December 28, 2014

Bipolar: Relax. Breath. Now Freak Out!

"Roller Coaster" by Paul Brennan
The past couple months I've realized that my medicine's effectiveness has been waning. My anger and frustration flare up more often than usual. But I've done well for all the pressures I'm under.

I've been on the same mood stabilizer medication for almost nine years. That's a long time, but shouldn't the medicine work for decades? So my journey over the next few months will be changing medications.

So you may wonder about bipolar. Katy Perry's song Hot N Cold explains it well. Bipolar is a more complex mental illness than depression or anxiety alone. You can have manic, or hypomanic, episodes that vary. People think of the mania of staying up all night and having boundless energy, but that doesn't define mania completely. I have hypomania that manifests in frustration, anger, feeling annoyed, talking excessively, and restlessness. The list is endless.

Bipolar then has the low or a "crash" after the high. It can be depression, restlessness, anxiety, wanting to do nothing, or refusing to talk to others. The low manifests many symptoms, but it isn't always the typical depression.

What's even weirder is a mixed episode. It's a combination of some manic symptoms and depressive symptoms. It's a moment of laughing, being annoyed, crying, wanting to do nothing, or conquering the world. Sometimes this is cycling through episodes quickly.

These varied symptoms require several medications. First, I need a mood stabilizer that evens my mood. Second, I need an antidepressant. An antidepressant alone will cause a manic episode. Third, some people have to take medicines for mania (I don't suffer from extreme mania, so I don't know as much about this). Sometimes, you have to juggle between antidepressants and anti-psychotic medications.

Overall, it's a crazy ride. We all have some issue we have to deal with, and mine is bipolar.

UPDATE: Well, I don't have to change my mood stabilizer. I need to work on my sleep habits now. What a surprise :). So if you see me up late, tell me to go to bed and I might listen.

Ask me questions if you want to know more, or if you have other crazy symptoms comment below.

NIMH has a good explanation on their website about bipolar.