What the World Looks Like when You have Bipolar Disorder

rose colored glassesI am not going to sugar coat this. Sometimes, the world can look very dim. However, sometimes it can look wonderful too. When it does look dim is during the deep depressions that come along with this disease also called manic depression. While in a manic episode, you look through glasses and see a world where everything is a place for you to change the world, enjoy everything, and are deluded enough to think that everything can always be this happy.
The downside of bipolar disorder, even while you are happy or what is called mania, you experience very high highs and very low lows. The lows are debilitating where you can not get out of bed, taking a shower takes effort, leaving the house takes motivation you do not have. You withdraw from friends, isolate yourself, and nothing looks like it will ever get better.
During the highs, you can do a lot of damage by spending a lot of money you don’t have, saying hurtful things to loved ones, lose friendships, and take risks you normally would not take.
For me, unlike most people who suffer from this horrible disease, I would rather be depressed. That is because of the damage I cause while manic is so devastating that it causes deeper depressions. Generally, the higher you get, the lower you fall. That is why it is very important for me to not let myself get manic. I have to admit, it is nice to have all the energy and ambition that comes with the illness, but would rather not have those if it means I have delusions of grandeur that cause me to do things I normally would not do and end up with a very high credit card bill.
So, what does the world look like when you struggle with bipolar disorder? It depends on who you ask, but for me, it is a very discouraging illness, however, I have done wonderful things while manic that I am proud of. For example, I blog under the pseudonym Bipolar Bandit, founded and run a group called Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and have a Facebook page and several other media sites called Mental Health Advocates United. I touch the lives of over 300,000 people between all my social media sites.
I also have been a manager of a movie theater, Teacher of the Year, have run an event called Embrace Life Day that had free food, entertainment, speakers like The Wounded Warrior Project and vendors and exhibitors that volunteered their time. For example, we had karate instructors, horse therapy, spiritual leaders and NAMI, DBSA, Bring Change to Mind and Mental Health America, Suicide Prevention, the local hospital psychiatric wards were all represented. This event drew over 400 people the first year and was on the news!
As I said before, I am not going to sugar coat things. However, I can tell you that, overall I feel blessed to have this illness, yet wish I knew what it was like to lead a “normal life”.

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Therapy Tips for Bipolar Bandit

therapy

I have been seeing Michelle for over a year now and she wanted me to share some tips that I have given her to better help manage her bipolar disorder.  All in all, she copes with her bipolar disorder very well. She has held down multiple jobs, owns her own house, and although she still struggles with severe depression and serious manic episodes, her determination and drive have helped her conquer her illness.

She copes with her diagnosis well, but there is still work to be done as she now sees me frequently.  She does not see me when she is depressed as she says “it does not help because it is a chemical imbalance and there is not much to talk about. She also has stated that it takes too much effort to leave her house to eve go the grocery store so getting to the appointment is hard.

I would have to say that she is one of my favorite patients when she is manic as she is kind and funny and her true personality shows through.  She has even brought me gum because she found out I like to chew gum, is open and hones and jokes around and makes me laugh. I enjoy my time with her.

Here are some things we have learned together while I have been counseling her:

