Living with Bipolar you can suffer both manic and depressive episode. Though in between people live totally normal lives. This is where we are going to focus the bulk of our energy on. Working on this will help you focus on what you have achieved when you eventually hit those downs. Having something to literally suck you out of the down, something you’ve accomplished or built will make dealing with the depressive state a lot more tolerable.
Living with Bipolar II is a little different to living with Bipolar Disorder Type 1. The mania side of the illness never gets quite so high as that seen in type 1. The manic state, derived from such a rush of endorphins and serotonin, can cause the person to go so high that they lose most of their touch with reality. They paint a picture of the world around them that is so out of sync with reality that they actually become unaware that they’re in the state. Common things someone with Bipolar Type 1 might do is, take major risks, sexually, financially and with friendships and family. Suddenly fly from one idea to the next, have overly exaggerated self-confidence, rapid, uninterruptible speech, increased energy with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep.
People with Bipolar Disorder Type II experience less intensive elevated moods and this is called a Hypomanic state. A person with Bipolar Type II have more often than not experienced a state of Hypomania at least once in their lives. Type II is more prone to episodes of depression. This is where the term ‘Manic-Depression’ comes from. In between episodes of hypomania and depression, many people with the disorder live typically normal lives, and this is what we are going to focus on.
Almost anyone can develop Bipolar Disorder Type II, with over 2.5% of the population suffering from the disorder. That’s more than 6 million people/
The thing with a hypomanic state is the person can be great to be around. Seemingly the center of attention, taking an intense interest in others and activities, making jokes and infecting people with their good mood. So what’s the problem then? The problem is it can sometimes lead to full-blown mania where the person slips into a Type 1 state, which as I said could involve spending money they don’t have on arbitrary things or drugs, seek out sex with people they normally wouldn’t and generally behave in a risky or even dangerous manner.
Some people who are more in tune with the disorder also know in the back of their head that this high isn’t going to last and fear the plunge which when it happens is normally worse the higher you go. This fear can also lead to full-blown anxiety and panic attacks and in some cases to a full-blown psychotic state in which they can’t explain. Typically, though when a person ‘crashes’ they will crash harder the higher they went. If they went to a hypomanic state they may then suffer depression, if they went into a psychotic break they may dive to suicidal ideation so people need to keep an eye on these situations.
Depression or Bipolar
It’s very hard for a Dr to diagnose Bipolar. A patient may one day decide to go to the Dr as they are feeling down and have felt that way for some time. They may even be suicidal. In this case, a Dr will normally diagnose with depression though if you do have the intent to harm yourself or others make sure you seek help as you will more than likely need to be hospitalized until the episode stops.
It might be years that you are stuck in this ‘depression’ category. I myself supposedly had depression for around 10 years before a psychotic break with reality, so this is a completely normal process and one that a lot of people will go through. The Dr needs to know more about your situation and if you’ve experienced any major highs along with this low feeling you may be having so don’t think that its something that can, for instance, be diagnosed on the internet. Its something a psychiatrist will need to diagnose and they will probably need to see you a few times.
How to make the most of it
OK, so here we’re going to focus on the ‘in-between’ state. Wherein your not manic and you’re not depressed. Your meds could be working or you could just be dealing with things OK. Well, this is the time to act.
One way is through healthy eating. Putting good nutritious food into your body is good for your body and your brain, this is going to stretch out the normal cycle length, which is what we want.
Exercise, most people hate it but even going for a 15-minute walk, getting out of the house, getting out of your head and back in touch with the world is a very powerful thing. Trying walking on the beach or in the woods or somewhere that you can rekindle with nature. Thank the world for this day and for the fact that you get to experience it. Focus on those thoughts.
Doing something productive. Now for me, this has been INSTRUMENTAL in my personal recovery. Having something tangible, like writing a book or a blog or losing weight or joining a seminar and doing something different, or writing a song for your band, these are all great ways because when you eventually drop and let’s be honest, you probably will. You have something that you can actually focus on and think to yourself I ACCOMPLISHED THAT!
This gives you firm, solid positive feedback that you can do great things when you put your mind to it. Trust me when I say that this is going to help you in those depressed states. It will help you suck yourself out of them and back into the world where you belong.
Did this content help you? If so, or if you have any questions please leave them in the comments below or contact me and I would be happy to answer anything from my own personal development of dealing with this barrier.
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