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Mood Disorders

A mood disorder is distinguished by the highs and lows of a person’s mood. It is a medical illness and should be treated as such. There is a great misunderstanding surrounding mental illness and the stigma it carries. The most common mood disorders are Depression and Bipolar Disorder. Knowing the symptoms of these two illnesses will ensure that you, or the person suffering, can get the right treatment and quickly be on the road to feeling ‘normal’ again.

1. Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of worry and unease about something. It can be described as a nervousness and agitiation to do with something about to happen. Even if we know there is nothing about to happen, the person with anxiety predicts there will be something anyway. When you are in this constant state, it’s not just your brain that is ready for “fight or flight”; this irritability can give a gread stress to your body as well. And you are constantly on edge and become tired with the “waiting” you are doing.

2. Extreme highs and lows

A trait of bipolar disorder, high and low swings in mood can be very severe. Ranging from extreme energy and a heightened mood and mental activity to a feeling of deep despair and sadness, with low energy and feelings of worthlessness, they run you ragged both mentally and physically, wherein you become exhausted, just from the chop and change in outlook on life and mood. The highs are very high, but the lows are extremely low, and this symptom is one to look out for, as the person suffering from them may not know they can be helped, especially when they are feeling so low.

3. Changes in sleeping pattern

The average adult needs around seven hours of sleep a night, however, some can survive on much less in this fast-paced world. If you are experiencing highs and lows in your mood, then it’s likely your sleeping patterns will also change. Those people in a high mania period can often go with limited sleep, even without experiencing fatigue because of it. However, on the flip side, in a state of depression, the body seems never to be able to get enough sleep. Not just for the fact under your blankets is a cozy place to hide, but because the body feels it does not have the energy to function properly, therefore, it needs to regenerate with sleep.

4. Prolonged sadness

You feel sad, for a long period, and you may not know exactly why. These depths can also be accompanied by crying spells. Your emotions are heightened, and any little thing may set you off, even something as simple as a television commercial or a story you read in the paper, or even looking out the window contemplating your own life and times. In these periods, it may be hard to come back from this state of despair, or at least you feel like you never will.

5. Social withdraw

For those of you who were extremely social before the onset of a mood disorder, it can be very hard to see how you will ever wish to be that way again. The desire for interaction has gone. You get no pleasure anymore from what interested you before, so why bother trying again? This kind of social withdrawal is typical for someone suffering from depression or other mood disorders. A lot of it has to do with not wanting to face the inevitable questions of “How are you?” In that respect, it is easier not to make the opportunity to be asked. This is why so many friends can drop away from those suffering from a mood disorder.

6. Loss of energy

A loss of energy is a different feeling of that of simply being tired after not much sleep. It is a persistent lethargy that takes over your body. Movement seems hard; getting from point A to point B is a trial, even getting out of bed is difficult both physically and mentally. You feel fatigued and experience headaches and weariness, boredom and depression. Getting out of this feeling may feel like it requires more strength than you can muster at the time.

7.Reckless behavior

On a mood high, reckless behavior is considered a symptom of bipolar disorder, especially if it is not one of your usual character traits. Within this theme, your mood is heightened, and there is a notion of carelessness for oneself and others. You can feel impulsive and have an inflated sense of self, become aggressive and your judgment tainted by the false sense of security you have within yourself. How long you are in this manic state is dependent on your own self.

8.Ability to concentrate

The inability to concentrate affects us all from time to time. Your heart is not really in a task, you are counting the minutes till you can go home, or you simply wish to be elsewhere if there is a better offer. But not being able to focus on a simple task completely can be attributed to a mood disorder. It’s not just boredom or distraction, the task may seem impossible to complete, even if it used to be the simplest thing to do. The mind wanders, or in some cases, can even forget how to complete the job.

