Realizing you live with a mental illness is terrifying. Your life feels as though it’s been overturned; nothing feels the same as when you were mentally healthy. A diagnosis of a mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, while providing an answer to why your life has gone topsy-turvy, can be crushing.
Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive disorder, involves erratic changes in mood, energy and activity levels, and day-to-day living. Bipolar disorder consists of “up” and “down” periods – periods of over-energetic behavior, manic behavior, and under-energetic behavior, depressed behavior.
These patterns, this “up” and “down” energy rollercoaster, take over your whole life, particularly when the disease is left untreated.
Life with an untreated bipolar disorder can feel hopeless. You find yourself surging through different energy periods, none of them easy.
Bipolar disorder falls into one of the following categories:
Bipolar I Disorder. Consisting of manic and depressive episodes, or depression with manic symptoms at the same time. Manic episodes last for at least seven days, or display severe manic symptoms that require hospitalization and are usually accompanied by depressive symptoms that last for at least two weeks.
Bipolar II Disorder. In comparison to the above, depressive episodes occur with hypomanic episodes, or less severe manic episodes.
Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia). If you’ve experienced hypomanic and depressive periods numerous times over the last two years (one for adolescents), you may have this version of bipolar disorder, where your symptoms aren’t as severe as the types listed above.
Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders. If you have different symptoms, unlike those listed above, your bipolar disorder falls into this category.
All of these versions of bipolar disorder will destabilize a previously orderly life. Your bouts of mania and depression are difficult to understand, for you, and for your loved ones. Manic episodes can throw your life into disarray, piling split second and poorly thought out decisions on each other, often life-threatening ones. Depressive episodes can result in a loss of sleep, loss of work, even suicidal thoughts.
Hope in Treatment
If you are struggling with bipolar disorder, there is hope. A combination of proper medication and psychotherapy can halt your negative spiral. Your symptoms are controllable.
Appointments with a physician or therapist will get you on the right track. Your doctor can help you find the right mood stabilizer, antidepressant or antipsychotic. Talk therapy offers many positive benefits to individuals living with bipolar disorder, among them, a calm environment where you can share your experiences dealing with manic and depressive periods, and work through any emotional traumas associated.
Family-focused and group therapies help for those who need communal healing, aimed at building understanding and shoring up communication between individuals. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychoeducation may work for you if you are focused on a self-analysis of behaviors, aimed at a logical approach to mental health.
A New Dawn: Life after Treatment
With the right treatment, you, as an individual with bipolar disorder, can live a happy, fulfilled life. Once you find the right combination of therapy and medication, you will notice a definite change. You will be able to successfully navigate challenges you were previously unable to navigate, and be able to repair damages in relationships and within yourself. Your episodes, when managed, no longer take control of your life.
Take Control of Your Life!
A diagnosis of bipolar disorder, while seeming to be the end of mental health and happiness, really is not the end of life as you know it. Instead, it is just a side step on your personal journey. Bipolar disorders happen. There are tools available to accept bipolar disorder and navigate through it successfully. On the other side: a healthier, happier you. Come in and let us help you learn to manage your bipolar disorder in a calm, controlled environment, so you can get your life back on track.