Tag Archives: Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, Be Patient, Dears

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Ever feel like you have a Jekyl and Hyde thing going on? I did but didn’t notice it as a problem until years after it began, and then finding the correct meds and behavioral therapy was like pulling teeth.

I’ve finally found the “cocktail” that works for me. Guess how long it took? TEN YEARS! No kidding. I was first diagnosed with depression, then Major Depressive Disorder, then Bipolar, then back to depression with ADHD. Finally, my new doctor said she wanted to treat me for Bipolar 2. I began Abilify (generic) and have been smooth sailing from that point on. Thanks goodness for perserverence. I just KNEW something had to work at some point.

These days, I am happy (but not too much) LOL. I’m not thinking that suicide is the best answer for me as I did for many years. I’ve also got energy again! Blessed be! It’s been gone for so long. Feels good to want to “do” things again.

The Take Away from this blog post is this: NEVER ever give up on finding what might make you feel like yourself again. It’s trial and error. It’s changing doctors multiple times. It’s being patient enough to keep your head up and your courage up even more.

If you or a loved one might have the following symptoms, please see your doctor and start feeling better! ((hugs to you)). See the Mayo Clinic’s information on Bipolar Disorder here:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/dxc-20307970

The “Highs” (mania). Symptoms of a manic episode may include –

  • Feelings of euphoria, abnormal excitement, or elevated mood

  • Talking very rapidly or excessively

  • Needing less sleep than normal, yet still having plenty of energy

  • Feeling agitated, irritable, hyper, anxious, or easily distracted

  • Engaging in risky behavior such as lavish spending, impulsive sexual encounters, or ill-advised business decisions

The “Lows” (depression). Symptoms of a depressive episode (bipolar depression) may include –

  • No interest in activities you once enjoyed

  • Loss of energy and feeling apathetic

  • Difficulty sleeping—either sleeping too much or not at all

  • Thoughts of suicide, if depression is severe enough

Depression – What a Difference a Day Makes

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I’ve been reading over past blog posts. Years ago, depression took over my life. I was also in a very unhappy, dysfunctional relationship that I thought was “ok.”

I went through almost eight years of depression. At times, I drank too much wine and smoked too many cigarettes. At times, I partied with new “friends” too much. It’s not a period of my life I am proud of.

However, I now see ( in hindsight) that I needed to go through those years to learn important lessons.

Just six months ago, I met a man like I’d not met before. He was eight years my senior and had a similar sense of humor as I. We hit it off from date one. Six months later, we were married! Yes, I’m a newlywed at age 51.

I am no longer wracked with stress-induced tight muscles all over my body. I no longer have frequent headaches. I am not a prisoner of my bed, and I made many new friends and am part of  many new activities. My new spouse helped change my circumstances in life. He gives me tenderness, kindness, security, affection, and loving words.

I no longer fight the deep depression I once did. I do still take my generic Zoloft, though. I’m in perimenopause and fight hormone highs and lows. Now, to treat that!

Have faith, friends. It may look like your on you’re last leg – with no other choices in sight. Then, BOOM! Life changes 180 degrees. I’m living proof. Seven months ago, I prayed I’d not wake up each morning. Today, I love waking to a loving smile, dinners with friends, volunteer work, and traveling! I love my new life.

What a difference a day makes. My day was March 22, 2015. 😉

Back Into the Light

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Do you believe one small candle flame can grow until one would need sunglasses to view the illumination?

I do – because I am living it – I’m taking one thankful step at a time.

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I have posts on this blog that showed me in some very dark periods of my life. There are writings of sadness, hopelessness, suicide, and any other feeling of desperation one may experience in a time of a valley in life. Yet, I have been coming out of it – becoming healthy once again, and it feels so good. In the beginning, I had to crawl and claw my way forward through muck. However, the longer/further I persisted, the easier it became. Now I’m on my feet, at a slow but steady pace and smiling about it.

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Each week (sometimes each day) that passes, I feel a renewed sense of “myself.” I’m no longer in a dark tunnel searching but finding nothing besides curved walls and an echo. I’m completely off antidepressants (my doctors thought I’d developed Bipolar Disorder in late 2007) and half off mood stabilizer. Yes, it’s fully under a doctor’s supervision. Guess what? I feel sooooo much better off those meds! I was completely disorganized and having great troubles in college (I’m a 48-yr old student), and my mind was extremely foggy when it came to decision-making. I made some awful decisions over the last five years. The meds didn’t end up helping but harming.

However, that little flame inside kept reminding me that I need to stay alive and stay fighting kept flickering, moving, and showing me its presence. So, I moved from complete blackness 10 months ago to a much brighter and energetic and happy place today.

