Tag Archives: mania

Guest Post: Some Words From My Husband

Hey. Man. Have things taken a turn for the worse. God I really lost my motivation. And one of my closest friends is in the hospital for trying to OD on his bipolar meds plus some other stuff. I’ve been an emotional wreck. I can’t even write. I don’t know what’s wrong. And the negative … More Guest Post: Some Words From My Husband

Is Bipolar Disorder for Everyone?

people picI have two main points to make.

The first one is the one that aggravates me and I will tell you that sometimes it upsets people when I talk about it.  I think bipolar disorder is way over diagnosed and glamorized.   When I hear people have bipolar disorder and they once in awhile experience mild depression, I feel that the doctor should not have called it that.  There is bipolar 1 and bipolar 2, but I am not talking about that. I am talking about how there is a difference between someone who gets depressed occasionally and someone who has extreme mood swings where the manias land them in psychiatric wards and the depressions are so low that they often end up in suicide.

What goes along with this and I think diminishes what people with bipolar disorder really endure is how famous people think it is “cool” or say it to draw attention to themselves by saying they have bipolar disorder.  I am not saying that some of them really do have bipolar disorder. I am talking about those who are clueless as to what it really means to have bipolar disorder and basically just say they have it so their names end up in search engines online.  I think this is sad and they should be ashamed of themselves. If they have been actually diagnosed then like I already stated, so many of them probably should not have been.

The second point I want to make in this blog is:  Bipolar Disorder is NOT for everyone.  It takes a special, strong person to live the life of someone with bipolar disorder.  It takes endurance and passion.  It takes a willingness (not chosen) to live a hellish life.  The stigma of the serious mental illness of bipolar disorder makes it even harder and those who are open and honest about it are brave!

50% of those with bipolar disorder have attempted suicide.  Ref1 Bipolar disorder results in 9.2 years reduction in expected life span, and as many as one in five patients with bipolar disorder completes suicide. Ref2   This goes to prove that living life with bipolar disorder is not easy. It is not only difficult, but oftentimes leads to death.

I hope that if you are struggling with bipolar disorder, that you get the help that you need and don’t end up being a statistic. I also hope that you know that you are brave, courageous, strong, and deserve a pat on the back for living this long with this horrible disease.  If you think you might have bipolar disorder, please see a doctor as soon as possible and get the help that you need so that you don’t end up being taken from this world too soon.

So, Is Bipolar Disorder for everyone? NOPE


I have Bipolar Disorder: Am I a Failure?

failureIt is easy to think of yourself as a failure when you are extremely depressed. You get into a slump where you think you are nothing, but your illness. You live secluded from the rest of the world and dig yourself deeper into a hole where you feel worthless and unworthy of happiness. Because of these dark feelings, you are going to feel like a failure. You will feel like you have let your family and friends down and in reality you have let yourself down.

When you are manic, it is sometimes the opposite:  You feel like you are wonderful and can do no wrong. You are positive and think of yourself as successful even if in reality you are not. What are considered delusions of grandeur can make you feel like you are special and nothing can knock you down.

However, when it comes to my manic episodes, I fear them.  The repercussions are horrific and I almost would rather stay depressed rather than get manic and lose friends, spend money I don’t have, do crazy things I later regret, and basically end up in a spiral where even though things look wonderful, in reality they are only temporary.

When I get manic, I feel like a failure. The medicines very rarely work lately.  Therefore, I am left with the hopeless feeling that things are going to spiral out of control quickly and there is nothing I can do.  Before getting manic there are things I should be doing to take care of myself and because I don’t because I am so depressed, when I get manic those things are not set in place. For example, I should be exercising, eating right, taking time to relax, setting time each day to do something alone and enjoyable.  It is easy to not do those things while in the funk of depression. However, if they were already in my routine, it would be easier to keep them going when I enter a manic episode.  Chances are too that if I was doing them all along, they might even prevent me from getting manic in the first place.

Yes- I can feel like a failure when I am depressed or manic. However, all in all, I think people who battle bipolar disorder should not be viewed as failures. We are up against a lot and it is not an easy battle to endure day after day.  So, if you are thinking that you are a failure, you are far from it.  You are strong and can fight these battles.  You can do it. Think positive! Stay true to yourself and know that even when you go through these cycles, you are a person just like anyone else. You make mistakes and that is okay. Learn to accept yourself with all your faults. Take it one step at a time and learn from each episode.  Learn something that will help you through the next manic or depressed phase.

