It was honestly a relief to finally get the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. For years, I would go through these phases of intense emotion, weeks without sleep, and uncharacteristic behaviors that were not recognizable to me or my family. One minute, I would be energetic and wired, later it would be irritable and grouchy, and then the next day I would be in a very depressive state where I would not leave the couch.
For many years, we chalked it up to hormones and didn’t think much about it. My body had been through hell and back with miscarriages and pregnancies that we assumed it was just from my hormones and postpardon .
We knew I suffered from depression, so I just thought it was bouts of depression when I needed to lay on the couch to pull myself together. However, I mostly hid the it because I had children to raise.
I was being treated by my family physician, so I didn’t really tell her about my episodes, nor did I really tell my therapist. I kept everything on the surface level until last summer, when I was at the breaking point. I knew something was not right and there was seriously something wrong.
According to The National Institute of Mental Health,
People having a manic episode may:
- feel very “up”, “high”, elated, or irritable or touchy
- feel “jumpy” or “wired”
- have a decreased need for sleep
- have a loss of appetite
- talk fast about a lot of different things
- racing thoughts
- think they can do multiple things at once
They also comment ont depressive states when they write,
People having a depressed episode may:
- feel very sad, “down” empty, worried, or hopeless
- feel slowed down or restless
- Have trouble falling asleep, wake up too early, or sleep too much
- Talk very slowly, feel like they have nothing to say
- Experienced increased appetite or weight gain
- Have trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Feel unable to do simple things
The National Institute of Mental Health states, “proper diagnosis and treatment can help people with bipolar disorder lead to healthy and active lifestyles.” The first step is talking with your doctor or a licensed health care provider. They can do a physical exam and order any other necessary medical tests necessary to rule out other conditions. Your health care provider can conduct mental health evaluation or refer you to a Psychiatrist who has training in diagnosing biploar disorder.
They also voice that, “mental health care providers usually diagnose the bipolar disorder based on a person’s symptoms , lifetime history, experiences, and some cases, family history.”
When referring to treatments they state, “treatments may include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.” I take medication and see a therapist at least once a week plus a Psychiatrist to monitor my medication twice a year.
Other ways, I help keep things in check include:
- Alone Time
- Charting my moods
- Going to bed early and waking early so consistent sleep
For General information on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline call 1(800)-662-4357
If you are in crisis: Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1(800)273-8255
If you are thinking about harming yourself or thinking of suicide:
- tell someone who can help you right away
- call your licensed mental health provider if you are already working with one
- call your doctor or health care provider
- go to the nearest hospital emergency department or call 911