I have looked on International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) to see if I ever posted this article and I did not see it listed so I am going to post it on here as I no longer write for them and I believe it is still my work since they didn’t post it on their site that I can see. You can use the above link if you are interested in reading the Bipolar Disorder articles I wrote for them.
I don’t feel stigmatized by having Bipolar Disorder. I find it a way that I can help others. I have been through just about everything that you can experience with this disorder. I am not embarrassed and feel thankful to be able to help others.
There are times that I feel useless. I am disabled in physical ways and so I don’t work anymore. Working with my bipolar was hard, but I didn’t even realize I had a problem then. I never could focus. I was always daydreaming and my reviews always mentioned this. Since I daydreamed all my life it was just an annoyance that my bosses didn’t like and I had no idea how to stay focused. I now know that I was dissociating from my life and had to be snapped back into this world. Now that I understand, I can help others.
Another thing is self-harm. I have bit and chewed the skin off my fingers since I was a little girl. The more upset and anxious I was, the worse the biting. I now know that is a part of self-harm. Self-harm just isn’t cutting like I thought it was and I tried cutting. It didn’t give me what I needed, but tearing the skin off my fingers did. People were surprised to find out that there are many types of self-harm besides cutting. I also pick scabs on my head mostly although I do also pick at loose skin as well.
I have bipolar 1 with psychosis. I see, hear, and feel things. I find this depends on the medications I take. The medications can also affect my dreams. I have horrendous dreams. I wake up screaming. If you take medications and find that you suffer from the above-mentioned problems, perhaps you need to try another medication. At least talk it over with your psychiatrist.
Mania has a lot of behaviors that are hard to control. Spending, hypersexuality, thoughts of grandeur and even thoughts that you are Jesus or God or someone else famous. Again, talk with your psychiatrist or in the case of thinking you are someone on a grand scale perhaps your psychiatrist can help and maybe even a change in medicine is needed.
Some people can take just a mood-stabilizer (anti-psychotic) for bipolar, but for me just a mood stabilizer causes depression rather than stabilization. I must take an anti-depressant as well to boost me out of the deep, deep depression.
Suicide is a real danger with bipolar or any mental illness. Please talk it over with your psychiatrist, therapist, a suicide call line or simply go to the hospital. I have been twice. Once for attempted suicide and once for psychosis with suicidal ideations. Inpatient can be difficult, but you are safe there.
As I said I do not hesitate to talk about my bipolar, anxiety, panic attacks, OCD and Post Traumatic Syndrome. If someone needs help, I am there for them.
If you feel suicidal or even worried about mental illness being a problem for you then go see a therapist or psychiatrist for a full work up. If the suicidal thoughts are severe and you are ready to do it, please go directly to the hospital.
Your life is worth it. Everyone’s life is worth it.
Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also a devout Christian