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I am dreaming of going fishing with a sandwich and thermos of coffee. I want to spend the next mild and sunny day outdoors, taking in the beauty of the simple yet highly complex natural surroundings of trees and water. The photo above is how I’m feeling at present. I’m not in the full sunshine of summer but I’m sure not in the dark room with only a candle anymore. I just wouldn’t give up.

Where do I see myself in a month? Two months?

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Here ~ in fully open skies, naked to everything around me ~ breezes, new experiences, a future.

What to do With Myself?

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I’m trying to figure out what to do with myself. I have trouble looking into my eyes in a mirror. I tried self-talk . . . maybe regain self-worth. That didn’t work out well. Why can’t I look myself in the eyes?

I’m coming out of an initial “bout” of bipolar 2. I woke up and was full of energy, ideas, and plans. The mania began. I had no idea.
A year and a half later, I fell into deep depression and stayed there for another three years. Yes, really.

Being treated for depression only doesn’t work if you have a bipolar disorder. Ya need a mood stabilizer as well. Didn’t know I had this disorder, so I was spinning in place. Who’d have thought that initial period of weight-loss, extreme exercise, pricey vacations, thoughtless spending, job-hopping, college-flunking, divorcing-a-25-year-husband, taking up with a stranger, drinking, smoking, and other energy-filled activities was actually mania?!

I’m trying to figure out what to do with myself. The old mind is finally coming out of the clouds . . . the fog that encircled my reality. Now I want to know what my reality is. All of the self-evaluation is exhausting, but I see progress in ridding myself of self-hatred.

My mind feels as though it has been shaken and now has small fissures from the traumatic event. The cracks don’t completely heal, however. I’ll be “full o’ fissures” from now on. The injustice makes me mad. In fact, lots of things make me fricking mad. I’ve been over the facts a million times. They don’t change.

I’m trying to figure out what to do with myself.

Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn . . .

 

What do these people have in common?

Vincent Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain, Rosemary Clooney, Patricia Cornwell,

Robert Downey, Jr., Richard Dreyfuss, Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher, Connie

 Francis, Mel Gibson, Ernest Hemingway, Vivien Leigh, Demi Lovato,

 Kristy McNicol, Florence Nightingale, Jane Pauley, Edgar Allen Poe,

Jackson Pollock, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Sidney Sheldon, Jean

 Claude Van Damme, Virginia Woolf, and Catherine Zeta Jones.

All “-Accompanied by verifiable source citations associating them with bipolar disorder  (formerly known as “manic depression”), either based on their own public statements or (in the case of dead people only) reported contemporary or posthumous diagnoses of bipolar disorder.” (Wikipedia)

“It is often suggested that genius (or, at least, creative talent) and mental disorder (specifically, the mania and hypomania of bipolar disorder) is linked.” (Wikipedia)

Sooo, do we run with it and say, “I knew I was a creative genius!” or will we pity ourselves right into a pathetic un-life. I call it an un-life because untreated or improperly treated bipolar disorder is no way to live. It’s not “living” at all.

C’mon, fellow fighters, gather your wits, gather your support system (or find one), and get to a really good psychiatrist and also a counselor (two different professionals). Don’t stop trying until you find the magic mix of meds! You WILL feel better, loves!

XO

❤ Lea

Does Bipolar Disorder Run in the Family?

A note of interest is this: my father was rumored to have this disorder. He killed himself at age 44. My first manic episode (and the one that changed everything in my life) was at age 44.  ~Irony~

This informative article is written by Marcia Purse, Health Guide for Healthcentral.com. Thank you sharing information, Ms. Purse

Does Bipolar Disorder Run in the Family?

Marcia Purse
By Marcia Purse, Health GuideSunday, March 11, 2012

There’s no doubt that there is a genetic component to the risk of developing mental illnesses. Several studies have confirmed this. It’s been found that people with unipolar depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are highly likely to have siblings, half-siblings and children to have one of these disorders or even have symptoms of more than one.

Studies of identical twins show that if one twin has bipolar, the other has very high risk of developing bipolar as well. There is also an increased risk within fraternal twins, but it is much lower than for identical twins.

What about more remote relationships? There are no studies, but here’s a look at a family where four cousins are all diagnosed with bipolar disorder (names changed to protect privacy).

One Family’s True Story

My friend Janet, who has bipolar disorder, also has three cousins on her mother’s side with bipolar. Linda and Stacey are the children of an uncle and Jeff the child of an aunt.

Janet doesn’t know everything about the family history, but was curious enough to put together what she does know in the chart below.

Family Bipolar Chart

As you can see, the only known factor the four cousins have in common is Janet’s maternal great-grandfather, who was diagnosed with “melancholia” (an old term for depression) and committed suicide.

Janet herself, the only one who had childhood bipolar symptoms, also has a history of mental illness on her father’s side.

