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Posts Tagged ‘bipolar disorder’

Are you uncomfortable and don’t know what to say? Is this why the majority have ignored me? Well you are in for a bumpy ride. I can guarantee that when my son died you had no earthly idea what to do or say, but you DID sent cards and called. When someone is dying from a PHYSICAL illness or is enduring a PHYSICAL illness, you reach out. I have not been home (Buffalo) in 3 years (could be a clue) and had the COURAGE to publicise my  illness, including its severity and I can count the responses on my 2 hands. It would be hypocritical to send cards and attend funerals for those ignored during their illness, wouldn’t you think? Some Bipolar Disorder stats for you; there is no cure, the illness is in my fucking face everyday, life expectancy cut by 9 years, suicide is the number one cause of premature death, 25-50% attempt suicide once, one in five are successful, Bipolar Disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability in the world, affects 5.5 million in USA, 1/3 of homeless population have Bipolar, 90% divorce rate, 50% with drug addiction, bankruptcy and financial issues are higher, ……….

“The stigmatization and the excruciating pains of social alienation have compelled most victims to conceal their status while the malevolent ones continue to distribute the virus free of charge to unsuspecting men and women”Oche Otorkpa, The Unseen Terrorist

Suicide-for those of you who view this as cowardly and selfish, try putting this in your pipe and smoking it….

When we criticize the suicidal for being selfish, we are actually criticizing them for not enduring their pain with grace and good manners. These are nice qualities; we may be correct to reproach average citizens for not having them. But to expect everyone in pain to have them is unrealistic. Bearing pain quietly is what moralists call a supererogatory act–an act that is above the call of duty. Expecting everyone to who is suicidal to behave in a way that is morally above average is simply abusive.”David L. Conroy, Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain

“Even when we turn around, there are no footprints behind us… Nor the road we came along, nor the tune we hummed… When we die, No-one will know it’s happened”Kazuya Minekura, Stigma

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.”Shannon L. Alder

It is sad that I had to seek internet studies and writings to validate my feelings

Think about what it would be like to spend most of your time alone because being around other people is just too difficult. You feel that others are judging you for your mental illness, and so you are scared to face the world. You withdraw to avoid this stigmatization. This social withdrawal is emotionally very costly. But this is a two-way street — the mentally ill withdraw from society–society withdraws from them

Social relationships are important for anyone in maintaining health, but for the mentally ill it is especially important. People with mental illness value contact with family. But families may be unwilling to interact with their mentally ill family member. Social isolation is also sometimes due to the unwillingness of others to befriend the mentally ill. The public may avoid them altogether. The stigma associated with mental illness creates huge barriers to socialization.

Another reason the person with mental illness may experience social isolation is the nature of their mental illness. Social phobias like agoraphobia, or severe anxiety or depression often cause the suffering person to be afraid to venture out into society.

When anyone, mentally ill or not, does not have enough social contact, it affects them mentally and even physically. Loneliness creates stress, taking a toll on health. Other things affected can be the ability to learn and memory function. High blood pressure is also seen. It can be the trigger of depression and alcoholism. (2) Imagine the consequences, then, if you are already depressed or have other mental illnesses? Loneliness can make you worse. Loneliness and loss of self-worth lead many mentally ill to believe that they are useless, and so they live with a sense of hopelessness and low self-esteem

Too often the public does not understand the challenges of the mentally ill and doesn’t want to try. It is therefore necessary to confront biased social attitudes in order to reduce the discrimination and stigma of people who are living with mental illness.

WHAT HELPS WHAT HURTS
I know you have a real illness and that’s what causes these thoughts and feelings. It’s all in your head.
I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help. We all go through times like this.
You are important to me. Your life is important to me. You have so much to live for– why do you want to die?
Tell me what I can do now to help you. What do you want me to do? I can’t do anything about your situation.
You might not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change. Just snap out of it. Look on the bright side.
You are not alone in this. I’m here for you. You’ll be fine. Stop worrying.
Talk to me. I’m listening. Here’s my advice…
I am here for you. We will get through this together. What’s wrong with you? Shouldn’t you be better by now?

Oft-times the diagnosis of bipolar distances people even more greatly from their empathy, removing people’s compassion for the suffering one who lives with this disease. Without that compassion and empathy, we become unable to hear the cries and screams of our loved ones with a bipolar diagnosis. At the same time, in their minds, people’s silence and “not knowing what to say” equates to them hearing us screaming back at them to “snap out of it”. Meanwhile, that same pregnant silence makes the opportunity to openly discuss what’s going on in the mind of our loved one with bipolar even more remote.

