Tag Archives: bipolar

The Sofa, My Best Friend

sofa

Since turning 55, I not only feel mentally challenged but I am definitely physically challenged, as well. The mental part is having to deal with being halfway to 60! I can hardly believe that. I also deal with Bipolar but I’m medicated and it’s not much of a problem until something in life goes wrong. Then, I go from “normal” to deep depression in about sixty seconds.

The sofa became my best friend a few months ago when I began feeling marked fatigue and apathy because of it. I take meds for the Bipolar and for blood pressure and for insomnia. I take vitamins and iron (I’ve been anemic, too). It’s getting old.

It’s like turning 55 turned my health upside down in a way. I have “female issues” to deal with that will likely have me in the doctor’s office often over the next few months. Again, It’s getting old.

My sofa is soft and leather. It’s a comforting dark brown and sinks when I lay in it. It’s a place I can hang out in without being in bed. I know my poor husband is tired of seeing me like this but it’s “supposed” to be over soon. We’ll see. I doubt anything that promises happiness these days. I can’t quite achieve that level of mood.

I write this not to bring my readers down but to show you that you are very blessed if you are healthy. My husband has things worse than I do. He fights MS every day. Pain, aches, burning nerve endings, fatigue, and he takes lots of meds.

I really do need to stop griping and get my behind off of this sofa and into a project – like de-cluttering the office. But, as I type, I’m on my tummy on my sofa – my best friend. The one who cradles me and tells me I can take refuge in him for this short while in my life.

I think when I finish blogging, I’ll mosey into the office and see about donating some of my many books to a thrift store.

I wish you all blessings of health and happiness! I’d appreciate your prayers, too.

Medications and Weight Loss

pic4

How is my new eating plan going, you ask? Please don’t ask right now.

My doc changed then increased my antidepressant med a few weeks ago. I’ve been dealing with sleepiness during the day. I’ve tried taking this drug (generic Effexor) at night instead but to no avail – I still get daytime sleepiness.

I figure it will pass. It almost did – until the doc increased the dosage a few days ago.

Having Bipolar means I’m on an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer, both. They work together to make me feel much better and more “normal.”

It hasn’t been good for my weight loss, though. I gained back what I’d lost and gained about 6 more pounds. Ugh!!

I’ll chalk it up to meds change and not beat myself up about it.

I’ve been eating well, however. I love veggies, fruits, and lean meats. I made brown rice last night with roasted carrots and a small, lean cut of beef. I still find myself hungry much more often than usual. It’s infuriating. I’ve learned to grab grapes for a quick snack or other fruit.

Do you take meds that mess with your weight or that may cause other health issues for you? It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

questionmark

I need to go and exercise but am so freaking sleepy I wonder if I can raise my head from this couch pillow. I will push myself . . . see where it gets me. It will either give me energy or I’ll be ready for burial. LOL!

Love y’all!

Is it Depression or Bipolar?

 

Bipolar-disorder

Thanks to Kitt O’Malley, who posted this before me. And thanks to Michael Pipich for the wonderful information.

Are You Just Depressed or Is It the Onset of Bipolar Disorder?

Michael G. Pipich, MS, LMFT

About two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed with other mental health problems before bipolar is discovered.[1] Among those individuals, a significant majority are given a diagnosis of major depression. Most people with a major depressive disorder that is unrelated to bipolar disorder (typically known as non-bipolar depression or unipolar depression) can be treated safely and effectively with a combination of antidepressant medications and psychotherapy. But when people with undetected bipolar are treated this way, a host of mental health problems can occur, making the underlying bipolar condition much worse.

It’s understandable that someone may not immediately be given the bipolar diagnosis if their first mood swing begins in a depression mood zone. This seems particularly true of people who have bipolar II disorder. And sometimes, there may be more than one depressive episode before a manic or hypomanic episode happens in a person with bipolar.

If you’re wondering about whether you may have depression or the beginning of bipolar, there are some keys to keep in mind when seeking treatment.

