This is the first post on my new blog. I hope you find it helpful. We are looking for it to be interactive with questions, comments and contribution from you – bipolar Patients, Families, Friends, Medical Practitioners of Bipolar patients. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
I have an illness, I am Bipolar. At 37 I was diagnosed but over these past 23 years I have come to understand so much. It didn’t take one time to fix my faults …. I call myself a ‘Knucklehead from Jersey’ perhaps because I try and try again thinking I am smart enough to figure out how to fix myself, by myself.
But ohhhh I was so wrong about that even recently, at 59 years old, I had my worst and longest depression. I lost hope that my life would improve. I lost everything. My spirit was the first to go, money and home followed. I tried to mitigate this by isolating from friends & families. I felt like a total failure.
Being a single mom I was grateful my daughters’ life was on a new road. She had graduated from College and was moving forward. You would never know I was at the top of my class in college and I had a great career. Apparently that talent helped me bounce along through the ups and downs of my emotional cycles which started at 26 years old. Unfortunately I wasn’t diagnosed as bi-polar until 1996 but since then probably had 15 cycles of mania and depression.
Oh yes, I was diligent with my medication, but medication alone cannot ‘cure’ bi-polar. Actually Bipolar cannot be ‘cured’, only maintained. Lessons learned, have to be re-learned again and again. I can say after 23 years, I actually can understand ( SOMETIMES) the signs and ask for medical adjustments needed from a good Psychiatrist.
Having said that, I have many thoughts to share in the hopes that it will start a conversation with people like me, friends and family of bi-polar victims even medical professionals learning about it in order to help their patients.
It seems to take so long and a lot of work to understand this is a life long illness and the ways you can help yourself manage it. The fundamental facts I have experienced to help me manage the mania and depressions over these past decades are as follows:
- Sleep Sleep Sleep – we need to be well rested throughout the year.
- Find a Psychiatrist you trust.
- Listen to your loved ones who see a rapid change in behavior. Even if they don’t know what is going on, they will know it is something and it is our duty to immediately call our Doctor and speak to what was said. Make sure they understand you cannot ‘fix’ bi-polar but rather control and manage it throughout your life.
- Take your medications ritually as prescribed by your Doctor. I have not been good during the depression phase, that is when I lose hope that things will work out. Today I stand for asking my doctor for the same help when I tick up as when I tick down. Isolation comforts depression, I mean who wants a Debbie downer in life. During this phase my M-O was to hibernate and avoid social settings. I hoped that in 3 – 6 months ‘this too shall pass’.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. The only difference between genetic physical and mental illnesses is the location of that illness.
- This is NOT a disease, this is a condition.
- Give yourself a break, it can be crushing to struggle with being bi-polar but I can tell you, at 62 I hope I am on the right track and will try to continue to ‘practice what I preach for the rest of my life.
Bipolar Patients, Families, Friends, Medical Practitioners please write your thoughts, share your stories and lets get this conversation going. My hope for this blog is that it will enable all to ask questions, share experiences so that we can all grow and succeed in our lives. Hope to hear from you. I invite you all to share stories and helpful links to further expand these conversations.