I sit in the chair and watch as my son with Bipolar Disorder has a complete meltdown. His emotions all over the place. I struggle with a way to help him. It’s like looking in a mirror. Watching what he’s going through is so very hard. I know what he’s feeling. If I didn’t then I wouldn’t be able to see the signs and symptoms and help him figure out what to do.
I was twenty-two years old when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I hate it when I tell people and they say “Oh I suffer from depression, too.” It kinda irks me because having Bipolar Disorder is not the same as suffering from depression. We all have ups and downs in life, but with Bipolar Disorder those ups and downs are more severe. So much so that it can be damaging to your career, your friendships, relationships and completely take over your daily life. So it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms, seek treatment and discover ways to help you get better.
So What Exactly Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder (also known as manic depression) causes mood shifts, energy, thinking and behavior from one extreme to the next. A person suffering from Bipolar Disorder can have highs of mania on one hand, to lows of extreme sadness and depression the next. It’s more than just good or bad feelings or moods. It can last days for days, weeks, months and the changes can be so intense they interfere with your ability to function.
Example: During one manic episode I can sleep for 3 hours and feel completely rested, ready to blog and work for the next 8 hours. Or in a depressive mood, I can be too tired to even get out of bed and feel nothing but deep sadness, wanting to cry all day long, often putting myself down for everything about myself.
Although Bipolar Disorder can be challenging. I’ve lived a good life, and I’m in a happy and healthy relationship. I’ve learned coping skills, ways of dealing with my disorder, and found a medication that helps keep me balanced. I spent years in therapy learning to deal with my issues, and it helped. Getting help is key, and understanding how to cope and deal with things on a level you can handle.
Fact: Bipolar Disorder can affect your sex drive, energy levels, concentration, sleep, judgement and is linked to anxiety, substance abuse, heart disease, migraines, and other health issues.
Okay, so look. Now that you’ve read the signs and symptoms. You need to understand that having Bipolar Disorder does NOT make you crazy. Besides, we’re all a little crazy now and then. It adds spice to life. What having Bipolar Disorder does do is affect your life and you can decide whether you let it affect you negativity or positively.
What You Can Do In Dealing With Bipolar Disorder
- Watch what you eat, food can be triggers for mood swings
- Try to get plenty of sleep, nap if you have to
- Don’t let what others say affect you.
- Seek counseling and help from a trained specialty who deals with Bipolar Disorder, not just depression.
- Keep a mood journal so you can see triggers and what your days are like if a manic episode strikes
- Surround yourself with positive people. Negativity can be highly effective in setting you off on a bad path.
- Stay away from drugs and alcohol they are depressive inducing.
- Talk to your family and friends and build yourself a support system.
I’m forty-three years old now. I’ve suffered with Bipolar Disorder most likely since I was a kid. I know my own body. I know which medications work for me. I know how to cope through exercise, walking, yoga, breathing, music therapy, writing and various other elements that help keep me centered and balanced. You can find those, too. You aren’t alone.