Impressions of Bi-polar
There is much literature published on the subject of bi-polar disorder and many accounts of personal experiences living with this complex illness. My experience is somewhat tricky. Although being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and having spent time on medication that turned me into a zombie, I was also diagnosed with underactive thyroid at roughly the same time.My thyroid problems were so severe that even my consultant was perplexed and unsure which was actually causing my symptoms.
Much of my childhood was plagued with periodic outbursts of anger and self destruction. My moods would change as regular as the weather and from the outside I probably just appeared a very spoilt brat! My mother recalls me standing in a busy street after a visit from my grandmother screaming at the top of my voice because I wanted to go home with her. She added that neither of them could get near me as I just screamed even louder! On another occasion I recall aggressively ripping a photo from my bedroom wall in a fit of rage after completing a sponsored swim with the olympic swimmer David Wilkie and being photographed with him. Shame! that photograph was my pride and joy. Thrusting my hand through my bedroom window and baricading myself in my room while the blood soaked through my Levis is another dark memory I harbour while my poor father sat with me in A and E waiting for the nurse to stitch me up. To the frustration of all those who loved me especially my parents, self destruction was a big part of my growing up.
As with many who suffer from mental health issues phsychiatrists become part of your inner circle of friends! (actually I do have a good friend who practices phsychiatry, but thankfully she is simply my friend and has never imposed any of her professional opinions on me. Well, not very often!) One of my later memories of being dragged to a consultation was at school. I was 16yrs old and out of frustration would frequently destroy art work that I was preparing for my finals. My art teacher could not understand after spending many hours on my paintings why I coudn't accept that they were 'exceptional' and that I had 'real potential' as an artist. I didn't want to be an artist. I just wanted my art to be perfect. After all, it was going to be displayed for the whole school to see, more importantly for the external examiner. Not understanding my disruptive behaviour, I was summoned to the heads office a few days later and asked to explain my outbursts. To my utter despair I COUDN'T! Faced with the prospect of my parents finding out, I agreed to see a school psychologist which I was assured would be private and confidential. I continued to visit her every week, Tuesday at 1pm until eventually out of sheer boredom I somehow talked my way out of the sessions and was dismissed.
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Treatments for bi-polar
There are many treatments available for bi-polar depending on the symptoms of the illness for the individual.Specific types for 'episodes,' for example antidepressants or cognitive behaviour for depression or lithium and anti-phsychotics for mania. It does take alot of time to find the best treatments for a particular person and it is often a case of trial and error.
About bi-polar and me
Also known as 'manic depression', although I prefer the reference bi-polar. It is a brain disorder, a chemical imbalance which causes the sufferer to experience severe mood swings. For many depression is the initial phase which can last for days,weeks even months if not treated.I guess I display the usual signs,I'm tired alot of the time,I cry alot ,I have no self confidence or drive and I may overeat,undereat or abuse alcohol.The manic stage can appear much later changing the diagnosis from depression to bi-polar. Everyones experiences are different depending on the severity of their illness but for me personally, this is usually my most creative time. I am usually happy, high functioning and enjoying myself. Unfortunately I can also be chaotic during these times and the creativity soon turns into an impossible mission, dispelling any enjoyment and resulting in despair again.
Throughout my life I,ve always known I've been a little different. At first, in my younger days this was a huge problem for me on many levels.In general teenage years are always the most difficult, but when you're also struggling with fundamental issues about who you are, and where you fit in this can be an almost unbearable, torturous time. Relationships were never easy for me. I was always told that I was highly intelligent at school and at college, and that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. How did I explain to people that it was just that which was the problem 'my mind'.I would find myself flitting from one thing to another not being able to satisfy my need for stimulation or simply ' bored out of my mind!' at listening to others talk endlessly about trivia that had no depth, and half the time getting their facts wrong anyway.I often felt conversing with people was pointless as they never appeared to have anything informative to say. I spent much of my teens feeling isolated because of this.
Thankfully, I grew up and have learned to live with my mental health issues. It can be challenging at times but I wouldn't want to live without them .I've learned to embrace them as part of who I am and I am me. My partner of 12yrs acknowledges that the ups and downs of living with me can be greatly exagerated but thankfully feels that although difficult at times, this can also be a good thing as everything becomes an adventure. My mother calls me a 'hero' as she sees the inner strength that often comes from the daily fight with my mind. As for others who are aquainted with me, well, who knows. In an ideal world I'm sure no-one would actually choose to live with bi-polar, but it isn't, and therefore learning to live with it is at best,the best solution.