9. Dark Thoughts

A typical symptom of depression and one often depicted as a telltale sign of depression or a low state of bipolar disorder is that of having dark thoughts. The term is broad however because the darkness depends on the individual. They could be recurring thoughts of death or suicide, depressing images with unpleasant themes running around in your head constantly. It’s not easy to shake this kind of thing out of one’s head. The thought of having these thoughts forever is not a pretty one and leads to thinking that there may be an easier way to stop it all. Someone in this situation needs a lot of care and compassion and assistance to take the right steps towards a lighter way of thinking.

10. Changes in appetite

Food can play an important role in how we feel, and the simple act of eating can mean different things to different people. Some people eat when they are depressed, and it will often be unhealthy, sugar loaded food, which leads to problems in diet and health. Others can’t seem to find the will, nor do they have the appetite to eat when they feel so low, and will unintentionally lose weight because of it. Food is important. Not only to keep our bodies going but our minds too. Changes in appetite go hand in hand with changes in mood, and one can directly affect the other.

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Throw Out The Trash

Getting real and cleaning house:

  • Negative self talk
  • People who use you
  • Bad habits that harm you
  • Friends that aren’t friendly anymore
  • Sabotaging your own best efforts
  • Comparing yourself to others
  • Feeling sorry for yourself
  • Accepting blame from others
  • Feeling guilty
  • Thinking You’re a Failure
  • Being a Perfectionist
  • Living with Regret
  • People-Pleasing
  •  

Learn to do things different:

  • Create behavioral experiments to challenge your self-limiting beliefs.
  • Replace victim language with statements that empower you
  • Practice self-compassion
  • Behave like the person you want to become.
  • Practice living in the moment.
  • Build Your Mental Muscle–The good news is, people have the ability to train  their brain for happiness and success. Becoming aware of your bad habits is the first step in creating positive change.

Letting go of your bad mental habits will jump-start your mental strength           training. Commit to building mental muscle and no matter what obstacles you face, you’ll be prepared to reach your goals

  • Making better decisions:

One of the critical thinking skills that can be affected by bipolar disorder is decision making. This goes along with other aspects of cognitive functioning such as memory, attention, some motor skills and social skills. People are affected in different ways and to different extents depending on the severity of the disorder. Decision making in people with bipolar disorder also depends on whether the person is manic, depressed or between episodes.

Decision making has a great deal to do with impulsive behavior. One of the criteria for a manic episode is that the person is that the person engages in risky behavior. This can be anything from gambling or money spending to sexual behavior. Again, the extent of the behavior depends on the person and the severity of the disorder, but impulsivity is generally present in some form across all phases of bipolar disorder, including between episodes.

Making a decision is a fight between logic and emotion. Logic requires significant amounts of energy and thoughtfulness. It takes time. There are generally seven steps in making any decision.

  1. Identify exactly what the decision entails and the desired end goal.
  2. Gather relevant information.
  3. Examine the options available using both logic and emotion.
  4. Weigh each alternative option based on the best way to reach the end goal.
  5. Make a decision based on the best option.
  6. Turn the decision into action.
  7. Evaluate that decision and its consequences.

During mania, action is often the end goal.
Another symptom of mania is racing thoughts. When the mind is moving quickly, stopping to think hard about a decision can be incredibly difficult. People may not consider the consequences of their actions, which can lead to poor decision making. There is a sense of urgency, a driving need to act immediately based on impulse, not on logic.

During depression, it’s about the lack of planning.
Hopelessness is a large part of depression. Without hope, there can be a lack of a sense of the future. It feels like depression is all that has existed and all that will exist. It’s tiring. Fatigue weighs on the mind and body. In this state, there is little energy left to think and plan ahead, so decisions are made in the now, without forethought. This combination of hopelessness and impulsivity increases the risk for suicide.

During euthymia, it doesn’t go away.
Euthymia is the state between episodes. It’s a misconception that between manic or depressive states, people with bipolar disorder are symptom-free. Cognitive function can still be affected and patients may have mild symptoms. Again, it depends on the person how severe this is. People with more advanced bipolar disorder will have more problems between episodes, as will people who do not follow treatment plans. Poor decision-making can be a part of this problem.