Is this a stretch? I don’t believe so. Even though all four cousins also have siblings with no known signs of mental illness, it seems more than a coincidence that the four all have bipolar disorder.

Sources: McGuffin, P, et al. The heritablity of bipolar affective disorder and the genetic relationship to unipolar depression.  Archives of General Psychiatry. 2003 May;60(5): 497-502.

Lichenstein, P, et al. Common genetic determinants of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in Swedish families: a population-based study. The Lancet. 17 Jan 2009. 373(9659) 234-239.

Edvardsen, J, et al. Heritability of bipolar spectrum disorders. Unity or hetergenity? Journal of Affective Disorders. March 2008. 106(3) 229-240.

Is Bipolar I Worse Than Bipolar II?

The following article, in its entirety is by Marcia Purse, Health Guide for Healthcentral.com. Ms. Purse is an informative writer. I hope you enjoy.

 

Is Bipolar I  Worse Than Bipolar II?

Marcia Purse
Health GuideWednesday, March 28, 2012

People tend to think of Bipolar I as being “worse” than Bipolar II. In discussions about this, people diagnosed with Bipolar I have sometimes said, “I wish I only had Bipolar II.”

 

I’m not here to tell you people with BP I don’t have a rough time – they do. But what those who said they wished they had BP II, and the public in general, don’t realize is that Bipolar II is profoundly different from Bipolar I.

 

If you have ever had soaring mania, perhaps with hallucinations or delusions; if your mania has ever been so out of control that you had to be hospitalized; indeed, if you’ve ever had a manic episode at all, you have Bipolar I Disorder. Mania and the hypomania of Bipolar II and Cyclothymia (also known as Bipolar III) share some characteristics, but the severity of mania makes a great deal of difference. (See Mania vs. Hypomania)

 

But people who have Bipolar II have a miserable time at the opposite pole: depression. In general, these people have far more depressive than hypomanic episodes. Those depressive episodes last longer and are more frequent than in people with BP I. Again, this isn’t to say that people with BP I can’t have very bad depressive episodes. They just aren’t likely to have them as frequently, or for as long as, people with BP II.

 

And there is one more key difference between the two disorders – the one that sometimes makes me wish I had Bipolar I, believe it or not. That is the fact that people with BP II are very likely to feel at least slightly depressed almost all the time that they aren’t hypomanic.

 

It’s true for me. In fact, my psychiatrist told me that on the 1-10 scale he uses for rating mood, 6 is normal, and most of his patients with BP II hardly ever get above 5 (having to push yourself some), and 4 (having to push yourself often) is more common.

 

That’s where I live most of the time – between 4 and 5, with days I’d rate as 3 at least twice a week. And at those levels, my symptoms don’t even qualify as a diagnosable depressive episode! Yet I’m struggling all the time to a greater or lesser degree. “Up” periods generally don’t last for more than a few hours.

 

So don’t let anybody tell you that because you have Bipolar II Disorder you “aren’t that sick.” Both Bipolar I and Bipolar II are serious disorders. It’s just important to understand that they are so different that they can’t be compared.

 

Sources:

Mantere, O., et al. (2008). Differences in outcome of dsm-iv bipolar i and ii disorders. Bipolar Disorders, 10(3), 413-25. Abstract retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18402629

 

Maina, G., et al. (2007). Health-related quality of life in euthymic bipolar disorder patients: differences between bipolar i and ii subtypes. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68(2), 207-12. Abstract retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17335318

I Left My Bed ~

 

Ladies and Gents,

If you follow this blog at all (which almost 300 of you did yesterday), you are aware that I am in the midst of meds change because my Psych says I have Bipolar 2. I’ve never been a pill popper, so I dislike thinking I have to take medications every day. The difference must be in the mood stabilizer I was given. Never had that before. Yesterday was a tragedy of mood. Today, I LEFT MY BED!  I know, it’s next to nothing in the scheme of life, but I was completely non-functioning for quite a while.

My morning:

I found my Jeep parked where I’d left it two days ago, I slipped in, and started her up. The outside air blew on me from the vents. What a nice day. Since the storms that passed through, the air is cooler. It didn’t strike me to lower my car windows, though. I was busy thinking about mailing two cards and getting some lunch (and marveling that I was OUT).

After my errands, I left the burger joint with my window down. A cool breeze combined with warm sunshine on my arm. I grabbed a clippee from the cup holder and pinned my long hair to the back of my head. Let the wind blow! I had not been outside of my home in days, and it felt like weeks. I’d found no joy in anything for a very long time. Now, I was loving the feeling of the wind and sun. Simple things mean so much to me right now. I had a huge smile on my face the entire ride home. I remembered being on a carvinal ride. It was that good.

I wanted to cry – not as usual, with tears of misery, but tears of thankfulness that perhaps this med is actually working for me. I hate counting my chickens before they are hatched, though. So, I’ll enjoy today and the hope it brings.

