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Being Bipolar

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Sun Apr 02, 2006 6:34 am
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Snoink says...



You've probably heard it in a conversational way at school already:

"Oh my gosh, I have such mood swings. I must be bipolar!"

But that's not what being bipolar is. It's a mental illness that has just recently come to light. I suppose you can call it as mood swings, but they are much more extreme than the typical teenager's.

I've chosen to do a report on this, and the more information I can get, the better.

So... I know some of our members have had experiences with people who are bipolar. I was wondering if you could, perhaps, shed some light on this?
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Sun Apr 02, 2006 2:46 pm
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Caligula's Launderette says...



Let's see if I can help. (Yay AP Psychology essays!)

From mania to depression, severe mood swings are associated with bipolar disorder.

Symptoms include -

For mania: Feelings of euphoria, extreme optimism and inflated self-esteem, as well as rapid speech, racing thoughts, agitation and increased physical activity. They also showcase poor judgment or recklessness. Most have difficulty sleeping and an inability to concentrate; easily distracted and have agressive behavior.

For depression: Feelings of anxiety, guilt, worthlessness. Disturbances in sleep and appetite; fatigue and irritability. Reaccuring thoughts of suicide. Cronic pain without a known cause.

Also people with bipolar disorder also compartamentalize into good and bad - everything that is in their interest is good, everything not is bad. There was this episode of Law and Order: SVU where a mother was bipolar. It was brought on my the random act of shooting and death of her husband. Her youngest son was going to call the police about her bizarre tendencies - diets and strict homeschooling because school was not safe. She convinced her 'good' son shoot him because of it.

But away from that...

I have a friend who is bipolar. She was on lithium for awhile, but it made her zombie like. Then they put her on Prozac but that made her feel - blah, she didn't want to do anything, had no drive what so ever. But about her symptoms, they were pretty much text book, severe mood swings, she was very iritible, no one would make her 'feel' better, and she wasn't sleeping. Once she told me it was like being on her period all the time, and she couldn't control it. I know she sees her therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy, and that has led to more stability.

Hope this helps. CL.
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Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:08 pm
Rei says...



My boyfriend was put on a cocktail of like five different drugs when he was about twelve, but his step-mother took him off them because his eyes were just glazed over. Living with someone who is bipolar is very hard. Once, when he was having money difficulties and found out that the money his brother owed him wouldn't be arriving for another week, he locked himself in his room and wouldn't come out for twenty-four hours. It scared me to no end because I thought he was going to hurt himself. The episode he had before that, a clothes hanger died and he bashed his bad knee into the wall in his sleep.

As a way to calm him sometimes, when he lets me, I'll play a song like Kiss From a Rose. It works pretty well.
Last edited by Rei on Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:26 pm
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LamaLama says...



Bipolar people don't usually tend to care. The lows suck, but the highs are just great. Its the people around them that have the hard times. A friend of mine whos about my age was just but on prozac for bipolar, and some drug that makes her alergic to alcohol because she was drinking so much.
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Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:53 am
Areida says...



I disagree, Lama. It's hard being bipolar; the highs you can just go and go and go and go, but then when you hit the lows it's awful. Completely awful.

I think you already know this Snoink, but my mom's bipolar. She has a seasonal manic depressive illness, where her low point is generally during the winter and her manic period starts about now and runs all summer. She's always been a somewhat emotional person, but when she was younger she was a pretty balanced person. After her third pregnancy she had really terrible post-partum and she moved into bouts of mania and depression for about six years, until a tornado hit our house and we had to move out for a bit. Things started getting pretty bad that summer: she spent money licentiously ($600 shoes, etc.), talked fast, wrote on corners of walls (Mommy loves you, etc.) and was easily angered.

During her low periods she'd pick my sisters and I up from school, go straight home, and go to sleep. Lithium isn't fun to be on. There are side effects like nausea, and nobody wants to live with that sort of thing. She attempted suicide several times, often dressed inappropriately, said embarrassing things, ranted at people at the check-out counters without reason. During her mania she often becomes overtly religious, i.e. going to church every time she gets a chance, going to pray even when there isn't a service, lighting a lot of candles, praying at random intervals, talking about God and Jesus and Mary and saints and "God's will", etc.

I don't have a lot of time to go into detail at the moment, but I heartily recommend you read Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind. It's a beautifully written memoir with details about how childhood can affect manic depressive disorder later in life (my mother has an alcoholic, controlling father, for instance), the way people who don't understand talk about or perceive the illness, and how cloying it can be to stay on lithium. It's especially intriguing in that it was written by a psychiatrist who has treated bipolar patients.

I'll try to come back to this thread later if you have any more questions. I'm glad you're working on this. :)
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Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:38 am
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k3pt says...



Interesting... My mother's Bipolar as well (so's her husband, I believe. And her sister was, too [she was actually lost to suicide] ). She's also got a number of other disorders kind of strung in, but the Bipolar Disorder has always proved the most difficult for her to deal with, mostly because it outweighs the extremes of the others.

I don't live with her right now, but I remember being younger and feeling so incredibly awful for her.

She'd have days, weeks, months, even, where she'd be fine. Content, at least. Sometimes euphorically happy. She'd buy me tons of things for doing typical activities like cleaning my room, she'd do things with me (teach me to skate, play with our dog, etc.)

She suffered alcoholism for quite some time, and would be in her manic phase for weeks or months, where she'd be physically abusive, irritable, just always on edge (which is why my sister and I aren't permitted to live with her).

Usually weeks later, she'd apologize profusely for something she'd said or done. She'd feel really worthless and remorseful. Sometimes she'd be so depressed that she'd cry for hours, drink an entire bottle of alcohol, and go to sleep.

