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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Speedy brain, tired body. Bipolar/depressed and unstable.

  There are not many doctors that understand bipolar disorder and can treat it properly.  For instance, some say I have depression because I never get "manic," however this perception is slowly changing.  A few Harvard doctors composed a chart that aids in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. True "mania" is not a prerequisite for bipolar disorded.  If you feel, scared, paranoid, alone, depressed, and your brain is telling you bad things over and over, wouldn't it be nice to slow it down?!! 

Mental health doctors too easily listen to the very people that they have diagnosed as mentally ill.  The number one reason a person will say they are depressed rather than bipolar is because they don't want to be mentally ill, and a depressed person is less stigmatized than a bipolar one.  The problem is, these people can't get the right meds if they are only treating depression.  They will "try" to hide how crazy they really are.

Currently, many people that don't get manic (grandiose, superhuman etc..) are diagnosed as depressed.  They take antidepressants and feel better because they can get out of bed.  Many of these people, however, are truly bipolar and their antidepressants get them out of bed while rendering their brains confused, speedy, wrecks that will not help their functioning.   They need mood stabilizers in conjuction with antidepressants, and there are a few good ones to choose from.  If these people could accept the fact that they are bipolar, their lives could be much more fulfilling.  The official status of agitated depression not being part of bipolar disorder is ridiculous and will be changed soon.

I understand the confusion.  If you only go to one side or the other, you are unipolar, but that is only taking mood into account, not brain functioning.   You can be depressed and speedy at the same time.  Your body is not speedy but your mind is.  So yes you are depressed but when your mind goes so fast, it skips major facts, you are left detached from reality and need a mood stabilizer (which should be called something else!)

Another thing to consider is how non psych meds, seasons, hormones, stress affect you.  A person needs to be slightly stabilized before they can even notice they are being affected by these things..  Most, however, choose to hang out in groups of bipolars and tell themselves they are like other people, or even "better."   An issue I have been having lately is choosing an antibiotic for my many sinus infections.  Antibiotics make many bipolar or depressed people psychotic, manic, agitated, anxious, obsessed, panicky... Most doctors refuse to acknowledge this truth when their patients tell them what is happening.  This is because they are uninformed, stupid, or have a God Complex.  Whether or not anyone believes or understands you, the most important thing is finding a solution.  For instance, taking more mood stabilizer while on these antibiotics might be a solution for you.

The shame of being mentally ill keeps bipolar people from fighting for medical advances, and for themselves.  Most don't really know how insane they are, but they are still ashamed.  All bipolars know deep down, diagnosed depressed, or undiagnosed, that they are bipolar and totally nuts!  If they can accept this, they can live a wonderful life with treatment.  And isn't that the whole point?

Here is a choice...You can deny that you are mentally ill, keep doing what you are doing and live in the inevitable loop of pain and shame...or you can admit who you really are, have a laugh about it (after some time) and have all the things God meant for you to have, which are the things you really wanted anyway.

If you are bipolar and feel you don't have support or providers that help can you, feel free to email me.  Bipolar disorder usually starts rearing its ugly head (enough to be noticed by others) around puberty and gets worse throughout your twenties.  Some kids are diagnosed prepubescent and are sadly given wrong meds.  Some informed parents get their kids on the right meds because they would rather their kids be happy than perfect.  If you are bipolar and have kids, knowing your limits and how to treat yourself would greatly enhance your childrens' lives.

Good Luck to all.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

God and Bipolar Disorder

I am totally out of my mind.   I was raised by a psycho and a depressed woman.  I am so happy.  I live in paradise.  I have a wonderful husband and two adorable girls.  How did this happen???!

In Oct of 1995, I was a confused and depressed college teenager.  I was smart but full of naivete about how to live with a mental illness, and whom I should ask for help.  I was an untreated, sexually abused, depressed girl.  And I needed to learn a thing or two.

I decided to stop hoping my insane father would somehow love me the right way and all of the sudden my parents would be capable of something they weren't.  I GAVE UP and went to an AA meeting because I did not know where else to go.  I am fortunate.  I am not an alcoholic, but still AA saved my life.  It has been 15 years since that first meeting, and I still don't drink (which does not aid in treating depression!) and I trust God the best I can on any given day.  I am mentally ill.  Depression is a MENTAL ILLNESS.  It is not just a bad day. I do not need to try harder.  It is a medical problem, not a willfullness problem.  

It took me years to accept that I was, in fact, mentally ill.  Mostly because I thought it was shameful and embarrassing.  These days I know God knew what he was doing when he made me, and he did a perfect job.  He absolutely knew I would be the frantic nutcase that I was without medication and that I would learn a lot.  The most important thing I learned, with the not so gentle nudge from a Spiritual Guide, was that I needed to trust him in order to get better.  And when I got better, I found out I still needed to trust him.  I am absolutely positive I would not have the wonderful life I have if I would have been able to be somewhat "successful" on my own, so thanks for making me crazy God.

Most psychiatrists are mentally ill so I put in my time trying to find the right combination of medications.  I had all the common and hated side effects of mood disorder medications, and some not so common goodies like fainting on the side of the street from hyponatremia and hypotension.  The only way I got through it was to trust that God would get me to the solution, and he did.  I needed some powerful antidepressants and a very good general practitioner with a working knowledge of how chemicals actually affect my brain and body.  I change things with the seasons of course, and stress, and PMS.  Meds are only part of the solution, of course.  The the rest of it is not some Stewart Smalley version of loving myself.  It is the knowledge that God does a better job taking care of me than I do.  And keeping at least one person around that will remind me of that if I forget.

I hope that all mentally ill people will find good medication, a helpful guide, and Spirituality.  I am one of the fortunate ones and I hope I can help others.