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.
Today Bipolar Burble welcomes Adele, a 36-year-old newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Read her story of a new bipolar diagnosis and how she’s handling her first few bipolar months.
When I was diagnosed as bipolar this past November, it was both the best and the worst news I have ever received. I knew that my life was probably going to get better, but that it would definitely never be the same.
One of the things my writing does is validate bipolar experiences. This is helpful for people for a very simple reason. When you know that even just one other person is facing the same challenges as you because of bipolar disorder, you feel validated, this has many benefits and it is something we all need. Additionally, harm definitely comes from not validating bipolar experiences – and many of our loved ones do this, perhaps without even knowing it. It’s important to realize that validation of bipolar experiences actually helps a person’s mental health.
I hear people say they have “down days” in bipolar disorder. These people are, typically, those who are doing well but still have these things called “down days.” But what is a “down day?” What are these people talking about? I do not identify with this concept at all. My bipolar disorder don’t contain “down days” it contains days, weeks and months that try to kill me.
I often wear myself out with bipolar disorder. The odd thing about it, is that I don’t know when I’m doing it. I run and run and run and run and do and do and do and do until I’m completely worn out and then the next day, inevitably, I just collapse into a pile of fatigue. But while I’m running and doing I don’t know that I’m wearing myself out. Everything feels fine, until it doesn’t. It’s seemingly impossible to know when I’m wearing myself out with bipolar disorder.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about 18 years ago and I can honestly say, that being diagnosed with bipolar disorder feels like a death. It may not feel like it immediately, but, over time, mourning a death is what being diagnosed with bipolar disorder feels like.
I have heard that being bipolar is “fashionable.” I have heard that “all the kids are doing it.” I have heard that it’s a fashionable, fad diagnosis. I have heard that some even want to be called bipolar because of its association with creativity. But, seriously, is this a real thing? Is it fashionable to be bipolar?
Bipolar quality of life has been measured in many ways but, in my experience, doctors tend to look at it like this: you can make your rent, you eat, you bathe – good enough.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I consider this extremely insulting. I mean, if doctors only measured their own quality of life in that way I think they would find that they had no “quality of life” at all. They really should understand that there is so much more to life than merely eating, showering and paying your rent.
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.