HOW WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER

How. We can help each other

As I read other blogs on bipolar, I am trying to figure out how I can both help myself as well as others. I have some questions for my readers who also have their own blogs or can give me recommendations. My hope is to get some input from you.

1. I want some recommendations on how you get responses and people to follow your blog?

2. Do you find any help or insight with my blog?

I know it is different than most as it is both educational as well as personal. Having said that the only input I have received back have been from non bipolar friends who have provide3d words of encouragement. This makes me feel I am not helping people who are bipolar or deeply depressed at times, families and friends of bipolar people or even medical professionals who may be learning about bipolar to better help their clients.

3. Do you feel your blogs are more like journals to help yourself release your current life’s issues or are you too trying to better the world and reach out to those who are trying to understand themselves and if this is something that they can figure out if then need help..

In a nutshell this actually makes me feel a blog isn’t my vehicle and becoming a waste of my time.

Another reason why I ask is my family siblings 3 of whom are bipolar ( one unmedicated and in denial) and 3 who are on drugs for depression and anxiety, didn’t care enough to read this blog. My hopes were so positive. I wanted them to ‘put their money where there mouth is’ as they proclaimed over the years they didn’t understand bipolar and wanted to so much because they love me. Sigh

Hopefully I can get some help here.

Thanks,

Liz

Sharing the Knowledge and Growing in Blog-ism

The interesting thing to me about creating a blog, especially if it is very personal and has a specific focus and some goals, is that I find myself meeting strangers who are either a social worker focused on Mental Health & Addiction, Doctors & Nurses who have some insight & always people who know someone who is bipolar. I feel starting this post is liberating as I clearly am not afraid to share my ‘condition’ with trusted friends or strangers and I truly feel that with more exposure these pages will continue to reach out to those of us affected or have a loved one who is affected and are at a loss as to help. Having said that, it is clear to me inasmuch as this is very personal – it is NOT Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or Linkedin material.

I am embryonic at this social medium – and as a ‘child’ learning how to blog and insecure as to who will appreciate and understand its intent – and who will just judge harshly. Not that I am insecure at this ripe old age of 61 I could give a shit what people think or judge. Although I am very drawn to people who are willing to each day move forward baby steps but absolutely one step in front of the others -despite their struggles with life, economics, mental health or any other crisis. So I am doing this – baby steps and someday will grow to walk, and then Jog! I really want this to be both helpful and an effective medium.

Having said all that I hope some readers can give me ideas how to improve, what else would be interesting to research and write about and how to improve my site. I really want menus on top and lists of blogs on right but .. don’t know how. I also want others to be able to write a blog I can post — again don’t know how. I appreciate any and all thoughts. Thanks

About Bipolar Disorder

Background/Definitions/Symptoms

According to the Sutherland Bipolar Center in Boulder Colorado. ‘Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a disorder characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy, behavior and functioning. According to 2012 statistics from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Organization, Bipolar I and Bipolar II disorder (described below) affect approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or 1.8 percent of the population. The number is much higher when taking into account “Bipolar Spectrum” and “Soft Bipolar Disorder” (described below). Bipolar disorder typically emerges in adolescence or early adulthood, although it may appear in childhood or later adulthood. Men and women are equally likely to develop bipolar disorder.

The specific causes of bipolar disorder are not yet known. Research suggests a strong genetic contribution, but the specific genes involved and exactly how these genes influence the development and expression of bipolar disorder are unclear. Environmental factors, such as traumatic experiences, daily life stressors, family conflict, and even positive life events, also play a significant role in the development of the disorder and the triggering of mood episodes.

Categories of Bipolar Disorder: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) identifies four types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I
  • Bipolar II
  • Cyclothymic Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)

Each of these four disorders is comprised of a different combination of mood episodes (manic, hypomanic, major depressive episodes and mixed). Following is a brief description of the four types of bipolar disorder. The mood episodes are described below.

Bipolar I: The individual has had one or more manic or mixed episodes. Often the individual has also had major depressive episodes, although this state is not required for this diagnosis.

Bipolar II: The individual has had one or more major depressive episodes and at least one hypomanic episode, but has not had a manic or mixed episode.

Cyclothymic Disorder: For at least two years the individual has cycled between low-grade depression and hypomania, with little time symptom-free. The person has never had a manic or mixed episode, and the depression has not been severe enough to meet the criteria for major depressive episode (if it has, then the diagnosis is Bipolar II).

Bipolar Not Otherwise Specified (NOS): An individual does not meet the full criteria for one of the other bipolar disorders, but clearly suffers from a mood disorder that appears bipolar in nature. An example is a person who experiences major depressive episodes and also experiences hypomanic symptoms, but the hypomanic symptoms do not last as long as is required for a hypomanic episode.

