Bipolar Disorder - How to Recognize It
Updated: Mar 18
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is characterized by extreme changes in mood. People with bipolar disorder can experience periods of mania, where they feel excessively happy or euphoric, and periods of depression, where they feel extremely sad or hopeless.
The fact that the mood swings sharply between the two opposites is what gave the name to this disease.
Mania is over-excitement and energy. Depression means the opposite, all desires, joy and energy are over.
These mood swings can be so severe that they interfere with a person's ability to function in their everyday life.
This fucking disease has left me in debt of over $ 60,000.
This fucking disease makes me unable to work efficiently in the depressive phases.
This fucking disease makes me lie to my loved ones about my current state of health, because I'm afraid of rejecting them.
This fucking disease makes me unable to live my life to the fullest.
This fucking disease makes me feel like I'm the loneliest person in the world, because no one in my immediate vicinity is dealing with this shit.
It makes me never know in what state I'll wake up the next day.
Since I know that I have it, I don't know who I am anymore, whether the things that I invented in mania are part of me, it's my work, or it's just a product of my sick mind.
While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, it is important to seek treatment if you think you may be suffering from this condition.
Apparently, with proper treatment, people with bipolar can lead happy and fulfilling lives. That's what I heard, that's what doctors write on the Internet, that's what doctors say - to be clear - I'm only at the beginning of my path with this disease - although it's a wrong term - I have been ill for a long time, but I've only known about it for half a year.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
There is no single cause of the bipolar disorder. Rather, it is thought to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Bipolar disorder tends to run in families, so there is likely a genetic component to the disorder. However, not everyone with a family history of bipolar disorder will develop the condition, and not everyone with the condition will have a family history of it. So other factors must also be involved. Environmental factors that may play a role in the development of bipolar disorder include stress, drug abuse, and head injuries.
In my case the key factors were external, traumatic factors - a toxic mother, an absent father, my husband's imprisonment, betrayal, and my husband's departure, combined with an emotional swing during this breakup and the discovery that my husband has narcissistic, psychopathic or sociopathic traits - who the fuck knows exactly what - the oldest child's disability, single motherhood with three children ... it is not without reason that divorce is one of the toughest experiences in life - who has experienced it knows.
I do not know about genetic factors - none of my relatives had been diagnosed with this disease, but the fact that they did not have a diagnosis and did not receive treatment does not mean that they did not get sick.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder: Mania - overactive period
During your manic periods, you may feel:
too much energy, excitement, usually not adapted to the situation, but also cheerfulness and hyperactivity
overly happy and then be irritable, even aggressive or hostile a moment later
need to express yourself creatively
In the so-called expansive mood, where you want to dominate, you force your plans and ideas, you impose your will on others - your needs must be met immediately - heaven forbid someone will refuse you - you will immediately get frustrated and the so-called angry mood - verbal or physical aggression towards other people or objects will appear
speak very quickly, saying many different threads at once, and it is difficult to interrupt your speech (in extreme cases what you say may be completely incomprehensible to others)
have the impression that your thoughts are accelerated, up to the so-called racing thoughts that you cannot grasp, be able to express
sleep less than usual or not at all and don't feel tired because you think then that you can do anything, that you are invincible, immortal
make reckless decisions - you will follow your impulses without thinking about the consequences - You may undertake various obligations, take out loans and credits, spend excessively and unusually money, gamble
undertake uncontrolled actions and behaviors that are inconsistent with your system of values that you would not have done before
behave risky and dangerous - e.g. arguments, fights, fast car driving, unprotected sex with random people
drink more alcohol than usual or take drugs - even if you haven't done so before
Suddenly wear bright, sexy clothes, wear too much makeup, dye your hair blue or shave bald (yes, Britney Spears)
you are listening to music loudly or acting loud
you eat and drink little, or not at all - as a consequence, you can lose weight drastically, and your organisms may even become dehydrated and released
be uncritical towards your behavior, you do not treat it as something inappropriate, or sick - "I'm fine", "I feel very well", "I feel great, better than ever"; "I always want to feel this way." "Doctor? What the hell do I have a doctor?”
