Bipolar disorder has changed me forever. When I was first diagnosed with a mood disorder, they said this wouldn’t happen. When I was first diagnosed with a mood disorder, they said I would go back to who I was before it started. When I was first diagnosed with a mood disorder, every question they asked what about comparing my medicated self to my old self. But they were wrong and their questions were irrelevant, bipolar disorder has changed me for life and no medication is going to change that.
I’ve talked about mood tracking before but, really, mood tracking starts with mood self-monitoring. In other words, there is nothing to track if you don’t know what’s going on in the first place. If you can’t say that you’re anxious, for example, then how are you going to track how anxious you are? But mood self-monitoring sucks because it’s a 24-hour-a day, seven-days-a-week kind-of-a-thing. With bipolar disorder, you never get a break from mood self-monitoring.
I’ve written a lot about bipolar mixed moods but not necessarily what bipolar mixed moods actually feel like. While it’s true mixed moods exist in bipolar I and bipolar II and it’s true mixed moods tend to worsen psychomotor agitation and increase the risk of suicide, this doesn’t tell you how bipolar mixed moods actually feel. This is different for everyone, but here is a window into how I experience mixed moods.
On this World Bipolar Day, I thought I’d focus on some of the most popular posts that tell people what they need to know about bipolar disorder. These are posts that thousands have searched for and read spanning seven years. And what’s more is I think these posts are bipolar myth-busting. Share one or more on social media to help bust bipolar myths (not to mention stigma).
Turmeric (curcumin) may be a new, inexpensive depression and anxiety treatment. It’s early days on this one, but it’s worth noting because it is so available and inexpensive. Here is where the research is on turmeric as a treatment for depression and anxiety.
I get nasty headaches with bipolar disorder. I don’t think they’re migraines, but I do have to take medication and typically have to lie down for the headaches to go away. They tend to happen about two hours after I get up in the morning (meaning medication side effects may play a part, certainly). And I know that I’m not the only person with bipolar disorder suffering with headaches or even migraines – there is, actually, a known link.
Earworms are torture. If you’re not familiar with earworms – lucky you – they are like when a song gets stuck in your head. Over and over and over you hear the same thing. An earworm doesn’t have to be music, but from my experience, it typically is. And If I were to torture someone, I would make them listen to four lines of a song for days and days. I’m fairly certain it would break a person. I feel like earworms almost break me.
I wrote an article on earworms years ago and people still email me about it. This is because people get earworms for days, weeks, months or even years. Some people truly do feel tortured by earworms and would do anything to get rid of them. I completely understand where these people are coming from.
I lie to myself about bipolar. I lie to myself about everything being fine. I lie to myself about the next day being a clean slate and possibly a beautiful one. I lie to myself about the possibility of falling in love. I lie to myself that the bipolar isn’t that bad. I just lie and lie and lie and lie.
While some disagree, it’s important that people understand that antipsychotics need to be used for non-psychotic depression treatment, when appropriate.
At any one time, 14 million people suffer from depression but only 60-70% of these people respond to antidepressant treatment. Of those who do not respond, 10-30% exhibit treatment-resistant symptoms including “difficulties in social and occupational function, decline of physical health, suicidal thoughts, and increased health care utilization.” Treating these people presents a huge issue for healthcare practitioners and one of the options they consider is the use of a medication class known as antipsychotics.
Recently, a group called the Therapeutics Initiative wrote a letter entitled Antipsychotics should not be used for non-psychotic depression. Their conclusions are as the title suggests: this body found little evidence to support the use of antipsychotics in the treatment of non-psychotic major depressive disorder.
And while I respect the work of this body and while they have considered some evidence (in the case of quetiapine [Seroquel], an antipsychotic), there is more to consider on the issue.
Recently, I wrote a Facebook post and someone said it indicated that I hate my life. This is not something I said, but hating a life with bipolar disorder is a pretty easy thing to do. But I have to be clear on something: I don’t just have one life – none of us do. So saying “I hate my life,” is a blanket statement that just isn’t true. It’s a judgment, and it’s not fair.