Common Bipolar Triggers

 

Bipolar triggers are behaviors and outside events that lead to bipolar disorder symptoms. As you probably know from experience, these triggers can be positive or negative. You often have control of them, but some are just part of everyday life.

Getting to know your personal triggers helps with bipolar disorder symptoms to prevent relapse and stop symptoms from getting worse. Common triggers you may experience include:

Sleep difficulties A regular sleep routine — going to bed and waking up at the same time every day — is a good way to keep things stable.

Illness that is not treated or managed.

Disruption to sleep patterns decreases in the time the person sleeps can contribute to hypomanic or manic symptoms, and increases in sleep or bedrest may be followed by depressive symptoms.

Disruption to routine. A regular structure and regular bedtime and waking up times, regular activities and social contact can help to maintain the bodies sleep patterns and usual energy level

Conflict and stressful interactions with people

Too much stimulation from within the person Overstimulation from lots of activity and excitement when the person tries to achieve challenging goals or having stimulating substances like caffeine or nicotine

Abusing alcohol or street drugs can cause the person to have ongoing bipolar symptoms, more frequent relapses and hospitalizations.

Stressful negative or positive life events The birth of a baby, a promotion, losing a job, ending a relationship or moving. The trick is to manage it. Try regular exercise, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and watch your diet.

Meditation also can ease depression and anxiety.

Too much stimulation from external sources Clutter, traffic, noise, light, crowds, work deadlines or social activities etc.

Travel – especially travel with time zone changes.

Relationship problems.

Non-supportive family members and friends.

Excessive media exposure to stressful world events.

Helping to reduce bipolar triggers
Positive methods a person may use to reduce stress and maintain stability include:

Taking ongoing medication as prescribed for bipolar disorder.

Having regular sleep patterns.

Maintaining a basic routine.

Exercising regularly (provided this is not done close to bedtime as this can interfere with sleep). Besides enhancing physical health, regular exercise has a positive effect on anxiety, depression, sleep problems and self esteem.

Regulating the stimulation they receive. Support the person’s decision to have quiet times between social engagements or restore sleep habits after celebrations

Setting realistic manageable goals.

Stopping or reducing the use of substances that make bipolar moods worse namely caffeine, alcohol or street drugs

Eating a healthy diet

Finding ways to relax and unwind

Adopting a problem solving approach to difficulties.

Accepting that not all problems can be solved, but people can try to make the most of things the way they are.

Mental Illnesses and Forgiveness

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When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward. I recently had a falling out with a close member of my family. I have never been so humiliated and I suppose I brought this on myself. Having Bipolar 1 makes it difficult for me at times to “keep my mouth shut.” At the time I feel that I was being verbally attacked and completely judged by this person. Nobody is perfect and I usually know after the fact that I should have not responded like I did. I recieved a letter stating all the things I did wrong over the past 23 years. Can you believe that someone can hold a grudge for that many years. I didn’t have a clue as to all these things I did or didn’t do.

I have the freedom of choice and I don’t regret any of the things that I supposidly done to hurt this person. I would never do that on purpose. What wasnt’ stated or remembered were the good things that happenend to both of us. I am not sure at all how I am going to address this matter. Time will take care of some of it and sometimes it’s best to leave things the way they are instead of digging up old wounds. I believe that I am owed an appology. I won’t get it though. This person is headstrong and very controlling.

So who hasn’t been hurt by the actions or words of another? Perhaps a parent constantly criticized you growing up, a friend who betrayed you in some way or your partner had an affair. Or maybe you’ve had a traumatic experience, such as being physically or emotionally abused by someone close to you.
These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger and bitterness.
But if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays the higher price. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
What is forgiveness?
Generally it involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness means different things to different people.
The act that hurt or offended you might always be with you, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help free you from the control of the person who harmed you. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or justifying the hurt done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with your life as you should.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?
Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for improved health and peace of mind. Forgiveness can lead to:
Improved heart health
Lower blood pressure
Healthier relationships
Improved mental health
A stronger immune system
Fewer symptoms of depression
Improved self-esteem
Less anxiety, stress and hostility
Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?
Being hurt by someone, particularly someone you love and trust, can cause anger, sadness and confusion. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.
Some people are naturally more forgiving than others. But even if you’re a grudge holder, almost anyone can learn to be more forgiving.