  1. Don’t stress about not getting enough sleep
  2. Don’t borrow tomorrow’s problems
  3. Eat right: Stay away from sugars and carbohydrates
  4. Force yourself to go for walks and/or swim as  great stress reliever
  5.   Stress can make everything worse and recently she is moving into a new house and the best advice she things I have given her is to pace myself.  Take time to do fun things with her husband, and take long walks, talk to friends, serf the internet, and other things we have talked about.
  6. One of her favorites I suggested was to not borrow tomorrow’s problems
  7. Another one of her favorites is to not live with what if’s.  She is selling her house and buying a new house with her husband. She likes having her house with rent coming in and fears if something were to happen between her husband and her, that she could always have her home to fall back on. I told her to not have a backup plan.
  8. While she is manic, she has a hard time communicating with her husband and others. She has learned that we have one mouth and two ears and it is imporant to allow the other person to talk without interrupting. This has been a long process from before I met her.  She has been able to function as a teacher, a manager without anyone knowing she has a mental illness because she can listen and on purpose refrain from talking too much even though she would like to talk a mile a minute. She has learned that others can’t keep up with her.  Her mom used to call it being verbally over productive.  It is not that it is easy for her, but it is beneficial to keep relationships to keep this in mind as it can turn people away.
  9. She has a hard time keeping friends due to the embarrassment of things she has done while she is manic. I think it is more of her doing than theirs.  She has a lot to give to a relationship and is  a great friend and her true friends accept her for who she is and try to understand that she goes through difficult times.

That is all for now, but I look forward to learning more about  her and her family and give more advice in the future.

 

 

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GUEST POST: Why it’s Important to Talk to your Children about Mental Illness by Sherry: POSSIBLE TRIGGER

AA032300It’s  important to teach teenagers who aren’t having any problems at all what mental illness can look like when it first starts? Some of the signs:

  • Moods that are extreme and don’t match the circumstances
  • Moods that shift quickly
  • Pervasive thoughts that don’t go away and are different
  • Seeing or hearing things that no one else reacts to
  • Changes in relationships with people you’ve been close to forever.

My parents didn’t know to talk about it, and my friends’ parents didn’t know to talk about it, but college is where so many kids break for the first time. I wrote this like a story so it would stick with people, but it’s exactly what happened to me:

They were a group of students at a nearby table in the T-Room at MSU, and they were passing the time between classes reading the “Murray State News” campus police report aloud to each other. When they got to the part about the student who overdosed and was taken to the hospital by her boyfriend, I forgot about everything else going on at my own table. They were reading about me and they had no idea.
The hospital sent me home because they thought I was just trying to get attention, since I didn’t take enough to even hurt me. What they didn’t know was that I didn’t take the whole bottle because I was afraid I would vomit the contents before they could do the job, and I thought what I took was enough. I was only 20 years old and really sick, and knowing how to effectively overdose had never been on my list of things to study. But I knew my name, and where I was, and what year it was, so they tried to “teach me a lesson” by making me unnecessarily drink the charcoal concoction, and then they sent me home. They treated me like some stupid, attention-seeking kid and they had no idea.
But they did at least schedule an appointment for me with the campus counseling center.
The counselor asked me why I did it and why I didn’t tell anyone. Were there problems at school? At home? I told him, “I have the perfect boyfriend. I have the perfect family. I have amazing friends. I love school. I’m a great student. I just pledged this sorority and I have all these new and wonderful friends and experiences. How was I supposed to tell anyone all that, and then tell them that I wanted to die? They’d think I was crazy.” I was so sick that I had been having suicidal thoughts without even showing any other signs of depression, and it all happened so fast. There were warning signs but none of us recognized them because we weren’t educated about it. We had no idea.
If you have children in college or going off to college, talk to them about mental illness. (If you don’t know what to say, there are great resource sites out there such as www.nami.org, etc.) Bipolar disorder especially usually rears its ugly head in the late teens or early twenties. Sometimes it is triggered by a traumatic event or difficult experience, and sometimes it isn’t. It’s not always hereditary, either. So please don’t think that your well-rounded, nearly-perfect kid with his or her nearly-perfect life is immune to bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses. Talk with your child and your child’s friends while you still have the chance. You don’t want to be the parent crying and saying to the police officer or ER doctor in disbelief, “I had no idea.”

 

 

 

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How do I know who I am?

delimI was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 17 and had struggled with depression since I was 13.  I can look back on the days where I was very outgoing, was the presidents of a bunch of groups at school, got great grades,  had a wonderful home life, was proud of who I was and the way I looked.  I went on to graduate from college, was a manager of a movie theater, a trainer at Walt Disney World and even was Teacher of the Year in 2003.  This was all during the time I was struggling with bipolar disorder.

