This bipolar life
Are your moods are like an elevator with no control buttons? Mine are.
Ground floor ... I feel normal, content, just quietly getting on with ordinary, everyday life, loving my family and friends. This is as it should be. And maybe there's nothing wrong with me after all. Live.
Going up, top floor. Oh look! There's a shiny thing! I want to sing! Let's go buy stuff! Let's have a big party and invite the world! What could possibly go wrong! Woooooo hoooooooo! Play.
Going up (a different day) top floor. What do you mean you don't agree with me! I'm right! Why don't you think like me? Keep up! How can you be so illogical? I'll f-ing shred you if you don't do what I want! Rage.
Going down, lower ground floor. Flat, listless, can't be bothered. Can still function but it's a drag. Cope
Going down, basement. I'm never getting out of bed again. I'm useless, worthless. Total idiot, how could I ever imagine I could do anything, nothing ever goes right because I'm wrong. I'm a burden to everyone. Hide.
Welcome to my bipolar world. It's always been my world, but it's only recently I've seen it for what it is. About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with clinical depression during one of my 'basement' times. I had a lot of lower ground floor times too, on and off, and I kept out of the basement (so I thought) with alcohol. Until that took me into the blackest ever basement with only one obvious way out. Having survived doing something very dangerous I realised I had to stop drinking or I really would die.
I never took much notice of the playful times or the anger, that was just me, I was fun sometimes, and sometimes I was a devastating bitch. Ha! Deal with it people!
Well, yes, but in time the elevator started going up and down too quickly and, as I became more aware and more knowledgeable about mental health I realised this wasn't good. Doctor. Diagnosis. Bipolar 2. Lithium.
So, I've started this thread in the hope that other bipolar folks will join me, to share experiences and strategies. In my 'beginners' understanding, we are different from other fellow travellers of the back dog. While we experience depression as many others on this site do, the hypomanic or manic ups and, for some the rapid cycling that can happen, are experiences unto themselves.
I want to learn more, and I want to share with others. I hope my fellow elevators will join me here.
BTW, it's a ground floor day in my head today! Yay!
Hey Kazzl, I just read Tony WK's post...It feels like Im reading my own words...its remarkable
Just a friendly reminder that "Infinitely Polar Bear" A movie that embraces BiPolar and mental illness is on high rotation on Foxtel movies at the moment..under the Premiere station 🙂
Kind Thoughts Kazzldazzle
Thanks Paul xx
Tony - it does seem to be chemical in origin as you say. Here's a quote from the Black Dog Institute:
'While we don't yet know exactly what causes bipolar disorder, we do know that it appears to have primarily biological underpinnings. However, its onset is often linked to a stressful life event. And while the causes of bipolar disorder are still unknown, there are a number of factors that are believed to play a role, including genetics, brain chemicals, environmental factors and sometimes medical illnesses. Bipolar disorder is frequently inherited, with genetic factors accounting for approximately 80% of the cause of the condition.'
I'm fairly sure that's the case with me. My doc said it can be genetic and I can see it now in my family.
From other things I've read, it's not unusual for it be diagnosed later in life in people who have already been diagnosed with depression. The thought is that while we go to the doc when we're depressed we don't during the 'ups' provided the hypomania isn't too full on (I have had times when it was, but I was drinking at the time and put it down to that). For me, it was only when the rapid cycling started that I (knowing more about mental illness now than I used to) recognised the symptoms.
I'm hoping this thread will be a place for other bipolar folks to talk about their experiences if they wish, not just about me, so if there's anyone else out there who would like to join in please do.
A question for fellow bipolars - do you always know when you're 'changing state' so to speak, do you feel it coming on or does it happen suddenly?
Cheers everyone. xxx
Very interesting as to possible causes if bipolar.
My sister and I now swap stories and can relate to each other. My brother took his life in 1979 at the age of 27. He was so moody. I believed all 3 siblings had bipolar early on in life.
I've also read by googling "children of borderline mother's" about common mental illnesses children of BPD mother's sometimes end up with. (This can be unfair on some bpd sufferers so please note this does not happen in all cases, that illness has enough stigma issues). Such children can suffer a wide range of issues like depression anxiety and bipolar.
It highlighted for me the parent mental illness factor which might not be a factor but is worth knowing
With my possible BPD or narcissistic mother (in denial, not diagnosed) the unpredictability, screaming, threatening suicide (I was 9 or 10 yo then and onwards), golden child one day, demon the next etc, would I feel provided the foundation for bipolar in us kids.
