The issue with bipolar disorder isn’t that we have feelings, it’s that our feelings are too big. Emotions are normal, even big emotions at certain times are normal but people with bipolar have feelings that are too big far too much of the time.
One of the annoying things about having a serious mental illness like bipolar disorder is that doctors blame all physical pain on bipolar disorder. It feels like if you have a hangnail it must be because of bipolar. It feels like the pain from a broken leg must be from bipolar disorder. Doctors just seem to leap to the conclusion that bipolar is always to blame even when other physical ailments are or may be present.
I have a great fear – I fear becoming a burden to others because of bipolar disorder. I fear that I will become too much work. I fear that I will become too much bother. I fear that I will just become just plain “too much.” I know how burdensome bipolar disorder is to me and I don’t want to place that burden on others.
Many of us have the insight to know when we are manic, hypomanic or depressed or in another bipolar mood state but, unfortunately, even though I might know I’m hypomanic, depressed or mixed, I can’t necessarily help it. I wish I could. I wish that knowing what my bipolar disorder was doing would somehow alter it, but it typically doesn’t. I just can’t help it when I’m hypomanic, depressed or in a mixed mood – even when it’s clear to me.
If you’re on my mailing list you head last week that a GoodReads giveaway was started. Right now I’m giving away three paperback copies of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.
Today Bipolar Burble welcomes Dayton Uttinger, the best friend of a person with bipolar disorder.
My best friend with mental illness is one who don’t seek treatment. She is either constantly bored, always beginning new projects, or depression overtakes her, sealing her in a straightjacket of self-doubt and suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, she relies on me to be able to let her know when bipolar disorder is seriously affecting her. I take care not to dismiss her feelings, and sometimes there’s no avoiding a rush of directionless emotion, but it’s worked well enough. It’s been over ten years of this, and there’s been definite ups and downs. Eventually, she started to worry that she was being demanding. But there are things that I, as her best friend, want her to know about her and her mental illness.
I’ve been forced to realize that writing my book about bipolar and depression has almost killed me. This is hot hyperbole, this is really what has happened. Of course, most people aren’t about to sit down and write/publish a book tomorrow but the point is that a massive effort and stressor has gotten to me. Almost killing me was not what I thought writing a book would do.
I’m extremely pleased and excited to announce that Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar will be available in paperback via Amazon starting next week. The print layout work is almost done and I can’t wait to see it, physically, in my (and your) hands.
There are a few things you should know about the release:
I mentioned on Facebook recently that I’m rapid cycling. If I ever wondered if the bipolar diagnosis was accurate, the bipolar cycling moods have certainly convinced me that it is. If you’re curious, this is ultradian cycling — i.e. cycling where moods last only hours. That can also be classified as a mixed mood because the cycles are so short.
All of this is to say that I’m not well right now. It’s fine. I’ve seen my psychiatrist, we have a plan and I’m working the plan. But the plan takes time, as all plans do.
So while the plan portends usefulness, I am stuck on the rollercoaster from hell. And in this particularly hellish place I wrote this piece. It is not cheery, it would trigger some and if you’re having a bad day these are not the 300 words for you. Proceed with caution
Today, on the Bipolar Burble Facebook page, someone posted a link to an article on The Health Magazine (a website) that had the headline: A Urine Test Can Distinguish Between Bipolar Disorder And Depression. The poster bought into this headline and felt that “people should know about this.”
Well, I can tell you that when someone claims to have found a urine test to distinguish between bipolar and depression, you should be very skeptical. Believe me, if this were a real thing, it wouldn’t just show up in some clickbait website, written by someone named “admin.” (Normally, these types of sites even steal the content they do have.)
Let’s look at the facts of the matter. Does a urine test to differentiate between depression and bipolar disorder really exist?
Akathisia is a psychiatric medication side effect that revolves around psychological and psychical restlessness which causes distress. People with bipolar disorder report more akathisia with psych med treatment than do those with schizophrenia. And I am now reporting the horrible restlessness, agitation and distress of akathisia is happening to me.
I wrote that Mindfulness Doesn’t Help My Bipolar Disorder. And I think mindfulness, at least how I was taught it, just doesn’t significantly, positive affect a serious, neurological illness. I find it works best in people who experience stress and anxiety. And many do agree with me on this.
That said, John McManamy does not. Here are his thoughts on mindfulness in bipolar disorder.
Mindfulness is essentially the mind watching the mind. The practice has been around forever. It is a staple of Buddhist practice, and is also the basis of modern talking therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), even if its proponents fail to give it credit.
In all likelihood, if you have had success in managing your bipolar, you are employing mindfulness techniques, though you may be unaware of it.