Thursday, June 16, 2022

What Is It Like To Be Bipolar

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The Healing Book Club

What Does Bipolar I Feel Like?

Today, CPTSD Foundation would like to invite you to our healing book club, reading a new book that began in September. The title of the latest featured book is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.

Led by Sabra Cain, the healing book club is only $7 per month, the fee going towards scholarships for those who cannot afford access to materials offered by CPTSD Foundation.

Should you decide to join the Healing Book Club, please purchase your books through our to help us help you.

All our services are reasonably priced, and some are even free. So, to gain more insight into how complex post-traumatic stress disorder is altering your life and how you can overcome it, sign-up, we will be glad to help you. If you cannot afford to pay, go to to apply for aid. We only wish to serve you.

How Does It Affect People

Bipolar disorder affects both men and women. For many people, the first symptoms show up in their early twenties. However, research has shown that the first episode of bipolar disorder is occurring earlier: It often shows up in adolescence, and even children can have the disorder.

Recent research suggests that kids and teens with bipolar disorder don’t always have the same behavioral patterns that adults with bipolar disorder do. For example, kids who have bipolar disorder may experience particularly rapid mood changes and may have some of the other mood-related symptoms listed below, such as irritability and high levels of anxiety. But they may not show other symptoms that are more commonly seen in adults.

Because brain function is involved, the ways people with bipolar disorder think, act, and feel are all affected. This can make it especially difficult for other people to understand their condition. It can be incredibly frustrating if other people act as though someone with bipolar disorder should just “snap out of it,” as if a person who is sick can become well simply by wanting to.

Bipolar disorder isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw it’s a serious medical condition that requires treatment, just like any other condition.


Why The Problem With Misdiagnosis

With such glaring differences in the two diagnoses, one might ask why then the problem with CPTSD being misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder? The answers are unsettling, but the truth needs to be told.

Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in the United States are paid using diagnosis codes from the DSM-5 that lists each mental health disorder and the criteria to meet them. Currently, complex post-traumatic stress disorder is not in the DSM-5 so mental health professionals are left in a quandary, they cannot diagnose their patients with CPTSD and get paid for treating them. This leaves doctors and therapists no choice but to choose bipolar disorder or some other mental health challenge as their clients diagnosis.

Another challenge to receiving the diagnosis of CPTSD over bipolar disorder is that many mental health professionals either do not have any knowledge of CPTSD or refuse to believe in its existence even in the growing evidence that it does. Indeed, research conducted by the National Libraries of Medicine, National Institutes of Health showed that the World Health Organization is adding complex post-traumatic stress disorder to its upcoming eleventh edition of its International Classification of Diseases . Even the National Center for PTSD, a government-run website, has a page dedicated to CPTSD.

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Bipolar Disorder And Suicide

The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often very severe, and suicide is a major risk factor. In fact, people suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those suffering from regular depression. Furthermore, their suicide attempts tend to be more lethal.

The risk of suicide is even higher in people with bipolar disorder who have frequent depressive episodes, mixed episodes, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, or an early onset of the disease.

Suicide warning signs include:

  • Talking about death, self-harm, or suicide.
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless.

Get more help

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Rapid Cycling Signs, symptoms, and causes of rapid cycling in bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Workbook and other self-help resources.

Hotlines and support

In the U.S.: Call the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-6264 or find DBSA Chapters/Support Groups in your area.

UK: Call the peer support line at 0333 323 3880 and leave a message for a return call or Find a Support Group near you.

Australia: Call the Sane Helpline at 1800 187 263 or find a local Support Group.

Canada: Visit Finding Help for links to provincial helplines and support groups.

India: Call the Vandrevala Foundation Helpline at 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330

The HelpGuide team appreciates the support of Diamond Benefactors Jeff and Viktoria Segal.

Whos At Risk For Bipolar Ii

My Kind Of Bipolar: What Is It Like To Be Diagnosed With A ...

So, scientists are looking at what could cause Bipolar Disorder and theyve agreed that there isnt one single underlying factor. Instead there are several that when combined could increase your chances of getting the disorder.

If these risk factors apply to you it doesnt necessarily mean that you will end up being diagnosed as bipolar, and if you have been diagnosed this might help explain how you ended up with this condition.

Some of the risk factors that have been identified are summarized below:

  • Research studies are geared towards seeing which medications work best. Identifying which part of the brain is affected is a major step forward, but it will take years before any concrete results are published.
  • Family history does play a role, though it is not yet fully understood. Research studies on twins emphasizes this. The disorder does tend to run in families, but just because a close relative is Bipolar doesnt mean that you will be too.
  • Basically, if you want to know your risk factors, look at your familys mental health history. There are no real guidelines, so even if you dont fall into these risk categories always speak to a counselor or mental health advisor if you feel like something is wrong.

