From time to time, even I, mental health writer and speaker, have forgotten that bipolar disorder is a physical illness. Well, I don’t forget, exactly, but I have acted like it wasn’t physical with my actions in my own life. But how could I act like mental illness (which I even call brain disorders) isn’t physical? Why would I ever forget that bipolar disorder is a physical illness?
Do you ever feel like people discount your opinion because you have bipolar? Have you ever had the experience where someone simply steamrolls over what you’re saying because they feel it’s not important because you have bipolar? Once someone found out you had bipolar, did they suddenly decide what you said didn’t matter? Have you found that people discount opinions of those with bipolar?
I was walking through the drug store today and I saw a great book for young children struggling with understanding of moods. It’s called The Many Moods of Me Journal by Klutz. Not only does it encourage the journalling of a young person’s mood but it also teaches the child about feelings and moods. I think this is perfect, age-appropriate information for children who need to understand that moods vary and can be extreme in cases of mental illnesses like bipolar disorder. I think this would be a perfect teaching tool for teaching a young child about bipolar disorder and educating them about their own moods too.
After a stressful day, I’m hypomanic and it brings to mind my self-help tips for how to calm down a bipolar hypomania. These tricks might not be available or work for everyone, but here’s what I do to calm down my hypomania.
I need a break from bipolar. Like, seriously. You know when people say they need a vacation? These people have no idea what it really is to need a vacation. When you have a chronic illness, you suddenly understand what real, daily pressure is and how much you need to get away from it – if only you could. I wish I could get a break from bipolar.
My father died Sunday at 8:10 a.m.. He was 69 years old.
I have bipolar disorder and I am grieving. I started grieving the second I heard my mother’s voice on the phone. She has a death tone. I knew by her hello and her pause that this was a death notification call. We all knew it was coming.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 17 years ago and, yet, I still can’t accept the fact that bipolar makes me sick on a daily basis. When the bipolar symptoms come, my natural inclination is to deny them, or at least deny that they are caused by a brain illness. I want to think to myself that I’m just having a bad day or I didn’t sleep well last night or I’m coming down with something. I want to think that something normal and transient is causing my symptoms. I don’t want to think it’s something out of my control and long-lasting. Even with all my experience, my mind still doesn’t want to accept that my bipolar is the thing making me sick.
I have heard many times that people don’t want to get diagnosed because they don’t want the label “bipolar” put on them as if “bipolar,” in of itself, is pejorative, as if, somehow, some doctor writing a medical diagnosis on a chart is going to change their whole futures. Well, I have bipolar disorder; I have the “label” and everyone in my life knows it. I see no need to avoid the label of bipolar if, indeed, that is an accurate diagnosis for you.
If you search the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, you will see that anger is not a symptom of bipolar disorder. If you search the International Classification of Diseases manual (maintained by the World Health Organization) you will see that anger is not a symptom of bipolar disorder. It doesn’t appear to be recognized, or even proposed, that a symptom of bipolar disorder is anger.
The trouble with this seems to be that many people do experience anger, irritation and aggression as symptoms of their bipolar disorder. I am one of those people.
As I wrote about on HealthyPlace this week, right now, I’m recovering from a depression after a hypomania. It’s been 11 days and I haven’t returned to my (admittedly, rather sucky) baseline. My point in that piece was that the depression after a hypomania is so much worse than an average depression. My point here, though, is that the time it takes to recover from a depression after a hypomania never passes quickly enough and I tend to beat myself up about it.
I’ve often pondered whether bipolar is caused by nature or nurture and even researchers constantly examine the age-old question. The data largely shows that it’s often a mixture of both. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 16. My psychiatrist added anger control problems and psychotic features to my diagnosis at age 17. I love to ponder what part of my bipolar is nature, what’s nurture and what’s me?
Is there really a question as to when to give in and let someone commit suicide? According to some commenters and a recent email I received, there sure is.
This morning, I received an email saying that I was “promoting torture” by telling people not to commit suicide. According to the emailer:
I’m not clear on why this blog makes people feel that ending one’s suffering is not an option…and in fact is a wrong thing to do….?
Don’t we all have choices? If we’ve done all we can and life is absolute hell, then why convince people to continue to live such lives?!
So the question is, is there really a time when you should give in and just let someone commit suicide?