Wednesday, April 2, 2014
B is for Bipolar
Not all of my posts are going to be this serious. In fact, most of them won't be. But I felt, on the tail of the abuse post, I wanted to talk to you about a diagnosis that will follow me for the rest of my life: bipolar disorder.
It's not as frightening as it may sound. Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance that creates misfires in the brain. It can lead to a shift from hypomania to depression. This is not the depression that can be controlled with positive thinking, it's not the type that goes away after a day or two. Neither of these are. Both the mania and the depression can last for hours or they can last for days, depending on how fast the cycle is.
My cycle isn't rapid but it does change faster than you'd think looking at me. You also wouldn't realize I was bipolar looking at me, unless you knew my diagnosis. This is because I'm on medicines that help me control it.
Now, medicine isn't the only way to control it. Exercise, diet, herbal supplements, things like that can help too. For me, medicine was the best route because I couldn't find another way to control it. I have a friend who is unmedicated that cycles faster than I do that controls hers by exercise and other activities.
Here is an excellent article that gives you some subtle signs of bipolar disorder. There are a number of mental illnesses that can range from mild to complete and total mental shutdown. Not all of them can be treated like mine can.
If you see someone who has bipolar disorder - or any mental illness - don't shut them out. Don't push them away. Don't ignore them. Offer your love and support and friendship. You never know when they'll need that one person they know they can trust to talk them out of something that will destroy their own lives, and possibly the lives of others such as cutting, self mutilation, suicide, homicide. All of these are possible for those who are bipolar, as they are for other mental illnesses.
Support, don't shut them out. Educate, don't assume. Love, don't hate.