Myths about bipolar disorder abound and, honestly, most people don’t know anything about bipolar except the myths, or common misconceptions. On World Bipolar Day, it makes sense to me to spend a little time pointing out bipolar myths and addressing them.
I have a fear of bipolar medication treatment changes. I do. You’d think after 100 changes to my bipolar medication treatment plan I would be used to it, and while I supposed I’m used to it, it doesn’t destroy the fear. I’m so scared that a bipolar medication treatment change will make me worse. I also fear the hope that a bipolar medication treatment change offers.
When you think about your history, what do you wish your (or other) parents knew about bipolar disorder or mental illness? My parents, like many people, knew nothing about bipolar disorder and this, undoubtedly, harmed me. Their lack of knowledge and lack of openness about their own mental health/illness history made my life and my bipolar journey much harder than it had to be. Here’s what I wish my parents, and other parents, knew about bipolar disorder and mental illness.
I overslept last night. I think I woke up at my standard time this morning but then I, lazily and foolishly, turned over and went back to sleep. This seemed like a good idea in the moment, as I love sleep, but in the long run, my experience says that oversleeping with bipolar disorder is bad, bad, bad.
I got up and got into my bipolar routine as per the usual. Then, I was watching TV while eating breakfast and something a little sad happened on the show. An animal was hurt and killed. And I hate it when animals are hurt. Humans, somehow, you get used to seeing die on TV but innocent animals are so much harder for me to take. It might just be me.
But this sent into production a stream of tears and even sobbing. I was in such pain because of this tiny, make believe thing. And I know it’s the bipolar, the bipolar depression, specifically, rearing its ugly head. And I know it’s because I overslept. And, naturally, I feel like an absolute imbecile for letting it happen.
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.
General practitioners (GPs) should not be treating bipolar disorder. It’s as simple as that and I have no idea why GPs don’t get this. If it’s obvious to me, a little ol’ mental health writer then it should be more than obvious to a medical professional that GPs are simply not equipped to treat bipolar.
Last time I talked about why we find it so hard to finish tasks with bipolar but this time I want to focus how we can successfully finish tasks with bipolar disorder, even if it is difficult.
I’m often an ideas person. I have many, many ideas and I like to think many of them are good. And, being a writer, these many ideas translate into articles, which I appreciate as it’s how I pay my bills.
That being said, ideas translate into starting a lot of tasks. The skill (talent, habit, what-have-you) of starting tasks based on a (perhaps) brilliant idea is one thing, but finishing tasks involves a different skill set altogether and finishing tasks when you have bipolar disorder (depression or mania/hypomania) is extremely, extremely challenging.
I’ve written about suicide a lot and on those threads I hear it all the time: “I’m too much of a coward to kill myself,” or, “I wish I were braver so I could commit suicide.”
I understand these thoughts and I think they’re very common and normal. When you’re in unbearable pain, it feels like suicide is necessary. And if you’re not achieving a necessary thing, you feel like a failure. And because of the nature of suicide – because it is scary – people feel like the reason they are “failing” is because they are a coward.
This is not true, however. Cowardice has nothing to do with killing yourself or living. You are not a coward for not killing yourself.
Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder is tough thing. It feels like the end of the world. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder feels like the foretelling of your whole future.
But it isn’t. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder doesn’t have to dictate your future. You still have the power to do that.
This list is always an interesting one for me because it tells me what you, my readers, care about. In general, you care about a lot of what I can about but sometimes you surprise me with exactly how much you care about a given subject (and by what doesn’t show up on the list).
The Top 10 Popular Bipolar Posts of 2014
10. Bipolar Treatment Fatigue — We start the bipolar post top 10 list with a term I invented. “Treatment fatigue” is a concept that is widely felt but underrecognized. It’s when you can’t bear undergoing any more treatments because you’ve just lost faith in bipolar treatments altogether or are tied of the side effects or are exhausted with your doctor or, or, or. I would argue that while these feelings are real, we need to fight bipolar treatment fatigue in order to get better.
9. Accountability for Your Actions with Bipolar — I’m a big believer in accountability and I’m a big believer in not saying, “the bipolar made me do it.” Sometimes, bipolar does strongly influence our behavior and sometimes we truly aren’t accountable for it, but most of the time this just isn’t true.