In answer to the question, “I have bipolar disorder, am I a failure?”  I would have to say…

You are NOT a failure. You might feel like you are a failure sometimes, but you are a strong person who has endured a lot and will continue to fight an awful disease and that makes you a winner in my book.

 


Beware I am Manic

bewareAs part of my action plan, I always let the people who care about me know that I am seeing red flags and am concerned that I am getting manic.  This way they can be on the lookout and know that I know that I am in trouble.

Letting others know is important, but that is not the reason I am writing this blog.  It is more of a warning to myself.  These are things I need to remember when I am hypomanic in order not to do things I will regret later and to stay on track so as not to get into a full blown manic episode.

Here is a list of things I try to do when I know I am in the danger zone.

Get enough sleep. I tend to have a lot of energy and sleep does not seem to be needed as much, but it is important to keep a regular sleep schedule as much as I can. I try to start unwinding around 10 and try to be in bed by 11. I don’t always go to sleep, but I need to at least rest my eyes and brain. I will make myself lay there for at least two hours.  If I can’t get to sleep, I take a medicine that helps me sleep. Oftentimes, I don’t sleep very long, but that is to be expected and I have learned to not panic.  As long as I go to sleep, get at least 3-6 hours of sleep and am functional the next day without doing manic-like things, I settle for that.  When I do wake up, I try and stay in bed and read or watch tv or do something that does not stimulate my brain.  When that does not work, and it often does not, I get up and start my day.  I take advantage of all the excess energy that comes along with the mania.

Eating right is important.  It is easy to forget to eat when I am manic.  Since I am overweight, it is tempting to not eat as I just don’t feel hungry. However, this is dangerous.  Making sure you eat several small meals a day is important. Eat healthy as since you don’t have much of an appetite, that will help me lose weight in itself. It helps to prepare meals ahead of time as then when you get busy doing all the things you manage to fit into a day, you can just grab and go.

Exercising is so important as it helps to burn off all the excess energy you have. It also helps to focus your mind on things rather than letting it wander. It is easy to get side tracked when you are manic so if you exercise and make yourself do it for at least 30 minutes it is a time that you can reflect on things you need to do and prioritize.  Exercise is good for anybody at anytime, but when you are manic, it is really important as it grounds you.

Pacing yourself is important.  Setting goals for the day and week by making lists helps with this.  Since oftentimes I am coming out of a deep depression and have not done much in months, it is easy to just go all out and get as much as I can do before I get depressed again. This, I have learned, is the wrong way to do it.  Finish one project before going onto the next.

Think positive. This too shall pass. Yes-there are benefits to being manic, but for me it usually ends up badly if I don’t take care of myself.  I have learned over the years to do everything I can to stay out of a manic episode. I, unlike many people with bipolar disorder, and it sounds strange, but I would rather be depressed (and I get severely depressed), than manic. This is because I tend to do a lot of things that I regret when I am manic.

Remember I am not perfect.  I will make mistakes and screw up.  I will do things that I regret later. I will say things to my loved ones that I wish I could take back.  I will most likely lose friendships. However, if I do the best I can do when faced with mania, that is all I can do.

Journaling might help as it focuses your brain on what your goals are and prioritizes what you should do rather than start a lot of projects all at once. It also can be relaxing and this helps when you are lying in bed and can’t sleep.

Do things that help you relax.  Walking, taking a bath, listening to soft music, going out with friends, getting fresh air, or whatever else makes you chill out and enjoy the day. This can really be hard when manic, but it is probably one of the most important.

Take it one day at a time. Things will get better.

Make an appointment to see your doctor or therapist as they may have ideas of what you can do differently.

Take your meds regularly. They may need to be adjusted, but only do so after talking to your psychiatrist.

Take steps that prevent you from spending money. Some people do drastic things like handing over their credit cards to a loved one for safe keeping. If you really want to buy something, put it off if you can until you know that you have come down from your manic high.

Drive safely. If you don’t think you should be behind a wheel, then don’t. Arrange for a friend or loved one to get you places. If you can’t, then it won’t kill you to stay home. It is better than the alternative of hurting yourself or someone else. If you do decide to drive, be very careful and obey the speed limits and take extra precaution.  While manic, you will take risks you normally wouldn’t take so keep that in mind.