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    What Do Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Look Like

    Those with bipolar disorder experience alternating periods of depression and mania. These episodes and especially the mania ones often result in hospital visits and chronic illness, which lead to cognitive problems, distorted moods and lives marked by breakdowns in relationships, problems with employment and sometimes drug abuse.

    Future Implications For Clinical Care Research Education And Healtheconomics

    Understanding better the journey of these patients could contribute to apositive change in attitudes in mental health workers and the ways mentalhealth services are set up. Acknowledging the importance of continuity of carein this patient group should inform further research into models of serviceprovision, such as the impact of patients needing to re-tell their stories,often under time pressure, as they travel through the multiple stages of thecurrent system on therapeutic alliance, treatment adherence, clinical outcome,patient satisfaction and health economics. Seeing the same health professionalwhenever possible is important for all of us when we are ill and feelvulnerable, but it is especially so for people who have a fundamental problemdeveloping attachment . Having a long-term relationship with the serviceand not having a fixed discharge date was rated very highly, higher thanmanaging risks and crises, or learning to live with the condition by patientswith BPD in our service .

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    Your Depression Goes Way Deeper Than Just Feeling Down

    Bipolar depression shows up in different ways for different people. You might have trouble sleeping. Or you might sleep too much, and even find it hard to get up. The smallest decisions can seem huge. Overwhelming feelings of failure, guilt, or deep loss can trigger suicidal thoughts.

    Other signs to look for:

    • You feel like you canât enjoy anything.
    • You find it hard to focus.
    • You eat too little or too much.
    • Youâre weary, and your movements seem slow.
    • Youâre forgetful.

    For a bipolar disorder diagnosis, you must have several depression symptoms that make it hard for you to function every day for at least 2 weeks.

    How Does Bipolar Disorder Affect Relationships

    What It’s Actually Like To Live With Bipolar Disorder

    Because of the fluctuations between moods, bipolar disorder can have a profound impact on relationships.

    Although doesnt have bipolar, her husband Paul does. She recalls their daughters sports day. Paul was experiencing a depressive episode and wasnt getting out of bed. She had to physically get him dressed and out of the house.

    This case demonstrates how hard it can be to deal with bipolar episodes. If you dont help loved ones with bipolar, you are looked at unfavourably. If you do, you can feel unappreciated.

    Danielle, 29, no longer wanted to burden her loved ones. She sought solace in her journal and used her dog as a quiet supporter.

    Sabrina, 34, racked up thousands of dollars in debt due to uncontrollable urge to spend. She alienated a lot of her friends and family as a result of her depressive episodes. Her moods have improved through medication and she now has a good relationship with her mother and co-workers.

    Kanye West is one of the most high-profile bipolar sufferers. Kim Kardashian, Kanyes spouse, says: Ill do everything to be supportive and help to calm the situation .

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    What Can I Do To Manage My Symptoms

    You can learn to manage your symptoms by looking after yourself. Selfcare is how you take care of your diet, sleep, exercise, daily routine, relationships and how you are feeling.

    What lifestyle changes can I make?

    Making small lifestyle changes can improve your wellbeing and can help your recovery.

    Routine helps many people with their mental wellbeing. It will help to give a structure to your day and may give you a sense of purpose. This could be a simple routine such as eating at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day and buying food once per week.

    Your healthcare professionals should offer you a combined healthy eating, exercise and sleep programme.

    You can find more information about wellbeing any physical health

    What are support groups?

    You could join a support group. A support group is where people come together to share information, experiences and give each other support.

    You might be able to find a local group by searching online. The charity Bipolar UK have an online support group. They also have face to face support groups in some areas of the country. Their contact details are in the Useful contacts at the bottom of this page.

    What are recovery colleges?

    Unfortunately, recovery colleges arent available in all areas. To see if there is a recovery college in your area you can use a search engine such as Google.

    Mental Health Conditions Similar But Distinct From Bipolar Disorder

    Equally confusing is the use of street drugs and/or alcohol, which can lead to altered mood states. Intoxication with central nervous system stimulant drugs can easily mimic a manic state. Similarly, intoxication with central nervous system depressant drugs can mimic a depressive state. When it is not clear if a mood condition is due to a drug or to a disease process, doctors will tend to hold off making definitive bipolar diagnoses until enough time has passed so as to allow any drug effect that might be affecting mood to metabolize and clear out of the affected person’s system.

    There is perhaps a weak bi-directional causal relationship between substance abuse disorders and bipolar disorder. People who have bipolar affective disorder have an increased risk for developing substance abuse problems, and people who use substances may help to release whatever inborn potential or vulnerability they may have for developing bipolar disorder . Whatever the true relationship is between bipolar conditions and substance abuse, it is not in question that the combination of the two conditions leaves people worse off than either alone.