Was that the normal me? When was the normal me showing through? I am not sure what is normal and what is mania and what is depressed.  When I have been depressed for a long time, sometimes months at a time where I completely isolate myself, and I come out of that depression, am I hypomanic, manic, or just being myself.

I definitely know when I am manic or have been as when I come out I can see what havoc I have caused and often will have been in the psychiatric ward.

However, there is almost a happy medium that I just can’t find.   What is the normal me?  Will I ever know?  I hope so and soon as I am nearing my 50s and hope that not only the struggles of the ups and downs can end, but I will know who I was and am before I die. I want others who know me to know who I am  and what to put in my obituary. If I were to write my own obituary right now ( I am not suicidal, just making a point), I would have to just say Michelle had bipolar disorder and at a young age when she knew who she was accomplished a lot, but no one knew who she really was before she died, including herself.

 

 

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How Obama Care has impacted me in regards to “formulary” medications

I am one of the lucky ones. I am on Medicare and pay for extra benefits (an enhanced plan).  Everything is usually covered and medications have never really been a hard thing to get. However, that was until 2017.

Most medications I was able to get with no problems at low costs. A few of my medications needed prior authorization and I never had a problem getting those except for one that I am still fighting and has due to unusual reason.  However,now things have been moved to a category where they have to meet a “Formulary”

I am just learning about it, but I can tell you it is causing heart ache for not only the patient, but the pharmacies, the doctors and I even think the insurance companies.

I usually write about bipolar disorder or mental health advocacy, but this is much more than that.  The medications I am talking about are medications prescribed by doctors other than my psychiatrist.

My understanding, and I might not understand it all, but it is what I have gathered so far.  If I need a certain medication, and so far it has been 3 out of 4 that have been prescribed (not for mental health reasons), I have been told that they do not meet the formulary.  What this used to be called is “need prior authorization” and it was usually pretty easy to get.  However, now, it takes a lot of jumping through hoops and whoever or whatever is at fault has made it virtually impossible to get medications that used to be covered without a problem.

There are things I must try before taking medication.  I understand that especially if there is a generic. However, it is not just a “generic issue.”  It literally takes a lot of work on behalf of doctor’s offices and pharmacies to figure out what hoops to jump through.  I have tried calling the insurance company and so have they.  They will no longer tell you what other things must be tried and the pharmacy nor the insurance company would tell me the generics. ( “we are no longer allowed by law”)

I know this is different because I used to be able to call my insurance company and discuss what medications were in which tier and know exactly why a certain medication was not being covered. Now it is all some kind of secret that the doctors have to figure out.

This is of course my take on all of this and I am not sure what is exactly to blame. All I know is I am now unable to take two desperately needed meds that my doctor has prescribed because he/she feels they are the best for my current medical conditions and I can’t get them until this “formulary” is meant.

I had one person at one doctor’s office tell me that she spent hours trying to get to the bottom of it all and still has not made much leeway.  How stupid is that?  She has wasted valuable time on something that she should not have to focus on.

I don’t know for sure this has to do with Obama Care, but have been told that things have changed in 2017 and the people I have talked to have said it is because of Obama Care.

I don’t usually get very political and tell my side of things directly politially, but in this case I am going to.  However, I will try and refrain from saying who I voted for and what party I am affiliated with.

President Trump and many Republicans want to repeal and replace Obama Care.  I know a lot of the reasons why and agree the current system is not working for nearly as many people they claim to be helped by it.  Americans  are in favor of it are being helped because they have no job or are on medicaid love it and don’t want to see the advantages taken away and I don’t blame them.  Medical care and prescription meds are expensive. Some aspects of Obama Care in my opinion are great like it did away with the stumbling block of pre-existing conditions.

