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.
Monday is Veteran’s Day in the United States.
It is a day to honor former and active duty military members, who have sacrificed much to serve our country.
On this national holiday, many people use this time to visit veteran memorials and grave sites, thank their friends and family members for their service, and engage in good deeds for military members.
I make it my mission to comment and educate on the mental health issues that are facing veterans today.
A mother was discussing her suspicion that her teenage son has autism spectrum disorder.
“My relative, who is a school counselor, told me to avoid a diagnosis.”
The school counselor’s opinion is simple—if he is not diagnosed, he will not be limited in life.
It really got me thinking.
How true is that statement?
There are, generally speaking, two camps—one that believes a diagnosis will drive treatment and overall wellness, and another that believes that a diagnosis hinders opportunity.
A couple of months ago, I wrote an article about Amanda Bynes following her admission to a psychiatric hospital.
Today, the media reported that Bynes is diagnosed.
According to reports, doctors found she has bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but many of these announcements are from celebrity tabloids and blogs. It has not been made clear whether she has the two illnesses or schizoaffective disorder.
Now, Bynes continues to heal and stabilize in a rehab center in Malibu as doctors adjust her medication.
It will be a long road for her—whether she has the two illnesses by themselves, or schizoaffective disorder—these disorders are widely misunderstood.
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.
It is National Suicide Prevention Week in America, and open dialogue about suicide is more important than ever before.
Suicide is a major public health problem, but it is also very preventable.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 34,598 Americans died by suicide in 2007.
You can help someone in your life get help.
Living with a chronic illness like bipolar disorder requires a team. From the psychiatrist who prescribes medications to the therapist who assists in recovery, to our family and friends, we are grateful for the people who help us deal with a complicated and recurring condition.
Another important piece to my recovery is my peer network.
I like having connections with others who live with bipolar disorder.
It’s easy to learn the science or theory behind mental health conditions, but it is very tough to have lived someone’s experience.
With peer support, being validated and understood is possible.
Some people do not know that bipolar disorder is truly a medical illness that has been documented in imaging studies.
I continue to research medical evidence behind the illness to help explain bipolar to the people in my life, because overall, it makes my condition more concrete and understandable.
Did you know that these parts of our neuroanatomy and biochemistry have been linked to bipolar disorder?
In a survey by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, 9 out of 10 people with bipolar disorder said the illness affected their job performance.
Stress, unpredictability, mood changes, and workplace relationships are just some of the issues that make having a job and having bipolar disorder challenging.
Like many of you, my professional life has been full of lessons about myself and my illness.
Extreme anxiety, low self-esteem, deep depressions, suicide attempts, and lack of motivation have all affected me in the first nine years of my work-life.