These days you don't hear the term Manic Depressant anymore. Science has invented a new word, called Bipolar. Sufferer's of Bipolar swing from depression to mania and there is no telling how long a mood can stay. The actual term "manic depressant" was first found in 1896 by Emil Kraepelin, a German doctor. There is defiantly proven to be a genetic link. Usually Bipolar is drug induced or can erupt after a very traumatic event. There are three types of Bipolar starting at the relatively minor scale to full blown rapid cycling. Rapid Cycling can trigger mania. Actually anything could trigger a manic episode. I know from my own experience that a very exciting time in my life puts me up way to high, then I come crashing down like I have had a gram of speed. If I am at a family get together I just get depressed and loose interest with everything, It can take me a few days to a few weeks to get me back to my near normal self.
It's clear that with medication, a healthy lifestyle, exercise and routine that Bipolar can be controlled. There is however the chance that it pops up unexpectedly. You see it dash past you in your kitchen and turn the house upside down. Some days are harder than others, some I would just lie in bed all day if I could. I know for a fact that nothing bad can happen if I stay in bed all day. I also know that it's unproductive. So I only go there if I am extremely depressed or in some sort of physical pain. I've been diagnosed with Bipolar, not long after I gave birth to my first and only child. Before that I was "Borderline Personality Disorder". Then apparently the Post Traumatic Stress I suffered after the labor brought it out. I became really depressed and got Post Natal Depression and needed to be readmitted in the hospital. I was lethargic; I couldn't move let alone take care of Brodie. I never felt that way before in my life. I just couldn't see a way out of the fog, and I usually can. This time I was shocked with the responsibilities I know had. I was put on antidepressants for a while. They sent me manic most of the time. I went back to my GP to tell her what I was experiencing. She put me on mood stabilizers. A drug called Seroquel. I still get up and down but a lot less if I don't drink alcohol or take drugs.
Let me tell you the book that I have been using as a resource for this article, "Bipolar Disorder - the ultimate guide" by Sarah Owen and Amanda Saunders and published by Oneworld Publications 2008. It's true that the book is a great guide to help you manage your mental illness. It has stories from people suffering Bipolar in it with added statistics and basic facts about the illness. These two girls wrote and gathered data as they had the illness in their family and they could see the effects from an outsiders perspective looking in.
Let's look at some of the reasons that cause Bipolar other than genetics. Its an imbalance in the way the brain cells communicate with each other. The imbalance produces mood swings that go way beyond the normal "ups and downs" of everyday life. There can be long or short periods of stability, but then tends to go low (into deep depression) or "high" (experiencing mania or psychosis). There is also a mixed state of depression and mania, the most serious that could lead to suicide.
According to the US National Co-morbidity Survey, 31% of those who suffer Bipolar also suffer from anxiety disorders. There are a wide range of symptoms including, excessive worrying, paranoia, racing heart beat, feelings of dread and fear, sweating and shaking, breathing difficulties, collecting and hoarding, repetitive actions and inability to leave the house with conducting safety checks. This can sound extreme, but its not. I suffer these and at the time I am stable. If I don't have any of the above then I have taken some sort of pill to stop the anxiety. I take drugs to numb the inner emotion pain, I'm not going to lie and sugarcoat my existence. The only reason I can operate is because there are pills out there that can help take the edge off, legal or illegal it doesn't matter. That is another point connected with Mental illness and drug abuse. In my opinion too many people in today's society see a drug addict as scum. They don't take the time out to educate themselves about their incompetent statements. It's ignorance really. I totally can identify with another sufferer when they say they use something to numb the pain. Some people drink, some people smoke pot, ultimately it's their choice, because I don't think anybody out there can say they know emotional pain like that in the mind of a Bipolar sufferer. There are days that I feel very productive and positive and loving and in touch with the world. There are also days where I wake up and for no apparent reason hate certain people that haven't done anything to me, want to get into arguments, and just act crazy. I don't want to go out and see the world. I use a journal so that I can remember all my goals and see what has triggered my moods.
There is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that has been said to help with everyday living. Basically research and read all the literature that you can on the subject so you have educated resources to turn to. Create a mood diary and write down your feelings in your journal. The key is this, your thoughts and your behavior affect your mood and outcome or result, so change your thinking and your behavior with positive quotes, or an exercise you know that helps, that will in turn change the outcome and your mood. Family and friends can help by being non-judgmental and provide unconditional love.
In the UK the BBC Documentary series "The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive" was watched by three million people and 100,000 visits to the BBC Health website that featured information on Bipolar. I would like to positively acknowledge that there is hope for living a complete and fulfilled life in the midst of this demoralizing illness. The current statistics show that this is gradually becoming a widespread topic with new and improved therapies, so with that in perspective we can all live to see another beautiful day. By Natalie Bakracevic
About Author / Additional Info:
i am a freelance journalist studying on the gold coast.