Bipolar is a serious condition. It is difficult to suffer from...especially undiagnosed which I was until 2010. Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mood disorder that causes radical emotional changes and mood swings, from manic, restless highs to depressive, listless lows. Most bipolar individuals experience alternating episodes of mania and depression. Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating manic episodes in which the individual feels abnormally euphoric, optimistic, and energetic and depressive periods in which the individual feels sad, hopeless, guilty, and sometimes suicidal. Manic or depressive periods may last for days, weeks, or months and run the spectrum from mild to severe. These episodes may be separated by periods of emotional stability in which the individual functions normally. Manic episodes are the "high" of the manic-depressive cycle. A person experiencing a manic episode often has feelings of self-importance, elation, talkativeness, increased sociability, and a desire to embark on goal-oriented activities, coupled with the characteristics of irritability, impatience, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and a decreased need for sleep. Usually this manic period is followed by a period of severe depression, although a few individuals may not experience a major depressive episode. Mixed states, where both manic or hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms occur at the same time, also may occur (e.g., racing thoughts of mania with the listlessness of depression). A phenomenon known as rapid cycling occurs in up to 20% of bipolar patients. In rapid cycling, at least four manic and depressive moods swings must occur within 12 months. In some cases of ultra-rapid cycling, the individual may bounce between manic and depressive states several times within a 24-hour period. In the United States in 2005 about 5.7 million adults, or 2.6% of the adult population have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The average age of onset of bipolar disorder is 25. However, because of the complexity of the disorder, a correct diagnosis can be delayed, and between 20% and 30% of adults with bipolar disorder report having undiagnosed symptoms in childhood or adolescence. According to the World Health Organization, bipolar disorder is the sixth leading cause of disability worldwide. Bipolar disorder often runs in families, with one or both parents having the disease. If one parent suffers from bipolarism, the chance of a child developing bipolarism stands at 15 to 30 percent; if both parents suffer from bipolarism, the chance increases to 50 to 75 percent. Both my father and his sister are bipolar and as a result spent many years addicted to drugs. Now they are both managing through medication and have rebuilt their lives.
I remember when I was first diagnosed and I began paying attention to my moods. It's hard for me to believe that there was a time when I couldn't tell I was ramping up to manic and holding my breath waiting for the low to hit. I decided to write about what was going on in my head. I decided to share that within every month there are days when I am so on top of the world that no matter what happens all I see is greatness....and there are days when I am at such a low that I have driven to the train station with the schedule in hand determined to lay on the tracks and end it all.
I share because there are so many people out there who just don't get it. They say get over it, suck it up, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, etc etc etc. People say if you want to be happy then just be happy. As if that's an option. But I'm lucky in life. The people that I consider true friends get it. They don't tell me to just cheer up. They don't dismiss how I'm feeling as just being sad. Hell if it gets too bad they advise that I consider medication and they make sure that I am seeing a professional of some sort. But everyone in the world isn't that lucky because people who aren't bipolar don't understand how that mania feels in your head. I think if I can put it into words sometimes then maybe someone will understand a little bit better and deal with the people in their lives accordingly.
But there is risk associated with this amount of sharing. Judgement. There are people who read what I write and are so close minded or simple that instead of understanding they judge me. Someone recently made a comment to a friend of mine that I'm always so down and they just don't understand.......and it continued into an area where if I wasn't of present mind this post would be more along the lines of cursing her out and promising to choke the shit out of her the next time I'm in her area. And then I considered the source....she's simple minded and that's even worse than being depressed. But she's not alone in the world. There ARE people who judge others with mental illnesses and my posts open the door for those people to come into my world and pass judgement. All that I ask of the simple is that they leave a comment here. Perhaps we can work together on them gaining a better understanding instead of judging me and gossiping about me like a 12 year old would do (in contrast to the 41 year old that they are).
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
~Proverbs 4:7 (King James Version)
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