In other words, we experience unheard screaming in the silence: First and foremost, society’s silence, in refusing to have an open, frank and meaningful conversation about mental illness. Bipolar manic depression seems to be the most misunderstood diagnosis. Secondarily, there is the silence of the One trying to communicate what dire straights they are in (while they are in a downward spiral). And last, but not least, there is the silence of those living with and around those living with bipolar. The sad fact is, all the while, a distress signal is being sounded – but unheard.

We must also remind people that we may have a mental illness, but we are NOT the mental illness, itself.

Severe anxiety can literally cause physical pain to the point of mimicking a heart attack, yet many people are told to get some fresh air or try deep breaths. Someone with bi-polar disorder, who may be having a manic episode, can seem irritated or agitated — “So maybe we need stay away from Dave at work today because he’s in one of his moods again.” Someone with depression may not be able to get out of bed to hang out with friends — “Stop being a baby and come out!” All of this advice from friends, co-workers, and family, may seem light-hearted and they may be done with the best of intentions, but it is usually these words that seriously affect the way a person acts and reacts to others with regards to their condition. Not only do people with mental health conditions suffer inside, they are judged on a daily basis by those closest to us. “What’s wrong with her again”, “You’d feel better if you left your house once in a while”, “You’re just having a bad day”.

“Not only do I feel like absolute crap, I then have to convince others, or prove that I have a legitimate reason for feeling this way. “Dealing with a mental illness can often be a very lonely, misunderstood place where you feel stuck no matter what you try to improve conditions. Imagine the battles we face daily in our own heads, now add the stress of dealing with the outside judgmental world.

Sympathy towards those with physical conditions flows freely. If we as a society can somehow react the same way towards someone struggling with a mental health condition, life could be a little bit easier for them. It’s not helpful to dismiss how someone may be feeling , like their mental health issues are not legitimate or valid. In fact it can actually make things worse. You think most people want to wake up and feel like they can’t even get out of bed to shower, or that we want to worry about things so far in advance to the point it makes us physically ill? Most of us with mental health conditions so badly want to live a “normal life”, but we still need to realize our limits and take care of ourselves.

In a nutshell, bipolar people have troubles due to the symptoms of the illness and others who do not understand associate the stigma and prejudice. That can only hurt those with bipolar disorder. It doesn’t help anyone. It only alienates those who have the disorder, and then, it just picks at them to their core.

Social Distancing- when people feel that an individual with mental illness is dangerous, that results in fear and increased social distance. This social distancing may result in the experience of social isolation or loneliness on the part of people with mental illness. This stigma and social distancing have the potential to worsen the well-being of people with mental illness in several ways. First, the experience of social rejection and isolation that comes from stigma has the potential for direct harmful effects. It has long been understood that social isolation is associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes and even early mortality – “the lethality of loneliness.”

More, people with mental health issues recognize and internalize this stigma to develop a strong “self-stigma.” This self-stigma will often undermine self-efficacy, resulting in a “why try” attitude that can worsen prospects of recovery. Further, as people begin to experience symptoms of their mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, stigma may cause some people to try to avoid, separate from or suppress these feelings, all of which have been linked to the worsening of well-being.

Thank you to the 10 people who reached out to me and NOT a close family member of mine (those supportive words never reaching my ears). I refuse to acknowledge your concern and would appreciate help destroying the stigma of mental illness you are supporting instead. Send a card or call someone (other than me) with a mental illness and let them know you care. They might not respond, but that is part of the mental illness package…….

Emmy award-winning actress Glenn Close has launched a BringChange2Mind Campaign to fight stigma

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was high in early June and it didn’t cost me a cent, only a dive into the black waters of depression. Hypomania is an exhilarating switch from hell and I never know when it is coming. When this mood approaches, I am filled with creative ideas, energy, talkativeness, euphoria, excitement, goals, dreams and the list goes on and on……. I want to savor every minute of this mood switch because my heaven will eventually crash and burn. Why can’t it stay longer than 10 days???

Hypomania is a CONSTANT state of euphoria. Who wouldn’t want this after coming out of depression?Motivation and direction are so welcomed after long periods of being clueless on what to do, how to do it and do I have enough energy to follow through.

Hypomania is a complete RUSH, my heart races and adrenaline is off the charts. First is the need to clean and organize without needing much sleep,then comes the ideas. The “Lists” start; one by my bed, one in the truck, one in the TV room and one in the kitchen. Tiny scraps of paper with ideas scribbled so fast I can hardly decipher the words. Then I get everything I need in sight; garden tools, paint, bricks, hardware, sewing machine…………..I start all these projects at once-multi-tasking, forgetting that within a short amount of time it ends and everything will sit incomplete, adding to the misery of depression.

Hypomania can switch to full-blown mania and has in the past, fortunately I have not been hospitalized for this mood. Mania for me means hallucinations, rage, irritability and high anxiety. Looking at the past 2 years I should have another round of hypomania/mania this summer.

