Archives for Mania
“You’ve got to get yourself together, you’ve got stuck in a moment, and you can’t get out of it.” –U2, Stuck in a Moment One of the most annoying parts of bipolar disorder, for me anyway, is feeling like I’m stuck in a mood that I can’t get out of. Example: I had a long day this past Sunday, traveling four hours round trip. While not in the car, I was surrounded by crowds of people. It was exhausting, and both my husband and I were, let’s say, a bit sensitive by end of day. There was some confusion of how to get back on the highway, and I felt he was a little too snippy with me. I was offended and annoyed.
My life is a bit too intense these days. I am anxious, uptight, and everything is moving too fast. Am I manic? Am I merely trying to adjust to the more fast-paced life I've recently acquired? Should I go to the doctor, or will I get through this on my own?
One of the most difficult parts of having bipolar disorder is knowing how to prevent and manage mood swings. Although mood cycles vary from person to person, most people with bipolar are profoundly aware of how hard it is to manage and control mania and depression. The best way to deal with bipolar mood swings is to get treatment. However, hypomania, mania, and depression are not completely preventable. Even with medication and good health habits, mood swings still occur. Before the tech age, people with bipolar disorder relied on print notebooks and drawn charts only to record their moods for themselves and their clinicians. This is still a viable way to track both mood swings and how environment and health affect the outcome of one's course of illness. For those that are computer and mobile device-savvy, however, there are a multitude of tools available at your fingertips.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This means different things for different people—traveling, planning and coordinating with family, busy schedules and spending money are all common themes during the holidays. People with bipolar disorder may have difficulty dealing with stress, depression, or hypomania during the holiday season. Whether you have a big turkey dinner at home, travel to a popular restaurant, or refrain from participating in the Thanksgiving holiday, here are some tips for getting through Thanksgiving Day (and actually enjoying it):
BPHope.com puts it very nicely: “Anger, rage, and irritability has long been overshadowed by mania and sadness in discussions of bipolar disorder.” Indeed, it is one of the most misunderstood components of bipolar illness. Many people living with bipolar disorder deal with anger and irritability, and they are often very embarrassed by it. Being out of control is an uncomfortable place to be, and it can have lasting repercussions. How many of us with bipolar disorder have said something to a loved one out of anger that we regret? How many of us wish we could control our anger and irritability better?
“What’s the difference between bipolar disorder and depression?” People ask me this a lot. In short, the difference is, bipolar disorder also includes mania. The next question is, “What is mania?” This is harder to explain. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “mental illness marked by periods of great excitement, euphoria, delusions, and over-activity.” This is an acceptable surface-level definition. However, it still cannot encapsulate the feeling and experience of this phenomenon.
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that about a quarter of adults with mental illness also have a substance abuse issue. This accounts for about 2.8 million Americans. Even before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I knew substance abuse and mental illness are linked. With a family of mentally-ill alcoholics, it’s a no-brainer. The mood swings, depression, and anxiety that come with mental disorders are almost unbearable. Some people are able to channel their symptoms into positive activities. Others find drugs as a way to numb the pain, make situations less scary, and quiet the mind.
A few months back, I outlined the idea of bipolar recovery in one of my articles. In that short time, I have made leaps and bounds in my journey to wellness. I feel more positive and experienced than I did when I wrote the first piece about this important component of living with chronic illness. For me, recovery has become the control of the symptoms that cause me issues. It is feeling well, mentally and physically, on a consistent basis. It is hope, self-esteem, and making my own contribution to the world.
These days, many people are turning to natural health aids to help compliment the use of medication and therapies. When someone is being treated for bipolar disorder, their psychiatrists often recommend a strict diet and regular exercise to help combat the depression, anxiety, and mood swings that come with the illness. The use of meditation is another way that many people deal with the troubling symptoms of depression and mania.
Before summer comes to a close, I would like to share part two of two of my summer reading suggestions for those that are interested in reading about bipolar disorder. These books, and the books in part one of my summer suggestions, are interesting and educating views about bipolar disorder, from fiction to nonfiction to self-help. Finish out the summer with one of these books and let me know what you think of the book you read!