What are the effects of holding a grudge?
If you’re unforgiving, you might:
Forgiveness is a commitment to a personalized process of change. To move from suffering to forgiveness, you might:
Recognize the value of forgiveness and how it can improve your life
Identify what needs healing and who needs to be forgiven and for what
Consider joining a support group or seeing a counselor
Acknowledge your emotions about the harm done to you and how they affect your behavior, and work to release them
Choose to forgive the person who’s offended you
Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.
What happens if I can’t forgive someone?
Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who’s hurt you doesn’t admit wrong.

If you find yourself stuck:
Practice empathy. Try seeing the situation from the other person’s point of view.
Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
Reflect on times you’ve hurt others and on those who’ve forgiven you.
Write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation — or talk with a person you’ve found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an impartial loved one or friend.
Be aware that forgiveness is a process, and even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven over and over again.

The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you’ve done and how they have affected others. Avoid judging yourself too harshly.
If you’re truly sorry for something you’ve said or done, consider admitting it to those you’ve harmed. Speak of your sincere sorrow or regret, and ask for forgiveness — without making excuses.
Remember, however, you can’t force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever happens, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.

Contributions by: Mayo Clinic Staff

A Little Bipolar Humor

Things only Someone with Bipolar Disorder Would Understand:

Your depressive spells make you forgetful, which is a shame because if you thought about your manic stages it might cheer you up.

You can tell when you had a manic episode by looking at your credit card bill.

Even though you live on your own, it often feels like you’re waking up with a stranger.

You have so many racing thoughts you should be a NASCAR analyst.

You don’t suffer from a sense of superiority – you’re remarkably modest for an emperor of all humanity.

You don’t know the meaning of “psychosomatic,” because you can’t concentrate on reading a word that long.

When you’re down you watch “America’s Most Wanted” and cry out: “Why does nobody want me?”

Friends say you’re the life and soul of the party, but you avoid parties like the plague.

You’ve been told the warranty on your car does not cover existential crisis.

You just realized people can drink beer for fun, not because they’re self-medicating.

You eat fear for breakfast.

Your psychiatrist spends so much time balancing your moods she now has a side job as a professional juggler.

You wonder how someone who feels so empty can put on so much weight.

You can’t sleep at nights, which would be OK if you had more insomniacs for friends.

You’ve cried on the pizza delivery guy’s shoulder.

When you’re manic, nothing makes you angrier than someone suggesting you’re irritable.

You meet the same person at two different parties and have to convince them you’re not your pain-in-the-ass twin brother.

Every morning you wake up thinking, “today is going to be a great day. Just not for me.”

Your cat would describe you as the aloof and needy one.

Manic episodes give you a heightened sex drive, which makes it unfortunate you can’t maintain any relationships.

You remember when Prozac was cool.

Your depressed self probably wouldn’t be so depressed if your manic self didn’t make so many commitments for it to keep.

If you could cycle as quickly as your moods, you’d be the next Lance Armstrong.

Family members have mistaken you for the Incredible Hulk.

If someone is described to you as “moody” you think to yourself: amateur.

Contributor by Healthline

 

Thunder In The Distance The Bipolar Storm

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Manic is my thunder in the distance. I can tell when I am about to enter the dreaded manic state. With me it’s never harmful or aggressive toward another or myself. My manic state tells me to keep moving, stay busy, don’t think too much and don’t feel too much. And I don’t. I get a lot of things done around the house. I paint and love it. I just painted my living room and bedroom. I feel so accomplished.

It’s certainly not like that for eveyone who has Bipolar 1 which is the worst of the different levels of Bipolar. I feel fortunate that I am productive during those times. When I run out of things to do, sometimes I go shopping or just do something to get out of the house. I love to garden and keep up my yard. Plant flowers and just enjoy the beauty I create.

What’s a manic episode?
A manic episode is a mood state characterized by period of at least one week where an elevated, expansive, or unusually irritable mood exists. A person experiencing a manic episode is usually engaged in significant goal-directed activity beyond their normal activities. And that’s where I geet into trouble. I have to have projects to work on so I stay pretty active and civil. After years of dealing with the manic side which for me lasts sometimes months.

