Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic Depression, is considered by the psychiatric community to be a mood disorder and is classified as a mental illness. It is characterized by extreme and unpredictable shifts in mood as sufferers cycle through bouts of mania followed by depression.
Like most diseases, the severity of BD varies from person to person. In severe cases classified as Bipolar I a patient will experience full blown mania (characterized by rapid speech, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, hypersexuality, euphoria, psychosis, grandiosity, irritability, and increased interest in goal-directed activities) in an alternating cycle with clinical depression (characterized by fatigue, anxiety, guilt, anger, hopelessness, sadness, apathy, depersonalization, melancholy and suicidal ideation).
A person with Bipolar Disorder is 10 to 20 times more at risk for death by suicide than the average “normal” person. In fact persons diagnosed as Bipolar II (instead of manic they experience hypomania but spend more time in a Major Depression state than Bipolar I) have higher rates of suicide compared to other mental health conditions including sufferers of straight Major Depression.
Current studies into Bipolar Disorder say many things. One of those is that as much as 50% of adult sufferers of BD manifested symptoms as children (17 and under). There is a growing concern about catching BD early because some research claims that BD, like depression, is the result of a deficiency in the brain. However BD cannot be cured only managed through the use of medication.
I have suffered from Bipolar Disorder since my preteen years. Though I don’t talk about it much on this blog, if you look through my archives, you’ll notice that my postings are erratic at best. That’s because when I’m in hypomanic cycle I’m more productive and ambitious but when I’m in a depressive cycle, my motivation becomes apathy and my ambitions non existent.
I’m not a rapid cycler. If I had to guess I would say that I suffer from Bipolar II. I do not experience the full blown manic highs of a Bipolar I but I do experience hypomania and I’m not always depressed. I do experience some “normalcy” every once in awhile but more often than not I am dealing with some stage of dysfunction.
I do not take medication for many reasons. I feel that the pharmaceutical industry is nothing more than a bunch of legalized drug pushers. To paraphrase Chris Rock, the only reason there is a war on illegal drugs is because The Man wants you hooked on their stuff. Not only that, oftentimes the drugs that are prescribed are more dangerous than the disease they are supposed to treat. Next time you see a drug ad, pay particular attention to the side effects because for every side effect that you experience while taking the drug means another drug to take to counteract it. Include with that all the drugs you’ll have to take to “heal” any damage the original drug may cause to your body.
I don’t say this out of imagined fear. About five or six years ago I did finally break down and go to a doctor for treatment. The experience was nothing like I thought it would be. I totally expected the doctor to actually care about my problem but she didn’t. She literally pulled out a checklist of questions and based on my “Score” (and the results of some blood work she did) she decided to put me on the antidepressant Celexa and a thyroid medication. This is an experienced doctor mind you, so experienced that she had a male intern following her around everywhere and listening in on my evaluation.
I was not impressed.
I took Celexa for two weeks and lost ten pounds because I couldn’t eat anything else but Ritz crackers and Gatorade without getting sick. At the end of the two weeks the medication finally “kicked in”. I felt numb. You know how weird it feels when your foot falls asleep. You know your foot is there, you can see it still attached at the ankle but you can’t feel it. That’s how I felt. I know I was alive because I was walking around and interacting with people but I didn’t feel alive. And worse I didn’t feel like myself. I felt like a zombie.
So I stopped taking it even though I still had half a bottle left. Afterwards, I did a search on the internet and thanked my lucky stars that I did that because of the horror stories people were sharing on forums and websites about the difficulties they were having weaning themselves off of the drugs and the side effects they were experiencing being on it.
Since then I’ve been anti-drug. I would rather struggle to the day I die trying to overcome BD (and various other issues) using naturopathic remedies than become some pharmaceutical company’s bitch. I don’t think people really understand just how dangerous some of these drugs are that are out on the market nor are they aware of the fact that our bodies were designed to heal itself given the right tools.
Anyway, I really wanted to explain why it is I am so erratic in my blogging, don’t always answer comments right away (or at all), visit everyone often, or generally seem to have abandoned my projects at times. Mainly though, I now understand that I am hindering my own success in life by not dealing with this problem. I finally get that no matter how much I want to ignore it, Bipolar Disorder is apart of me and it’s not going to go away until I do something to make it go away.
This is where I need a little help. If you can find in your heart to donate to the Daria Black Bipolar Foundation…just kidding 😛 . I’m looking for good, reliable resources that talk about Bipolar Disorder, naturopathic remedies and more specifically a forum for people dealing with BD that doesn’t depress you whenever you visit. All recommendations welcomed and appreciated and thanks in advance for your support and understanding.
Now about that donation…