Category: Bipolar Help

Bipolar Workers Can Help Themselves

Bipolar Disorder is a Mental Illness affecting millions, and is medically described as a "Mood Disorder". It is a manic or depressive episode, mixed episodes, with sometime rapid cycles of mood swings occurring between each. A Bipolar Individual may experience a depressive crying episode followed by a wildly happy episode and a depressive episode again all within a time frame of less than 1 hour. In some extreme episodes, Bipolar disorder may lead to delusion and hallucinations. The exact cause of the disorder is unknown, however it is suggested that a chemical imbalance in the brain and genetics play a large role in it's presentation. There are varying degrees of severity of Bipolar Disorder, and most are treated with psychiatric drugs and counseling to address underlying issues.

Various psychiatric drugs have enabled Bipolar individuals to lead full and productive lives, remaining active in society. Many times the illness requires a combination of medications, as each case is different in scope and frequency of episodes.

Bipolar Disorder in the workplace can be a very difficult situation to address, whether from the standpoint of management or coworkers. Wild mood swings may cause conflict between otherwise amiable employees. A major decline in production may result from the feelings of hopelessness present in depression. Haphazard completion of tasks may occur due to the rush of mania. Paranoia, anger, and delusions of reality all may contribute in the decline of a pleasant workplace. Due to social stigma's attached to mental illness, many people with Bipolar Disorder keep their condition a secret. A lack of understanding of the disease and misunderstanding of mental illness in general can, to this day, ruin a professional career within an apathetic work environment.

Here are some things a Bipolar Individual may do to help themselves at work:

Keep a Consistent Work Schedule – The more simplified things are for a person exhibiting symptoms, the better.

Get Organized – It is best to keep all aspects of life reasonably organized at all times. This is not to say one need become phobic, but good organization reduces confusion on a bad day.

Let Someone Know – If a bipolar person has a great boss or close friend at work, they may want to let them know of their situation. If an empathetic person is present in the workplace, they may recognize a problem, or deflect a possibly disastrous happenstance.

Be Professional – Try to limit gossip, horseplay etc.,It is easy for a Bipolar person to go way over the top on these when experiencing a Manic episode.

Handle Problems As They Come – For anyone, a bad mental day can make problems multiply. Attempt to always stay a little ahead of your workload.

Structure – Many people with Bipolar Disorder are more at ease when living a structured lifestyle.

Call a Lifeline – Have someone a phone call away who talk you through a tough day.

Keep Appointments – Always keep Doctors and Counseling appointments, even if you feel great.

Take Medications – Always take your medication on schedule, don't skip doses or take less when you feel well. If experiencing side effects from medicines, talk to your Doctor – there are many drugs and combinations that may help. This is an area of trial and error, even for Doctors.

Many times people suffering from Bipolar Disorder can tell when they are "off", but occasionally they are certain they are fine, it's the other person's problem or difficult personality. At these times a "safety net" consisting of family or friends may step forward and assist an individual in seeking professional help. It is important that these people are intimately aware of the illness, and persistent in resolving concerns of the Bipolar person.

The Learning Process of the Ups and Downs of Bipolar Disorder

Well first let me start off saying that dealing with being Bi-polar does get easier to deal with. It just takes time and the want to get better.

I remember a few times specifically where I would be so happy, just so very happy about things, or at least I thought I was happy. It wasn't a normal sort of happy though, was very bright, things were sunshine and rainbows. Just so happy about everything even if I knew it wasn't exactly the honest thing or how I wanted to feel or even things I should feel at that point in time, a great deal of the time the happiness came at points where it was inappropriate. People would be crying around me and I would just be the same old same old smiling away. People would ask me why I would be so happy and I would tell them that I had no idea, or they would get angry because they would think I would be trying to make fun of them because of how happy I was and it would frustrate me but the high nodes of the happy even though they caused issues and made things awkward were no where near as horrible as the low swings.

