Journal 2018 – Day 4 – Bipolar II

Well, I guess it’s about time to talk about the BIG ANIMAL IN THE ROOM called  BIPOLAR II.  It is the most misunderstood mental illness in the book.  Some people think it’s about the crazy, emotional people that can’t control themselves in public and others think it’s just depressed people that  live on their own in the woods and parks in and around our cities. How about those people locked up in the mental hospital?  Some of them could be Bipolar. I”m here to tell you that all are right and wrong.

We’ve all heard the commercial from TV or radio that states, “Do you feel happy and energetic on some days, but then sad and sluggish on other days? If so, and if your symptoms persist for extended periods of time, making it difficult for you to live your life as you usually would, then you may want to speak with your healthcare provider.” (FREE TV)

There are some Key Points in  this passage:

  1. First let me clarify, you don’t have to be “happy” at all. and secondly, you don’t have to be both “happy” then “sad” then “happy” again. You can just be “depressed” or “sad”.  There is no set formula to go by.  The doctors play it by ear.
  2. Symptoms have to persist for an extended period of time which means more than two weeks to a month.
  3. This condition has to have made it difficult for you to live your life normally.
  4. Finally, You NEED to talk to your Healthcare Provider about it before IT’S TOO LATE..  When it first starts disrupting your life get help! Please!  It can get serious really fast!!!!

Back when I was first diagnosed, there was only one kind of depression and it was called Manic Depression.  It was a unipolar depression.  You only got really depressed like you were falling down a deep well with no hope of coming up or seeing daylight again. Later the “people in the know” came to discover a new type of depression called bipolar depression which is part of a larger condition of  bipolar  disorder where there were two poles of extreme emotions, both highs and lows.  The highs were not “happy” but euphoric and top of the world feelings.  You feel like you can do anything.  Your mind races at 90 mph like a car, but you can also turn irritable. The Lows were not always “sadness” but deeper than that and into hopelessness, depression, and the extreme would be thoughts of suicide.  After several years, “the powers that be” changed everything again and divided Bipolar Disorder into Bipolar I (More of Mania  or “highs” and  some Depression) and Bipolar II (Some Hypomania (Mixed states or “mid-highs” but mainly depression).  You will get mixed states in both.

According to WebMD, Bipolar is a very serious disease and can be risky behavior and even suicidal tendencies,  Bipolar disorder is a lifelong or chronic illness.  There is no cure for it.  It affects the brain in ways that cause unpredictably extreme mood swings that vary in length and duration.  There is no known cause of Bipolar disorder;, but a combination of genetics, altered brain structure, chemistry and environment may play a role.

Here are a few fun facts just for your knowledge:

  1. Bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 Million American adults in any given year and as many as 60 million people worldwide.
  2. More than half of all patients begin seeing symptoms between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can begin at any age.
  3. There is no cure, but for many people the symptoms can be controlled with medication and treatment.
  4. Some people may experience mood swings that are less extreme than a full manic episode , known as hypomania.
  5. People with bipolar disorder often also have other mental health disorders (Sources : Mayo Clinic and Others)

I’m normally not one for stats, but I do like my lists.  (LOL)  Look here.  It’s a disease, first and for most.  Yes there is no cure, but it can be managed by medication and therapy and in extreme cases, hospitals, straps and really good drugs.  (LOL)  Most of us live relatively normal lives and only those closest to us know that we are mentally ill. We don’t have pointed ears or a forked tongues.  We look pretty much alike.

 

 

 

Advertisements

That Frightful Night

I thought I was a normal kid.  I was a preacher’s kid to begin with so I had a mark set against me to start with, but other than that I thought I was normal until that night oh so many nights ago…..

I was ten years old and it was a cold, winter night, when all of a sudden I was awoken by a scream ripping through the air from my mom’s room’.  I didn’t know what was going on.  I was scared and on my feet before I knew it. . As I was wiping sleep from my eyes, I slowly made my way around the hallway to my mom’s room to see what was going on.  A little light came through the ajar door as  another scream ripped the night! I jump back and covered my mouth trying not to cry out myself.

