My Battle with Bipolar Disorder

Since my early twenties, I have suffered from bipolar disorder. I am now in my mid-forties and have managed to keep it under control through the use of medications as well as the support of my friends, family and my wonderful and compassionate husband. Unfortunately, it took a long time to get to the point I am at now.

For many years, I suffered through the challenges of trying to lead a productive and functional life despite being plagued by the imbalances brought on by my condition. During this time, I was unable to seek proper treatment because I was unaware that I had bipolar disorder. I had been diagnosed with depression by more than one doctor and the medications I was given did little to help my overall condition.

My periods of depression were followed by brief stretches of manic behavior, some more intense than others. I always assumed these were the ups and downs of life. During my periods of depression, which also varied in length and intensity, I often found it difficult to go to work. I was unable to concentrate as the feelings of despair were so overwhelming at times that on some days I never made it out of bed. During my manic times, I often felt that anything was possible.

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While my outlook was positive during these episodes, I was often irritable and hard to deal with. My euphoria was sometimes followed by periods of normalcy, though I would eventually slip back into depression. During a particularly long battle with depression for which I had to be hospitalized, I was finally properly diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Just being aware of what had been taking place inside of me helped me to understand some of the problems I was experiencing. I was placed on a series of medications designed to manage my condition and through counseling, learned to anticipate the onset of episodes and maintain rational thinking throughout.

Although I must constantly be aware of my condition, I now lead a functional and satisfying life which I enjoy. Thankfully, today there are many sources of information on bipolar disorder and the medical community is much more cognizant of it’s existence. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms I have described, I urge you to seek more information and to tell your physician about your concerns. Know that if you do suffer from bipolar disorder, you can get your life back on track through the treatment options available today. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Anxiety and Responsibility

I am diagnosed as bipolar with severe depression/anxiety. At times, the anxiety is a very crippling thing. There are days that I can only handle doing one thing at a time. If you add going to the store, crowds of people, commotion, loud traffic or personal relationships, things become very hard to cope with.

One big thing I have been able to accomplish in the last few years is not taking it out on other people when I am so stressed out. It’s possible that I am able to refrain from doing that partly because I try to stay away from people as much as possible. Living by myself accomplishes most of that, but it’s still a special thing I have learned to do and it comes from an action that is called being responsible.

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After I started receiving Veterans Administration Disability, it was very difficult managing my money. Well, I went through this for about four years. Then, I guess I got tired of it. It started appealing to me to be comfortable as opposed to spending money frivolously. This special newly acquired trait of being responsible soon spread over to other aspects of my life.

I started paying more attention to my children as far as the important things are concerned, even though I deeply affected them in a negative way prior to my getting help eight years ago. I have come to the realization that the best and only way I can help them from now on is by the example I set with the rest of my life. That awakening and the one regarding not taking my hardships out on other people helped me to stop justifying my negative actions or words that I thought were the result of someone else’s actions or words directed toward me.

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I guess if I had to wrap it all up into one word, I couldn’t. It means more using two words…..”being responsible”. When we all turned eighteen we became (officially) our self’s own individual. It didn’t matter whether we had the most perfect parents of all time or whether they were only human ones who made mistakes. We were who we were, a confused person with both negative and positive qualities and probably unaware at the time of how to retain the positive and discard the negative.

It is a shame that if we are lucky, twenty years later we may see the light when our children are resenting us because we made mistakes being a parent. After eighteen years of age there is no one responsible for you but you. You may try to hide from that truth your entire life, but you will never truly be happy.