Bipolar Disorder

Depression's Unpredictable Little Sister.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Imagine you are on a car, in the middle of a traffic jam on the Autobahn, back when it was still legal to go however fast you want. And it's stop-and-go traffic. So on one hand you're going 80, 90, 100 kilometers per hour, and on the other hand you're absolutely not moving at all. You can't get out because your seatbelt is stuck.

This is the best way I can explain bipolar from a metaphorical standpoint.

From a medical standpoint it is a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes periods of mania, i.e. extreme, unnatural happiness, anger, anxiety, etc., followed by long periods of depression. During 'manic episodes', the person will be extremely, uncomfortably happy, spend excessively, and may even need to be hospitalized because of their uncontrollability. Depressive episodes consist of lack of emotion, crying for no real reason, and suicidal thoughts or actions. There may or may not be periods in between when the person is completely normal-acting. There are many types, and everyone's case is different. Some people cycle through their moods faster than others, for others it can take weeks or months to cycle through their moods. Finding out what the person is feeling, really, is difficult sometimes, even for that person.

Bipolar, like most diseases, is treatable.

Not curable, but the symptoms can be lessened by medications and cognitive behavioral therapy.

The medication groups usually given by psychiatrists to bipolar patients are antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, benzodiazapines, lithium, and symbyax, depending on the symptoms of the specific patient. It can take months and sometimes years to get diagnosed once a patient starts showing symptoms, sometimes, unfortunately, it is not caught soon enough and only gets diagnosed once the patient has a manic episode so severe they must be hospitalized or the patient becomes so depressed they make a suicide attempt.

Statistics

1% of all adolescents age 14-18 have had symptoms of bipolar disorder. That's about as rare as a person being a natural redhead!

more than 2/3rds of all people diagnosed with bipolar disorder have a relative with the disorder or major unipolar depression.

Bipolar disorder shaves on average 9.2 years off a persons lifespan, as, unfortunately, 1 in 5 patients with bipolar disorder complete suicide.

About 20% with adolescents with unipolar depression develop bipolar depression within about 5 years of the onset of depression.

Patients who report they're very satisfied with their care and care provider tend to have a more positive outlook on their illness, and as a result are able to cope with it better.

Big image
Keep in mind that people may present some symptoms, but not all, and every case has varying degrees of severity.

Not all bipolar people are violent or unstable, some are, but most aren't. Some bipolar people experience their manic symptoms more, some people experience their depressive symptoms more. Every case is different.

If you think you may have bipolar or are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to one of the counselors. They can most likely refer you to a person that can get you the help you need.

Hailzies

Better son or daughter by Rilo Kiley by Hailzies
You are never alone when you have bipolar disorder! There will always be people who share that experience with you and although bipolar is not curable it is treatable. Sometimes you just have to fake it 'till you make it!

Famous People With Bipolar Disorder

Raising Awareness, Debunking Myths and Ending Stigma

A lot of people have this conception of bipolar disorder, that bipolar's sufferers are unpredictable maniacs who have to be in a mental hospital most of their lives. I will tell you outright this is not true and the people who have spread this myth have probably never met a bipolar person in their lives. Most of them are able to lead normal lives, and find a balance between the high-highs and the low-lows. A lot of them have made amazing contributions to society, whether it be the creative arts, science, social advocacy or otherwise. Don't believe me? For further reading, try An Unquiet Mind by Kay Jamison. It documents her experience of bipolar depression, which she had suffered from adolescence.


Some people think that people are "faking" being mentally ill or that they're being "over-dramatic". This is often not the case, and believe me, these people don't like being mentally ill and if they had the chance to get some magical surgery to get rid of their ailment they would. These people are usually the same people that think that medications can fix everything. It's not like that. Medications lessen the blow, kind of like a meat tenderizer to the face rather than an anvil. Bipolar patients on medication may still have manic and depressive episodes, they'll just be less frequent and less intense.


World Bipolar day is March 30th, on the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed as having bipolar. Awareness days are very important, especially for mental disorders, because a lot of people don't know a lot about/have misconceptions of certain diseases. It helps to raise money for research on diseases as well, which can be very useful. People don't want their illnesses, usually, and it would probably be great for them if something that was usually chronic, like bipolar, to be fixed with a surgery or a few therapy treatments.

Why Green?

Green is the color representative of awareness for a lot of chronic illnesses, bipolar included, sort of like how pink ribbons represent breast cancer awareness. Green is a calming color, it usually induces creativity, but it can also make you think of gross things like your face when you're nauseous or food gone bad. Its dual nature makes it perfect for a disease like bipolar. Something you maybe don't want to have but can find beauty in experiencing it.

Rachael Elizabeth Midcap

I was diagnosed bipolar a couple years ago, I've been suffering from depression and suicidal since I was about 10. It only really evolved into bipolar in my freshman year of high school, when I was either so angry or so tired that I couldn't do anything. This, obviously, affected my grades. Now I'm on meds so I feel a bit better. Not completely hunky-dory but not thinking about killing myself as often.

When I'm not whining about being sick I'm usually doodling or making some sort of art. Drawing is a safe space for me, somewhere I can go when I feel terrible about myself. I find that creative outlets for my emotions are best, it's not in my nature to be a destroyer and making something like art just comes naturally to me. I've decided to make my art a career and plan to become a character concept artist or a graphic novelist.