It got to the point where she wouldn't stay on her meds because they drained her physically, and she'd convince herself she didn't need them. It was odd. So she was frequently in the hospital, at appointments, and they kept having to adjust her medication because it wasn't affecting her in the way the doctors hoped. I couldn't understand the way she acted when I was really young, what was going on, really, but I had so much sympathy for her that oftentimes I'd lie beside her and cry.

It's really an endless hell. Much less for the witnesses, they can get over it. The person with the disorder is ill and can't do anything about it.

A lot of people think that you can, sort of, "convince" yourself into and out of the disorder. That's not so.

If my mother could control it, I imagine she would.

Another misconception is that the mood swings come within seconds of each other. That's rarely true. In fact, I've never even seen that happen.

They usually happen in intervals. Weeks, months, sometimes (less commonly) years. The mood is actually more of a state, than a mood, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I think it's really cool that you're doing this. If you need, I'll post more.




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Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:48 am
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Rei says...



It's far from true that the person with bipolar can't do anything about it. They can't get rid of it, of course, but they can learn to manage and control it. My Michael believes that one of the keys is to simple accept that this is a part of your life. When he was first diagnosed, he was have very intense, angry or depressed mood swings as much as once a week. Now they happen pretty rarely, unless something really bad has happened. When that happens, it comes on pretty suddenly, and it can be scary, even if you know why he is acting this way. He still has his down times a little more often than the normal.

When he's in one of his manic periods, he's one of the most fun people ever, though sometimes he doesn't know when to stop if we're fooling around (and no I'm not talking about sex). He's learned to use it to his advantage when meeting new people. He can seem so much more enthusiatic than he usually is and makes a very good impression. However, it did get us in trouble the last time we were on a train together. We'd been apart for two weeks because of the holiday break, and it was really hard on both of us to be separated for the first time. And we were both to elated, we couldn't stop talking and laughing. Twice the conductor came by to tell us we had to be quiet.

Managing mood disorders is possible with the right treatment (not always drugs), acceptance of the disorder, and someone to keep you grounded.
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Mon Apr 03, 2006 4:14 am
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k3pt says...



Oh, of course you can learn to accept and manage it, but you can't control or convince yourself out of the disorder.

I agree with you, but I was referring to how often I hear individuals say that people can get out of it if they want to. And I figured I'd establish the fallacity in that. You do have control of your life, of course, the way you deal with it, the way it affects you, etc.. But you don't have control over whether or not you have it, how intense it is.

I just think it's inconsiderate for people who haven't dealt with the disorder, to say, essentially, that it's in someone's power to decide the intensity of their illness, you know?

If that were true, I believe more people would be able to regard Bipolar Disorder as something that can be controlled by counselling alone.

What you said is definitely true, though. People do have control over how much of a toll Bipolar Disorder takes on their lives. With the proper care, it can be managed.




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Mon Apr 03, 2006 4:28 am
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k3pt says...



k3pt wrote:Oh, of course you can learn to accept and manage it, but you can't control or convince yourself out of the disorder.

I agree with you, but I was referring to how often I hear individuals say that people can get out of it if they want to. And I figured I'd establish the fallacity in that. You do have control of your life, of course, the way you deal with it, the way it affects you, etc.. But you don't have control over whether or not you have it, how intense it is.

I just think it's inconsiderate for people who haven't dealt with the disorder, to say, essentially, that it's in someone's power to decide the intensity of their illness, you know?

If that were true, I believe more people would be able to regard Bipolar Disorder as something that can be controlled by counselling alone.

What you said is definitely true, though. People do have control over how much of a toll Bipolar Disorder takes on their lives. With the proper care, it can be managed.


So. I read what I said earlier, and I did say "can't do anything about it." Although I essentially meant: "can't do anything about having the disorder." Sorry for the confusion there, ay.

I should get to bed.




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Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:31 pm
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Caligula's Launderette says...



I second Ari's book recommendation.

I didn't really go in depth in my last post, I was too busy awing over Freak, but if you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

CL
Fraser: Stop stealing the blanket.
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Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:37 am
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Areida says...



k3pt wrote:She'd have days, weeks, months, even, where she'd be fine. Content, at least. Sometimes euphorically happy. She'd buy me tons of things for doing typical activities like cleaning my room, she'd do things with me (teach me to skate, play with our dog, etc.)

My mom did that too... well, she does when she's manic, anyway.

It got to the point where she wouldn't stay on her meds because they drained her physically, and she'd convince herself she didn't need them.

Again, yep.

It's really an endless hell. Much less for the witnesses, they can get over it. The person with the disorder is ill and can't do anything about it.

Have to disagree with you there. I think it's awful for both those with the disorder and those who have to deal with a loved one who has it, especially little kids and adolescents.

Another misconception is that the mood swings come within seconds of each other. That's rarely true. In fact, I've never even seen that happen.

Yeah, it drives me crazy when people say, "she's so moody. she's so bipolar" or something like that, because it's just not like that! Urgh.

The mood is actually more of a state, than a mood, if that makes sense.

That covers it more clearly than mood, because moods pass so very quickly, whereas the stages of mania and depression move in slower cycles.

And again, this is really great of you to do, Snoink. :D
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Fri Apr 14, 2006 6:51 pm
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David Guinness says...



This is a good resource on bipolar disorder:

http://www.psycom.net/depression.central.bipolar.html

I found the information on lithium particularly helpful.

Also try this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1572305258/ref=ase_psycomnetdepress/002-1689752-8380024?s=books&v=glance&n=283155&tagActionCode=psycomnetdepress

Although I haven't read all of it, it looks very informative.
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Sat Apr 15, 2006 1:47 am
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Galatea says...



I have Bipolar 1 disorder, and a variety of other associated disorders. If you have specific questions for those of us who are afflicted, lemme know.
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