For people with bipolar disorder, good decision making can be especially difficult. It is up to the patient to attempt to keep it in check, but a strong support system of doctors, friends and relatives should also be in place to help out in hard times.

The ability to make a decision is greatly affected by bipolar disorder – and this ability changes based what state the person is in, according to Psych Central.

For example, during mania, the mind is moving very quickly. Thus decisions are made very quickly – and impulsively. Because of this, decision making is often poor; “stopping to think hard about a decision can be incredibly difficult. People may not consider the consequences of their actions.”

During depression, there is very little planning. There is also very little hope for the future. “In this state, there is little energy left to think and plan ahead, so decisions are made in the now, without forethought. This combination of hopelessness and impulsivity increases the risk for suicide.”

During euthymia, or the state between episodes of mania and depression, people are more likely to make better decisions, but some people still have mild symptoms of bipolar disorder, which can and do impact their ability to make sound decisions.

One day at a time. One step at a time and one thing at a time.

Nobody is Perfect

Some people will never understand mental illness and in turn they will never understand themselves. Because if they look real close they will find areas where they don’t quite measure up and there is usually a name for it.You’ll find it on the list below. You have to be honest with yourself. I believe that everybody has something. Some form of mental illness or disorder. Some choose to acknowledge that and others just live with it. And sometimes make other people’s lives miserable. And some like the chaos an illness can bring and the attention that goes with it.

It’s so easy to point fingers and make fun of people with disabilities but you have your own. Take a look. It’s not an easy task at all. Unless something bad happens we don’t look at ourselves as deeply and then when we do it’s more than likely to find blame. There is such a terrible stigma for people with mental illnesses…..like they can help it.

How many mental illnesses are there?

Mental illness, like physical illnesses, is on a continuum of severity ranging from mild to moderate to severe. More than 60 million Americans have a mental illness in any given year. Mental illness affects one in four adults and one in five children.

There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal. So currently the DSM ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) lists about 400 give or take mental, emotional or behavioral disorders. Even professionals forget to use all these codes a lot of the time.

The following list came from the NIMH website. (National Institute of Mental Health)

A

B

C

E

 F

G

H

I

K

L

M

N

O

P

R

S

T

Love What You Have

One of the cruelest things about living with a mental illness is that it becomes your bully. It zaps your self-esteem, and it makes you believe what stigma says about people with mental illness. To help you regain perspective about yourself, here are some reasons to love yourself:

  • You have hopes, dreams, and goals. Mental illness can make them difficult to realize, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Life visions don’t have a minimum speed limit, and they can’t be forced off the road.
  • You have your own set of values and sense of what’s important to you. Having a mental illness doesn’t mean you don’t believe in anything.
  • You have unique abilities and talents. Certain things are happening in your brain that can make life difficult, but there’s more to you than those things.  
  • You have character strengths inherent within you. They are a large part of who you are. Your illness is not.
  • Even on your very worst days, you are you. You’re surviving. You have a spark inside you that never stops glowing. Your illness might at times cast a shadow over it, but it can’t extinguish that inner glow. By calling on your dreams, goals, values, abilities, talents, and character strengths, you can gradually make that spark ignite into a flame.

Learn to love yourself

Loving yourself when you have a mental illness isn’t always easy. It’s already difficult enough to maintain self-love in a society that actively promotes insecurity and self-hate, but when you struggle with mental illness, it’s almost impossible to feel lovable sometimes.

Why are those struggling with mental illness so unreasonably hard on themselves? If you’re having a hard time combating the external stigma against your own mental illness, try to employ these tips to silence your inner critic.

  • Praise yourself.

Criticism perpetuates negativity. Being kind and gentle to yourself is one of               the most important things you can do for your mental health. If an individual, or society as a whole, doesn’t understand you or your mental illness, don’t take it personally. You can’t blame yourself for other peoples’ ignorance.

  • Take care of your body.