However, when all these changes are causing doctors’ offices to work harder to get medications for their patients when they are already overworked is ridiculous.  Another thing that makes me mad is that my insurance company never warned  me that this was all going to happen or I would have switched to a different enhanced plan.

Like I said, I am not going to say whether I voted for Trump or not as that is not really relevant. I am not even going to say that Obama Care should be replaced and repealed although you can probably tell my feelings about that.

What I am going to tell you as far as what I have been going through with getting vital medications is ridiculous and others should know. The Democrats who think that Obama Care is so wonderful and think that it is such a godsend should have to deal with having to pay $500 a month for a medication they need and used to be able to get, but now it does not meet the formulary so they have to pay much more.  This is ridiculous and more people need to start speaking out. Politicians have great insurance so they are clueless as to what we others are going through.  I am not talking about the elderly who pay thousands of dollars on meds and end up going bankrupt ( a disgrace). I am talking about average citizens having to fight so hard when they are sick to get a medication that they never used to have a problem getting because somewhere in the piles and piles of pages in Obama Care it says that the formularies must be used.

If you are having this problem, I would suggest you would write to your politicians.  However, I have never had any luck with doing that, but maybe if enough of us do it, it will have to be changed.

I just hope that when and if Obama Care is replaced and resolved, this “formulary thing now used in 2017” is one thing they get rid of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Types of Schizophrenia

The National Institute of Health and Merriam Webster define schizophrenia as a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. However, there is so much more to it that any many different sub-types of the mental disorder.  Ref1 Ref2

SCHIZOPHRENIA  is common for hallucinations (visual and auditory) and delusions to be present. One of the most common schizophrenia symptoms is hearing voices. This is very conflicting, since the voices are absolutely real to them, yet their loved ones and friends cannot hear them. This results in an anxious, conflicting situation that is often very frightening. People with schizophrenia often exhibit violent behavior, which can be a reaction to the fear, or an action triggered by following what the voices say. Ref3

When you ask everyday people what they believe the symptoms to be, they are most likely to describe those for paranoid schizophrenia.  Ref3

There are many types of schizophrenia and many of them overlap and a few are called the same thing so it was difficult to write this and differentiate between the exact types . Many of them have the same symptoms and therefore I have shortened some as to not be repetitive. 

  • Schizoaffective:  It is a combination of schizophrenia and a mood disorder. You have a loss of contact with reality and depressions and/or mania Ref3 Ref4
  • Paranoid: It is now called schizophrenia with paranoia and is the most common of schizophrenia.  It is  a kind of psychosis where your mind does not agree with reality.  It affects the way you think and behave and often the person is suspicious of others.  They will see signs in every day occurrences and feel people are out to get them. Ref5
  • Brief Psychotic: Common to schizophrenia, but usually lasting between one and 6 month Ref 6 Ref7
  • Schizophrenium: Common to schizophrenia, but usually lasting between one and 6 months Ref6 Ref8
  • Delusional: Previously called paranoid disorder Person can’t tell what is real from what is imagined. Exhibit delusions in something untrue yet although bizarre could happen in life like being followed, poisoned, deceived, or conspired against Ref5
  • Shared Psychotic: It’s chronic and long term and believed to be more severe type. Delusions,hallucinations (reality distortion) and psychomotor poverty (poor speech, lack of spontaneous movemwnt and blunting emotion) Incoherent, illogical thoughts and behaviors, agitated, and purposeless behavior Ref9
  • Cenesthopathic:  Abnormal sensations in the body; meets general conditions of schizophrenia, but don’t fit into the other categories, often called unspecified Ref10 Ref11
  • Residual: remission has gone without symptoms for a long time, but they often experience a loss interest in life, are dull, unmotivated and not interested in regular life Ref 12 Ref13
  • Postpartum: Onset is quick and severe and very uncomon. Patients often hospitalized until she is stable. Refusal to eat,extreme confusion,memory loss, incoherence,paranoia, irrational statements and talking about trivial things. Often this occurs after their next pregnancy. Ref14
  • Not Other Specified: No adequate information to make a specific diagnosis;  there is contradictory information.  Examples can include brief psychotic disorder or persistent auditory hallucinations with absence of any other features or when a doctor can’t determine if condition is from drugs or alcohol   Ref6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Types of Mental Disorders

