Bipolar – The Diagnosis

This week a situation came up in which I was able to ask each member of my family if any of them have ever tried to learn anything about Bipolar Disorder. Every one of them said, no. I have always been the source of the storms in my family group: parents, brother, and kids. I was always angry or striking out at them (verbally) while in a devastating tsunami of rage. I was unstoppable, and I was very ill. I was a bad child. I constantly fought with my father who had anger demons of his own.

I don’t actually know if learning about BD will enable them to understand me, and even to help me when I’m helpless.

There’s just one problem – Not a single soul on this blue world completely understands Bipolar Disorder. Not one. Even those doctors who are afflicted with the illness do not know precisely how it works or what it is. And the meds I take, almost all of the fine print says it is used for things like seizures and a variety of other things, but not for BD.

Meds for BD are prescribed because the medical community has discovered that in general, some medications seem to help control the symptoms.

Symptoms. This means that the meds are not fixing Bipolar Disorder itself. The meds are just meant to enable us to coexist with other humans.

The fact is that no one understands Bipolar Disorder, not the doctors, researchers, interested persons, or those of us who live with it. You can take a little quiz online that will tell you whether or not you have it (OMG – burn all these quizzes. What? They’re digital? I guess we’ll have to be creative and figure it out.

The reason I’m so irritated and upset about this is because my much younger cousin has been spending gobs more time with my mother than I am. She keeps telling my mom that she has all these mental illnesses. My mother responds with compassion and encouragement. She tries to help her. She spends time with her. A lot of time.

I pointed this out to my mother and she didn’t say anything. The problem is that it’s true. They really haven’t done ANYTHING to try to understand, to keep track of how I’m doing, to be compassionate to ME. It really hurts.

Have you ever experienced something like this?

There are thousands of websites, books, and experts available to people so that they CAN learn about BD, so that they CAN love me despite my extra quirks and behavior that makes them not want to be around me. (This has gotten better, but let’s face it, the BD brain isn’t exactly reliable or dependable.)

I wish, that they would watch a four-minute video or read a nice and short informational page on a website.

I wish.

My mom knows someone better than she knows me. She’s embraced her and is compassionate and supportive of her. She makes excuses for her. She never has done any of that for me. She says that when I was a kid they didn’t know anything about BD so she didn’t know what to do.

“But what about now? 

“Family, I’m 55. Have you ever tried to learn about my illnesses? Ever?”

“No. Well, they didn’t know anything about it back then.”

“Mom, what about now? Today? I still have it. You know I still suffer from it. Why don’t you just Google it or search for a book on Amazon about it?”

I try to ignore the emotional pain that this lack of real love causes me (that’s how it seems to me). The daughter that lives with me has had to learn a little about it because if she didn’t she would have gone crazy. I admit that I’m not the easiest person to live with.

I can only put myself out there hoping that they will demonstrate to me that they love me with the kind of love that refuses to let me go and will do anything it takes to help me. Am I being selfish? Maybe, but I believe that love, well, love does… I don’t know how to say it.

If you have a grasp on how to describe the kind of love I’m trying to explain, please post it in the comments section. I’d love to hear what you have to say about it.

For now, I’m going to go to sleep. Tomorrow is a new day and another day I can work to keep my mental difficulties (read: demons) at bay. I enjoy my work. Once I get going I can work for hours and become completely engrossed in it. But depression has been kicking my legs out from under me this whole week and I have to say that I’d like for it to take a hike now because I’m exhausted and frankly, would rather be manic.

So good night dear Reader. Sleep well.

Bipolar: It Is Very Difficult to Know

A lot of the time I hesitate to post because I don’t know what you, my reader, expects to read. I struggle with this every day. I could tell you about my day, but that’s so boring – dull! I could stick to only write about myself and what I’ve learned about Bipolar, but I really feel strongly that this kind of important thing deserves a website of its own so that people in pain or who are looking for answers can go to that site and find answers and acceptance right away. So, I’m developing a website to do just that.

I have Bipolar Disorder Type 1 with mixed states. I also entertain much of the rest of the alphabet. I could drone on and on and try to… well, I think you know where that was going.

Basically I’m a normal 55 year single mom of three who is interesting and has a good sense of humor. I have some compelling stuff following me around that makes me complicated, but who doesn’t? Surely everyone has experienced the strange things accompanying Bipolar, anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, FM, OA, etc.

I have a Japanese Fighting fish like all your neighbors do and speaking of neighbors, also just like you, I politely file noise complaints regarding one nice household whenever my TV starts to loudly rattle. Seriously.

I’m so normal I could bore you silly. Although… did I mention my eldest daughter will be moving in with me in a few months? (Honestly, it’s for the best. I need the support and we can both use help with housing expenses.)

