Archive for the ‘bipolar treatment’ Tag

In Bipolar We Trust   Leave a comment

Dealer:  “Hello, Car Dealer.”

Man:  “Yes, I’d like to bring my car in for service.  Do you have time available this week?”

Dealer:  “We do, but how do I know you are going to show up?”

Man:  “Because I want to get my car serviced.”

Dealer:  “Did you buy it here?”

Man:  “Yes.”

Dealer:  “Give me a minute.  I need to confirm that.”

Man:  “Can I please just schedule a service?”

Dealer:  “Is this your first service with this vehicle?”

Man:  “Yes.”

Dealer:  “You must pre-pay.”

Man:  “How do I know the cost without it being looked at?

Dealer:  “How do I know without pre-paying you’ll show up for your appointment?”

Man:  “Because my car needs service and I bought it from you.”

Dealer:  “Computer is down.  I can’t confirm that.  Call back tomorrow.”

Trust.  It’s one of the most important words in the English language.  Without it society ceases to function.  And in general the majority of people in the world are trustworthy.  But there are enough degenerates out there to ruin it for us all.

The car dealer example is a little extreme. But it’s not too far off the mark.  Most businesses will not take a personal check because they don’t trust you not to bounce it on them.  Hotels want your credit card number when you arrive just in case you decide to check out without paying.  Clothes in decent stores are hooked to the racks with alarmed wires because they are afraid you’ll steal them.  Even in Walgreens Pharmacy you can not get an electric toothbrush head without someone unlocking the cabinet.  Who in  the hell is going to steal a plastic electric tooth brush head?  Are we a society of thieves that will steal anything not nailed down, whether or not we need it?

However, we need trust to survive.  You have to trust the babysitter with which you leave your kids, or else you’ll never get out of the house.  You need faith that the item you bought and paid for on eBay is going to arrive as ordered.  And, when you sit down to eat at a nice restaurant, nobody does a credit check to see if you will be able to pay for the meal.

Trust is even more important to someone suffering from Bipolar Illness.  This is probably because everything about the illness and its treatments have a plethora of ways to present itself in each individual.  Consequently, a Bipolar person can not trust that the drug regiment that worked on their best friend will work for them.  And, that they will experience the same side effects to the same magnitude.  When it comes to treating Bipolar, even the doctors don’t make definitive statements.

But Bipolar people have to trust something.  Otherwise our lives will be in constant chaos.  We’d all be seeking different treatments, if any at all.  The majority of us would be in the throes of mania or in the deep dark bowels of depression.  So, we put our trust in our psychiatrists.   They are educated and know more about Bipolar Illness and its treatments than anyone else we have access to.  We trust them to guide us down the path to a better quality of life by learning how to best manage our illness.  We know the going can be rough until we find the right medication(s).  But, we trust the doctor to get us through it.

Bipolars also need to be able to trust people.   They need friends who will show up when they said they will for coffee.  Significant others who won’t forget to stop by the pharmacy after work to pick up your medications.  A Bipolar Support Group where you can freely talk about your issues to others going through the same trials and tribulations.  Whether they know about your illness or not, you need people who “have your back.”  In return, you must do your part and “have their back.”

A Bipolar twenty-something I wrote about once before in a Bipolar Support Group I attended took this “got your back” thing a little too far.  He has a Bipolar friend who was very depressed and cancelled plans with him several times.  The friend even told him about his depression being why he cancelled.  The guy in my support group was so disgusted he cut his ties with this person.  He said he was undependable, couldn’t be trusted and was lazy.  You’d think being Bipolar himself he’d be more understanding.  But he put himself on a pedestal for Bipolar achievement because he does not lie in bed all day.  I was pretty disgusted and asked him if he was so wonderful why was he still on state disability and not working?  He looked like someone just gave him a spoonful of motor oil.   His argument was crushed.

There are a lot of  mean people out there.  A judgmental, vindictive and belittling person can come into your life with a smile and warm handshake.  But so can an empathetic, generous and loyal friend.  For this reason never stop your quest for trust.  Exercise it whenever you can.  Trusting people often attracts other likeminded trusting individuals.  If you are Bipolar you can never have a big enough circle of friends.  And if you pick up a rotten apple, enroll them in one of Oprah Winfrey’s “Life Classes” on her OWN Network.  I heard she has an episode coming up called “I Know Nothing About Life.  Why Am I Giving Classes?”

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The Bipolar Discus: Now Everyone Has It.   5 comments

Has anybody noticed there are a lot more bipolar people in the world today than there were ten years ago?   I don’t have an exact number, but when the body shop returns your car without a windshield because the technician was diagnosed bipolar, and decided you car is a trigger, you know something is not right.

