Hello and welcome to The Bipolar One. In short, you’ll find posts and information here related to bipolar disorder (the primary topic of discussion), mental health including other mental illnesses, and topics about the brain. The only thing that is guaranteed is that you’ll find information about bipolar disorder. Things may get random at times but I have bipolar 1 disorder and my main goal is to educate and help others through my own experiences and research. I aim to do this by answering questions people with this illness may have, spreading bipolar facts supported by credible sources, offering insight from my own suffering, and letting others know that they aren’t alone.
What you’ll find on this page:
- How to start navigating The Bipolar One and find the posts you want
- Overview of bipolar disorder and what it means to live with this mental illness
- More bipolar disorder resources and support
Get Started with The Bipolar One
The reason this blog is called “The Bipolar One” is because I’m the bipolar one person/individual/patient/etc and I have bipolar 1 disorder as opposed to type 2 or NOS (not otherwise specified). It’s not the most creative but it does the job.
If you would like to see the latest posts, rants, or information here right now then click here. Alternatively, you could browse the posts here by category (new categories will be added as time goes on):
- Bipolar Disorder
Instead of reading posts you could continue reading this page for an overview of bipolar disorder and what it means to live with it as well as what having bipolar 1 disorder feels like.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
First off, this mental illness has a few different flavors meaning that not everyone with bipolar disorder is alike. The 4 main different types of bipolar disorder are as follows:
- Bipolar 1 Disorder
- Bipolar 2 Disorder
- Bipolar NOS
A person suffering from bipolar 1 disorder is going to be experiencing something entirely different than someone suffering from cyclothymia. All the different forms have their own unique characteristics with some overlap. Generally speaking, bipolar 1 disorder is the most severe form of the illness. This does not mean that the other types of bipolar disorder are a laughing matter.
As a whole, bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness marked by volatile mood swings and many other debilitating psychological symptoms. Unfortunately, this mental illness is impossible to cure at this point in time and is something a person must learn to cope with their whole lives.
Let’s take a look at what makes bipolar disorder so unique compared to other mental illnesses.
Your Moods Change and So Does the Way You Act – It Can Happen Anytime
The reason why bipolar disorder is such a severe mental illness is because of the way it can control a person. A bipolar individual who is currently not getting any kind of treatment will soon find that their moods and actions are just too much too handle. The fact of the matter is that you need to cope with bipolar disorder, whichever way works best for you, because its symptoms will wreak havoc on your mind and consequently your body.
You see, unless a person is extremely stabilized via medications and other forms of treatment (therapy, lifestyle changes, etc) they will never really experience a normal state of mind. Of course, a lot depends on the severity of the illness but for many bipolar individuals life is filled with way more ups and downs than is needed. There are 2 poles of the mood spectrum for someone who suffers from bipolar disorder; mania and depression.
Everyone experiences these moods differently but again, there is some overlap. Someone who is manic might feel euphoric like they are high on a recreational drug, they might feel as though they can take on the world, they may believe they have tapped into some kind of genius type of thinking, they might experience hallucinations, or they may be unable to stop talking about anything and everything. Many people who are manic feel grandiose but there’s always a catch and this is not the case for everyone. There are also many more possibilities than this concerning manic symptoms.
Bipolar depression can feel like there is absolutely no hope in the world, a person might feel suicidal, they could feel extremely irritable, they might have lost the ability to feel pleasure, or they may be extremely worried. So, a bipolar person is constantly experiencing a fluctuation between these 2 different extremes in mood. As you could probably guess, this utterly and completely wears a person down. And the kicker is that you can be both manic and depressed at the same time resulting in one of the worst mood episodes known to man, a mixed state.
How to Live with Bipolar Disorder?
While there are people with this illness that do not take any kind of medication at all or use traditional modern medicine and science, the general consensus is that in order to live a life with some stability you need to seek out a health care professional of some sort. You see, it’s impossible to cure bipolar disorder at this point in time but it is entirely possible to effectively manage it with a combination of the right medications and other coping mechanisms such as therapy or simply tracking moods. If you have bipolar disorder, no matter which type, you should do whatever you can in order to seek the help of a psychiatrist or other mental health professional.
Which medications are the best for bipolar disorder?
One of the hardest parts about living with bipolar disorder is finding the right medication. The fact of the matter is that there is no one size fits all medication cocktail. Instead, it takes a lot of work to find the combo of drugs that will relieve you of your symptoms without giving you too many unwanted side effects. A drug like Lithium, one that is regarded as a first line medicine, might work wonderfully for one bipolar person but horribly for another.
There are many different types of medications used to treat bipolar disorder and as such there is going to be a combination that works best for you. The key to finding the right medication is to be patient. It takes time. Typically, psychiatrists treat bipolar disorder with a mood stabilizer like Depakote or Lamictal along with an antipsychotic like Risperdal or Seroquel but like I said, it all depends on the individual. You may undergo a treatment completely different from this and it may be the best treatment for you compared to what works for others.
In order to find the best bipolar medications for you it’s a must that you:
- Work with your psychiatrist/doctor and voice your concerns and what your most problematic symptoms are
- Be willing to try out different medications despite possible side effects
- Be very patient as finding the right medication or combo that does the best job of dealing with your symptoms can take a long time
In addition to using medication you may want to give therapy a shot. Many are opposed to therapy but it can help out a lot of people with this mental illness. Medications alone aren’t going to take care of your symptoms. In order to cope with bipolar disorder you need to learn what sets you off and how to live your life despite having this illness. Unfortunately, a pill cannot solve this issue for you.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder are the things that keep you from living your life the way you want so it’s a matter of getting symptoms under control. Therapy can help you understand what sets you off and when your weakest points are.
Accept that you have bipolar disorder and learn what works best for you
From personal experience I know that acceptance can be the hardest part concerning living with bipolar disorder. However, accepting that you have this mental illness and that it does not determine who you are is key if you want to move on with your life. Yes, it is much easier said than done. I can’t say I have fully accepted this fact and it’s something I still struggle with but I do know that it’s something all individuals with this illness must work on.
A part of this process is finding ways to express yourself as well as getting a grasp on what triggers you in terms of your moods and stress. Keeping a journal and logging your daily moods and what you have done is a great way to start identifying how your moods cycle. You could even do this by starting your own bipolar blog on a site like wordpress.com or blogger.com. Furthermore, you could seek out the support of others with bipolar disorder. If you are particularly shy then you can stick to online support groups.
It is my personal opinion that what gets to most bipolar people is that fact that they keep things held up inside. And for this, getting on top of a personal hobby or outlet is the best way to deal. Start writing, drawing, exercising…just do anything that lets you get out of your head. These are no miracles for curing bipolar disorder but they do help out a lot of people and outlets like these have helped me.
More than The Bipolar One
Look to the following links for more information regarding bipolar disorder as well as support sites for this mental illness. My goal is to fill The Bipolar One with as much helpful information as I can and answer as many questions as possible but I know I can’t do everything. It’s always best to get as much variance in help as possible.
- National Institute of Mental Health Bipolar Page – this along with my own personal experience was used for most of the content on this page
- PsychCentral Bipolar Forums – talk with other people who deal with bipolar disorder
- Crazy Meds - learn everything you need to know about popular psychiatric medications
- Psych Education – awesome resource on bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses from a real doctor