Where I would be so low, so angry or so just sad that I would collapse on the floor or where I was and just huddle into a ball crying. I would be embarrassed of crying and of how the low swings would affect me so I tried to hide them but that didn't work. People would ask me why I was sad, or why I was so angry with them and I would tell them, that I just didn't know. That I had no idea why I was sad, that there was no particular reason for me to be sad. The angry cycles of it though were dangerous for me, because I would become paranoid as well, and I would just hate everyone and everything that got near me and spoke to me. Wouldn't matter what it was, or who it was, I just hated them even though there would have been no rational reason why.

At first though I didn't see a cycle, didn't see that there was an issue. I didn't see how strange it was for me to go from one extreme to another, or maybe I just was so used to it that I thought it was normal. I did end up seeing it though, did end up figuring out that something wasn't specifically right and that's when I went to go to talk to someone.

I ended up going to talk to a psychologist, and he did help me a great deal. I was able to figure out how to deal with the upswings and the down swings of the disorder without it involving some miracle cure or something else. He had asked me if I wanted to take medication, and I told him no. He did tell me it would be harder to deal with but I did understand. He did teach to keep sort of a record of when my regular upswings were so I knew how to adjust and just deal with things rationally and in a healthy way. I dealt with the upswings of it pretty well, but the down ones were still difficult but in time I got used to dealing with them. I got used to figuring out the pattern. So when I understood how to deal with it all, I could sort of manage it, predict when I would have harder times of things and be able to put myself in better situations so that I wouldn't have such a difficult time of the ups and downs. It's best to just live a day at a time with it, and just live and try to live a normal life regardless of the difficulties or inabilities because of the disorder.

A Bipolar Diagnosis Means Coping for Life

Bipolar disorder is one of the most difficult mental illnesses for the general public to understand. To the ignorant observer, a person suffering from bipolar mania may simply seem ebullient, talkative, flirtatious and perhaps obnoxious, but these may be bipolar indicators.

The Triggers and Symptoms

My experience with bipolar disorder was triggered by the combination of work and life stress. I found a new job and was working feverishly to close out my old job responsibilities. I was having difficulty managing a troublesome employee. In my private life, my wife had just a miscarriage a month after a stressful visit with in-laws. These factors combined to push me to a breaking point I didn't know I had. Within days, I would soon be diagnosed bipolar.

The first and most obvious symptom was chronic insomnia. This was not loss of sleep for a few nights, but for weeks of nights. I was up all night, my mind hyperactive. I got an hour of sleep here and there. My appetite decreased, but I still had high energy. I was talking all the time, my mind awash with ideas. I was incapable of focusing. Sometimes I would write compulsively (graphomania) or exhibit obsessive compulsive disorder-like symptoms, for instance organizing my nail and screw drawers all night in the garage. Little things made me argumentative. I had anger management issues. I lost control of my ability to think.

It's pretty scary when you can't control your own thoughts, what you say or what you do, but you can't say anything because it feels euphoric.

I began self-medicating (drinking and smoking even though I don't smoke), spending money recklessly (like every newspaper I could find – one such paper-buying spree occurred the day after the OJ civil verdict was decided.). I bought things that made no sense, but for some reason, they appealed to my manic mind.

The Diagnosis and Preventing Relapses

My wife, my father and my best friend convened an intervention. They helped me realize I needed to sign myself into a psychiatric institution. I got angry and peeled off in my car. My friend found me hours later.

After 19 in-patient days and numerous out-patient sessions (which cost $30,000 and was luckily covered by insurance), I was diagnosed as bipolar. At first, I was prescribed lithium and Risperdol. Later it was Zyprexa and other drugs, some of which have severe side effects. I realized I needed medication to slow my thoughts down and make me 'normal' again. Unlike some bipolar people, I have always been prescription compliant.

Six months later, I was well enough to get a job in political PR in the state capitol. At times, this stress became unbearable. I was recruited to work on campaigns, which resulted in several breakdowns. I learned to avoid stressful situations and informed my employers of the symptoms and triggers of the illness. Understanding the illness and its triggers made it easier to cope. However, sometimes my antipsychotic medication simply stopped working.

I suffered my latest episode of mania resulting from bipolar disorder in 2011. The stress was driving me insane. I impulsively quit my job.

