A “Manic Depressive”, “Bipolar Disorder” chick, who dares to say, “Guess what, you’re not Crazy! ”

Let’s first look at how they define Manic Depressive or Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar affective disorder, manic-depressive disorder, or manic depression, is a mental illness classified by psychiatry as a mood disorder. Individuals with bipolar disorder experience episodes of an elevated or agitated mood known as mania alternating with episodes of depression.

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Hmmm, maybe Mr. Adam Ant has something here…

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

“The cause of Bipolar disorder is not yet fully understood. The neurotransmitters that regulate mood, such as serotonin, seem to be out of balance and brain functioning differs in individuals with the disorder. Studies have shown that this phenomenon runs in families, which suggests a strong genetic component.

More than two-thirds of individuals with Bipolar disorder have at least one relative who have suffered either from the same condition or major depression. Other theories suggest that manic states could be triggered by drug abuse, sleep deprivation and stressful life events.” 

Ok, so there. That is how they put down in very generic words the label or title they place on a person who has very dramatic feelings or mood swings. I remember when we were sitting at the psychiatrist for my daughter (who they said she had ADHD and ODD and we found out diet and her off the chart IQ played a HUGE part in her behavior) and he asked if any family members had been diagnosed with a mental disorder. My husband didn’t didn’t mean to hurt my feelings but within seconds he did something that I felt was like a slap in the face when he answered, “Well she is Bipolar.” What the heck is that?! I felt betrayed by the man I love the most and defended myself abruptly. “They say I’m Manic Depressive NOT Bipolar.” Geez. The nerve!

Obviously I was unaware they were the same damn thing! I just took offense to the label “Bipolar” because of what I had been told or preseumed about it. It used to mean to me that if you were diagnosed as being Bipolar, you were automatically in danger of suicide, dangerous thoughts of suicide, or thoughts of harming others and just weren’t a safe person to be around. Obviously, that isn’t always the case.

So, about these antidepressants they are pushing out at incredible amounts:

Every year, more than 253 million prescriptions for antidepressants are filled in the United States, making them the second most prescribed drug class in the United States (second only to cholesterol-lowering drugs). This includes use among children, where in the U.S. kids are getting three times more prescriptions for antidepressants and stimulants, and up to double the amount of antipsychotic drugs than kids from Germany and the Netherlands.

At the time I thought Bipolar meant mental hospital stays. Someone who Bipolar needs to be put on whacky meds which cause other bad side effects which caused you to get put on OTHER meds to counter act until you have a list of meds the length of a shopping list! Next thing you know you’re in the hospital or dead because your damn anti depressants caused some other major medical emergency! Oh please, give me one of those great little “happiness in a pill” pills! No thanks! Okay, before I get a bunch of hateful comments, please let me express here that going the “no prescription meds” route is MY OWN CHOICE based on various personal experiences, diagnosis, and beliefs. This was also chosen upon the careful research and investigation of the meds in which the mental health professionals available by Big Pharma today. You need to make YOUR OWN CHOICES after talking it over with your own mental health professional, your family, and doing your own investigational research. *I am not a psychological medical professional, I am just in charge of my own health, just as you are. Frequent check in’s and analysis are encouraged should you decide to work through your own disorder by the use of natural means. Consult a doctor, homeopath or naturopath for advice, especially when other chronic medications are also in use.

There are four basic types of bipolar disorder:

  1. Bipolar I Disorder is mainly defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, the person also has depressive episodes, typically lasting at least two weeks. The symptoms of mania or depression must be a major change from the person’s normal behavior.
  2. Bipolar II Disorder is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes shifting back and forth with hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
  3. Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) is diagnosed when a person has symptoms of the illness that do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. The symptoms may not last long enough, or the person may have too few symptoms, to be diagnosed with bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person’s normal range of behavior.
  4. Cyclothymic Disorder, or Cyclothymia, is a mild form of bipolar disorder. People who have cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania that shift back and forth with mild depression for at least two years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for any other type of bipolar disorder.

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I thought it was very interesting to see who else out there, common household names of famous people, had also been diagnosed with Manic Depression or Bipolar Disorder (list obtained from World Psychiatry . Check this our:

Actors & Actresses

Ned Beatty, Maurice Bernard, Jeremy Brett, Jim Carey, Rosemary Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher, Connie Francis, singer and actress Shecky Greene, Margot Kidder, Vivien Leigh, Kevin McDonald, comedian Kristy McNichols, Burgess Meredith, Ben Stiller, David Strickland, Lili Taylor, Tracy Ullman, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Robin Williams, Jonathon Winters

Artists with Bipolar Disorder

Alvin Alley, Ludwig Von Beethoven, Francis Ford Coppola, George Fredrick Handel, Bill Lichtenstein, Joshua Logan, Vincent Van Gogh, Gustav Mahier, Francesco Scavullo, Robert Schumann, Don Simpson, Norman Wexler

Entrepreneurs with Bipolar Disorder

Ted Turner, media giant

Financiers with Bipolar Disorder

John Mulheren, Murray Pezim

Miscellaneous with Bipolar Disorder

Buzz Aldrin (astronaut), Clifford Beers (humanitarian), Garnet Coleman (legislator Texas), Larry Flynt, publisher, Kit Gingrich (Newt’s mom), Phil Graham (owner of Washington Post), Peter Gregg, Susan Panico (Susan Dime-Meenan), business executive Sol Wachtier, former New York State Chief Judge

Musicians with Bipolar Disorder

Ludwig van Beethoven (composer), Alohe Jean Burke (musician), vocalist Rosemary Clooney, Peter Gabriel, Jimi Hendrix, Kristen Hersh, Phyllis Hyman, Jack Irons, Daniel Johnston, Otto Klemperer, Oscar Levant, Phil Ochs, John Ogden, Phil Spector, Sting, Gordon Sumner, Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Townes Van Zandt.