Hypomania/mania means we have excessive amounts of serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter). So what do they give us…..anti-psychotics which quickly kills the serotonin, creating  a numb, emotionless, non-motivated zombie most likely headed for depression. I down-play this mood to my doctor and handle it on my own if manageable.

Stephen Fry’s explanation of bipolar moods couldn’t be more precise, click here

Below is Shanee’s view on hypomania

Response by Shandee United States on 6/16/2011 12:41:14 AM

I am 36 years old and have had severe depression as long as I can remember. A few weeks ago the suicidal thoughts became very persistent and I decided to take myself to the hospital for some help. I had tried antidepressants before without much luck and thought they were basically a joke. The hospital put me on Wellbutrin XL and OMG!! I had the most wonderful euphoric hypomanic episode of my life! Of course I didn’t know that was what was happening, I just thought that Wellbutrin was the best high I could ever hope for. I am normally a very shy quiet person and not outgoing at all. I became talkative, funny, engaging, and I felt so empowered. I made friends with everyone on my unit and everyone wanted to be around me and I became a leader full of confidence, and I was the center of attention for the first time in my life and I swear I glowed….Best day ever.

I have had a few more days like that since, but they are followed by a crash and an overwhelming since of despair and hopelessness and the next day I can barely move, I feel like I have the worst hangover of my life. It seems so unfair that such a wonderful feeling can end so horribly….I want to be that girl that everyone loves all the time, not the girl that no one understands or wants to be around.

Tonight I took my first dose of Lithium and I have to admit that I hesitated before I took it…I hate the thought of never feeling that high again. Sometimes I think it is so worth the crash to feel so amazing even for a short time. I don’t know what lithium has in store for me, but I will never ever forget the amazing feeling of euphoric hypomania.

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Postpartum depression or bipolar disorder, here is a good article. After the stillbirth of Tanner we had another baby. Afterwards was not the feeling I was expecting. I was extremely anxious  or panicked and did not want to be home alone with him. Not that I was thinking of hurting him, I just did not know what to do with him. The days were long and I would count the minutes until my husband came home.

I did not tell anyone of these feelings because it would make me look as if I was not in control and have the situation in check. My son slept with me for the first 7 months because crying would put me in a frantic state. The idea of bringing him out in public (with just me) was out of the question. What if he would cry, then what? It was only when he turned 5 that I was somewhat as ease with being alone with him. He now had some independence and his life wasn’t in jeopardy with my care.

Loved ones gave me journals and calendars to keep track of his momentous events like his first step. The idea of documenting this was overwhelming and I do not remember much of his younger years. On top of this I was going through a deep depression, our marriage was suffering and I wanted a divorce and our  new home was being built. We had to live with my in-laws for 3 months during construction and this was not what I needed. The added stress of my son crying and me not knowing what to do while under constant watch by my husband’s parents. I also had landscape projects going on the add to the demands upon me.

Putting the pieces together now. I have been on Lamictal for over a week and notice that I have no energy or the window has narrowed a great deal and I am eating more.

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The window of energy is small and needing to take advantage of the Adderall rush. Completely weened off Prozac now. Was the past 3 months of hell due to the fact that Prozac was prescribed for a diagnosis of depression for me? I am hoping Lamictal will take effect in the next 2 weeks (I have been on now for 10 days).

Looking at my life and putting the pieces together for bipolar disorder is overwhelming and bittersweet. Finally a possible diagnosis, but fear of the future and managing this unpredictable condition for the rest of my life. Sometimes I feel like the bubble boy because I can see or feel the world continuing as I am at a stand still. It is frustrating and I get down because I have all these plans and ideas needing to implement and cannot. There are piles of projects inside and outside of the home just waiting for me. It is junky here, another reason to feel down.

It has always been a struggle for me to stay organized and neat, leading to anger with those around me who did not respect and comply with perfection. Below is a post regarding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (yet another issue that sounds like me)

Obsessive-compulsive

Patients diagnosed with this disorder are preoccupied with keeping order, attaining perfection, and maintaining mental and interpersonal control. They may spend a great deal of time adhering to plans, schedules, or rules from which they will not deviate, even at the expense of openness, flexibility, and efficiency. These patients are often unable to relax and may become “workaholics.” They may have problems in employment as well as in intimate relationships because they are very stiff and formal, and insist on doing everything their way. About 1% of the population has obsessive-compulsive personality disorder; the male/female ratio is about 2:1.
 
I don’t really believe in the zodiac signs, but Virgo’s ( August 23) tend to be perfectionists. Here is a good article on perfection and bipolar disorder. If you are Virgo, take a look at this article. I cannot believe how right on this is to describe myself, obsessive about order.
 

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Last night was absolutely horrible. Called the doctor, unfortunately he wasn’t on call and I talked (or cussed) at another. Cried, didn’t want to be around anyone, wanted to talk to someone, lastly, took 3 xanex to pass out and numb “it”.