You probably have heard of many mental illnesses, but do you know the types of each one? There are many that you probably have not heard of and they are listed below with a brief description of each one.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Types of Personality Disorders

Types of Depression

TYPES OF ANXIETY:

  • Agora
  •  PTSD
  • OCD
  • Specified
  • Acute Stress Disorder
  • Adjustment Disorder
  • Substance Induced
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Selective Mutism
  • Caffeine Induced
  • Androphobia
  • Panic
  • Social
  • Generalized

TYPES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA

  • Schizoaffective
  • Paranoid
  • Brief Psychotic
  • Schizophrenium
  • Delusional
  • Shared Psychotic
  • Disorganized/ Hebephrenia
  • Cenesthopathic

 

TYPES OF EATING DISORDERS

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating
  • Eating Disorder Not Other Specified (EDNOS)
  • Atypical
  • Purging
  • Night/Nocturnal
  • Orthorexia
  • Pica

TYPES OF SELF HARM

  • Cutting
  • Carving
  • Using Objects (kicking or punching a wall)
  • Scratching
  • Picking
  • Ripping Skin off
  • Promiscuity
  • Infidelity
  • Burning
  • Hair Pulling
  • Rubbing objects on the skin
  • Misusing or Abusing Alcohol or drugs
  • Eating Disorders
  • Suicide Attempt
  • Law Breaking
  • Poisoning with toxic chemicals
  • Excessive exercise
  • Multiple piercings and/or tattoos
  • Overspending money

TYPES OF ADD/ADDHD

  • Inattentive
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive
  • Classic ADD
  • Overfocused ADD
  • Temporal Lobe ADD
  • Limbic ADD
  • Ring of Fire ADD
  • Anxious ADD

TYPES OF ADDICTION

  • Alcoholism
  • Drugs
  • Nicotine
  • Food
  • Gambling
  • Internet
  • Sexual
  • Shopping
  • Work
  • Video Games
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Risky Behavior
  • OTC Medications
  • Arson
  • People Pleasing
  • Perfectionism

OTHER TYPES OF MENTAL DISORDERS:

Walking Corpse: experience delusions they are dead, do not exist, or have lost their organs

Alice in Wonderland: see objects much smaller than they are and it is not because of an eye problem

Self Cannibalism/ Autophagia / Windigo: eating their own body or  body parts often resulting in having teeth removed

Erotomania: delusional belief that someone is madly in love with them even after the person has told them they’re not

Lyncanthropy: believe they are an animal or are being transformed into one

Alien Hand Syndrome: their limbs act with the person having control over them

Aboulamania: pathological indecisiveness

Synesythesia: stimulation of one sense triggers an automatic, involuntary experience (see sounds, taste words)

Foreign Accent Syndrome: develop a foreign accent that is different from their native accent and have not learned in the past

Koro Syndrome: anxiety that genitals or breasts are shrinking, retracting, and eventually will disappear causing death

Fregoli Delusional: delusional belief that different people are actually a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise

Stendhal Syndrome/ Florene/Hyperkulturemia: after viewing art it causes physical symptoms (rapid heart rate, intense dizziness, nauseau, hallucinations)

Pica: compulsion to eat things that have no nutritional value like paint or wood

Jumping Frenchman of Maine: extremely startled from a noise or sight resulting in involuntarily flailing arms, crying out or  repeating words

Landau-Kleffner: children lose ability to express and understand language

Taijin Kyofusho: Widespread in Japan where there is a crippling fear of social interactions with a fear of everything that could go wrong