First of all, when assessing if your depression is a part of bipolar, know that bipolar disorder has distinct genetic foundations. In other words, it runs in families and is passed through family genes. So if you suspect that any family members may have had bipolar disorder, it’s important to inform your doctor or therapist when entering treatment. If the information is available, a thorough family mental health history can really support a proper bipolar diagnosis. Unfortunately, such information isn’t always asked for, so be prepared to volunteer all that you know during an evaluation or treatment session.

Next, your personal history of mood swings should be explored. If you’ve had severe ups and downs during childhood or adolescence, these may be more than the common tumult of growing up. They may instead be early expressions of bipolar disorder. It’s especially important to review periods of hyperactivity, bouts of unexplained rage, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts or actions that could have occurred at any time in life. There certainly may be other explanations for these, such as early life trauma or severe loss and grief experienced during these formative years. But if explosive behaviors or deep depression occurred at different times, especially with little or no provocation, it can point to underlying bipolar disorder.

Usually, most people with bipolar who seek treatment on their own are currently or recently depressed, or are experiencing consequences of untreated bipolar disorder. Any history of mania or hypomania is less obvious, however. And often, bipolar patients will either not understand manic symptoms or will avoid discussion about them. If you have had at least one occurrence in your life of intense euphoria, excitability, unexplained energy and creativity, avoidance of sleep, or impulsive behaviors, inform your treatment professional. But also bear in mind that mania and hypomania may be marked by intense periods of irritability and agitation, know as dysphoria. This is in contrast to the euphoria that most people think about with bipolar mania. Often a dysphoric type of manic or hypomanic episode can be mistaken for the kind of agitation seen in major depression. This can mislead the course of treatment to focus only on depression, while missing the full bipolar condition.

This brings us to the most important part of knowing whether you have depression or bipolar onset. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition), if a patient is given an antidepressant medication, and it produces manic symptoms, the person is then diagnosed with bipolar disorder.[2] While this is a very clear indication of bipolar, how the mania surfaces in the individual may take different forms. For example, a person in a depression mood zone can improve early in the treatment, and as a result, may not show manic symptoms right away. Any slight improvement may provide a hopeful sign that treatment is working, but when the person starts to get worse because of emerging mania—especially if it’s dysphoric—the unwitting response may be to apply more antidepressant medication. Now we have some real problems.

So, if at some point in your treatment, an antidepressant medication makes you feel more agitated, more irritable, more aggressive, or you start to experience hyperactivity or greater impulsivity, tell your treatment professional right away. This could be the start of a manic episode that is revealing a previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Even more importantly, any increase in suicidal thoughts or possible psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, should be reported immediately, as these can be life-threatening. Any antidepressants will either likely be eliminated at this point, or possibly paired with a mood stabilizing or antipsychotic drug to keep a lid on mania.

With bipolar finally recognized, bipolar medications can be introduced to decrease manic-type symptoms, while keeping depression in check. Alongside medications, it’s important to have therapy focus on the unique challenges facing people with bipolar disorder. Major depression is frequently considered an acute condition because it often can resolve in time, so medications may be discontinued at some point, along with a shorter overall approach to therapy. But bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. Even though its symptoms can come and go in episodes, the genetic nature of the condition means the bipolar patient will need continuing care through the lifespan.


[1] Hirschfeld R. M., Lewis, L., & Vornik, L. A. (2003). Perceptions and impact of bipolar disorder: How far have we really come? Results of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association 200 survey of individuals with bipolar disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry64(2), 161–174.

[2] American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author, 128-130.


 

Michael G. Pipich, MS, LMFT is a psychotherapist and author of Owning Bipolar: How Patients and Families Can Take Control of Bipolar Disorder, (Citadel Press, Sept 2018). He practices in Denver, Colorado, and can be reached at MichaelPipich.com.

