bipolar disorder

Parties and the Cost of Bipolar Depression

→ September 8, 2014 - 32 Comments

Parties and the Cost of Bipolar Depression

Today is the day I did not go to my friend’s bachelorette party. Today is the day I cried uncontrollably about not going to my friend’s bachelorette party.

Do you know what hell is to me? One version of hell is being at a party with a bunch of beautiful people that I don’t know having to make inane conversation and pretend to be thrilled to be there. Anhedonia isn’t thrilled to be anywhere.

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Bipolar Treatment Fatigue

→ September 1, 2014 - 47 Comments

Bipolar Treatment Fatigue

In the world of chronic illness there is a concept of “caregiver fatigue.” This is where caregivers of people with chronic illness get burned out because they just spend so much time and effort caring for another person. This is a real thing and a real problem.

I would suggest there is also such as thing as “bipolar treatment fatigue.” Bipolar treatment fatigue is when a patient with bipolar disorder becomes burned out because of all the time and effort it takes to fight the bipolar disorder. I think this is a real thing and a real problem.

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Bipolar Is about Physical Pain Too

→ August 19, 2014 - 44 Comments

Bipolar Is about Physical Pain Too

I was describing the physical pain of bipolar disorder to a friend of mine and she acted surprised. She said, with great shock, “It physically hurts?”

Yes, bipolar disorder is about physical pain as much as it is about mental anguish.

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Depression: “I’m Happy for You” When You Can’t Feel Happy

→ August 11, 2014 - 14 Comments

Depression: “I’m Happy for You” When You Can’t Feel Happy

A few years ago a good friend of mind got married. She was a beautiful bride. I thought she looked like she just walked out of a bridal magazine. And she was an extremely happy bride too. I think it couldn’t have been a better day and situation for her.

I was one of her bridesmaids. This was extremely hard on me as, at the time, I was in a major depression and I couldn’t feel happiness. I was anhedonic. I couldn’t feel positive emotions of any sort. And to see my radiant friend be deliriously happy and get married to a wonderful man was just too much for me. It made my depression so much worse. I just couldn’t feel happy for her because I couldn’t feel happy at all. All I felt was incredibly upset for me.

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Why Being Hard on Myself is Necessary for Bipolar Functioning

→ August 4, 2014 - 50 Comments

Why Being Hard on Myself is Necessary for Bipolar Functioning

“Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

I’ve heard this statement my whole life, I think. I’ve always been driven. I was driven at school when I was young, I was driven at university and I’ve been driven in the work force. I have never been “easy” on myself. I’ve been mostly perfectionistic. No matter how unachievable perfection is, it always seems to be what drives me, regardless.

But, what I’ve found, is that being hard on myself is required in bipolar disorder in order to succeed. Hugging my inner child and being gentle isn’t the kind of thing that gets me out of bed in the morning when all I want to do is hide under the covers. No; ripping the covers from my body and kicking myself is the only thing that does. I have to be hard on myself or I would just never stand up straight and function.

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Bipolar – I’ve Forgotten What It Is to Be Normal

→ July 30, 2014 - 56 Comments

Bipolar – I’ve Forgotten What It Is to Be Normal

I was having a very annoyed/angry day. This was annoying me and then that was pissing me off. And I realized this was a thread through my day and thought to myself, “Yup, I have days like that. It’s a bipolar thing.” And then I wondered, “Do normal people have days where they’re mad at everything?”

And then I realized I had no idea. I have no idea if normal people have irrationally angry days. I’ve forgotten what it is to be normal.

[And before someone has a hissy fit because I’m saying that people with bipolar disorder aren’t normal, please read the linked article.]

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Bipolar Symptom Psychomotor Agitation, Mixed Moods and Suicide

→ July 21, 2014 - 28 Comments

Bipolar Symptom Psychomotor Agitation, Mixed Moods and Suicide

Last year, I wrote an article on psychomotor agitation at HealthyPlace. Psychomotor agitation (or retardation) is a symptom of bipolar (and unipolar) depression as well as hypomania/mania and very little information about it is available (in spite of the fact that it is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness (DSM-5)).

Most definitions for psychomotor agitation include the words, “inner restlessness.” I don’t know about you, but “inner restlessness” reminds me of a 22-year-old who can’t find himself and so is backpacking across the country. It really doesn’t sound like a mental illness symptom – let alone like a serious one.

But, as it turns out, psychomotor agitation is serious, highly indicative of a bipolar mixed episode and correlated with suicidal acts.

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Improving Bipolar – How Do I Know What I’m Doing Right?

→ July 15, 2014 - 6 Comments

Improving Bipolar – How Do I Know What I’m Doing Right?

Last time I wrote about missing the signs of improving bipolar disorder but today’s question is, if your bipolar is improving, how do you know what you’re doing right that’s driving that improvement? In my case, the answer to that question was easy – it was a bipolar medication change. But things are not always so simple.

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How do you Know if Your Bipolar is Improving?

→ July 14, 2014 - 32 Comments

How do you Know if Your Bipolar is Improving?

It’s easy to tell when your bipolar is getting worse. At least, it sure the heck is for me. I spend my nights crying and trying desperately not to kill myself. It’s a notable thing that you really wouldn’t miss.

But how do you know if your bipolar is improving? Is it actually possible that you might miss the signs of your bipolar getting better?

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I Hate “Having Fun”

→ June 23, 2014 - 32 Comments

I Hate “Having Fun”

You know what I hate? I hate the concept of “having fun.” I hate the pressure to “have fun.” I hate the notion that so much of what we do is to “have fun.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge others their fun. They should have as much of it as they like. But for me, trying to have fun is just a big chore (or a big lie).

So I’m here, in Parma, Italy and I’m supposed to be chill-axing and “having fun.” Italy is a fun place, after all. All you need to do is stumble from gelato stand to pizza bar to have a good time.

But here’s the thing: I don’t have fun.

I don’t. I’m depressed. I’m anhedonic. I’m apathetic. I don’t have fun. I just don’t.

It’s not that I don’t want it, or that I wouldn’t have it if I could, it’s just that I can’t.

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Depression – Worse Than Sadness, Apathy

→ June 17, 2014 - 37 Comments

Depression – Worse Than Sadness, Apathy

In my life depression is the worst thing in the world. Depression takes away everything from me. It tends to destroy love, life, work, everything.

And while this is due to the symptoms of depression like, “depressed mood,” it’s also due to something not mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM, the manual that defines mental illnesses) – apathy. Apathy basically means that you don’t care about anything. And when you do a “care-ectcomy” on a life, it makes it seem not worth living at all.

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You Are Not Your Bipolar Thoughts

→ June 2, 2014 - 21 Comments

You Are Not Your Bipolar Thoughts

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Recently, a commenter was here and she was frustrated because her doctor told her to separate herself from her bipolar thoughts. And the commenter remarked,

How am I supposed to separate myself from my thoughts? I AM MY THOUGHTS. Everything I do, everything I say, everything I am, started with a thought.

This is true and it isn’t. I understand this commenter’s frustration and I understand how illogical it seems to suggest that you can separate yourself from your thoughts. After all, don’t you have to think about the separation? And how does that work, exactly?

What this commenter’s doctor failed to mention is probably the most confusing part of any mental illness. The mentally ill thoughts come from the brain while the ability to separate from those bipolar thoughts come from your mind. And you brain and your mind are not the same thing.

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