Your emotional health is directly dependent on your physical health. Give your body the nutrients it needs, get enough sleep, and don’t become dependent on alcohol or drugs to make you feel better.

  • Work toward goals.

As you work on self-love, you might want to think about, or even write down, some of your goals for recovery. These can be as small as getting out of bed in the morning, going to class, or complimenting yourself regularly. Give yourself credit when you get closer to reaching a goal.

  • Do something you enjoy every day.

When I feel myself get overwhelmed with my blogging, I take frequent breaks to stretch my legs, write in my journal, or play music. I can get absorbed by little tasks like these, and it keeps me from giving in to negative emotions.

  • Find ways to relax.

Meditaton and listening to music are a couple of great ways to relax.

  • Let yourself feel.

Having a mental illness does not invalidate your feelings. Sometimes you need to embrace your emotions and just let yourself feel what you’re feeling. At the same time, try to look at your own emotions objectively and think about the reality of the situation. You may believe your anxiety when it tells you that everyone hates you, but in reality, that’s almost never the case.

  • Make peace with your body.
  • Ask for help.

Obsessive–compulsive disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

I can totally relate to this disorder to the extent that I have to check and double check certain things before I leave home. Things such as curling iron, locked doors, garage door closed, any lit candles out, turn off lights, pretty minor things and more or less a small check list so I can go about my day and not wonder if I left something undone. For me it is debilitating yet it only takes me a few minutes to go through this mental list of things to do before I leave home especially if I am going to be gone for several hours.

I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I leave home and have had to come back to check something like my curling iron. I have never forgotten to turn anything off. I have a mental checklist every time I leave home. It’s annoying to me that I am like that. I don’t know how to stop obsessing. Maybe I’ll learn something from my blog.

Some people lock and unlock doors several times before they can leave the house. It’s the repetition and habit that is part of the problem.

Signs and Symptoms

People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships.

Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Common symptoms include:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. Common compulsions include:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or hand washing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting

Not all rituals or habits are compulsions. Everyone double checks things sometimes. But a person with OCD generally:

  • Can’t control his or her thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive
  • Spends at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts or behaviors
  • Doesn’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but may feel brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
  • Experiences significant problems in their daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors

Some individuals with OCD also have a tic disorder. Motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements, such as eye blinking and other eye movements, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking. Common vocal tics include repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds.

Symptoms may come and go, ease over time, or worsen. People with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions, or they may use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing doesn’t make sense, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary. Parents or teachers typically recognize OCD symptoms in children.

If you think you have OCD, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. If left untreated, OCD can interfere in all aspects of life.

Treatments and Therapies

OCD is typically treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. Although most patients with OCD respond to treatment, some patients continue to experience symptoms.

Sometimes people with OCD also have other mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphic disorder, a disorder in which someone mistakenly believes that a part of their body is abnormal. It is important to consider these other disorders when making decisions about treatment.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that, to others, is either minor or not observable. But you may feel so ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations.

When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, repeatedly checking the mirror, grooming or seeking reassurance, sometimes for many hours each day. Your perceived flaw and the repetitive behaviors cause you significant distress, and impact your ability to function in your daily life.

You may seek out numerous cosmetic procedures to try to “fix” your perceived flaw. Afterward, you may feel a temporary satisfaction, but often the anxiety returns and you may resume searching for a way to fix your perceived flaw.

I have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I believe it started when I was around 16 years old. I felt pretty good about myself until my alcoholic step father came into the picture. Dinner time was always chaotic and I can remember him telling me almost every day that I was fat, ugly and would never amount to anything. Those words haunt me to this day. I was young and impressionable and certainly didn’t deserve that treatment. Later on I developed anorexia and bulimia to no surprise. I still struggle with my appearance and weight but I try positive self talk and that seems to help me feel more accepting of myself. I am in my late fifties and it has taken this long for me to feel good about myself most of the time.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include:

  • Being extremely preoccupied with a perceived flaw in appearance that to others can’t be seen or appears minor
  • Strong belief that you have a defect in your appearance that makes you ugly or deformed
  • Belief that others take special notice of your appearance in a negative way or mock you
  • Engaging in behaviors aimed at fixing or hiding the perceived flaw that are difficult to resist or control, such as frequently checking the mirror, grooming or skin picking
  • Attempting to hide perceived flaws with styling, makeup or clothes
  • Constantly comparing your appearance with others
  • Always seeking reassurance about your appearance from others
  • Having perfectionist tendencies
  • Seeking frequent cosmetic procedures with little satisfaction
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Being so preoccupied with appearance that it causes major distress or problems in your social life, work, school or other areas of functioning

You may obsess over one or more parts of your body. The feature that you focus on may change over time. The most common features people obsess about include:

  • Face, such as nose, complexion, wrinkles, acne and other blemishes
  • Hair, such as appearance, thinning and baldness
  • Skin and vein appearance
  • Breast size
  • Muscle size and tone
  • Genitalia

Insight about body dysmorphic disorder varies. You may recognize that your beliefs about your perceived flaws may not be true, or think that they probably are true, or be absolutely convinced that they’re true.

Body dysmorphic disorder typically starts in the early teenage years and it affects both males and females. An obsession that body build is too small or not muscular enough (muscle dysmorphia) occurs almost exclusively in males.

Treatment of body dysmorphic disorder may include cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy for body dysmorphic disorder focuses on:

  • Helping you learn how negative thoughts, emotional reactions and behaviors maintain problems over time

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Bipolar Babies

The classic signs of a bipolar disorder are extreme ups and downs. If we think about infancy, all young babies are by definition bipolar. They can go from crying one minute to smiling and laughing the next.

Can a Baby Be Bipolar?

The classic signs of a bipolar disorder are extreme ups and downs. If we think about infancy, all young babies are by definition bipolar. They can go from crying one minute to smiling and laughing the next. If we saw that type of behavior in an adult we would suspect they were bipolar. In a young baby, these bipolar symptoms are normal. That is why pediatric bipolar disorder is rarely diagnosed under the age of nine; but occasional reports indicate in it can present as young as six.

The classic signs of a bipolar disorder are extreme ups and downs. If we think about infancy, all young babies are by definition bipolar. They can go from crying one minute to smiling and laughing the next. If we saw that type of behavior in an adult we would suspect they were bipolar. In a young baby, these bipolar symptoms are normal. That is why pediatric bipolar disorder is rarely diagnosed under the age of nine; but occasional reports indicate in it can present as young as six.

Pediatric bipolar disorder is often diagnosed on the basis of behavior because a child may not always be able to express himself appropriately in words. They may lose weight secondary to a poor appetite, no longer enjoy their usual activities, and have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. These are the usual characteristics of depression. When children are in the manic phase of the bipolar disorder they exhibit behavior similar to ADD and ADHD. The have difficulty focusing and go from one activity to another.  School work may suffer and teachers may complain about their behavior in the classroom.

Since it is difficult to make the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in babies, researchers have looked back at older children in whom the diagnosis is certain for clues during their infancy. What they found is that mothers of bipolar children were more likely to report infantile bipolar symptoms than mothers of children not diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  Specifically, children with bipolar disorder were more likely to have been reported as a stiffened infant and act colicky. They would hold their little bodies rigid and cry and would be difficult to console.

There seems to be an inherited risk factor for bipolar disorder in children. In families with a first degree relative with bipolar disorder, and by first degree we mean parents or siblings, the risk is increased seven fold. We can also see changes in MRI brain scans in children and adults with bipolar disorder. The conclusion is that specific genes may influence the structure and development of the brain leading to this problem.