Oh, and I deep-cleaned my kitchen. Don’t faint, Mama. Poor Jerry has been cleaning the house for over a month AFTER he gets home from a long day at work.

I think I’ll go vacuum. 😀  (who IS this woman in my body?)

 

When I Run Out of Money, I Run Out of Time

This was me – happy

 

It has been 4 1/2 years of madness. Something clicked, and I left my home and marriage of 25 years, and in a manic state, I changed every single thing I could.

At the time, I didn’t see it as mania. I thought I had a “little breakdown” because my first child left home. Now, I’m on day 2 of treatment for Bipolar-2. I’ve been on Xanax and antidepressants for the other 4 1/2 years. Nothing really “worked,” and every day has been an uphill climb.

I have been severely depressed for months now. I had to quit school, I can’t work, I don’t even leave my bed. Some days I cry. Some days I am completely apathetic. I find joy in nothing. I lie to my family about it. I do love my family and grandchildren. I just have no reason for existing, other than to not hurt my loved ones with my death.

No, I’m not suicidal. Yes, I wish things were different in my life. I wish I had a lifetime supply of money to live on, because I can’t draw anything to speak of from Social Security. I’m on a carousel, trying to enjoy the music and the ride, but knowing it will soon end. Only, I am not really enjoying the colors, sounds, and smiling faces around me. I fake a smile, but my eyes show honesty.

I hurt. My mind makes my body hurt. I sit here crying, typing, wondering why I ended up this way at 48 when all I ever did was try to make my husband and children happy and healthy.

My daddy had this evil disorder, too. Right before his suicide in 1987, he saw a counselor (once) who said he’d have to say, after one visit, that daddy likely had bipolar. Not only did the man make my childhood a nightmare, he left behind more a legacy of pain. He’s not really gone at all.

So, I type. Writing is my only outlet. The most effective method of expressing myself. It always has been – even as a child, an only child. God, a prevailing sense of loneliness has been my shadow for a very long time.

I live now until my savings runs out. When I run out of money, I run out of time.

 

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a life-changing disorder. If you or a loved one suffers from it, you are not alone. Approximately 17.4 million Americans suffer with Bipolar. The primary symptoms of the disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings. The various types of bipolar disorder range from mild to severe. (thanks to WebMD for information in this post)

The following youtube video is explicit and includes blood. Please use your own discretion as to whether to view.   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn2fC6N0eWw&feature=related 

There are several types of bipolar disorder; all involve episodes of depression and mania to a degree. They include bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, mixed bipolar, and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.

Bipolar 1 –

Mania symptoms may include excessive happiness, excitement, irritability, restlessness, increased energy, less need for sleep, racing thoughts, high sex drive, and a tendency to make grand and unattainable plans.

Depression symptoms may include sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of energy, uncontrollable crying, change in appetite causing weight loss or gain, increased need for sleep, difficulty making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide.

Types

There are several types of bipolar disorder; all involve episodes of depression and mania to a degree. They include bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, mixed bipolar, and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.

Bipolar 1-

A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.

Bipolar 2-

Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time. However, in bipolar II disorder, the “up” moods never reach full-on mania.

Rapid Cycling-

In rapid cycling, a person with bipolar disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year. About 10% to 20% of people with bipolar disorder have rapid cycling.

Mixed Bipolar-

In most forms of bipolar disorder, moods alternate between elevated and depressed over time. But with mixed bipolar disorder, a person experiences both mania and depression simultaneously or in rapid sequence.

Cyclothymia-

Cyclothymia (cyclothymic disorder) is a relatively mild mood disorder. People with cyclothymic disorder have milder symptoms than in full-blown bipolar disorder.

Famous Bipolars are these: Jane Pauley, Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher, Linda Hamilton (Terminator films), Jean- Claude VanDamme, Mel Gibson, Jackson Pollock, Nina Simone, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Virginia Woolf, and more.

Bipolar Disorder Complications-

Self-injury, often referred to as cutting, self-mutilation, or self-harm, is an injurious attempt to cope with overpowering negative emotions, such as extreme anger, anxiety, and frustration. It is usually repetitive, not a one-time act. Suicidal thoughts (wishes) also run rampant.

When a person’s illness follows the classic pattern, diagnosing bipolar disorder is relatively easy. But bipolar disorder can be sneaky. Symptoms can defy the expected manic-depressive sequence.

Emergencies & Suicide Prevention-

Suicide is a very real risk for people with bipolar disorder, whether they’re in a manic or depressive episode — 10%-15% of people with bipolar disorder kill themselves. But treatment greatly lowers the risk.

If you think you suffer from any type of mental disorder, please seek medical help. You CAN feel better! (I am proof)

XO