The symptoms of mania include: elevated mood, inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, difficulty maintaining attention, increase in goal-directed activity, and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities. These manic symptoms significantly impact a person’s daily living.
Another definition of manic is someone or something that shows wild and unrestrained enthusiasm, to the point of being in a frenzied state. A person jumping and dancing around with intense excitement is an example of someone who might be described as manic.

Sometimes the manic mood is more irritable than it is elevated, especially if the person’s wishes are curtailed or denied altogether. Often a person in the midst of mania will engage in multiple projects at the same time, with little premeditation or thought going into them, and finishing none of them. They may work on these projects at all hours of the day, with little regard for sleep or rest.

A person’s change in mood is typically associated with manic symptoms that should be observable by others (e.g., friends or relatives of the individual) and must be uncharacteristic of the individual’s usual state or behavior. In other words, they’re acting in a way that isn’t typical of themselves, and other people recognize it.

The manic feelings the person experiences should be severe enough to cause difficulty or impairment in their ability to function at work, with friends or family, at school, or other important areas in their life. Symptoms also cannot be the result of substance use or abuse (e.g., alcohol, drugs, medications) or caused by a general medical condition.

In order for a manic episode to be diagnosed, three (3) or more of the following symptoms must be present:
Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
Decreased need for sleep (e.g., one feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
Attention is easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant items
Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school; or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

Specific Symptoms of a Manic Episode
In order for a manic episode to be diagnosed, three (3) or more of the following symptoms must be present:
Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
Decreased need for sleep (e.g., one feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
Attention is easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant items
Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school; or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)
Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
Excessively “high,” overly good, euphoric mood
Extreme irritability
Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
Distractibility, can’t concentrate well
Little sleep needed
Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers
Poor judgment
Spending sprees
A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
Increased sexual drive
Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
Denial that anything is wrong

The Washer and Dryer

 

 

Addiction is a disease that affects both the brain and behavior.

It’s Never Too Late to Seek Help
Drug and alcohol abuse is a common problem today. Just like any addiction, its a problem that you cannot solve on your own. While treatment centers can provide
solutions. But you must want to help yourself.

Fighting addiction is hard, but the effects are worse. It has negative impact to your physical and mental well-being. More than that, it also affects your family and friends, hurting the people you love and care for the most.

The good news is that its never too late. Once you admit you have a problem, you are on your way to recovery. You addiction can and will be beaten.

What is drug addiction?
Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and changes in the brain, which can be long lasting. These changes in the brain can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who use drugs. Drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop.

The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs including alcohol. But over time, a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised. Seeking and taking the drug becomes compulsive. This is mostly due to the effects of long-term drug exposure on brain function. Addiction affects parts of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior.

Drug addiction can be treated but it’s not simple. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people can’t simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients need long-term or repeated care to stop using completely and recover their lives.

Addiction treatment must help the person do the following:
stop using drugs
stay drug-free
be productive in the family, at work, and in society
Principles of Effective Treatment
Based on scientific research since the mid-1970s, the following key principles should form the basis of any effective treatment program:

Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.No single treatment is right for everyone.

People need to have quick access to treatment.
Effective treatment addresses all of the patient’s needs, not just his or her drug use.
Staying in treatment long enough is critical.
Counseling and other behavioral therapies are the most commonly used forms of treatment.
Medications are often an important part of treatment, especially when combined with behavioral therapies.
Treatment plans must be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.
Treatment should address other possible mental disorders.
Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of treatment.
Treatment doesn’t need to be voluntary to be effective.
Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously.
Treatment programs should test patients for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as teach them about steps they can take to reduce their risk of these illnesses.

Effects of Substance Abuse on Families
1) Jealousy: You can grow jealous of your friends, your partner,…
2) Conflict with Partner: You may have arguments, get/give the “silent treatment”…
3) Conflict with Children: You may argue with your children and they may disregard your authority…
4) Conflict over Money: You may struggle economically because…

Help for the family and loved ones:
Is Al-Anon for families of drug addicts?
For over 50 years, Al-Anon (which includes Al-ateen for younger members) has been offering hope and help to families and friends of alcoholics and drug addicts. It is estimated that each addict/alcoholic affects the lives of at least four other people… alcoholism is truly a family disease. No matter what relationship you have with an alcoholic, whether they are still drinking or not, all who have been affected by someone else’s drinking can find solutions that lead to serenity in the fellowship.