All of these things have helped me over the years. They are not full proof, but hopefully gave you some good ideas. I would love to hear from you if you have some other ideas, contact me on my Facebook page, Bipolar Bandit.


I used to be- Yvette Hess

The post below is a reblog of sorts. One of the founding members of Our Lived Experience, Yvette had stopped writing a while back. In fact, she’s been floating in […]

And then there was ONE

Today it’s too hard to navigate my marriage, my job, my cat, my house, my bills, and bipolar disorder. Thoughts flash: run! End it! Just cry it out! I start to plan all those things-pack a bag, grab all my medication & head to the bridge, snot all over myself. All this planning started from under the covers well past the time I was supposed to be at work. As I begged for continuous sleep far into the day, I found myself on the couch too soon. I have so many bottles of medication I haven’t taken. Kept promising myself I would turn them into my therapist or my psychiatrist, but secretly wanting the option for days like this.
My marriage is vulnerable right now. I’ve become too much. I no longer enhance this relationship. The words my husband is using today are sharp. Truth behind his pain. Pushed up against the wall he spouts them. Not to hurt me necessarily, but release himself. The burden that I am is heavy. He is strong. Maybe too strong for 18 years. He often tells me that I have no idea how all these episodes of depression, mania, suicide attempts, battles w the bottle affect him. Truly tear at him. Not only because it hurts to see a loved one in pain, but the insurmountable amount of powerlessness that follows for him. Sometimes feeling betrayed as I reach for the liquid courage instead of him. Sometimes confused why I fall into the dark abyss with no warning. Sometimes because emotions are simply too damn hard.
Its funny because on the inside I am proud of myself when I can be “normal” what I think of as a good wife. I wonder if he notices I’m doing well. I just keep on showing him, at least in my mind, how I’m trying to rise. But, its that day my smile isn’t as big. My silence is stronger. My demeanor changed that he notices. Yesterday he asked if I was feel down. At first I denied it and said I was just tired. After all we had a great start to the weekend. He asked me again a little while later and I decided to shake my head yes. His response reminds me how hard the roller coaster is from any seat. He said we will cancel plans for tomorrow because he doesn’t want to get me “started.” Tears. Instant tears. Started? Does this mean he truly doesn’t get me?
As the sun sparkled I went back to bed under the guise of a headache. Physical pain is easier to accept and has a cure in ibuprofen. I laid me down to sleep to escape. Escape disappointment. Escape depression. Escape having to perform.
The evening didn’t end so well. More truth hit the fan and sent daggers around the room. I yelled. He tried to ask me not to yell and I yelled more. Poor poor communication and coping skills. This is not the picture of a good wife. I excused myself back to bed at 7:45 pm hurt feelings in tow.
I think the trigger to all this is loneliness. I have no support system.i have no friends. More truth to pierce my soul. And where am I now? Alone on my couch in the middle of a Tuesday when I should be at work. It fills the room and I cannot breathe. But dammit I will not cancel those plans. Red eyed. Tired. Full of self hatred. I will smile and carry on.
I feel like I am a party of one dancing around the bigger party. I don’t know how to get in. Do I deserve to be in? Can I, we, lay the burden down?


Surely It’s Me, Right?!