My employers reacted poorly and called the police. Inadequate police training on how to deal with the mentally ill is still a reality in 2012. Their actions actually provoked my mania. They handcuffed me and involuntarily committed me to a psychiatric hospital. I stabilized immediately, but hired a lawyer to get me out in two days instead of three weeks. I just needed some time off and different medications.

Conclusion and the Future

A diagnosis of bipolar disorder is for life. The best solutions, for me, have been staying away from triggers, staying on prescribed medications and staying away from drugs like nicotine, alcohol and others. Incorporating meditation (quiet time with little stimuli), exercise, time outdoors, healthy diet and other holistic methods combine to give me hope for a stable future.

For more information of bipolar disorder, talk to your doctor or go here: http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Mental_Illnesses/Bipolar1/Home_-_What_is_Bipolar_Disorder_.htm

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Children


Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder where the person affected experience extreme mood, energy level and behavior changes. It is common in adults and children. However, doctors who specializes in treating bipolar disorder in children claim that not all children with bipolar disorder are diagnosed with one and treated with proper medication. That is why, it aggravates as time passes by.

Part of a child’s growing years is mood swings. But, if it affects the child’s ability to function, it is a whole different story. Usually, a child with a bipolar disorder can experience extreme mood changes which categorize into two – manic(extreme happiness) and depression (extreme sadness). For manic bipolar disorder, a child usually manifests symptoms such as severe changes in mood like for example, your child is unusually happy in a minute then, he becomes irritable, angry or aggressive after. Also, your child may feel increase level of energy with little amount of sleep without being tired, easily distracted and talks fast without stopping. As for depression type, a child can manifest symptoms such as frequent crying, over sleeping or over eating, can’t cope with rejection, feelings of worthlessness or thoughts of death and suicide.

Usually, children with bipolar disorder is at greater risk to have anxiety disorder and attention deficit disorder. At this point, it is more difficult for parents and doctors to diagnose bipolar disorder in a child. So, as much as possible, parents should be aware of their child’s condition as early as possible for early treatment and prevent chances of recurrence. If you think your child shows odd behavior, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor. Knowing the disorder at its onset can make a huge difference to your child’s condition. Also, the knowledge about the disorder will help you as a parent know the different ways to approach his mood and behavioral changes which can be a huge impact to his recovery.

A Peek into a Kid's Life Who Had a Bipolar Parent

Growing up with a bipolar dad, it wasn't easy for me. I was close to my dad at one point and time, but when he would have these manic episodes, I would stop trusting him and it got to the point where I just avoided him even when he wasn't in a manic state.

My father was always very private when it came to anger, feelings, worries, or fears. He was one of those you'd call a bottler- he'd push it all down and bottle it up- and when it finally exploded it was like some monster came out of the bottle. He'd claim that my brother and I were supposed to die and he was supposed to kill us because Jesus told him to, so from the age of 5 on, I had to recognize the signs of a 'spell' and learn what to do.

We lived in a small town- you know one of those where everybody knows everything even though you don't want them to, so I got a lot of weird looks growing up. I had friends, but only one or two very close ones really knew what was wrong with my dad. Growing up, I only knew one other person with a bipolar parent- who was really the only person who really understood. My dad taught high school so you can only imagine what I went through when he was hospitalized and then everyone would come up to me asking questions. This one time I remember this girl I didn't really know or like all that well came up to me and asked point blank- "did your dad have a nervous breakdown?" I really didn't want to get into his actual disease- bipolar disorder, because I really didn't like folks knowing all that. I just said yeah, and to that she said "I would too dealing with all these kids."

It wasn't easy growing up- a lot of folks just didn't understand bipolar disorder and you know- we just got deemed as 'crazy'. My dad's 'episodes' sort of became these urban legends so to speak because you'd hear all these crazy rumors about what he did while he was in his manic state. One rumor that did happen to be true was he wrestled a gun away from a police officer and pointed it at my brother. People would make all these claims and of course, nosy folks would ask you about it, so I just got to where I denied everything.