I slowly open the door.  Mom in a flowing nightgown,  is kneeling in the middle of her bed, reaching out with her arms as if trying to protect herself and screaming at the top of her lungs: “Don’t let the Head and Hands get me!”: “They are going to get me!”: “Keep them from me” just to show a few.  She was so upset and not making any sense.  She was totally alone in the room.  There was no one trying to get her.  There were no floating heads or hands flying around the room.  Evening being 10, I could see that.  I was scared and I could not understand what was wrong with my mom.  It didn’t make any kind of logic.

I tried getting her to stop screaming, and of course that doesn’t happen. I finally called my grandparents and they told me to call 911 and they were on their way.  I tried not to cry and stay calm while still trying to get my mom to calm down herself until help came.  You know how on TV they used to show people going to the mental hospital as being taken by men in white coats. Well, I’m here to tell you that it was the case at least when I was a child.  My grandparents took me out of the house after I got a bag together, and the men in white coats took mom after they shot her with some kind of medication to calm her down.

Before I could see my mom, her doctor had to discuss a few things with me.  It turns out that my mom has the disease Manic Depression, but more importantly she suffers from another disease called schizophrenia that caused her to act the way that she did the other night at home.  She was seeing and hearing things that were not there called hallucinations.  He explained that my mother was fighting against demons in her head that only she could see and hear and that I was not to worry about them getting me because they were only after my mom.  This scared me because I understood demons from my dad and I didn’t want them after my mom, but the doctor said that he would fix mom.

Later I went to see her at the Meridian Mental Hospital in Mississippi.  She had undergone ECT, or Electric Shock Treatment, which is where they strap a person down, put electrodes on each temple, a plate in your mouth, and send a whole hell of a lot of electric current through a body to kill brain cells.  She didn’t even know I was her daughter.  She could barely speak to me and had no feeling in her at all.  It took everything in me not to cry or scream at her to wake her up and tell her, “I’m your daughter.”  I finally had to run from the room back to my grandparents arms.  I cried all the way home in Oxford.

After months, she came home, and after more months we went back to our house on Hillside and again we were alone together.  I  never quite felt safe anymore, but I couldn’t let her know that because it might send her into another fit and they may have to make her forget me again if that happened.

That’s the night that everything changed for me…..That’s the night that a scream ripped through the my life….

Journal 2018 – Day 3 – Mixed State

I have to apoligize for not posting these last few days. I’ve been in a mood and today is no exception.  The thing is Today I want to talk. {Now YOU know YOUR in TROUBLE   LOL} My mind is racing and body shaking and I can’t get anything done. My mind is like a humming bird darting from this flower to that flower.  Taking just a little from each one. This is normal for what is called in the Bipolar realm as a Mixed State.  I can’t keep a thought in my head.  My fingers are floating on the computer just trying to keep up with the thoughts flying out of my mind.  It is so hard to try to keep my mind on one topic so that this is understandable because my mind is so full of so many things that I want to tell you.

Mixed states are kinda funny.  I’ve been dealing with Mental Illness for more than half my life, but it wasn’t until the last five years that I’ve come to understand and better deal with this area of it.  Mixed states are defined by episodes of both mania and depression at the same time or in rapid sequence without any downtime.  Mania when in a mixed state involves irritability, high energy, racing thoughts and speech and over activity. Depression features the same symptopms as normal such as sadness, loss of interest in well everything, low energy, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide.  I know it sounds impossible that both the high energy of Mania and the worthlessness and thoughts of despair of Depression could be going on at the sameGoo time in one human being, but I am here to tell you that it happens a lot more often than you think.  What do you think about A person that is crying when she is happy and saying that she is having the best time of her life.  Is she really happy or sad?  Yes!  Both!  She is in a mixed state.

I have the added characteristic of being a rapid cycler. This mean my emotions are all over the map a lot of the time.  You know what an EKG looks like with the rapid up/down lines? Well? Imagine that is a person’s emotions where they are high for a while then they are okay then sad and do on.  But you my moods actually change as fast as an EKG looks with the almost straight lines.  I can be happy, sad, crying, mad, angry, rage, sad, then happy and  laughing my head off okay all within an hour without anyone causing the changes.  The medication I am on now helps a lot, but I still have episodes which I don’t like.

Good night for now.  I’ll write more tomorrow…..maybe….lol!