Press Contact: Janet Appel Public Relations
205 West 54 Street, New York, New York 10019
212-258-2413

Bipolar Mixed Episode . . . The Next Morning

tsunami2011B

The hours after a Bipolar Mixed Episode are like watching a scary movie. I keep my hands over my eyes and peek through my fingers. What unintentional damage did I do this time? Who did I reach out to and spill my (very personal) guts to? How many mean and demeaning things did I say to my husband? Did others notice my expression and down-turned eyes when I had to leave the dinner we were attending? If it hits me while I’m in public, I have to find a way out of the people because my mood definitely shows in my face. No playing “just fine” at these times. Many times, I’ll blog. Writing has always been my outlet. Even as a ten year old, I wrote “escape” poetry. I finally took you guys along with me last night during an episode (you lucky people). 😉  Well, today is a new day, and I broke the mood cycle with sleep. Life still isn’t perfect but at least I can deal with things differently today.

Bless you, my readers and subscribers. Have an awesome day ~

sunrise

Join Me in a Bipolar Mixed Episode

bipolar

It’s been a day of hard issues. Please forgive my disjointed organization of thought. I’m taking you with me on a bout with Bipolar Mixed episode. I have depression paired with anxiety at the moment. I feel anger, rage actually. I want to die. Not to threaten it but to actually do the deed. I don’t because of my two kids and my mother. I love them too much to put them through a loss like that, so I’m stuck in this mental illness with no real way out. Meds work most of the time. Not tonight. I feel lonely – like I am ultimately responsible for myself, and I hate that. It’s scary and a lonely place to be. I’ve always been a sheltered child and then a sheltered woman. One of my problems is that I can’t organized my thoughts to keep a job for longer than a year but also can’t receive government aid (as income). It’s a terrible cycle which causes me much anxiety and depression.  Here is how it starts – the bipolar/mania cycle. As I type, the words on the screen are blurry, and I make a lot of spelling errors. I long for the long seep. The end of all of these roller coaster of emotions. Medications can only do so much for me. I’ve dealt with this for nine years. I’m TIRED of fighting with it. I hope I can sleep tonight. I hope when I wake, it’s a happy new day. But I don’t know. I hang in the abyss of a universe with stars blinking brightly, hurting my eyes. I float too closely to the planets. It’s sometimes hard to breathe in this dark vast space. Other times I get lungs full of fresh air. Hope is all I have. It stays somewhere deep in my core, a tiny flame that doesn’t seem to go out even when high winds or heavy rains cover it. I am inwardly thankful for that flame. It promises  another day that might be a good one. One with sunshine on my face and bird songs in my ears.

suicide6

Bipolar Disorder – Need to Know Info!

sad_woman6

 

STABILITY  of moods. That is what the majority of people with Bipolar Disorder seek.

 

(thanks to healthtap.com for the following for questions and answers below)

Dr. William Drescher answers:

What causes bipolar disorder?

Multifactorial So far no one has established a genetic link with bi-polar disorder, and many have tried. It is certainly true that it runs in families, but that can be a result of the family environment. There is a reasonable theory that the manic episodes are a way of combating the depressive feelings and that both are the result of chronic internal stress leading to depletion of neurotransmitters.

What exactly is Bipolar Disorder? One or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy/mood/cognition, with or without 1 or more Depressive episodes. The symptoms are severe enough to interfere with daily functioning or cause significant distress.

 

What are some treatments for bipolar disorder?

Bipolar main treatment is mood stabilizers. Other medications are added depending on presentation, such as anxiety meds, antidepressants, antipsychotics. Also Psychotherapy.

 

Dr. Byron Law-Yone answers:

Can anti-depressants help with bipolar disorder?

Yes but …. They must be used carefully. they can sometimes cause a switch from depression to mania. Mood stabilizer meds are the most important and antidepressants can be added if depression cannot be controlled by mood stabilizers alone.. Some believe that there is no role for antidepressant use in bipolar depression. Talk to your psychiatrist about this very important topic.

 

Dr. William Holmes answers:

My mom has bipolar disorder, so am I likely to get it later?