This does not mean if a mother or father is bipolar the baby will absolutely grow up to be bipolar. We know during pregnancy good and bad genes can be turned on and off depending on the mother’s lifestyle. This is called epigenetics. A mother can use this to her advantage by properly managing her lifestyle, nutrition, exercise and stress during pregnancy. She can turn off the bad genes and turn on the good ones. She should pay particular attention to nutrition and stress. Pregnant mothers need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, find healthy ways to manage stress such as exercise and talking with family and friends, and get a healthy night’s sleep every night. These simple lifestyle enhancements can have a profound influence on how your baby develops in the womb and this can set the course for the rest of your child’s life. Pregnancy can be a powerful tool to amplify your child’s best genes and to turn off the bad.

I look back now at my first born. He came out crying and screaming and didn’t stop there. He was colicky for the first 4 months or so and eventually diagnosed at age 4 with ADHD. He was a very smart child and is a very smart adult now and I just have to wonder if the problems he had during his childhood are related to Bipolar disorder. We had a lot things going on with him when he was young. Behavioral problems mainly. He is a stable adult now so I don’t really know if he has Bipolar or not. Judging by his mannerisms and lifestyle I would say probably not. At least I hope not. He’s almost 31 years old and no symptoms have surfaced to my knowledge. I do know that when he was a baby he exhibited all the symptoms mentioned above. It can be hereditary and I pray he didn’t get my genes for Bipolar disorder. It’s a chance you take but again as mentioned above there are precautions pregnant women with the disease can take to minimize the chance. \

The Bipolar Bandwagon

It drives me crazy (not literally) but I cringe when I hear people claiming they have Bipolar disorder and have never been diagnosed properly. Self diagnosis is not the way to go if you are seeking help. People blame their behavior on this illness and it’s really just an excuse for poor behavior if they have never had a proper diagnosis. It’s not to be used as an excuse or taken lightly. If you think you have Bipolar disorder then get the proper care you need and quit using moodiness, depression, indecision, etc. on a disease you may not have. Seems to me, people are jumping on that bandwagon of excuses when it’s convenient. And using the word Bipolar as a verb is offensive to those who battle the disease. As in “I feel so Bipolar today” or “that’s so Bipolar.”

There are some websites that can be used for self diagnosis but I wouldn’t use it especially if I have some serious issues going on.

Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic-depressive disorder, is a serious condition that is often accompanied by self-harm and can even lead to suicide in severe cases. Bipolar is a mental illness which can cause dramatic shifts in a person’s mood and behaviors. It is characterized by periods of depression as well as elevated moods–known as mania–that could each last a week or more at a time.

10 Early Bipolar Disorder Symptoms To Never Ignore

1. Depression

Depression is one of the leading causes of self-harm and suicidal ideation in bipolar patients. It is marked by low moods, low energy, lack of interest in usual activities, and loss of appetite or overeating. Bipolar is often mistaken and misdiagnosed as depression, so it is important to watch for other bipolar disorder symptoms as well. As many as 20% of people who tell their doctor they’ve been feeling depressed are actually undiagnosed bipolar.

2. Elevated Mood

The second most common of the bipolar disorder symptoms is mania or elevated mood. To be diagnosed, a person must have experienced at least one episode of mania. Some people with bipolar disorder will have many episodes of mania throughout their life while others may experience them rarely.

In the manic state, a person is more likely to have irrational thoughts and engage in unhealthy behaviors such as overspending, gambling, or drug use. The elevated moods of mania may feel appealing to the person experiencing them, especially after a bout of depression; but it’s important to learn to identify bouts of mania, as they can result in impaired judgment and reckless behavior.

3. Speaking Quickly

A bipolar patient who is in a manic episode can be known to speak very quickly. This usually coincides with erratic thoughts that the person is trying to convey to others, but the individual’s speech is so quick that they are often not understood by others. This is known as “pressured speech” and is the person’s attempt to try to convey their racing thoughts even though their words are not understood by others. It can be easy to tell when a bipolar person is talking fast as the conversation itself will most likely be one-sided.