Watching tv. Trying to write. This has been the pattern for weeks. So much on my mind yet I can’t seem to catch my thoughts. I feel like a drifter. Its been just about 3 months since I left my full time job of 17 years. I was leaving many great working relationships behind in pursuit of a less stressful environment. The hope was in doing so I would have less depressive and manic episodes. I was averaging 2 hospitalizations a year. I guess i always forget even with “good” stress, such as a job change, the risk of an episode is high. I added to that statistic w a devastating manic episode.
On to greener pastures I am now in a part time position. A little slower pace. A smaller office. The only person I really talk to is my supervisor. I drift in and out of the office. Sit at my desk. I miss conversations w my old coworkers where I sat in a unit of 8 people, I the veteran. I the one most people came to for assistance. My cubbie mate and I on the verge of a real budding friendship-something I don’t seem to be good at. But, that world is gone. It seems out of sight out of mind.
I know. I know. Everyone is sooo busy. I don’t always reach out as often as I should. But I try. I think of other people daily and wonder how they are. I don’t just forget people. I feel confused when folks I thought were my friends don’t respond. When these same folks seemed so concerned after hearing about my possible suicide attempt (long story wrapped up in my mixed manic episode). Shared my business with others without my permission. I let go of all of that, as I thought they truly cared. Thought they were my friends..or at least more than acquaintances at this point.
Is it me that falls off the map or them? If anything, I keep in contact, albeit hiding, through texts. When they don’t get returned what am I to think? I am lonely. I feel so alone. I have very few friends. Can’t maintain the ones I *may* have. Lost some along the way.
At the same time I don’t want to beg people to be my friend. Surely it’s me, right? You know why I was unable to write this..because the truth hurts. The pain of isolation is grand. To be fair, I do have a husband. He is most certainly my friend. But, 2 people don’t make a circle. A circle of support is always shoved down my throat. If only I had one. If only I knew how to rally one.
I just drift along to and from work. Drift in and out of the grocery store. Drift from my bed to the couch. Drowning in loneliness and isolation. I think people like me. But that’s as far as it goes. I really don’t understand why it stops there. Surely it’s me, right?


The Borderline’s Dilemma: Don’t Fight the Calm Waters in Life

I am generally one to exaggerate any given idea, event, moment, description, but it is truer than true that my life is really pretty darn okay right now, and has been for a little while.

Yes, there are bumps in the road, but I am using skills more frequently (and without overthinking) to get through the bumps, and the bumps pass much faster than they ever used to.

For once in my life, I can say that my stress level is relatively low, and while that is super and great and amazing, the mental health issues I deal with can make me take calm and serenity and throw it out the window, to replace it with something a lot more familiar, like drama.

Yes, I am saying it:  My life is good right now and it is a daily, sometimes moment-to-moment struggle to not sabotage the hell out of it.  I have my slips mostly with LarBear, and he is very forgiving and never holds those little fits against me.  He knows what is going on, just as I do.  Things are good, and it is hard sometimes when things are good, because that is just so unfamiliar.

 

I laughed when I saw this post on Facebook, but there is such a grain of truth to it.  How many days in the last five years did I basically not get out of bed, or get up and get showered or dressed?  A lot, y’all, too many to count.  I spent months at a time not even leaving my house.

Now that I have regular activities like church and social whatnots and am exercising at the local pool every day, I am finding that I actually LIKE being out and about.  I don’t like to be out all the time, but I like it more than I ever thought I would.  Because things were the opposite for so long, sometimes I start to fall into a pattern where I ignore my social obligations, my appointments, the pool, these new people I have met, but I find myself turning the mind quickly back to this semi-stability that I have gathered (through a ton of hard work).

 

After years of angst, I finally have the people in my life that I need and deserve, and I have enough self-respect to cut ties when things are toxic or harmful in some way.  I still give people far too many chances, but I rarely let another person really harm me without slamming the door in his/her face.  I truly believe that the church family that has come into my life recently was meant to be, that the people in my exercise classes and at the YMCA were meant to be in my life right now for specific reasons.  I especially see now how my relationships with family members have changed for the positive, and how it could not have happened before.  And of course, some may tire of hearing it, but LarBear was certainly paired with me by something more purposeful than chance.

I really think that the key to my happiness now, and the methods that I employ to stay that way and to avoid fighting the peace within and without, is that I am doing things in my life every day that I love, with people that I love, with intention and purpose.  I have an amazing amount of love in my heart that is poured in by others, and my heart is full enough to pour into others, as well, which makes my heart even fuller.  Being positive and doing what is effective, is what works.  Keeping a close eye on your mood and your thoughts and your feelings, is very important.  I think so much of it just boils down to paying attention and to living a life you love.  That may sound oversimplified, but that is my sound bite.


Filed under: Daily Tagged: anxiety, Bipolar, borderline personality disorder, BPD, DBT, depression, dialectical behavior therapy, effectiveness, Family, happiness, love, mania, mental health, mental health recovery, PTSD, recovery, willingness

What Happens after you have been Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

dxsFor some people, it is a relief when they find out that there is a name for something they have been enduring sometimes for years.  Unfortunately, due to the stigma attached to mental illness, some people feel ashamed or don’t want to face the fact that they are “crazy”.