Possibly If your mother has bipolar disorder you are at a higher risk of having the same problem compared to the general population. At the same time, there is no guarantee that you will have bipolar disorder.

sad_girl6

 

Dr. Bernadette Onuoha answers:

What are some examples that might help me recognize Bipolar Disorder?

Mood swings. Bipolar disorder as the name implies involves highs and lows in mood. Period(s) of depression with at least one episode of mania ie euphoria, insomnia, racing thoughts sexual/financial indiscretions etc.

 

Dr. Neil Liebowitz answers:

How can you tell if you have Bipolar Disorder or just a weird personality?

Level of function. Bipolar disorder is a serious disorder that affects your level of function and has dramatic cycles of energy shifts that last days to months.

 

Dr. Jerold Kreisman answers:

What are some discussions that can help demonstrate to someone that he has Bipolar Disorder?

Ask about how mood changes affect usual routine functions–staying up for days at a time without sleep, not feeling the need to eat, being hypersexual, spending too much, taking on too much responsibility, noting increasing anger and impulsivity.

 

I realize this is, by far, not a complete list of questions/answers about this subject. If you question whether you have a mood disorder, please visit a doctor. Remember . . . only an M. D. can prescribe meds, so an actual psychiatrist is helpful to find. Some only handle medications for patients. Others offer counseling, as well. Meds may be miracle drugs for some. For others, not so much. Counseling has been shown to be helpful, as well. Be proactive, and if you can’t muster the energy to help yourself, ask a loved one to help, but you must be completely honest with him/her about the severity of your symptoms. Don’t waste your life by staying in an abyss of depression or an uncontrollable mania.

Life can be better ~

 

 

 

 

 

LOOK at the Change in Mood in Just 14 Days!

The April 26th post vs the May 10th post look like night and day! Dumb meds.

I know in the long run, they’ll level out and help me. They already have. But, getting there! Ugh!

Thank you for the encouraging words and prayers and the general love you send my way. Your comments and emails are always welcome respites from an otherwise sad day.

XO to you, loves

Suicide: How Can I Help You?

(Photo credit- Wikipedia)

My friend, Becca, wrote an exceptional blog. I copied and pasted it below. Also, here is the direct link to her post! http://moorestorms.com/2012/04/25/suicide-how-can-you-help/

Thank you, Becca!!

According to Suicide Prevention, suicide is among the top 10 causes of death per year. 34,598 deaths are attributed to suicide, 34,598 preventable deaths. That’s 11.3% deaths per 100,000 people. 11 attempted suicides occur per every suicide death. Those statistics are both staggering and disturbing.

Two of the main reasons for suicide is Depression and Bipolar Disorder. You can find symptoms for both of these here Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder.

It’s important to respond to the person with strength and courage. If you are afraid to talk about the topic with them, then you are likely to lose out on your chance to help them. Please realize that suicide is not some flaw in a person’s character, nor are they weak and they are absolutely not cowards. These feelings do not just go away and treatment is necessary.

The symptoms mentioned in the link above, combined together could lead someone to consider suicide. Reminding the person that recovery is possible can be encouraging to the person contemplating their own death. When someone is going through depression, they often use something called “selective memory”. This is where the person only focuses on the negatives in their lives. This is a symptom of their illness and requires attention and treatment.

With treatment the person can find hope to push through this difficult time.

Recognizing the Signs

  • Feelings of despair. The person may talk about their situation as being unbearable or overwhelming. They may express self-doubt, self-blame or guilt for something they have done. The more someone talks about these things, the more they are contemplating suicide.
  • Taking care of personal affairs – For instance, making sure family members will be cared for once they are gone. Taking out life insurance policies, assigning beneficiaries, settling trusts and custody arrangements for their children.
  • Rehearsing their suicide.
  • Discussing certain methods.
  • Talk of suicide come and go in an attempt to build up to the impulsive action.
  • Drugs and alcohol abuse as a way to help them with the impulsive action.
  • Beginning to feel better – with affairs in place, knowing the end is coming soon, most feel better and at peace with their decision.