In fact things are sooo boring that I’m going to need to graduate from college with another bachelors degree and I’m going to have two sons and a daughter instead of what has been the standard at my house with two daughters and a son.

See? Boring.

I am first and foremost a woman who deals with an incurable illness and will continue to do so until I die. Well, and perhaps afterward too. I mean, who really knows?

If you don’t mind too much, I’m going to write about all of these things. I might even add in the bits where one of my family members believes that God has them on this earth for only one reason and that is to save his children and to draw them back to Him because they are lost.

Maybe I’ll recount some of my experiences growing upon a ranch as a teen who presented with Bipolar at a very young age and how well that went over with my undiagnosed Bipolar father. Maybe I’ll include fun times at the church I was attending that was into casting out demons. Yeah. Fun times.

Have I mentioned I went to Bible College searching for God? I wanted so desperately for Him to take away the pain I felt that was crushing me from within every day. No? Bipolar, prayer, and demonic possession… seems like there’s a story in there, somewhere.

What’s on your mind? Should I throw caution to the wind and open up a bit more? It all, and I do mean all, ties directly back into this sickness, this life long illness I struggle with. It is all infused with, you know it, Bipolar.

I don’t believe it is a disorder. I believe it’s a disease, an illness and should be treated with the respect it deserves… that we deserve.

Talk to me my Readers. Tell me what you think. Do you have questions? I can’t guarantee I’ll answer, but I’ll read all of them. 🤔

Be well.

Robin

Bipolar: Possessed by Demons?

demon

I’ve sat around on disability for years now. I raised my kids working very little because of my mental health issues. My behavior let’s just say wasn’t conducive to working with other people. Aside from melting from stress during the time I was attending college (I’m still planning on going back in the fall.) I’ve been pretty stable for the last year or so. I feel like I’m ready to move forward. I also feel like it’s risky to try to do something. What if I explode like I did when I had my business? During one of my manic phases I was inspired to start a small company that took off really fast. I did a good job. I was making money. Then I had an episode and exploded the business. I think it’s time to start over. I hope.

Time to focus for a sustained period of time and control myself and start a new business. I’ve got the company figured out and a loose business plan. Now I just have to supply the product. That’s what’s going to take the most time.

Speaking of which, did you know that if you have been diagnosed by a mental health professional with bipolar disorder you’re not possessed by demons? (Just my opinion.) It’s true. For years I thought I had demons or at the very least I was committing sin after sin. I couldn’t stop being angry and doing all the things that go with anger and rage. I felt so guilty.

I attended Bible College in the 80’s. While here I sought help for my demons of rage and anger and other unhealthy sins. I underwent sessions where professors would lay hands on me and “speak” to the demons. They would demand that the demons respond. I couldn’t very well not have anything happen so I started saying the first thing that I thought of. I didn’t want to look like a failure and not have any demons. Unfortunately, I never got better.

Many, many years later (like this year) I learned that bipolar disorder is actually an “abnormal functioning of brain circuits involving neurotransmitters such as dopamine.”

Now I’m not saying only mental health professionals can diagnosis a person with bipolar disorder, but it is the best way to get an accurate diagnosis.

If you have bipolar disorder you do not have brain damage. You are not a condemned lump of flesh that has no hope of having a normal or productive life.

You, just like everyone else, has the opportunity to be successful and reach your dreams.

I am going to put my life out there and see if I can be successful. Thus far I’ve had a lot of very tiny little starts towards my goals, but I’ve fallen off my path every time. I believe I have the knowledge and determination this time to not only set goals, but to reach them.

I know stress affects how my brain functions so one of my main missions is to live a balanced life and that includes not setting myself up to be trapped in extended stressful situations. I can do that. I know what my triggers are.

My goal: Reach complete financial independence in one year, by April 17, 2017. I have other goals too, but that is definitely the most important and easiest to measure.

Time to get busy working on my plan and putting it into play.

Remember, if you have a mental illness you do not have it because of an unknown influence upon your brain. You are not helpless, hopeless and unable to deal with your symptoms for good. Work with your mental health professionals and actually expend effort to be less depressed and control your mania.

I believe there is hope for each of us. Whether you believe you are being helped by a higher power, God, medication and/or psychology it is possible you can live a productive and fulfilling life.

(Note: If your faith says that your mental state is because of a spiritual battle I’m sorry, but I disagree. After chasing God for over 25 years I turned to science for answers and finally started changing my behavior and my thoughts. My advice is that you follow your heart and your intelligence. You may disagree with me about what causes bipolar disorder, but you can still learn about goal setting and being a successful person. They are not mutually exclusive.)

(The quote is from: “The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What you and Your Family Need to Know,” by David j. Miklowitz, PhD)