How can it help me? Many who come are in despair, feeling hopeless, unable to believe that things can ever change. We want our lives to be different, but nothing we have done has brought about change. We all come to meetings because we want and need help. Members share their own experience, strength, and hope with each other. You will meet others who share your feelings and frustrations, if not your exact situation. We come together to learn a better way of life, to find happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.

Friends and family members often feel helpless, as they watch someone they care about, someone they love, struggle with alcohol or some other substance. They don’t know what to do and where to go for answers. They feel alone and isolated. It’s an organization dedicated to those people, friends who are there to help family members through the though times and provide support. Those family members do not have to be alone. They can have peace of mind.

How do I find a meeting?
It may be listed in the white pages of your local telephone directory. For meeting information in Canada, the US, and Puerto Rico you can call 1-888-4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666) Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 6:00pm ET.

Personal note: I was married to an alcoholic for over 20 years. He chose to get help early on in our marriage. He went into treatment for a short stint and chose to remain sober until he passed away. He had 25 years of sobriety. Meanwhile, I joined Alanon and attended for 16 years. We went to meetings together. After all it is a family disease. Alanon saved my life, marriage and sanity. Recovery on both sides is not to be taken lightly. I have tools that I learned and use in my everyday life. It becomes a part of you and can make the best “you” that you can possibly be.

How Does Social Media Affect Mental Health?

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Negative Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health 

It’s addictive.
It triggers more sadness, less well-being.
Comparing our lives with others is mentally unhealthy.
It can lead to jealousy—and a vicious cycle.
We get caught in the delusion of thinking it will help
Loss of Productivity
Reduced Self Esteem
Fear of Missing Out
Reduced Physical Activity

Is Facebook making you depressed? If so, you’re not alone. According to a recent study by UK disability charity Scope, of 1500 Facebook and Twitter users surveyed, 62 percent reported feeling inadequate and 60 percent reported feelings of
jealousy from comparing themselves to other users.

I’ve heard similar complaints from friends and I’ve felt that way myself on occaision. I hear such statements from those who are struggling with depression. It makes sense that if you are already in a depressed mood or not feeling good about yourself, having pictures of happy couples and smiling babies pop up on your screen on a consistent basis may make you feel worse. The same is true if you tend to generally have a negative outlook on life. Wishing things were better won’t make it so. Happiness is an inside job and it won’t come from any social media site. I take a break from social media until I am feeling more confident and can truly be happy for others blessings. No matter how much I wish my life would change, it’s up to me to make those changes.
If Facebook posts depress you, the solution is simple. Here are four things you can do today to help you cope:
Deactivate your Facebook account (you can always reactivate it later)
Unfollow your most (seemingly) happy and successful friends
Remember that Facebook isn’t a representation of reality
Turn off the computer and go make your own annoyingly happy moments

In a study on the effects of Facebook use on mental health, researchers at the University of Georgia State discovered that regular use could lead to symptoms of depression if the site triggered feelings of envy in the user.
“If it is used as a way to size up one’s own accomplishments against others, it can have a negative effect. If it’s used “to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship – things that cause envy among users – use of the site can lead to feelings of depression.”
Those who use the site primarily to feel connected do not experience the negative effects of those who are seeking real long lasting friendships although it does happen. In fact, when not triggering feelings of envy, the study shows, Facebook could be a good resource and have positive effects on well-being.
Studies have shown that the majority of social media users tend to edit and post only their most attractive pictures, or ‘put a rose-tinted gloss over their lives’ in an effort to idealize themselves and, researchers believe, to improve others’ impressions of them.

