4.25.2011

Could you or someone you love be living with bi-polar/depression?

It's easiest to write when I'm at a high or a low with my depression/bipolar symptoms, because thoughts are more easily distinguishable and words are easier to come by.

When I'm at a low, characteristics that I notice are:
-Lack of ability to make eye contact
-Feeling panicky or scared of social situations
-Lack of will to communicate with others
-Feeling down (obviously, I suppose)
-Negative thoughts including:
-Feelings of worthlessness
-Suicidal thoughts out of no where
-Unexplained guilty feelings
-Loss of motivation to do seemingly 'fun' activities
-Unable to connect
-Not wanting to leave the house, but feeling trapped when I stay
-Unable to make phone calls
-Feeling unable to be alone, but not wanting to be with other people
-A feeling of dread in the pit of the stomach
-Unable to express feelings verbally in a healthy way
-No self worth/confidence or very little
-Lack of motivation or feeling 'out of control'
-Possible extreme negative emotions/outbursts including throwing 'fits' if things are not going my way (throwing a project I've been working on or shouting irrationally)

Mine is rather manic though- as I can go from feeling this way (above) to feeling a very fleeting 'high' within a few minutes/hours back to the low again.

Symptoms of a 'high':
-Playfulness
-Feeling content and like I have a handle on things
-Planning on doing lots of different fun activities without organization or planning
-Feeling lovey dovey and finding communication less inhibited
-Not remembering 'lows' or the feelings associated
-Ability to organize thoughts better and less likely to have outbursts of anger
-Unable to process other's negative feelings or emotions without falling out of the high stage
-Unable to deal with other's 'downs' or passive emotions


Although lows are dangerous, high's can be even more difficult to deal with, since any amount of harshness or negativity can almost IMMEDIATELY throw me into a low outburst/temper. It's hard on my husband when I am in a high moment because he has to be careful what he says as I can so easily take things the wrong way- dramatically.

Finally, there is a medium.

It is a mixture of both high and lows, but not as dramatic. It's easier to deal with positive and negative emotions from others, organizing thoughts is practically simple, and it's a lot less worrisome for those around me. I feel the ability to communicate well, to socialize, to deal with challenges and to express myself without shouting or shutting down.

Both highs and lows come with an extreme need to artistically express myself. This could involve painting/writing/crafting or even having a nature adventure. When I am at a medium I almost do not have any or very little artistic needs- because I can express myself healthily.

For some, having a high or low can be much more dangerous for expressing themselves. People can feel the need to steal things, to build things, to use abilities/gifts (ALMOST COMPULSIVELY), lie, self-harm (cutting-burning-even smoking and drinking might fit into the self harm category), drink excessively, smoke (when they don't normally), pinch skin, punch walls, hurt things/people, scream, run away, do drugs to compensate for the emotional turmoil bi-polar feelings cause, say extremely rude/hurtful things, or anything that doesn't seem to be characteristic of them or how they were raised.

Bi-polar depression is almost impossible to process as a teenager. Most people with it are not diagnosed in time to learn to cope with it naturally or to fight off the highs/lows with their mind (it is possible to think your way around some of the symptoms and outbursts involved). A lot of times parents have not heard or seen bi-polar depression and they don't know what to say, which can lead to even worse issues for the parents/child to deal with.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to ask questions or post comments. Currently I am unmedicated and dealing pretty well with the high's and lows through prayer, exercise, journaling, and having a great support system.

*If you think your loved one has bi-polar depression, it's important to know that you are not alone in dealing with this- and there are many resources to help.

*Being Bi-polar, even manic- is not an excuse for abuse, and if you are being physically abused by someone with this mental disease you need to get away from the situation until they are able to recognize their problem and get the help they need. You cannot help them if you are being a victim of their abuse- you only enable them to continue coping negatively with the emotions they are dealing with.

*If you are worried that you might have bi-polar depression, manic or otherwise, you need to seek a doctor's help as soon as you can- it is a serious mental issue that you MAY need to be medicated for to deal with.

*Medications do not work for everyone, so it's important if you start taking a medication to regularly see a therapist or counselor that can keep track of your emotions with you and help you decide if it's working. Many times you will think it is not helping when those around you can see that it is making a difference in your mood/actions that you are unaware of. It's important to have a support system to help you through this.

*Not everyone will need to be medicated for bi-polar depression. There are tactics and mental exercises you can do to help yourself deal with the emotions and cope with them too. It is important to have a support system that understands your highs and lows and what you are going through- so they can recognize when you are 'not yourself'.

Thanks for reading. God bless.

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