For a long time, especially when I was in school, I denied all the claims and never talked about anything that went on- ever. It was just some part of my life that flared up every once in a while and then I'd deal with it and try to forget it- but for a while after every manic episode there'd be a strange 'transition' after my dad came home from the hospital and I'd be on pins and needles thinking he'd have another manic episode- then it would get back to normal and as the years went on, the episodes came more and more often.

Of course, with every episode there were warning signs- but then after the fact we'd go back and realize that what he was saying really was a warning sign and we should have gotten him to a hospital before he became so violent- but with that you'd ask him if he was alright and he would just say yeah- so if you forced him into the hospital you'd have a manic episode on your hands anyway. So, you were dammed if you did and dammed if you didn't when it came right down to it.

And yes, for those of you out there wondering- he was on medication. Has been for over 20 years now. It hasn't been the easiest thing to go through either. It's just sort of a trial and error thing- it's like here- take these pills and see how you do- if that doesn't work then we'll go to another pill. He's had allergic reactions, gotten immune to his dosage after taking it so long and having an episode and they'll increase it. It's for sure been a rough ride.

Dealing with Bipolar: You Are NOT a Victim!

I'm speaking to supporters here. I've received too many emails and listened to too many callers where the supporter complains about everything they do to help their loved one to manage their Bipolar Disorder (key word here being complaining), and receive nothing in return, or about how unappreciated they are.

I'm a supporter myself, so I do know how much we do for our loved ones. And I know that much of it is thankless. There have been many times when I just wanted to quit, as I'm sure you have as well. But I don't quit, and neither do you. But does that make us victims? NO!

There is something called a "victim mentality." And that is what I want to talk to you about.

Some people would have you believe that you have a right to be angry…to be frustrated… to be hurt… to be whatever negative feeling you want to fill in the blank with. And, yes, maybe you do have a right to feel those things.

It is these types of things that lead to a victim mentality, however, because when you dwell on these negative feelings – when you develop a resentment against your loved one – when you start blaming your loved one for your negative feelings… that is when you begin to have a victim mentality.

But the point is… You are NOT a victim. You are the supporter of a loved one who has a very serious mental disorder. And they did not ask for that disorder any more than you asked to be their supporter. You are their supporter because you love them, and you want to help them.

You took the time and effort to learn how to be a good supporter. You have learned how to be positive, to look at the better side of things. That is what keeps you going sometimes, even when things look bleak.

Now, you could choose to be a victim if you want. You have enough reasons, no doubt. But is this what you really want? To be a victim for the rest of your life? Who will benefit from your victim mentality? YOU? Your loved one? Your children? The rest of your family? Your friends? Your co-workers? Your friends? Society? NO! NOBODY benefits when someone has a victim mentality.

In fact, it is just the opposite. Someone who believes they are a victim (has a victim mentality) usually becomes a complainer, and no one wants to listen to a complainer.

In your arsenal as a supporter, you have learned many things. And knowledge is power. Knowledge empowers you! It makes you stronger! Not just as a supporter, but as a person in your own right!

By this time, you should have left your victim mentality behind you. You are NOT a victim!

Are You Bipolar?

Most people experience mood swings in life. But a small minority of Americans are manic depressive, bipolar. They experience mood swings that are very extreme in nature. Bipolar is a debilitating illness that affects 2.6% of the United States population. The following article will help you determine if someone you love, or perhaps yourself, is afflicted with this mental health illness.

The most common symptom of bipolar disorder is extreme and unpredictable mood swings. Imagine winning the lottery and wishing you were dead. Or you go from happy to sad for no particular reason. Your emotions tend to not reflect your current situation. Even if you have a history of relationship problems that could be a sign that your not emotionally stable and might require medication to help correct this.

Another warning sign of bipolar disorder is cutting, or self mutilation. Stress from painful emotions can lead to dangerous and self-destructive behavior. Substance abuse is also common in people suffering from bipolar disorder. The drug of choice for most of these people is either alcohol or marijuana. Substance abuse is common because sufferers of this disorder try to self-medicate using what is available to them.

If you or someone you know has any of these symptoms, please seek further information. This is a very serious illness and it is misdiagnosed very often. A person with bipolar disorder can lead a productive life. Support from family and friends is crucial in helping someone cope with such a life altering condition. But the most important thing someone with bipolar can do is seek medical attention and develop a plan with a health care professional.