Boanthropy: person believes they are a cow or ox

Riley Day/ Familial Dysautomonomia: Insensitive to pain with difficulty swallowing and frequent vomiting

Stockholm: hostages in a kidnapping develop sympathetic sentiments towards their captors

Lima Syndrome: Abductors develop sympathy for their hostages

Kleptomania:  can’t  resist urges to steal items that you  don’t need and  usually have little value

Capgras: delusion where a person thinks that a friend,  family member or pet has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor

Paedophilia– (some don’t think it is a mental disorder) when an adult has a sexual attraction to  children before they hit puberty

Reduplicative Paramnesia: believe that a place has been duplicated and exists two places at the same time

Celebriphilia: unusually intense desire to be romantically involved with a celebrity

Bibliomania-type of OCD where there is passionate enthusiasm for collecting and possessing books often resulting in hoarding

Munchausen syndrome: a person  acts that  he or she has a physical or mental illness when they are not sick

Trichotillomania:  lack of impulsive control that results in repetitedly pulling out their hair often resulting in serious hair loss

Exploding Head Syndrome: while waking or trying to go to sleep they hear a loud bang similar to a bomb , gun, or cymbals that seems to originate from inside the head.

Apotemnophilia/ Body Integrity Disorder: intense desire to have an amputation or a want to be deaf, blind or paralyzed

Hybristophilia: someone becomes sexually aroused by a partner who has committed a crime like rape

Coprophagia: a desire to ingest feces

Dissociative Fugue State: “one or more episodes of amnesia where they are unable to recall some or all of one’s past and either the loss of one’s identity or the formation of a new identity occur with sudden, unexpected, purposeful travel away from home”. Ref1

How many of these have you heard about before? Did you know what they were called or meant?  Hopefully you have learned something.

types-of-mental-disorders-infographic

SOURCES: DSMV, Mind Health Connect, NED, Healthline, ifred, Beyond Blue, Psych Central, Everyday Health, Medical News Today, Health  Central, NIMH, WebMD, Mental Health America, DBSA, Somethingfishy, Additude Magazine, AddictionZ, Wikipedia, All that is Interesting, BlogIssues, Listverse, NHS.uk, Addiction Help Center, Calm Clinic, Helpguide, ADAA, Psychology Today

 

 

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Types of Personality Disorders

I normally write about bipolar disorder, my experiences, and discuss mental health advocacy issues. However, I have decided to learn more about the other mental illnesses and I have chosen to study and share with my readers about personality disorders.

A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder where you have unhealthy, rigid patterns of thinking, behaving, and functioning.  A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. Ref1

The types of personality disorders are categorized in three clusters.  Cluster A includes those that are odd or eccentric.   Cluster B includes those that are dramatic, emotional or erratic. Cluster C includes those that are anxious and fearful. Ref2

Cluster A includes Schizoid, Paranoid, and Schizotypical.  Cluster B includes Antisocial, Borderline, Narcissistic, and Histrionic. Cluster C includes Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Schizoid personalities are introverted, withdrawn, solitary, emotionally cold, and distant.  interpreting the actions of others as deliberately threatening or demeaning. Paranoid personalities interpret the actions of others as deliberately threatening or demeaning. r. People may have odd or eccentric manners of speaking or dressing. Schizotypical personalities have strange, outlandish or paranoid beliefs and the dress and their speaking and dressing are eccentric. Ref2

Antisocial personalities  act out their conflicts and ignore normal rules of social behavior.  Borderline personality disorder personalities are unstable in  interpersonal relationships, behavior, mood, and self-image. They exhibit abrupt and extreme mood changes, stormy interpersonal relationships, and an unstable and fluctuating self-image. Narcissists  have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, are absorbed by fantasies of unlimited success, and seek constant attention. Ref2