How can you help someone contemplating suicide:

  • Take them seriously. Do not blow them off and think they are just venting. This is NOT the case. They are reaching out to you for help.
  • Involve others – friends, family members, their psychiatrist, their therapists, the crisis hotline
  • Express your concern – Give concrete evidence that the person is contemplating suicide.
  • Listen closely to the person, hold their hand, hold them close to you and comfort them.
  • Ask direct questions – Try to find out specific details of their plan, determine which method they are considering using.
  • Offer reassurance. Remind them that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Remind them that there is help available to them.
  • Don’t promise confidentiality. A true friend or close family member will seek out help for the person they love, the person that is in crisis.
  • Take all guns, medications and harmful objects and put them some place out of reach. This includes ropes, knives, plastic bags, ect.
  • Don’t leave the person alone until they are in the hands of a trained professional.
  • Express sympathy – Do not play therapist. They don’t want to be told what to do.
  • Talk about it – Talking about suicide does not plant the idea in the person’s head. It lets them know you are there for them and not afraid to talk to them about their concerns. This is a oppurtunity to explore how they are feeling, their thoughts and actions. This can provide you with valuable information to your friend who may be depressed. Take any mention of suicide seriously!
  • Take note to when, where and how the person plans on following through with their suicide.
  • Describe behaviors and events that bother you – How they have changed. This could strike up the conversation enough for them to open up to you about how they are feeling.
  • Work with professionals. Call their pdoc, tdoc, crisis line. Don’t be afraid to call for an ambulance if your friend or family member isn’t willing to go to the hospital voluntarily.
  • Stress how important the person’s life is to you. How devastated you and others would be if they were to take their own life.
  • Be prepared for them to be angry with you. They may feel betrayed, but later may thank you for saving their life.
  • Be supportive – They may feel guilt and shame. Assure them that you understand it’s their illness.
  • Take care of yourself

I have contemplated suicide many times in the past. I can count 2 attempts that didn’t get me the help I needed and numerous threats that have also not gotten me the help I needed. It wasn’t until I reached out on my own before I got any serious help. I urge you not to put someone else in that position. They may feel as though their pleas for help are going unheard and they may act. Do not make yourself wonder what you could have done when all these examples are in front of you.

If someone you know is in crisis, please, reach out to them, offer them support, call the crisis line at

1-800-273-8255. If the person is in serious danger call 911 and have an ambulance sent and them taken to the closest Emergency Room. Once a suicide is completed, there is no turning back.

Until next time…..

Becca ♥

 

Bi-polar Bear

Y’know . . . I’ve been floundering for years, wondering why I wasn’t “myself.” I tried anxiety meds, antidepressnts, and bagan to abuse wine (caught myself there). Nothing was really working. I never felt like myself. Sometimes, I’d feel “okay.” Mostly I was depressed and juset didn’t care about anything. The depression worsened until I didn’t get out of bed for days at a time.

Now, thanks to a talented and observant psychiatrist, I’m on meds used for bipolar patients, and they are working! Today is day 2 for me in feeling NORMAL. I can’t tell you how important that is. I could barely even remember what normal was.

I’ve realized that this disorder isn’t going away. I’ll have to deal with it for the rest of my life. I am still grieving the loss of my health. Y’know?

I see Lithium printed on the side of my med bottle and want to cry. Pus a mood stabilizer? What the crap is that? 2 mg of Xanax just to sleep at night? UGH!!!!!

So, this post is dedicated to the sadly forgotten Care Bear, the Bipolar Bear (see him above). Spread the word, dear blue nut. Spread the word.

(XO. Love y’all.)

 

Feeling Better

I changed my blog theme from Classy Grunge to this more colorful and fun choice. I guess I’m coming out of the depression – finally!

I’m so glad to be up and about, having energy, and looking into the future a bit.

What kinds of things are making you happy right now? Anything you are thankful for? Please share.

A link to a “feel good” song!     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL5O156tWj8

I’ll get this song in my head and can’t get it out!