Bipolar?

I’m sitting here steady waiting

Waiting for my change to come

I am so pretty and I can’t help myself

I don’t know what to say, “I’m out,”

Out of my mind, body, and soul

I’m tired, so tired, really tired,

Got me thinking what I’m going to do

I’m hungry; I need food in my life

I’m done; I’m not saying anything else

All I want to do is get on the damn computer

So tired, really tired of being tired

So tired of being broke, I need some cash

Need someone to take me to McDonalds

I don’t know, I just don’t know

Tired, really tired of tired, being tired

What it's Like for Me to Be Bipolar

People often look at me as having a deathly disease when I tell them that I have bipolar disorder. They look shocked because I don't show any signs of being out of the ordinary. I don't take medication and I rarely show that I even have something wrong with me! So how does this disorder affect my life? It honestly doesn't.

I found out I had this disorder when I was fairly young. Apparently when I was a small child, my guardians were concerned about certain behaviors I would portray around other children. I would sometimes be fine one minute and be completely sad or angry the next. It baffled my aunt and uncle, so they took me to the doctor. The doctor then told them that I was born with bipolar disorder. Sometimes I'll have certain outbursts and mood swings out of nowhere.

Throughout the years of being completely normal, I come to find that bipolar disorder doesn't affect my life at all. I don't take medication because this is who I am. Why would I want to change something that is meant for me to experience? I'm so glad I got to write something like this. I want people to know that having this type of disorder doesn't mean that I'm not able to take care of myself, or seriously incapable of being with other people without causing a scene. People watch too much television and think that when someone has a disease or some sort of other disorder they are completely inadequate to communicating normally with others who don't have this disease.

Honestly, the only symptoms I have are slight mood swings every now and then. Bipolar disorder has done hardly anything noticeable at all for me, quite frankly. I have the ability to be sad when I'm supposed to be, be happy when I'm supposed to be, etc. I know it may sound strange, but I can pretty much control how I am suppose to feel, so nothing seems out of the ordinary. If you have any questions about being bipolar or how people like me deal with it, you can do your research online or ask someone who may have it. Just a warning however, you may be surprised who does have bipolar disorder. Your best friend could even be bipolar, you never know!

Coping with the Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

Receiving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can be one of the loneliest moments of your life, but what you do afterward is completely up to you. There are a number of things that must be accomplished in order to assure proper treatment, and I wish I had known these things when I was first diagnosed. The path you take can have a tremendous effect on treatment. So, here are the things you should do after receiving a diagnosis.

Find a trustworthy, competent, and available psychiatrist. You need to trust your psychiatrist to listen to your concerns and complaints. The psychiatrist will be managing your medications, so it is very important that he or she listens to you. Also, it is vitally important that your psychiatrist is available if you call to ask a question or if you need an emergency appointment. A psychiatrist that is constantly unavailable is not much better than having no psychiatrist at all.

Continue to take your medications, even if you feel better. It is vitally important to take your medications as prescribed unless told to do so by your psychiatrist. Just because you start feeling better does not mean you will stay that way for long.

Find a good therapist. I spent years seeing the wrong therapist, followed by another wrong therapist, and so on. Finally, I found the right therapist, and I have made more progress in a few months than I have in several years. If you feel like you do not "click" with a particular therapist, do not hesitate to find another.

Tell select members of your friends and family. Do not feel obligated to tell everyone you know, but those that are the closest to you should probably be given a hint of what has been ailing you. Give them all the knowledge you possibly can about bipolar disorder because your knowledge may set them at ease.

Consider joining a support group. If there is not a support group in your community, consider joining an online support group. I belong to the bipolar support group at MDJunction.com, and it has been a lifesaver. I can go there to talk, to rant, to seek help, and to help others. The benefits are nearly endless.

The diagnosis of bipolar disorder does not have to be the end of all hope, and I am proud to consider myself evidence of that fact. Consider all of the steps above, and hopefully coping with your diagnosis will get easier with time.