it sounds pretty easy, but the good news is it is easy! To get started, pick an activity or habit that you do every day, regardless of what else is going on, like drinking coffee, or reading the morning paper. Now, put your pill bottle right beside something you need for this activity and you won’t forget to take your meds.
Set an Alarm
Whether it’s on your watch, your phone, or next to your bed, setting an alarm can be an effective way to remember to take your medications. Just make sure you’ll be around the alarm during medication time; otherwise, not only might you miss your dose, but those you love and live with may get a bit irritated.
Mark the Calendar
An easy and inexpensive way to remember if you took your medication is to use a calendar. It can be a pocket calendar, your Google calendar, or a wall hanger, as long as you use it, it’ll work. Every morning when you take your pills, put a dot on the calendar. Two hours later when you can’t remember if you took them, simply look at the calendar and search for the dot.
There’s an App for That
Actually, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of apps for medication reminders. From basic and free, to bells and whistles, you can find an app that works with you to remember your medications. Available for both iOS and Android, if you’re always on your smart phone, an app may be the way to go.
Say It Out Loud
When you do something everyday, the process becomes a blur. You may think you took your medication while you were drinking your morning coffee, but that may have been yesterday morning. Instead of constantly second guessing yourself, fix your forgetfulness by taking your medication with mindfulness. When you take your pills, look around; see what’s in your hand, on the counter, by the pill bottle. After you’ve taken the pills, say it out loud, “Today’s Wednesday and I took my Lithium.” While it may seem silly, taking the few extra seconds to pay attention and make yourself aware of taking the medication will remind you that you did.
Place a Reminder Card
When you go to bed at night, set up a prepared card on the kitchen table that reminds you to take your meds in the morning. Don’t move the card until the pills are swallowed. After you’re done, put the card away somewhere to make it easy to set up again before bed.
Make it Part of Your Self-Care Regimen
Self-care should be part of everyone’s day, but for those of us with bipolar disorder depression and mania, it’s extremely important. By taking 10 to 15 minutes to yourself every morning, you can plan your day, set positive affirmations, and take your medication. Soon you’ll be starting each day on the right foot!
Living A Great Life With Bipolar Disorder
Living a great life is possible despite your bipolar disorder. I invite you to join our community by subscribing to this blog and by following us on Facebook. Together, we can learn, grow, and support each other to live a great life with bipolar disorder.