Living with bipolar disorder is not a game. It’s not something you can ignore or excuse. More and more people are being diagnosed with it every day. It shows up as early age 15 and can occur late in life. Life altering changes, depression, and periods of sleeplessness are some of the things that can bring on an episode. Bipolar disorder used to be known as manic depressive disorder or manic depression. It’s a serious mental illness that can lead to risky behaviors, damaged relationships or careers, and even suicidal tendencies. You have severe mood swings from being very high with euphoria (mania) to being really down with depression. It is very disruptive to people’s lives with a person being either in a manic phase and being productive or in a depressive mood and being suicidal.
I live with bipolar disorder every day. I have had risky behavior with not being responsible, with sex, and with spending money. It got so bad my family had to intervene and make things right by getting me help. I’ve had episodes since I was a teenager and didn’t know that was what was going on with me. Back then you were locked up in a mental institute and given treatments that didn’t work well and usually ended up with the person being ill for the rest of their life. Being scared of that it went unchecked until later. I was diagnosed in 2004, and since then have gotten the help I needed and have come a long way. I went through therapy and many different types of medications to find the right one. Now I have a good support system with my family, my boyfriend, and my doctors. I take medications like Risperidone, Cymbalta, and Geodon. I go to Psychotherapy which is “talk” therapy and to group therapy weekly. I tend to have more depressive periods than mania. When I have periods of mania, I don’t realize that’s what is happening. When I go through periods of depression, I react very negatively towards things. Sometimes I get suicidal or want to harm myself or I just get very reclusive. Either way it’s not a good way to be. For the most part that is under control and not a problem for me.
With the right combination of medicines, therapy, and a good support system you can get better. Not everybody gets help with this disorder and they go through life out of kilter with the rest of the world suffering when there’s a solution. I can recognize now when I’m having manic or depressive stages and can get the help I need. Sometimes it’s a loved one who recognizes it and informs me and the doctors. I don’t get “thrown in a hospital” or “locked up.” I get sensitive responses to my needs and work on a program to getting better. I’m still not able to teach like I used to or work a regular job, but I work on art and create things to sell or give as gifts. I get out being with other people and socializing. I keep up my home and spend time with my loved ones. My daughter is grown and living her life, but we still keep in touch and visit often. As someone with bipolar, I know things can be tough, but I have learned with the right help life gets better.