If a hard, intense mania catches you, then it's just a rough ride!
You may then experience:
- the so-called productive (psychotic) symptoms, for example, delusions of grandeur - you have a deep sense of your own coolness, uniqueness, omnipotence; you may think that you are a very important person, that you have some very important mission to fulfill in the world, or that you have the power to heal, that you have invented a panacea for all the world's problems.
- You may think that you are Budda, Mickey Mouse, Napoleon, Elvis Presley
Hypomania - a milder form of mania
When you are hypomania, hyperactive symptoms are milder, and your behavior rarely leads to conflict or other serious consequences.
During hypomania, you can:
have a reduced need for sleep
have more energy than usual
think more positively than usual
have more creativity than usual.
undertake many different activities - suddenly you have new hobbies, ideas - but usually you don't finish them, you give up
as in mania, take reckless and irresponsible actions, but unlike mania, you are partially critical of them and partially control these behaviors
Be unable to postpone your actions in time - you want to get everything done as quickly as possible, immediately - and if other people refuse or forbid you - you get frustrated and irritable - but much less than in mania and with fewer consequences
have problems with attention and concentration, but you have no productive symptoms - sorry you will not be Elvis in this state
have a smaller, typical or greater appetite, and periodically you may overeat.
seem more attractive socially - you are willing to organize games or parties, infect you with optimism, downplay difficulties - everyone wants to be in your company.
When you are hypomania, especially an undiagnosed and untreated disease, without knowing about the disease, you don't think you are sick and need treatment, you don't think you need therapy - even though your concerned relatives may suggest it.
It is often the case that your loved ones don't take hypomania as a bad thing. They believe that you've finally recovered (if you've been depressed before), that you're catching up, or that you've finally got some kind of transformation that will allow you to finally use your full potential
Not all hypomanic episodes are the onset of bipolar disorder, but all require psychiatric observation and diagnosis.
Symptoms o bipolar disorder: Depressive episodes
When you have bipolar disorder, you may recognize depression by the following symptoms:
you don't feel happy even if you do what you like
you feel very depressed, angry, or irritable;
Your desire and energy to deal with reality diminish or fade away, and your daily chores can feel heavy
you have trouble falling asleep and sleep well, or are sleeping too much
you do not have an appetite or eat too much; you are losing or gaining weight
you have trouble concentrating.
You don't feel like having sex
You have an increased sense of tension and anxiety
You may think your life is pointless, wish to die, think of suicide, or even try to do so
You have low self-esteem, you are pessimistic about your past, and present, you don't see any prospects for the future, and everything is hopeless
In severe depression you may have psychotic symptoms - delusions, strong feelings of guilt, punishment, sin, catastrophe, feeling of severe terminal illness, auditory hallucinations are also rare (you hear voices accusing you)
You can experience the so-called Psychomotor inhibition - you freeze, and it is impossible to establish visual or auditory contact with you
In severe depression, the risk of suicide attempts and suicide is very high.
In bipolar, I have suicidal thoughts...
...in every depressive episode. I still suffer from some features of borderline - I am not yet able to judge when suicidal thoughts are caused by bipolar disorder and when by borderline disorder. But I am almost 100% sure that my life will end because, I will take it at this point - and it will be a deliberate decision - when it comes to bipolar, and completely spontaneous when it comes to borderline.
You know, healthy people won't get it, they won't understand all the crap you have in your head when thoughts like this come up - and it's good that they don't understand, their life is better.
I think anyone who knows what a freak this disease can be - or a combination of this disease and borderline disease - can perfectly understand the person who decided to log out of this world and did it effectively. I understand. As I write these words, I'm in mania / hypomania - I can't tell which one I'm going to be in - whether it's just hypo or mania - so you know, my view of suicide today is different. But I remember being depressed.
Remember, you can be depressed without bipolar disorder.
Diagnosis of bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder can occur at any age. However, it is usually diagnosed in late adolescence or early adulthood. Its symptoms may vary. They can also change throughout life.
It is extremely important to get a correct diagnosis and start treatment as early as possible.