4. Inflated Self-Esteem

Bipolar individuals often develop an inflated ego and feel like they are better than others. While most people have a moderate and healthy amount of self-esteem, people with bipolar may have an elevated sense of self and feel superior to others. This superior sense of self usually occurs in tandem with a manic phase. As a result, individuals are more likely to engage in social behaviors that would otherwise be overwhelming to them. The person may attempt to be the life of the party or go on a spending spree which may compound their existing anxieties and increase their risk of further manic episodes.

This phase can be difficult for friends and family as the individual may talk down to them or make them feel inferior. However, this phase usually declines into depression and self-loathing, leaving the person to regret the things they said and decisions they made.

5. Erratic Thoughts

While in the manic phase, many people may experience erratic thoughts. While most people are able to focus on a singular train of thought until a task is complete, sufferers of bipolar have difficulty concentrating on one thought for any length of time. Their minds are full of emotions and ideas that they find it hard to deal with. They jump from one topic to another and have trouble keeping one train of thought. During this phase it is hard for the person to speak in coherent sentences, and the individual may have difficulty keeping a conversation going for more than a minute or so.

Often their mind may make connections between subjects where there are none. The individual may also have disturbing thoughts and not understand why. Racing thoughts can be difficult to diagnose as sufferers of bipolar disorder symptoms are often not aware that their thoughts are erratic.

6. Erratic Behavior

With erratic thoughts come erratic behavior. Normal routines are broken when accompanied by erratic thinking, and a person with bipolar can begin to display overindulgent behaviors. These may manifest through excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol, spending beyond their budget on unnecessary extravagances, or hyper-sexual activities such as engaging in affairs or unsafe sex. As a result of these behaviors the individual’s life can begin to break down when a bank account is drained or a relationship is abruptly ended. It is important to watch for any erratic behaviors to determine whether a person in your life may be bipolar. It’s important to remember that only a doctor can diagnose such symptoms, but spotting symptoms early can assist with finding treatment options while the condition is still manageable.

7. Substance Abuse

People with bipolar have a disproportionately higher chance of suffering from substance abuse problems. If they are not on medications prescribed to help their bipolar disorder symptoms they will use drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate.

During a manic phase, drugs and alcohol can be used to ease the symptoms of racing thoughts or inability to sleep. A bipolar person may use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their sad feelings or even as a way to escape self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

8. Suicidal Thoughts

Because bipolar is often accompanied by depression, there is always the risk of suicidal thoughts. People in the depression phase of bipolar disorder often have thoughts of ending their lives. Even if the individual is properly diagnosed and on medication and regular therapy, suicidal thoughts are something that should be taken very seriously, as suicide is not uncommon for bipolar sufferers.

9. Overspending

Rational thought is often pushed aside during manic phases, and this can lead to reckless behaviors. Overspending, sometimes referred to as “retail therapy,” occurs with many people who exhibit bipolar tendencies. The erratic thoughts of a person in bipolar mania may prohibit them from recognizing that they are spending more money than they should. Overspending often leads to a drained savings account or excessive debt which can in turn trigger a sense of guilt for causing the situation in the first place.

10. Guilt

The final symptom to look for in a bipolar person is guilt. Because mania can lead to erratic thinking and behavior such as overspending, the individual often ends their period of mania with a sense of guilt toward how they treated themselves and others.

This sense of guilt is the catalyst for mania transitioning into depression. Often the feelings of guilt toward how the bipolar person treated someone else will lead to guilt which will lead to depression and before you know it, the person is deep into a depressive phase of their bipolar disorder.

With medication and therapy, the feelings of mania and depression can be reduced, meaning that the feeling of guilt will be less likely to occur as the mania will recur with less frequency. This may also diminish the risk of depressive episodes.

Final Thoughts

It is important to remember that sufferers of bipolar often have little or no control over their emotions. It can be frustrating to engage with a loved one who is bipolar, but they do not choose to have their mood swings and can often be as frustrated with themselves as any friend or family member could be. Below are ten common myths about bipolar disorder to help you get an understanding of many of the misconceptions around mental health issues.

