How to start to order the chaos?

I've had quite an intense period recently of depression and anxiety. Today things exploded after a couple days of heavy spending, emotional e mailing and drinking alcohol. Everything seems a hopeless mess and I couldn't see nay way of fixing things. I wanted to self harm, but cleaned my house instead. I felt drawn to unhealthy eating disorder habits also.
I'm so tired!
I spend half my time trying to put my life into a routine and order, with enough sleep, exercise, food, meditation etc and the other half failing miserably to stick to these routines! I can't seem to stay with a routine for more than a day or two and it's so infuriating. I get so angry with myself and hate myself and wish I was someone else.
I've read a book about Bipolar and try to recognize which phase Im in and when, but all the information is so jumbled in my mind..I can't seem to get to grips with it. Of course I see patterns. I'm 28 and so of course I've figured some of it out by now, but I'm scared the bad days like today are going to keep getting stronger. I felt a little like I was losing control today.
I need some advice on how to keep records of moods. What foods to avoid. What lifestyle things will help keep me on top of things.
I'm away from UK. I live in south korea and have done for the last 5 years. I've tried to get medical help here before and it's useless because they don't try to diagnose properly. I was given Topamax to help with the eating disordered part of things...but that was on my suggestion since things had gotten so bad in terms of that part. So, treatment, medically is out of the question until I return home early next year.
I exercise which helps. I sometimes meditate but find it difficult to make a routine with anything at all. I'm just so sparadic and random.
How can I start trying to order this. Tonight, the worst has passed. I've discussed everything with my boyfriend who is supportive and kind (but not here..he's in UK). So I feel a little better. Alcohol is really bad for me I think.

Ben's Answer:

Yes - alcohol is probably one of the worst things you can do to yourself when it comes to stabilizing your mood. While it may seem to alleviate stress or anxiety at first, it also has the side effect of de-stabilizing the mood and causing more depression. It interferes with the positive benefits of good nutrition too.

Fermented foods are particularly good for most people-- they help to heal the gut - and this has a very positive effect on the brain. So, if you are in Korea - I recommend Kimchi. (Should be easy to find!)

General rule for food: if it's local, fresh and in it's pure form - it is probably good for you. If it's full of artificial ingredients, additives, artificial sweeteners, preservatives or food dyes -- avoid it.

Keep caffeine minimal. Opt for tea over coffee. Keep sugar to a minimum; And go easy on grains and carbs.

To stabilize mood - if you can have complete (total) darkness during the night, it can really help, quickly. I recommend using a soft eye mask. Even a little bit of light in the environment can activate the brain; Avoid tv and computer in the evening - especially later hours and before bed.

For mood charting -- I have a link to one on my bipolar treatment page... or you can do one online at

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT

Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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