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    I Know Someone Who Is In Crisis What Do I Do

    If you know someone who might be thinking about hurting themselves or someone else, get help quickly.

    • Do not leave the person alone.
    • Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or the toll-free TTY number at 1-800-799-4TTY . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

    Here Is How This Young Man Describes The Middle

    What Is It Like To Have Bipolar Disorder? (Crying For No ...

    This is what I imagine its like for everyone else you know, normal people. I wake up in the morning and I feel fine. I dont dread going about my day. I go to work, get things done, and have plenty of energy throughout the day.

    I can roll with the punches the average day gives me. Im not freaking out over small problems, I enjoy the little things, and Im not loathing the future.

    I feel normal and its how I see myself. Im not some lunatic running around or some mopey, lazy slug.

    I honestly wish I could stay in this mindset all the time, but I know that wont happen. Ive accepted that my moods will change on their own, so I enjoy the calm more when its there.

    Keep in mind that symptoms of bipolar disorder in children differ from symptoms in adults. Symptoms in children may include:

    • periods of
    • a change in sleep pattern

    These behaviors dont always point to bipolar disorder, but you should see a doctor if your childs moods become episodic and frequently shift between happiness and sadness.

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    What Do You Do To Keep Well

    Keeping well when you have bipolar is an interesting concept. For some it revolves exclusively around manging moods. For others it means fitting life around moods.

    For me, and others like me who are deep into a recovery that seems to be holding, its about keeping an eye, and investing in the things that help us all boost our mental health.

    For many, if not most people with bipolar, life and keeping well includes taking medication.

    Blogger Tanya said:

    The thing I most prioritise with keeping myself well is to be strict in taking my medication. Missing doses or tweaking them without professional help can be devastating.

    Again, Im going to buck the trend and say I dont take medication routinely. I took lithium for a decade, and then wanted, once I knew myself and had done my research, to try tapering off. That was eight years ago, and Ive managed it. I did it carefully, over two years, with support, whilst learning other techniques.

    Cait agrees:

    For 13 years, I took medication, but in the past six months, I’ve been trying to cope without it. So I have to be super careful, and alas, super boring. I don’t drink a lot, I have relatively early nights when I can.

    Bipolar can also be triggered by trauma, or other life events and sometimes part of therapy is addressing underlying concerns to get someone to a point where they can start to see a life worth living.

    Anna said:

    Hannah has a rigid menu:

    People Describe What It’s Like To Have Bipolar Disorder

    While most people know those with bipolar disorder experience periods of ups and downs, it can be hard to understand exactly what that means, since we all experiences mood fluctuations to some extent. But bipolar disorder isnt an everyday shift from happiness to sadness its periods of depression and mania can be much more extreme and sometimes debilitating.

    Bipolar disorder isnt a scary thing, either. There are several ways to manage it, and many go on to live fulfilling lives riding its waves.

    To get a better idea of what its like to have bipolar disorder, we asked people in our mental health community to describe what its like.

    Heres what they had to say:

    1. Imagine feeling extremely happy and on top of the world but not able to truly appreciate the happiness because you know that soon the happiness will be replaced with complete sadness. Its only a matter of time before you are back to square one with the one demon thats never gone and is always around the corner: depression. Hannah C.

    2. One day I have to miss work because I cant get out of bed, and I spend the whole day wanting to die . The next day Im staying up 24 hours taking on two jobs and spending more money than I have, running errands, loving life. Its unpredictable and difficult because its not the kind of illness people understand. People look at it as a really bad illness and they dont want to talk about it at all. Cailey C.

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    How Does Bipolar Disorder Affect Caregivers And Families

    Caring for a child or teenager with bipolar disorder can be stressful for parents and families. Coping with a childs mood episodes and other problemssuch as short tempers and risky behaviorscan challenge any caregiver.

    It is important that caregivers take care of themselves, too. Find someone you can talk to or consult your health care provider about support groups. Finding support and strategies for managing stress can help you and your child.

    What It Like Living With Bipolar Disorder

    What its Really Like Having Bipolar Disorder (manic Depression)

    Emma was diagnosed with bipolar II when she was 14. She is scared of having children as she may pass on the condition to them. She has noticed bipolar is being discussed more so its easier for her to find support from fellow sufferers. She blames Hollywood for glamorising the disorder. It is not a super power or gift. It can lead to the most destructive times.

    Joni Edelman wrote a three-part series on her bipolar disorder journey, from diagnosis to everyday life. Her account provides a snapshot into how the disorder affects her, but also how it is incorrectly perceived by others.

    She asks: Who would turn away boundless energy, confidence and creativity? Not many. The manic episodes make treatment difficult because they can inadvertently mask the totality and seriousness of the disorder.

    For more accounts from people with bipolar, click here.

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