Bipolar disorder can be a hard diagnosis to accept. It is plagued with misconceptions and stigma that make it hard to stay in school, get a job, form relationships, and live “normally”. While there are many challenging aspects of bipolar disorder, and it is a mental health issue that requires both medication and therapy, Thriveworks Middleburg Heights has seen many times over again how people can lead successful, happy lives with a bipolar diagnosis.
If you are thinking of getting a diagnosis, have a recent diagnosis, or have been managing bipolar for a long time- Thriveworks Middleburg Heights is here to help you. We understand that living with bipolar has its challenges, especially when the misconceptions about it are so widespread. But we also understand that bipolar is not something that has to limit the joy and passion in your life.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Everyone will experience bipolar disorder a little differently as well. Their manic highs will manifest differently, and their depressive lows will vary. However, the hallmark of bipolar disorder is the existence of two phase:
- Manic episode
- Depressive episode
These can look like extreme mood swings but are much more than just the average fluctuations of mood most people experience.
The manic phase can come on suddenly. You’ll feel full of energy, like anything is possible. In the manic phase, every emotion is heightened- euphoria and self-esteem, but also anger and recklessness.
Symptoms of the manic phase include:
- A frantically high state of mind that is either jubilant, irritated, or switching between the two
- Racing thoughts that won’t stop
- Feeling like you don’t need sleep
- Unfocused attention, jumping from one thing to another
- Obsessive and furious planning towards a goal- usually a lofty goal that seems highly unrealistic (planning to travel the world, to become a high-paying actress, to graduate in two years instead of 4, etc.)
- Extreme talkativeness
- Inflated self-esteem
- Risky or harmful behavior, especially when you feel like no true harm can come to you.
Most manic episodes only last around 2 weeks. They can be scary and have huge consequences. It’s not uncommon for people to rack up debt or make life-altering commitments during a manic episode. These are all things they will have to face once their manic episode drains away, leaving stress and often a depressive episode.
Depressive episodes are usually longer lasting. Symptoms of a depressive episode include:
- Overwhelming feelings of guilt, shame, and/or worthlessness
- Changes in eating and sleeping
- Feeling exhausted and brain fogged all the time
- Difficulty making decisions
- Difficulty focusing
- Recurring thoughts of suicide or death.
Depression can make it seem like everything is bleak and will always be so. But that’s not true. Thriveworks Middleburg Heights is here with the resources you need to manage the manic episodes and come out of the depressive episodes. Bipolar can feel like a wild rollercoaster that never stops and that you never signed up for. But as more and more people are finding- there is a way to shape the rollercoaster. Your life is still your own. Let’s start taking it back.
What Are Common Misconceptions of Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder can feel like a bulldozer tearing its way through your life. Your education, career, relationships, and hobbies are all put on hold at best, or begin to collapse at worse. Much of this is due to the major swings of bipolar and the extremes of both the manic and depressive episode.
However, a fair amount of the harm bipolar does is because it is a very a-typical disorder and is not well talked about. People don’t understand it, and what they don’t understand they are much less likely to be patient with.
Common harmful Misconceptions of bipolar disorder are:
- It’s a rare condition. About 2 million adults in the United States are affected by bipolar disorder, including many highly successful people including Carrie Fisher (actor), Ada Lovelace (first ever computer programmer), and Kay Redfield Jamison (clinical psychologist and writer with her PH. D).
- Bipolar disorder can be cured. Things like diet and exercise cannot cure bipolar, nothing can. However, through medication, talk therapy, and a healthy lifestyle, bipolar can be well-managed.
- Mania feels good and is a productive state to be in. Some emotions experienced while manic feels good- the euphoria, high self-esteem, and excitement. But mania means that emotions are heightened, including the bad ones. People tend to get overly anxious, highly irritable, and angry. They can feel out of control and lose touch of reality.
- You’re always either in a manic or depressive episode. Just like most other mental health disorders, bipolar isn’t always “on”. People can go through a balanced mood, called euthymia. Or, they can have a mixed episode where both mania and depression are present.
What Does Treatment for Bipolar Disorder Look Like?
Treatment for bipolar disorder comes in two parts:
- Medication – it can take a while to figure out what type and dosage of medication works best for you, but that’s what our Middleburg Heights Thriveworks therapists are here for.
- Therapy – The most popular form of therapy is talk therapy. These can help you manage your depressive episodes better and address any anxieties as they come up. Talk Therapy sessions will help you stay balanced as you manage your medication and build a life, you’re truly happy to live in.
A healthy, happy, fulfilling life is more than possible with bipolar disorder. If you think you or a loved one is struggling with bipolar, Thriveworks Middleburg Heights can help. Call us at (380) 201-3145 for more information or to schedule an appointment today.