It’s important to remember that despite the difficulty the symptoms may cause, bipolar is manageable. With proper lifestyle changes, regular therapy, and a strict diet and medication regimen most people are capable of living a healthy lifestyle with bipolar. Therapy can help to manage with erratic behaviors while doctor’s visits and medication are known to help with the drastic mood swings of the disorder.

Common Myths

1. Mental illness doesn’t exist.

2. I don’t know anyone with a mental health condition.

3. Children don’t have mental disorders.

4. There is no effective treatment for mental illnesses.

5. People shouldn’t seek help until they are having a breakdown.

6. Mental illnesses are people’s own fault.

7. People with a mental health condition should keep their thoughts to themselves.

8. Those with mental disorders are violent.

9. No one can prevent a mental illness.

10. Poor parenting is the culprit.

A Cry For Help

On a road wandering earnestly and aimlessly, she came upon a fork in the road. She could barely see either road ahead because she had taken too many pills and the alcohol intesified the stupor she was in.

Feeling content yet disturbed at the same time, she diligently trekked on. The drugs she had taken to disguise the emotional pain are now clouding her vision as well. In her head she thinks, I’m dying and I don’t want to die. She just wanted the misery to leave but it never will for she has created her own pain and her own living hell.

She continued down the path she chose for what seemed like days but had only been hours. Praying for a car to come and hit her was all she could think about, the pain has to go. As she continues stumbling her way along the road, she came across a set of railroad tracks. Again she was at a crossroad. Deciding to venture in a different direction, she chose the railroad tracks. The sun was in her eyes as she tried to make a game of jumping the tracks back and forth tripping each time she tried. She wished for a train to come.

She finally reached the train station and she just wished that the train would get there but it was running late again. When she finally stepped up to the platform she could barely stand. The bottle of liquor she had been nursing was bone dry now. She started to feel a little sick at what her head was going through. The thoughts scattered and unclear. Her pain increased.

Her family will never know, she thought-the agony she was in and the senseless pain she endured and the pain she would put them through felt okay because it will be, to them- an accident.

She never really wanted to die but it was too late to change her mind. As the train approached the station she plotted her death even more. She teetered on the platform and reached for the handrail while the train was still in motion. Losing her balance she fell between the train cars and the train came to a screeching halt. She was not in her right mind when she made the choice to die. Too late. She is already dead. She chose the path of the train instead of the car over a life that may or may not have gotten better. She will never know. They will never know.

I Am Dead

I am dead. A stiff corpse, a heart break to the ones who love me. I see and hear the people all around my lifeless body so beautifully placed in my casket. My family is here along with my friends. I didn’t know I had so manly friends. Where were they when I needed them? I think they are here because they feel guilty. They will have to carry that guilt with them wherever they go for the rest of their lives.

It is only now that I see their pain. But where, where were they when I was alive and needed them. Were they too busy with their own lives? Did they not see my pain? Did I hide it too well?

The flowers keep coming, as are the people, people I don’t even know and the smell of death sorrounds me. Why don’t these people say those kind words to the living. It is too late.

I hope I look good for everyone and my hair is fixed nice. This will be the last time anyone ever sees me and I want to look nice and at peace.

Who has my dog and my cat? Do they know my dog has terrible anxiety and loves bones. And my cat loves catnip and drinks from the fountain in my livingroom. The have to keep adding water to it.

Will they forgive me for the hurt I have caused? It really was an accident. I don’t want to be here. What will my children do without me? Does my daughter know she is the most important person in my life along with her brother? Does my son know how very proud of him I am. I love you both.

Why should any of them forgive me? They know the truth. They also know they failed me.

Who or what could have stopped me. Nobody-nobody became my best friend. My best friend did not love me enough to stop me before I took the drugs and alcohol. She knew. She kept quiet. Nobody was with me all the time and now nobody will care for my children in my place. Nobody told my family and friends how lonely I was becasuse nobody really didn’t care. And for those of you who have nobody, please please look for somebody to talk to because now I wish somebody could have helped me. I wish I could have reached out. I wish there was a hand that reached back.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

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