Avoidant personalities have  long-standing feelings of inadequacy and are extremely sensitive to what others think about them resulting in feeling socially inhibited and inept. Dependent Personalities have a need to be taken care of and a fear of abandonment or separated from friends and family leading to dependent and submissive behaviors causing others  to be care givers. People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental control often causing a lack of flexibility, openness, and efficiency. Ref3

types-of-personality-disorder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Types of Depression

Depression is defined as a state of feeling sad by Merriam Webster, but if you struggle with depression, you know that there is so much more to it than that.  Depression can be debilitating and affects your life a lot more than simply being sad.  You probably know most of the signs and symptoms of depression, but did you know that there are several different types of depression?  Do you know how to explain the different kinds? 

THE TYPES OF DEPRESSION

  • Major Depression Disorder (MDD) aka Chronic: Affects 7% Americans,  signs of depression most of the time, it’s all  consuming and can lead to suicide.  Ref1
  • Dysthymia aka Persistent Depressive Disorder:  Affects 3% Americans  The symptoms become chronic yet can be intermittent, it’s biological rather than psychological therefore medication is often used.  It usually lasts at least two years at a time. It is thought to run in families.  Ref2 and Ref8 and Ref12
  • Postpartum Depression aka Perinatal or Peripartum- 10% of women after giving birth due to hormonal changes suffer from this.  It usually manifests within four weeks after giving birth. In extreme cases mothers are not able to take care of their child. Ref6Ref12
  • Antenatal:  Affects 10% of pregnant women and is triggered by pregnancy Ref4
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder: Affects 4-6% Americans, symptoms are usually mild-feeling blue, weight gain, and withdrawn and can be treated by light therapy Ref3
  • Atypical: thought to be most common type of depression and sometimes considered to be a subset of MDD where there is a lack of feeling in legs, oversleeping, overeating, and it is hard to treat although talk therapy is often helpfulRef3&Ref2
  • Adjustment Disorder aka Situational Disorder: 3 times more common than MDD. It Happens when someone is adjusting to something new in their life that causes a great deal of stress. It can be something good or bad  and medication is rarely needed Ref6 and Ref3
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder aka PMDD: Affects 5% of women and much more severe that PMS and happens at second half of menstrual cycle. It can be treated by medication, therapy, and/or nutrition therapies.   Ref3 & Ref5
  • Psychotic Depression: Signs of depression with psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. Of those who suffer from depression, 14-50% suffer from this type. Ref5 & Ref2 & Ref12
  • Catatonic: Someone is speechless and motionless. It is no longer listed as a distinct disorder as it is a specifier for depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD  Ref2
  • Bipolar Disorder: Mood disorders with periods of mania (extreme highs) and often time extreme lows (depression). Ref6
  • Melancholic:  A subtype of Major Depression that’s not very common and very severe causing slow movement and complete enjoyment in everything. It’s persistent and intense  Ref4
  • Endogenous: It is a subset of MDD with persistent and intense feelings of sadness. These  have a negative impact on behavior and mood, sleep and appetite. Ref2
  • Substance Induced: It is “a prominent and persistent disturbance of mood that is  due to the direct physiological effects of a substance” like alcohol or drugs. It is usually diagnosed when the person is intoxicated or in withdrawal.  Ref8
  • Cyclothymic: Chronic condition with alternating periods of highs and lows lasting at least two years that’s less severe than MDD and often described as a mild form of bipolar disorder Ref4 & Ref10
  • Treatment Resistant:  Several different methods of treatment have been tried including medication, therapy, diet change, etc and nothing has worked. Oftentimes, people are then referred to medical doctor to see if there is a medical cause that could be causing depression. Ref9
  • Holiday: “The stress and anxiety during the months of November and December may cause even those who are usually content to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment” Ref2
  • Geriatric aka Subsyndromal Depression: Feelings of sadness occasionally is normal, but lasting depression is not normal for the elderly.  It doesn’t meet criteria for MDD, but affects approximately 5 million elderly people. It can lead to MDD if left untreated. Depressed elderly are at high risk for suicide. “Although senior citizens comprise only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for 16 percent of all suicides in 2004” Ref11 and Ref2

 

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Guest Post: Love in a Bipolar World by Rebecca

delauthorWhen you find that special person that you know you want to spend the rest of your life with, you have to consider a lot of factors.  If you are bipolar, the list of considerations changes quite a bit.  Should you tell that person up front?  Will it scare them away?  What if you don’t tell them, and you experience depression, anxiety, even mania?

