Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ever wondered what it's like to be Bipolar?

I found this awesomely beautiful spirit on youtube. She's funny and open and honest about her experience with this disorder. Please watch as she attempts to give us a raw glimpse into her life and what it's like to be her. Warning: This video contains adult language and may not be suitable for children.
And don't forget to check out her other videos on her Smile 2day, Tears 2morrow youtube page.
Bipolar Disorder II
Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, can be an extremely crippling obstacle to deal with for the individuals suffering from it. They are most times misunderstood. If you see them during their low or high periods, you are not seeing the individuals at all. What you're seeing is the effect that the disorder is having on them at that time. But the truth is that these folks are usually highly intelligent and very creative. If they've completed some type of notable work (ie. book or novel, painting, poetry, blockbuster movie, latest no.1 single) or excelled in some all-time favorite sport or popular hobby, they are called geniuses, stars, and sometimes even superstars! And although a few could possibly be called "a little eccentric," crazy is rarely the term used to describe them. It's only the regular, everyday people like you and me who would be stigmatized by Bipolar Disorder and made to feel ashamed or criticized for needing help.
Often times Bipolar Disorder is misdiagnosed because the person may seek help for the depression, but not inform the doctor or therapist of the mania. We all know what depression is for the most part. We know that depression is when someone is sad, loses his or her sense of self-esteem and self worth, and sometimes may even want to leave this earth completely. That's pretty easy to comprehend, even if you're not able to sympathize and empathize. So let's talk a little about the mania. Mania is the extreme ups or periods of happiness the person may be feeling. And if it feels good, why would he or she mention it to the doctor, right?
Well, extreme mania is marked by insomnia (difficulty sleeping) and hyperactivity. It WiLL feel good in the beginning, and if a person is on the arty side, this may be the time when they're able to create their greatest works. But soon after, if the mania continues, the person may become anxious and out of control, start multiple projects that never get finished, spend excessive amounts of money, and even indulge in some unusual and/or unsafe behavior. Some clues that a person may be cycling towards mania are:
  • Speech may get faster than usual
  • Thoughts may become very scattered and fragmented as the person jumps from idea to unrelated idea
  • Movement & activity increases (i.e. walking faster during normal activity)
  • Extreme increase in physical activity like exercising (i.e. going from working out 3x/week to 3x/day)
NOTE: The clues for cycling towards depression would be just the opposite.
Sleep deprivation, which is of course very unhealthy for the physical body to begin with, can cause a whole host of mental symptoms which can closely resemble psychosis. For the person affected by Bipolar Disorder, the manic phase can be just as bad as the depression phase because it is the exact, extreme, polar opposite, hence the term Bipolar - two poles. The body will be tired while the mind is constantly racing. The lack of sleep can cause paranoia, hallucinations (hearing and seeing things), delusions (believe things that are not true), aggression, and sometimes even violence.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder are as varied from person to person as hair color. They can be mixed, occur seasonally, cycle regularly or in no discernible pattern at all, have unequal duration in phases, occur sporadically or very often. Bipolar II disorder is defined as having the typical disorder, but the highs are not as high as in Bipolar I. They have periods of hypomania instead, so that aspect is less extreme, so to speak. There are other forms and variations as well, but I'm not going to get into them, as this is NOT a health site.
But I do encourage any of you reading this post, if you have any of these symptoms, or can relate to the young lady in the video, please see someone. Ask questions and educate yourselves. You don't have to be plagued by these unexplainable mood swings, and you are NOT alone. Being diagnosed is not a death sentence. It's actually a "life" sentence that can lead you to the path of a more fulfilled and happy life.
And in case you're wondering, the young lady featured in the video is feeling better today than she has in a long time. She sought help, found the right meds and found the right therapist. I'm so inspired by her strength and ability to not be afraid.
Vee to Miss Smile 2day: You go girl! You're absolutely awesome!
Love, Light, and Peace of Mind,
Vee


Helpful links:
http://www.bipolar.com/
www.bipolardisorder.com/
www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-md02.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipolar_disorder
http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-2-disorder
www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/complete-publication.shtml

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

Vee,

What a great article! My heart went out to this young lady. I can't imagine feeling that way. I seldomly feel depressed, but OMG to have to live like that and not know what's going on - wow! I am glad that she found help and that it's working for her. I didn't have any idea how crippling this disorder is. Thank you for enlightening me and providing such great content on your blog site.

Cynthia