Major Depressive Disorder: Major depressive disorder, also known as unipolar depression, is when an individual has one or more major depressive episodes but has never experienced a manic, hypomanic, or mixed episode.

So, what are manic episodes, hypomanic episodes, major depressive episodes and mixed episodes?

Bipolar Episodes: As noted above, each of the four bipolar disorders is comprised of a different combination of mood episodes (manic, hypomanic, major depressive episodes and mixed).

Manic Episodes: Mania is the high state, the time when people might feel invincible or euphoric, and have a grandiose sense of self. Typically, people in manic states experience what they believe is a heightened sense of clarity, often as their thoughts race. Mania is commonly described as pleasurable, even addictive or seductive. However, some people experience an extremely irritable mood during mania, which may be quite painful. Also, manic episodes are sufficiently severe to cause significant problems with social or work functioning. Therefore, even when mania feels good, it tends to have painful consequences. A manic episode is defined as a period of at least seven days (or less if the person has to be hospitalized) with:

  • Abnormally elevated, expansive or irritable mood and at least three other symptoms (four if the mood is irritable rather than elevated)
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep ( example feeling rested after 2-3 hours of sleep)
  • Increased activity socially, at work, school or physically
  • Being more talkative than usual
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easily distracted
  • Engaging in risky behavior

  • Hypomanic Episodes:Hypomania is a mild version of mania where the symptoms are the same but are less intense – they only need to last four days and do not significantly impair a person’s functioning. Many people find they are more productive and have positive social interactions when hypomanic. Others find that although a single hypomanic episode does not cause much impairment, repeated episodes negatively affect finances, social relationships, and/or work performance.
  • Major Depressive Episodes (MDEs): Depression is the down state when people feel sad or blue, or simply cannot enjoy anything. This state tends to be characterized by changes in sleep, appetite and weight, energy, and cognitive (thinking) abilities. People may feel worthless and guilty, and may consider suicide.

Major depressive episode is defined as a period of at least two weeks with five or more of the following symptoms:

  •  Depressed mood and/or anhedonia (an inability to take pleasure in things, or greatly diminished interest in activities usually enjoyed) and
  •  A decrease or increase in appetite; weight loss or gain
  •  Sleep disturbance (insomnia or hypersomnia)
  •  Feeling physically slowed down or physically restless
  •  Fatigue or loss of energy
  •  Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  •  Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • oRecurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Mixed Episodes: Approximately 40% of people with bipolar disorder have mixed episodes, when both mania and depression are experienced at the same time, nearly every day, for at least one week. People describing mixed states often comment that they feel “tired but wired,” or that they go from laughing to crying in a matter of seconds. Similarly, people tend to be over-energized, agitated and irritable. Their thoughts race, but unlike pure mania, the thoughts are nearly all negative. Mixed states are perhaps the most dangerous mood episodes of all, with risk of suicide higher than pure depressive episodes.

Psychotic symptoms: In addition to the symptoms described above, severe depression or mania may be accompanied by psychotic symptoms. These symptoms include hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or otherwise sensing the presence of stimuli that are not there) and delusions (false personal beliefs that are not subject to reason or contradictory evidence, and are not explained by a person’s cultural concepts). Psychotic symptoms associated with bipolar disorder typically reflect the extreme mood state at the time.

Bipolar Spectrum and Soft Bipolar Disorder: Many believe bipolar disorder is not easily grouped into one of the four categories described above but is actually a spectrum disorder (called Bipolar Spectrum). For example, according to DSM-IV, a mixed episode is part of a Bipolar I disorder. However, some experience hypomania and depression at the same time. In this case, clinicians and researchers use the term “Bipolar II, mixed” even though this terminology is not consistent with DSM-IV. Also, some clinicians and researchers believe certain forms of major depressive disorder are better classified as a “Soft Bipolar Disorder” (e.g., when a person has many depressive episodes, starting at a young age, with a poor response to antidepressant medications).

  • Such distinctions are helpful in treating mood disorders, so psychologists and psychiatrists continue to develop diagnostic systems that will best guide patients and doctors.
  • Course: The course of bipolar disorders can be quite variable. Bipolar disorders tend to be recurrent, where people experience multiple mood episodes over time. Left untreated, bipolar episodes typically become more frequent and more severe over time.

For some, episodes are separated by periods of wellness during which the person suffers few to no symptoms. These periods can last for months or even years. Others have a more chronic course with little respite between episodes. When four or more mood episodes occur within a 12-month period, the person is said to have bipolar disorder with rapid cycling.

Treating Bipolar Disorders: People with bipolar disorder are treated with a combination of medications – mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and/or anti-anxiety agents. Side effects are common and many say they miss the high or clarity associated with mania. Medication is often combined with psychotherapy, which can be individual, family, couples or group therapy.’

For more reference to the Sutherland Bipolar Clinic refer to this link: https://rdsfoundation.org/

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