 

I know in my situation, I met a couple of guys before I met my husband, and I was always brutally honest.  I never kept my condition from anyone.  I was sure to make it clear that there was nothing easy about my situation, and there would be ups and downs.  If the discussion ever warranted, I also made sure that they knew that kids were not in my future.

 

Some seemed to think they could handle it, but truthfully couldn’t.  The first time my depression kicked in, they stopped calling.  Others were long gone before I finished the words, bipolar disorder.  Joe was different from the start.  He was kind and caring.  He seemed to accept my issues.  He came from a strong Catholic background, and I knew it would be hard to sell me to his parents.  Particularly with no grandchildren in the mix.

 

It didn’t take very long for Joe to realize that perhaps I wasn’t right for him.  He suddenly dropped out of the picture, and I was left confused and alone.  I hoped my disease wasn’t what scared him off, but deep down, I knew it was.  Not many people know that about us.  Our first time trying to make a go of it, we just didn’t click.  I suffered through a series of mentally and sometimes physically abusive relationships after that.  I convinced myself that this was the best I could do.

 

In May 2001, Joe started calling again.  I was guarded because I didn’t want the past to repeat itself.  My parents were thrilled, especially my mom.  She had always liked Joe and she was constantly worried about the other guys I chose to spend my time with.

 

Joe confessed to me that he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about me.  That a couple of years earlier, he wasn’t grown up enough to understand what challenges I would bring to the table. We worked harder at a relationship this time around, and by the end of July, we were talking about marriage and moving in together.

 

When I look back on my failed relationships, I absolutely cringe.  I should never have settled for the pain and heartache I had to endure.  My self-esteem was so far in the toilet.  I just knew that since I wasn’t truly good enough for anyone, that men could treat me as such.  I just accepted it.  After you subject yourself to this for years, if something good comes along, you can hardly recognize it, let alone believe it’s actually happening.

 

I’m here to tell you that you do not have to allow yourself to be treated like you aren’t worth it.  You are not broken, useless or a failure.  You have just as much to offer this world as anyone who doesn’t suffer from mental illness.  There will probably always be that little voice inside your head telling you that this one is going to walk out on you too.  Don’t let that voice take over!

 

Relationships are hard for anyone.  They are even more difficult on those of us with bipolar.  I’m not going to tell you that it’s always perfect.  Once you find the love of your life, it’s pretty damn close.  Honesty, communication, and laughter.  You must have all of these.  Talk about your feelings!  Give them a voice.  Know that your spouse loves you for you, and for the happiness you bring into their life.  When you get down, don’t do what I’ve done in the past and offer them a way out.  It hurts them more than it hurts you.

 

Anything worth fighting for is hard work, we all know this.  When you find love and acceptance in the eyes of your best friend, you will know true happiness.  Don’t doubt yourself or your relationship.  You will, of course, have ups and downs, there is no way around that.  Everyone does!  Yours will be a different set of challenges, and you must be realistic about that.  Just know that you can do this.

 

 

All of my life, I have struggled to find something that I am actually good at.  I have finally found it.  Loving my husband so completely is my calling in life.  He means everything to me, and I can only hope that each and every person reading this can find that as well.  Being married with mental illness is not impossible.  It takes work, but it is more than worth it.

You can also find Rebecca on Twitter  Facebook  Blog Website 

She is also the author of  It’s not Your Journey

 

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