Bipolar disorder often starts with depression. At this stage, it is difficult to judge whether we are dealing with this disease or with another disorder characterized by recurrent depression. Especially since recurrent depression is more common than bipolar disorder. If you notice that your periods of depressed mood are interspersed with periods of hyperactivity, report it to your GP or consult a psychiatrist.
For me, it took 10 years to get the correct diagnosis. 10 fucking long years. And actually, the fact that I was finally properly diagnosed was also a coincidence. I have a grudge against my other psychiatrist that he did not make a proper diagnosis, although today when I look at it, the signals were obvious. But this is a topic for a separate post that will definitely appear.
The diagnosis helps, it really does. It's scary at first, especially if, like me, you like to worry about everything and if you check in dr. Google what is bothering you and what kind of disease you may have after your symptoms, you immediately assume the worst - well, if you read about bipolar, you can go crazy. But over time, thanks to the fact that you know what's wrong with you, while you are still looking for knowledge about it, help, treatment, education, and support - you are able to somehow cope with it all better.
Therefore, it is not worth delaying the diagnosis - if you see any symptoms in yourself, something bothers you, you do not understand why you are doing strange things or why something happened - do yourself this favor and go to a psychiatrist, tell him about everything that bothers you, about everything you feel, as accurately as possible - tell about everything.
For the last 5 years, I have been treated for depression - because I usually had a medical check-up in a depressed state - and during such a visit the doctor asks - how are you feeling. When you're depressed you say - like shit. You don't remember the other states. There's just what is now, this shit, this hell. And when you're in mania, it seems to you that, after all, you're not sick of anything, that the world is beautiful and you are its king, so for the hell, you should take these drugs, for the hell you should go to a psychiatrist, if you feel finally fucking great. So, you don't go to an appointment, what for, and then when you feel depressed after your super-mania, you humbly rush to the doctor and tell him how this life is hopeless and that you want to end it.
So how is this doctor supposed to know if you have had other conditions?
Tell the doctor everything about each deviation - only in this way you will be able to have the right diagnosis and the right treatment, the right drugs that are the basis.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but treatment can help people with the condition to live normal, healthy lives.
If I was depressed at the moment, I would say to the above statement - what the fuck are you? Normal, healthy life? Mission impossible. But since I am currently in mania (but prefer to think that I am hypomania, not mania), I can tell you that this is true. The goal of treating bipolar disorder is to bring you into a state of remission - that is, a state where you just live a normal life, with no knocks or lows.
If you think you or someone you know may have bipolar disorder, it is important to see a doctor or mental health professional for an evaluation.
The most effective treatment for bipolar disorder is a combination of medication and therapy. Medication can help to stabilize mood swings and prevent them from happening as often. Therapy can help people with bipolar disorder to understand their condition and to learn how to cope with their symptoms.
Living with Bipolar Disorder
If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may be feeling a range of emotions. You may be scared, confused, and unsure about what the future holds. But you are not alone. There are millions of people living with bipolar disorder, and many of them have found ways to manage their condition and lead happy, fulfilling lives. I hope I will be there soon.
What if I stop treatment for my bipolar disorder
Untreated bipolar disorder can result in:
problems with drug and alcohol use
legal or financial problems
suicide or attempted suicide
deterioration of the relationship between social
worse results at work or school.
If you've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder:
Pay attention to the warning signs. Recognizing your symptoms early can prevent your condition from worsening and reduce the intensity of subsequent episodes. Identify the pattern of your bipolar episodes, discover what triggers them. See your doctor if you feel you are going into an episode of depression or mania. Ask loved ones to observe the warning signs.
Avoid drugs and alcohol. Recreational use of alcohol or drugs can worsen symptoms and make them more likely to return.
Take your medications exactly as your doctor tells you to. You may be tempted to stop treatment - but don't. Stopping the drug or reducing your dose on your own may make your condition worse and your symptoms may come back.
I hope this article has helped to clear up some of the confusion around bipolar disorder. It is a serious mental illness that should not be taken lightly, but with the right treatment it is possible to live a normal, healthy life. If you think you or someone you know might be suffering from bipolar disorder, please don't hesitate to seek professional help.