To avoid “Facebook-induced depression”, users should be aware of the risks of using the site as a tool of comparison. Furthermore, users should be aware that most people are presenting a biased, positive version of reality on social media. Finally, if you’re still feeling down, angry, or generally disillusioned because of the positive news shared by your Facebook friends, on or offline, you should question why you feel that way.
Having clinical depression or a recent setback, is it really such a bad thing to see another human being enjoying life, especially if it’s a friend- or at least someone you tolerate enough to accept as a Facebook friend? At times, yes.
With all of the suffering and pain in the world, wouldn’t it be a tragedy if people stopped sharing joyful events for fear of making someone else jealous? Imagine if people only discussed all of the negative things that surrounded them. Especially over this past year, don’t we have enough tragic posts appearing in our newsfeeds 24/7?
Given that there will always be someone who’s taller, richer, better-looking, who has more friends, a better job, etc., we can either allow ourselves to fall into the dangerous trap of comparison, or we can choose to remember that regardless of what others around you appear to have, everyone is grappling with their own struggles. For every promotion, book deal and Tony nomination, chances are, the recipient has experienced equally or more significant life setbacks.
Also important to remember is that for every person that seems to have more, there is another with less. For each individual whose qualities you covet, there’s someone out there who wishes they had what you have. If we can’t change our outer circumstances, at least we can try to change our perspective and learn to be grateful for what we have. We can also learn to celebrate other’s successes. Sharing in other people’s joy can often lift our spirits.
These suggestions may be difficult, especially if you’re struggling with low self-worth or depression. If that is the case, seek help from a friend or a professional. Whether it’s reaching out for support, practicing gratitude or simply surrounding yourself with more of the positive, you owe it to yourself to make the best out of this life.
Stop torturing yourself by comparing your life with everyone else’s positively biased representations of theirs. Seek to improve your own life in a realistic manner. Choose to look at the positives and to celebrate your wins… as well as theirs.
It’s not all what it seems to be on social media. People want to look good, be successful, be envied and most of all be liked.
Positive ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health
A boost to mental development
Encouragement to overcome depression
Quicker and more accessible to knowledge bases

Participating actively on social media can actually improve certain cognitive processes and boost your brain power. Writing positive posts and finding ways to help other users will make you seek for relevant knowledge, do some brainstorming and deeper research. For instance, if you interact with people in your field or profession, you will be stimulated to learn more about the latest advances in your field. And this could lead to faster career advancement.

Social media can help you come out out of depression. You can receive comforting words and inspiring stories from your friends everyday. And this will reduce the impact of the isolation and stigma associated with mental illness. In addition to the massive social networks like Facebook, several other patient advocacy websites like Mental Health Tribe, WeGoHealth and Patients Like Me are very helpful. They enable people who are battling with a particular mental condition to communicate with others with similar challenges. Through these media, people can learn better treatment protocols, develop coping skills, and feel less ashamed.

Social media provides faster access to information and details that may take you weeks or months to research and discover by yourself. This works for both personal and professional research. For instance, if you need first-hand information about the performance of a particular weight-loss program, you can post a question about it and you will receive several sincere responses from people who have tried the program. Many times this is better than reading customer reviews which are have been solicited by product manufacturers, which is not always the case. People can think and respond for themselves.

 

Bipolar 1 My Personal Experience

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I was Thirty three years old and was being treated for depression. I had just given birth to my daughter in 1993 when I noticed something in me had changed. It wasn’t post partum depression though. I sought out the help of a general practioner and I had tried several antidepressants but none really worked. I don’t remember any of the names of the medications except one. The magic pill called xanax. That did the trick.

A series of things happened after I began treatment. I was referred to a psychiatrist for further evaluation. This was the doctor who prescribed the xanax. He had me on 5 mg per day. Could you imagine the state I was in. Nothing mattered. Everything was OK. I weighed about 125 lbs at that time so I believe the dose may have been a bit much.

Years past and out of almost out of nowhere, I was filing for divorce after 20 years of marriage. We had been together of for 22 years. I have little recollection of how this all took place but in February of 2003 I got remarried to a man that I had a six month long distance relationship with. I met him twice. He was the brother of one of my good friends at that time. I packed up my daughter who was 9 and moved to Ohio. What a mistake.

I was in therapy in Lisbon Ohio. One particular morning I was getting ready for my session. I took a nice jacuzzi bath, drank a couple of beers and took my xanax. I went to therapy and told my therapist what I had done. After that, she wouldn’t let me go and spoke with my doctor and decided I needed to be hospitalized for more intense treatment. I was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Youngstown where I would stay for the next two weeks.

I was taken off all meds so the doctor could observe me. There were cameras everywhere and that was one of the tools the doctor used to observe and diagnose patients. This was in May of 2004 I was finally properly diagnosed with Bipolar 1. I was so relieved to be put on the proper medication and I could think straight and actually feel my feelings again. Not long after I was released, I filed for divorce and 15 months from the time I married him, I was back in Indiana where I belonged. I am so happy to have the correct diagnosis and knew what I was dealing with. It’s been 15 years since my diagnosis. I was afraid at first to tell anyone because I felt ashamed. Today I know better. There is no shame in having an illness. I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it, but I can learn to live with it and possibly help others who suffer the same disease.