Mind racing and tired thinking about teenage years. Found a good article to spot bipolar disorder in your teenager. Never thought I would see age 19 as a young teenager. Tried to commit suicide by swallowing aspirin (many), but didn’t work or maybe I didn’t really want it to work. Another try was with a friend driving after an event with a physically abusive boyfriend. I was so devastated at my life and my choices, I just wanted to die. My friend, who was at the wheel stomped on the gas and we were at high-speed and he yelled, “Do you really want to die?” I did not want him to die, so I told him no and I don’t think I was ready myself.

Another serious thought about suicide was after a DUI ticket, the end of a relationship, graduation from college and completely unsure of what to do next or what I could do next.

Teenage years were full of confusion and dealing with my shyness. I made compulsive choices during this time and actually all through my life. I remember riding the bus home and eating tons of chocolate and other kids saying, “How do you stay skinny eating all of that?” My hair changed color on a weekly basis and I would not hesitate to cut it into various styles. Later in life I actually shaved my head bald.

Teenage years I had a serious issue with rules and authority (from anyone). I would feel somehow imprisoned and trapped. Later on this led to job problems. My only solution was retiring to my bedroom and slamming the door or exploding with such passion I would see white.

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In the house for 7 days, could not get out and wanted to. Searching and reading stories of those with bipolar disorder was my activity for the week. All the signs and symptoms add up beginning early in childhood.  Here is a good article looking at potential signs in your child.

All these meds are confusing, I don’t know which does what and don’t really care as long as I can feel some sense of normalcy soon. The frightening thing is my normal is not normal, but it is the only thing I know. What I can say is that my emotions are INTENSE. A few years ago after Tanner’s death I thought about heaven and I was sure I DIDN’T want to go when the time comes. It’s a strange thing, but I don’t want to be happy all the time because I am used to the severe fluctuation, the only thing I’ve known for 30 something years.

At a young age I remember crying a lot in my bedroom because of intense emotions. Another issue was me having to leave classrooms because of my anxiety and this started in first grade, school and religion. My mother would bring me back and I would just walk home again. I needed to get out and I do not have an explanation, just terrified and sad to be trapped again.

I loved music but always tended to listen to the slow songs with sad lyrics. I still gravitate towards them today and because I have lost interest in music lately, all I can do is listen to the sad songs of the 80′s. Maybe it gives me some comfort, who knows.

In second grade walking home from religion during the winter the bratty boys would throw snowballs at the girls. I remember thinking I had some kind of super power that would electrocute them if they continued.

Maybe third grade I wrote my parents a letter that God had spoken to me (or something like that). My cousins had left our house after a party and I felt absolute dread and lonely. I will never forget that feeling. How could a little squirt endure such shitty emotions.

Maybe fourth grade in my favorite class, Art with Ms Graham I remember her taking me out in the hall trying to calm me down from crying. I had a crush on a boy and because of my shyness, he did not know. My outgoing friend quickly started a puppy love relationship with him and I was devastated beyond words. I was not a happy child and would never want to relive it even though my family was so loving and caring.

Tomorrow we are off to see friends who experience bipolar disorder and I am looking forward to the visit.

Diana

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Organizing buttons, cleaning junk drawers and laundry are the only tasks I can complete to feel some kind of accomplishment. I have no interest in watching TV or listening to music, my life has come to a halt. My feet are molded in concrete and I’m donning a lead cloak. People would say, “I wish I had your energy” or “You are a superwoman”, before all of this started or maybe while in a manic state. I had been wanting to write of my thoughts and feelings many weeks ago, but just did not have the energy.

Why am I writing this on my stillborn son’s blog? It was only after his death in 2003 that I was introduced to medication. After my subsequent pregnancy (a living child) I suffered severe depression and since then have been on and off antidepressants with little relief. Was the reason he passed was to give his mother some direction as to a diagnosis for my problems? I don’t know.

After 3 months of being on antidepressants I knew something else was wrong. My highs and lows are very drastic and scary. I am confused and have issues needing to be fixed. My living son said I was lazy and my husband said I am always stressed. There is no mid ground for me, I am either very high or very low and small problems are NEVER small to me. I obsess over them and I am physically altered. My work is suffering, my home life and social is mostly non-existent. I was all packed up yesterday to get off to work and all of a sudden I sat down with dread and could not go.

After researching Bipolar Disorder online my mind is constantly racing trying to think of past events to affirm this diagnosis and many are present. I never gave Bipolar Disorder a thought because I assumed this is for crazy people. I am now prescribed Wellbutrin, Adderal, Prozac and Lamictal with Xanex taken when needed. Full of drugs and feeling this way is just incredible to me.

My dear son, if you ever read this, know that I always loved you the best I knew how…

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