Depression is painful but can you turn that pain into something good? I recently heard of a couple that went through extreme suffering because of losing a child and one of the pieces of advice they received was, “don’t waste your pain.” These people turned their pain into a full-fledged and extremely successful business that gives back to children’s charities. I’ve decided that was an extremely valuable piece of advice with depression – don’t waste your pain.
Have you heard? You can choose to be happy. That’s right. If you’re sitting around right now all depressed and unhappy it’s just because you’re not choosing the right path. You’re not choosing to be happy.
I find this concept to be absolute hokum and incredibly insulting to anyone with depression – an actual brain disorder.
Depression is many things to many people. The common perception of depression is that you’re “just” really sad all the time, and while this is true for many who suffer depression, this is not a universal norm. Some people don’t feel sad, per se, they feel nothing; they feel dead inside.
It is not lost on me that next week is the holidays. Whether you’re religious, or, like me, just like a finely-dressed tree, there tends to be a lot going on.
So here is a bipolar holiday guide on maintaining bipolar stability over the holidays, which, as we all know, can be tough.
The Bipolar Burble blog welcomes guest author somePlaywrights, a collaboration of two writers based in Annapolis and Brooklyn, who face, seemingly weekly, a struggle to succeed as a creative, bipolar collaboration.
On its own, the practice of creating art is bizarre: fusing this abstract feeling with that concrete image, trying to convince others of something only you can see, and all the while endeavoring to balance concept with content. With the addition of bipolar disorder, a condition that is just as, if not more, slippery, firm, and fleeting, the artistic process often teeters between genius and delusion, between coherence and disunion. It is in this realm, where mania meets medium and depression intersects with artistic production, that we, as bipolar artists, must carve and claim our collective space…
I’m a bipolar writer. This is not news to anyone. As a person with bipolar disorder, I naturally have good days and bad days. Specifically, I naturally have average days and horrifically depressed days. And it impresses people that the Bipolar Burble blog manages to stay running through it all. Every week I get one or two posts up no matter what.
So people have asked me, how the heck do you do that? How do you keep a (popular) bipolar blog going through the depressed times?
As I’ve mentioned before, people with bipolar disorder, statistically, spend more time depressed than they do manic or hypomanic. People with bipolar II have it the worst. People with bipolar II can spend up to 3.8* times more time depressed than hypomanic. This means that if you’re a symptomatic bipolar II, you’re probably feeling depressed right now.
And, of course, depression is a big problem in bipolar disorder as there are only two Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments for bipolar depression (although other treatments are prescribed off label).
While that picture is dark, I would argue there is one aspect of depression that’s more within our control but is equally debilitating. It’s (often obsessively) feeling bad about feeling bad.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) is frequently called psychiatry’s “bible.” I, however, would not pen it that way. I would suggest that the DSM is simply a guideline for the diagnosis of mental illness. It lists the criteria one has to have in order to be diagnosed with a mental illness.
And, as the name of this post suggests, the DSM is releasing its fifth major version – the DSM-5 – in just a couple of weeks.
Now, the DSM-5 has been controversial from the get-go and I have said that much of this controversy is overstated, but some of the changes do have fundamental nosological implications. In other words, some of the changes in the DSM-5 can change how people fundamentally think of certain mental illnesses.
The DSM-5 Cuts the Chord between Depression and Bipolar
And one of the changes in the DSM-5 is the separation of major depression and bipolar disorder into their own chapters. No longer is there a chapter called “Mood Disorders” with both disorder types listed (Can we still call them mood disorders?). Now they each represent a separate category.
This may seem like a small change, and I’m not going to have a fit over it, but I will say that I think it was the wrong move.
Last time I talked about feeling suicidal and who to tell if you’re feeling suicidal. This time I talk about how to tell someone you’re feeling suicidal.
How to Tell Someone You’re Feeling Suicidal
If you’re telling a professional, it’s actually not that hard. Just come straight out and tell them. Don’t dance around it and try not to be afraid because they’ve heard the words, “I’m suicidal,” so many more times than you can imagine. They know those words and they know what to do with them. Remember, you can’t get help and you can’t feel better if you don’t tell anyone.
The way I see it, bipolar disorder presents a problem with motivation (you know, among all the other bipolar problems). Many people in acute bipolar moods suffer from too much, unrestrained motivation or no motivation at all. Either way you slice it, it’s a bitch.