Bipolar Disorder is an extremely complicated disease. Let me make it very clear that there is no cure. There are ways to manage it and make life liveable. For some there isn’t. They are resistant to medications and therapy. I am one of these people. This is due to several factors. I went undiagnosed for about 23 years. In that time I was given medications that actually make Bipolar Disorder worse. I also self-medicated with large amounts of alcohol. I had Celiac Disease and didn’t know it. The Celiac disease was effecting my brain along with my small intestine. When I was finally diagnosed it was harder to find the right combo of meds that would work for me. We didn’t know I wasn’t absorbing most of them and a lot of them made me very ill. I had brain fog, memory problems, word grasping, a stutter, tremors and had been in a major depressive state for a year. I had been misdiagnosed several times and was ready to give up. When I got the Celiac diagnosis it all made sense.
What most people still don’t understand is what exactly is Bipolar Disorder? Well it is a defect in the brains regulation of moods. Happy and sad take on rhythms of their own.
Severe Mania- takes weeks to develop and begins with a feeling of confidence, happy feelings progress into more unpleasant irritable grandiose accelerated thinking. Sometimes you feel no need to sleep or eat. Your behavior can run towards promiscuity, spending sprees, and an increase in substance abuse.
Mixed State-You can be manic and depressed at the same time. It’s a dangerous place to be. You have negative thoughts along with restlessness, tension and pressure. You are depressed, irritable, hostile and can’t sleep. You have heightened concentration, anxiety, and accelerated thinking.
Major Depression-A tense irritable, sad, hopeless mood that will not go away with time. You are delusional, feel guilty, feel no pleasure, and are usually more depressed in the morning but feel a little better as day goes on. There is also social withdrawal, poor memory, indecision, slowed thinking, problems with sleep, constipation, weight loss, headaches and other physical pain. Fatigue and suicidal thoughts are common.
So what are some of the causes? An abnormal functioning of brain circuits involving Dopamine and Serotonin. A smaller prefontal cortex. GENETICS is a huge factor. Environmental stressors can trigger Bipolar Episodes in those that are genetically predisposed.
THERE IS NO CURE.
SOME DO NOT BELIEVE IN MEDICATION- I have seen people who can go awhile without meds. But then they have an episode they can’t control. I then see their family members at their funerals. This has happened 3 times. Until you have seen this you can’t argue your point with me about not taking meds. Some use pot but eventually become paranoid and just as bad as they were before. I have personally seen this also. Is medication the only answer? I don’t know. I can only speak for myself. I have had huge issues with pharmaceutical companies. But I know when I am not on meds the likeliehood of me dying goes up about 80%. Because I will drink and I will bring myself to that place where there’s no coming back from.
LABELS-You can call it “Mental Health” or “Mental Illness” it’s your choice. The Anti-Stigma groups and some Therapists want it to be called “Mental Health”. Their reasoning is that by calling it this provides a way for people to achieve and maintain their capacities by healthy eating, exercise, sleep habits, counseling and meds.
I personally think this is BS because it doesn’t help me at all. It implies getting better, which I personally will not be doing. I can’t exercise due to a muscle wasting autoimmune disease from the Celiac. Healthy eating? Food for Celiac people costs 3 times as much as regular food. Sleep? lol. Counseling is wasted on me because of my cognitive issues, I can’t pay attention, I get aggravated and anxious then can’t remember anything that was said. Meds as I discussed before are only absorbed about 60% because the rest is leaking out of my small intestine. So how does any of this help me? It doesn’t. There are varying degrees of Bipolar. Med resistant to mild forms. I happen to have a type of Bipolar that has made Neurologists and Psychiatrists cry for me. My own family hasn’t even expressed that kind of emotion. It is only because they have seen others like me and what I have ahead of me. One was a Brown University professor, that’s when I knew I wasn’t being dramatic. When a grown man cries for you, one that has seen it all, you know it has to be serious.
FAMILY- This is the hard part. I don’t know how many years it takes to be forgiven for the things you have done. Obviously 5 1/2 years isn’t long enough. My father still thinks I should be “cured” by now even though I have given him material to read, and told him myself. If I cry he will yell at me “goddamn it quit your crying” then the stutter starts and I get “I thought you would be better by now, I can’t take this goddamn it!” then he paces back and forth mumbling and slamming doors or throwing things. He is in kidney failure and on dialysis. I know this makes him miserable but it’s gone beyond that. He hardly talks to me anymore and pretends he can’t hear me. My physical health is failing as much as his but I have not gone to the doctor because I am afraid of what they will say. I pass out at stores (when I can get enough energy to go to one). Going up 4 steps leaves my legs trembling and I feel sick. My gums have no color, my hands and feet are swollen but I’m losing weight. Blurred vision, dizziness, nosebleeds, gallbladder attacks, I could go on but I’m getting tired. And the last thing, if I leave the house in the late afternoon I get twenty questions and my dad gets angry. “You’re going out now? It’s almost 5:00 pm it will be dark soon.” Ok he must not know that you can drink in the daytime too. So I try not to go anywhere too late in the day. I’m 42. I’m getting more and more frustrated everyday. Sometimes I want to run as far away as I can. My fear stops me. There wouldn’t be anyone to hold me accountable for my actions I don’t know if I could keep myself in check on my own. Honesty is a bitch. Tomorrow is another day.
People inspire you, or they drain you- pick them wisely.-Hans Hansen
ATELPHOBIA- the fear of not being good enough