I got a job in 2005 and worked as long as I could. My last job ended in 2009 when I could no longer concentrate on my duties. It was a busy office I worked in and I just couldn’t keep up. Now I find things that I am good at and do enjoy and writing is certainly one of them. I don’t push my self hard. I am much kinder and am learning my limitations. I’m happy today and look forward to writing everyday. I see my doctor every three months and have been stable and on the same meds for 15 years now. I am happy to be alive and have family and friends who accept and love me.

Having to go to the hospital is nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes it is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment. Being on the wrong medication can prove to be ineffective and sometimes dangerous. Doctors need the proper tools in order to make an informed decision on what direction to take in your personalized treatment plan.

A few important things I have learned about myself since getting treatment:
Trust my gut feelings
Take time to access a situation
Take control; I are in charge of my life
Be humble when necessary
Ask for help when needed
Don’t be afraid to take chances
Take off those rose colored glasses

Sweeping it Under the Rug

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Some 60 years later, people with mental illness are still overcoming the stigma that their physiological condition is more than a character flaw. It’s absurd to expect patients to overcome diabetes or heart disease by pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, and yet the vast majority of the 450 million people affected by mental disorders are not receiving treatment due to stigma, discrimination or neglect.

How can we, who claim to live in a civilized society, claim to be the most modern form of human life, when we here in the Western world have swept mental health under the rug? It isn’t just in America, or Australia or the UK; it’s around the world where this has happened. For so many reasons we can point to, we can’t identify any of them to be valid. So there’s no point in shaking your head and denying that mental health issues have been swept underneath the rug by general society. Why this has happened is cause for alarm and the urgent need to understand, so it never happens again. It’s never too late to lift the lid on social stigma and expose our prejudices if it can help us to help others in need. There are many ways we can do this, all that’s required is a genuine yearning to call for decisive action from the powers that be and ourselves.

This is the main reason I am writing these blogs on mental health. I too swept my Bipolar disorder under the rug for the last 15 years. I was ashamed. The more I learn about mental illness the less ashamed I become. I am here to help others to open up an be mindful of those around you that struggle with some type of mental illness. I didn’t want to talk about it but exposing myself has been such a freeing experience. I am not afraid of being made fun of or misunderstood. Everybody is misunderstood at one time or another.

Imagine living like someone who has bipolar disease which causes your mind to bounce around from different emotions at highly elevated levels? You’re also prone to manic depression which can cause self-harm and harm to others. Yet the people who you would think love you, such as your family and close friends, act like they don’t know you in public. Looking at it from their perspective, they don’t want to be seen with someone who is going to embarrass them. The sad conundrum of the matter is, the person with bipolar can’t help it. They have issues in their mind of which they have no control over and instead need someone else to bring their high-stress levels down. When people with mental conditions cause a public fuss and bring unwanted attention to themselves and you, it’s hard not to feel angry at them. This is why so many people slowly fade away from their side as they cannot bear to be seen with such people in public.

I have pushed so many people away with out intending to do so. My lack of commitment in some cases was the cause. I never intentionally embarrass anyone. I have been told that I have no filter and I agree. My mind is working so fast and sometimes I say things without the ability to process my thoughts before I speak. It’s embarrassing for me as well. I am shamed at times for saying the wrong things or even being to loud. I can’t help it or I wouldn’t do it. It is part of who I am, just a small part. I have some excellant qualities and I pride myself on them. I am responsible person and take pride in what I do. This did not happen overnight. I have been working on learning to live with Bipolar disorder since my diagnosis. I will have this for the rest of my life and I’m going to make it a good one.

There are many factors one could list for why there is still a large social stigma surrounding mentally ill people, but none of them are good enough reasons for leaving them behind. You can’t throw money at the problem and hope it will go away, but increasing the funding to local authorities so they can build and provide services for their constituents would greatly alleviate the pressures put on them. Friends and family members could benefit from learning more about the diseases that affect their loved ones, so they can be ready to calm the situation down when they are having an episode. Learning about mental health can take many forms, and one of them is the academic route which allows you to follow the line of a profession that studies and treats illnesses.

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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