The diagnosis for bipolar disorder 1 is usually done after someone is in a manic episode.  This means that they have grandiose ideas, are spending a lot of money, they are taking risks they normally wouldn’t take, they are verbally overproductive, and are oftentimes psychotic.  This oftentimes results in a hospital stay where the person is medicated to try and stabilize their moods.  There are many medications out there that help with mania (anti-psychotics, etc) and there are also mood stabilizers. Sometimes it takes months to find the right combination of medications as every patient is different.

Usually, after a manic episode, the person will fall into a deep depression where they are in a deep hole that they feel like they will never get out of.  They are unmotivated, feel like life is not worth living, sometimes are suicidal, they do not enjoy things they used to enjoy and usually there is a change in appetite and sleep.

If someone with bipolar disorder has been admitted to the hospital, they most likely have been placed under what is called a 72 hour hold.  This is a time period where they are not allowed to leave and are assessed by the doctors and nurses to see if they are safe to return to society.  If a person stays past that time, either voluntarily or involuntarily, they usually start going to group therapy, participate in art activities, take classes that help them with self-esteem and are given coping skills. It is a learning time if they are in there for the first time.  The family gets involved too and there are usually sessions with the patient and their loved ones.

When the person starts to come out of their manic episode or are no longer suicidal, the staff start talking about discharge.  The patient is given resources to use when they leave, directions from their doctor as to what medications to take and when, and an appointment is made with their doctor and other people like social workers.

Depending on high functioning the person is, they are able to take care of themselves after leaving the hospital and life goes back to normal.  It is not something that will stay permanent unless they are lucky enough to have found the perfect medication cocktail.  It is constantly something that gets evaluated as the patient goes to their doctor’s visits.

Some people are able to work full time jobs and no one even knows that they have been in the hospital and would be shocked to hear that they were diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  Some people have to go on disability as the stress of their job is too much and will cause mania or depression.

If you have recently been diagnosed, there is always hope and things can and will get better. Hang in there and don’t expect everything to get “normal” again all at once.  If you truly have bipolar disorder, be ready for  a long fight.  Many people are able to use their manic highs and accomplish a lot. However, some tend to stay depressed and are unable to see the good things in life.

It is the hope of loved ones and professionals that the person who has bipolar disorder is stabilized and does not have mood swings anymore.  If you could view bipolar disorder like a roller coaster where the highs are the mania and the low points are the depression, you aim for the times where the roller coaster comes to a stop.

After getting back into the world after being diagnosed, you will learn where you can get help, where the resources are, who you can count on, and what your limitations are.  It is advisable that you create an action plan.

An action plan is something that you and your support system make together so that when you start to get into trouble and see the red flags (spending a lot of money, grandiose ideas, talking a lot, etc) that your support team surrounds you with love and helps you through it all.  Things that can be included in an action plan are: Someone takes away your keys and credit cards so you don’t drive crazy and get into an accident or spend money you don’t have.  Another thing that might be in an action plan is that when the person feels they are getting manic, they let everyone in their support system know.  Some things that the support system can do are to make sure the person is eating right as they oftentimes forget.  Some other things are to encourage them to journal, take long walks, make sure they get enough sleep. Sleep is very important when it comes to preventing a manic episode and can make it a lot worse.  People in the manic phase oftentimes can go more than 48 hours without sleeping.

After the action plan is created, it is a good idea to have everyone sign it including the person with the illness so that when they do get sick and have poor judgement they might not want to listen to their supporters.  However, with the action plan they can be reminded of what they agreed to.  One such thing is to limit social media time or to stay off the phone or not write any letters. By doing this, it prevents them from embarrassing themselves and doing things and saying things they will regret later. Encourage them to wait until they are stable to take on huge projects.

Living with bipolar disorder is not easy, but it can be manageable. With determination, a good support system, and a good medication regimen, people can lead normal lives.


Detox: Ripping The Parasite Off My Heart

Ready. Set. Sail! So, I want to clarify something, more so for my own benefit than anything else. I’m not in a relationship with Mark as normal people would refer to it as. Mark is a parasite. To quote the website “Fact Monster”: There are three different types of symbiotic relationships: mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism. … More Detox: Ripping The Parasite Off My Heart