Poets with Bipolar Disorder

John Berryman, C.E. Chaffin, Jane Kenyon, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Robert Schumann, Delmore Schwartz

Political with Bipolar Disorder

Winston Churchill, Robert Boorstin, special assistant to President Clinton, L. Brent Bozell, political scientist, attorney, writer Bob Bullock, ex secretary of state, state comptroller and lieutenant governer, Kitty Dukasis, Thomas Eagleton, Lynne Rivers, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States

Scholars with Bipolar Disorder

John Strugnell, biblical scholar

Scientists with Bipolar Disorder

Karl Paul Link, chemist Dimitri Mihalas

Sports with Bipolar Disorder

Shelley Beattie, John Daly, Muffin Spencer-Devlin, Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Piersail, Barret Robbins, Wyatt Sexton, Alonzo Spellman, Darryl Strawberry, Dimitrius Underwood, Luther Wright, Bert Yancey.

TV & Radio with Bipolar Disorder

Dick Cavett, Jay Marvin, Jane Pauley

Writers with Bipolar Disorder

Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Louis Althusser, Art Buchwald, Neal Cassady, Abbie Hoffman, Kay Redfield Jamison, (writer, psychologist), Peter Nolan, Lawrence Frances Lear, Rika Lesser, Kate Millet, Robert Munsch, Margo Orum, Simmie, August Strindberg, Joseph Vasquez, Mark Vonnegut, Sol Wachtler, Mary Jane Ward, Virginia Woolf

If you have been diagnosed as being “Bipolar”, as you can see, you are far, far , from being alone! I also want to share something with you..if there are times when you are feeling low, and there will be times because we are all HUMAN and we have FEELINGS, remember this…
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“Beautiful people do not just happen.” Isn’t that the truth. Beautiful people are created through their experiences and their understanding and ability to feel extreme highs and lows and break the barriers that try to hold them down. Of course, that is simply my opinion but it is one that has gotten me through some pretty tough times, let me tell you what.
 
What works for me
Notice, that is “what works for me” not what will work for you. I don’t know what will work for you, but I can offer some things that might help if you use them and make them a part of your daily rituals, as I have.
 
Wake up with Gratitude– Each morning when I wake I think of the things that I am grateful for for. I allow myself to bring that energy of gratitude deep within. I close my eyes and picture the gratitude being pulled directly into my heart for every single thing I can think of off the top of my head to be grateful for.
 
Talk to yourself with love– When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and told yourself just how freaking AWESOME you are?! (No negatives allowed in this one.) Tell yourself all those things you need to hear about you. Maybe things others have said to you or what you believe should be said to you. SAY THEM! You deserve self love!
 
Exercise– C’mon now, you knew this was coming! There are so many studies out there that prove how benficial exercise is for your emotional, mental, and physical health and wellness that it quite simply can not be denied! One article in Health Magazine says, “Moderate physical activity for 30 minutes a day can help control mood swings.” 

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain they also trigger a positive feeling in the body (YAY!!), similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.(another YAY!!)

Endorphins act as analgesics, which mean they diminish the perception of pain and also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.(and that leads to my 3rd and final YAY!! for exercise in this section 😉 )

Eat Healthy – Chances are you saw this one coming too. I’m always surprised at how many people I talk to who really have no idea how vital the foods we put in our bodies affect our moods (among other areas). Published in the Public Health Nutritionjournal, the results reveal that consumers of fast food, compared to those who eat little or none, are 51% more likely to develop depression. Did you hear what I said there? FIFTY ONE PERCENT more likely to develop depression!

“Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression,” 

Put the FAT (yes.. fat) FOOD DOWN!!! Previous studies suggest that certain nutrients have a preventative role. These include group B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil. A healthy diet such as that enjoyed in the Mediterranean has been linked to a lower risk of developing depression.

Journaling– There are a lot of reasons I recommend journaling, not just to record daily events and activities, but to note moods of the day, foods that are eaten that day, exercise that was done ( or not done), how much and the quality of sleep obtained the night before. All these journal entries will give you a look into the very real you and the cause and effects of the what you eat and how you take care of yourself and the results you get AND relieve stress! You will REALLY get to know you and your body. 

Scientific evidence supports that journaling provides other unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you.

While as a MD, Bipolar person, may sometimes feel out of control with their emotions, as a supporter of someone who goes on these emotional roller coaster rides often, it can also be very hard to deal with. Just try to remember, they aren’t “crazy”. They are human. They need understanding, and they need to know that “this too shall pass” when low times are following them through days at a time for seemingly no apparent reason. Words like “Get over it!” and “What is wrong with you?!” Won’t make anything better for them, or for you. The best thing you could do to help that person is to learn as much about it as you can possibly stand. Take care of your own needs and support them by being patient and helping them get the help they need.

I leave you with one final thing. A TEDtalks video by Laura Bain and how she lives daily being Bipolar. Check it out.

Thank you again for stopping by, reading, and sharing my blog with others. In doing so you help me reach and help more people and that is what I strive to do. Thank you!

 

 
Resources:
httP://positivemed.com
IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2010
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