B is for … Bipolar

Although I have never been to the doctors to be diagnosed, I am relatively positive I suffer from a mental disorder called Bipolar. There are many forms of this disorder, some a lot more severe than others. I don’t think I have it badly, but I do have quite dramatic mood swings, a penchant for ruining my own friendships and I often feel ostracised and neglected. I first thought I might have a mild form of this disorder when I began to have quite erratic mood swings, the first of which began with being unconsolably upset and ended with my crying with laughter, all in the space of 20 minutes.
Maybe I don’t have this disorder at all, but I certainly feel that these symptoms effect me in my normal life. My friendships are few and certainly not constant, my relationships are often doomed to fail, and my head is always a mess.

I like to educate so here are some facts about bipolar:
Types of bipolar disorder:
• People with bipolar disorder type I have had at least one fully manic episode with periods of major depression. In the past, bipolar disorder type I was called manic depression.
• People with bipolar disorder type II have never experienced full-fledged mania. Instead they experience periods of hypomania (elevated levels of energy and impulsiveness that are not as extreme as the symptoms of mania). These hypomanic periods alternate with episodes of depression.
• A mild form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia involves less severe mood swings with alternating periods of hypomania and mild depression. People with bipolar disorder type II or cyclothymia may be misdiagnosed as having depression alone
Symptoms
The manic phase may last from days to months and can include the following symptoms:
• Agitation or irritation
• Inflated self-esteem (delusions of grandeur, false beliefs in special abilities)
• Little need for sleep
• Noticeably elevated mood
o Hyperactivity
o Increased energy
o Lack of self-control
o Racing thoughts
• Over-involvement in activities
• Poor temper control
• Reckless behavior
o Binge eating, drinking, and/or drug use
o Impaired judgment
o Sexual promiscuity
o Spending sprees
• Tendency to be easily distracted
The depressed phase of both types of bipolar disorder includes the following symptoms:
• Daily low mood
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
• Eating disturbances
o Loss of appetite and weight loss
o Overeating and weight gain
• Fatigue or listlessness
• Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and/or guilt
• Loss of self-esteem
• Persistent sadness
• Persistent thoughts of death
• Sleep disturbances
o Excessive sleepiness
o Inability to sleep
• Suicidal thoughts
• Withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyed
• Withdrawal from friends

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