Good for discussion
Hi Tony. Yes I can see it in my family too, undiagnosed of course. And one of my kids has it, diagnosed 10 years ago apparently, didn't tell me unfortunately.
Thinking about my mum, and my daughter, I realise how fortunate we are to be of a generation that knows about and is starting to accept mental illness. While it's still scary and exhausting, at least we can talk about it, get treatment and help others understand.
Hi there Kaz. Just been thinking of you and wondering how you are getting along. I note that we havent heard from you in over a week.
As your daughter with bipolar would have been through what you are going through now, ie diagnosis and likely medication, has she been helping you through this period of transition? Perhaps as a bit of a sounding board and someone to compare notes with. It does seem surprising that you never knew, or indeed that she never said anything to you about her diagnosis. I understand you have a good relationship with your daughter. Although you have said that looking back now, you can see the signs. I guess thats fairly typical isnt it?
Anyway Kaz, I just wanted you to know that I have been thinking of you, and I'm sending some well wishes your way and a hug. I hope you are keeping warm down there in the ACT, where I know its been very cold.
Sherie, you are a darling. So thoughtful
Kaz. I've been analyzing myself. As you know we are going around oz. Currently south of Bunbury.
Anyway we just spent 3 days in the perfect camping ground. A beach, only 3 other vans perfect weather and heaps of yellow ingnecked parrots feeding from your shoulder. Plenty if rest and no TV, radio etc. Bliss.
We left there this morning and we needed to find a dump point, do shopping and refuel before locating our next free camping ground.
We couldn't find a dump point and we got held up by admirers of our tiny van we made ourselves (it looks cute as a button).
That was enough to tip me over the edge.
So after an hour of wanting to take it all out on the world we stopped for a coffee looking out on the beautiful Bunbury harbour. Then I decided to try to be positive.
We did food shopping and found bargains at the supermarket. Then the next town there finally was a dump point. We've settled in our camp ground. What did I realise?
That rest and holidays make no difference to the mood swings.
That my mood stabilisers might not be effective enough
That when things go pear shaped it sets me off like triggers
That its extremely hard seeking any positive thoughts. Even though I'm a motivated positive person
That sometimes my own recommendations to others like change of environment do work but not immediately. Its like I can't break away from my mood for about 3 hours.
Hi Sherie, thanks for checking up on me! You are a treasure. I'm pretty good today thanks, ground floor (that could change on Saturday haha!). I'm learning more and getting better at handling things I think. Still riding the elevator but I'm more alert to what's going on I guess.
The daughter I mentioned is the one overseas, my eldest, and yes we get on but we don't talk so often. The one you're thinking of is my youngest in Canberra.
I have met some other people in Canberra who have bipolar and it's wonderful to be able to talk about it with them. I feel very fortunate to have found them. Amazing to hear someone else describe exactly the same things I experience haha.
Aaaaahhh Tony, sorry to hear about things going a bit pear-shaped mate. I know that getting thrown off schedule or having plans changed can be hard to handle. And it is exhausting not being able to escape our heads.
I know you're a long way from home, but are you able to call your doc to talk about the drugs? Might be worth a try. I'm enjoying hearing about your travels - keep it up!
Cheers my friends
Hi Tony. I read a little about some of your trip early on, where your friends drove off ahead of you and you subsequently broke down. No wonder you were annoyed! I think anybody would have been. Are you still travelling with those people, or have you cut them loose since then?
Also I was wondering about your little dog - Miss Rosie if I recall correctly? Have you taken her travelling with you, or did you have to leave her with someone whilst you're travelling?
I cannot claim to know anything about bipolar, so I am unable to offer any advise. But please know I care and feel bad that things have not been easy for you. As Paul would say ....... be kind to yourself. (-:
Hi Kaz. Yes I was aware you had one daughter overseas and one nearby. But I wasnt sure which one had the bipolar. But I knew that your daughter nearby had a recent health scare. How has she been by the way?
Pleased to hear that things are starting to become a little easier for you. Perhaps the medication is working after all. Lets hope so anyway. Might just need a bit of fine tuning down the track.
And thats great that you have met other people in the ACT who also have bipolar, so you have a bit of a support crew there for each other.
It does sound as though things are finally starting to look up for you. Its been a hard road for you, I know.
Anyway, if I am not talking to you before the weekend ....... have a good one. Love to you.