I actually think it’s a combination of things.  First, bipolar is becoming a catch all disease umbrella for suspected mental illnesses doctors can’t figure how else to categorize.  People tell you you’re a miserable person because all you do is spread negativity and mope around like you just ran over your cat.  You tell your psychiatrist or sometimes just your family doctor, and right away you’re bipolar.  After all, you’re not schizophrenic or a cutter, so what else could it be?  It must be bipolar!  Then again, you could just have a rotten attitude.  But the doctor brands you bilpolar and  for the rest of your life you are treated as such.

Secondly, a lot of people actually want the bipolar brand.  I call them wannabe bipolars, as if anyone would purposely afflict themselves with the illness, as if it’s contagious.  And if the doctor doesn’t make the diagnosis, they’ll guide them toward it with exaggerated symptoms, or find a doctor who will.  I’ve even met people in a bipolar therapy groups who are self-diagnosed bipolar.  They’ve never seen a doctor about it but are sure they have the affliction and identify themselves as such.

Once the wannabe bipolars go public with their disease, which many are more than happy to do, it also becomes carte blanche for public temper tantrums, walking out on the job, rude behavior and any other form of acting out which they can then blame on the bipolar, avoiding any and all responsibility for their actions.  In many cases they are actually interpreting how a bipolar person might act when in crisis.

I find this especially disturbing because most of the bipolar individuals I know do not have public outbursts or horrid displays of emotion.  It’s a part of their lives they’d prefer to keep private.  And if they are having a related emotional issue, they’re more likely to leave the room rather than put on a broadway production.  The last thing most bipolar people want to do is walk around carrying a freak flag.

So now all of the sudden the earth is crawling with bipolar people like bees swarming a hive.  Doctors are throwing the term around like a discus.  Consequently, some individuals could be  getting the wrong treatment for other very real mental illnesses.  Other people are getting treatment and there is nothing clinically wrong with them.  And some seek out the diagnosis like it’s a Fast Pass to drive in the commuter lane on the freeway and zip through the toll booth without having to stop and pay.

Never in my life have I seen a disease so frequently and haphazardly diagnosed.  It bothers me because it dilutes the seriousness and severity of the bipolar affliction for those who truly suffer from it.   My fear is that if we keep misdiagnosing the disease, one day being bipolar will be on par with having a headache.  Can you imagine if the diagnosis of cancer was bandied about like bipolar illness?  Stopping by the pharmacy to pick up your chewable chemo-tablets would be commonplace.   Or, “He’s walking funny.  It must be leg cancer.  Let’s radiate.”

I don’t have a solution.  I don’t even know if it’s perceived as a problem.  Obviously it’s not by the psychiatric community or they’d stop diagnosing bipolar like a Los Vegas black jack dealer.  And I’m sure the drug companies are loving it, so they are not going to speak up.  If they had their way, we’d all be taking Lithium as a precautionary measure.  Kind of like taking those oversized anti-malaria pills before you go to Asia and get dysentery.  I’m just hoping somebody with knowledge and authority decides to speak up on the issue.

Remember, some people are not overweight because they eat too much.   It could be genetics or a condition which has nothing to do with food.  Others are overweight because they say “yes” when asked by the lady in the window if they “want that super sized?”  Would you staple both their stomachs?  Of course not.  Then why is the medical community suddenly labeling more and more people as bipolar?   Is everyone coming down with the same disease? Or, do we need to come up with a more accurate diagnosis?

Religion: Adding Another Layer of Depression?   Leave a comment

This past weekend the world’s Christians celebrated Easter, or the resurrection of Christ from the dead.  Every September Jews fast for an entire day while they pray in synagogues from sun up to sundown so they can be inscribed in the book of life.  Last year some people were draining their bank accounts because after the impending rapture money and worldly possessions would be useless.  And all religions warn  if we do not accept god into our lives, we are going to experience some sort of awful discomfort upon death for all eternity.

I’m not here to comment on the validity of people’s beliefs.  I just want to comment on religion’s side effects.  And in my opinion, it causes depression and anxiety in many people with bipolar illness.  Depression if you are not living up to your religion’s expectations and anxiety if you are trying to but tangible things in your life are taking precedent; Like work, therapy, getting enough sleep, exercising, etc.  However if you’re lucky enough to be OCD, religion does provide a constant diet of repetition.

When someone is bipolar they need to keep a constant vigil making sure they balance the right medications in accordance with their sometimes unpredictable mood swings.  At the same time, they have to navigate interpersonal relationships, school, employment, family, friends, bills and all of the daily sagas life throws at them.  It’s delicate work.

Now tell this person in addition to everything else, they have to make it to confession, church, the synagogue or the carpet remnant facing east five times a day or they will be smote down where they stand and/or spend eternity in hell.  (To me eternity in hell is spending all day in Yum Kippur services with an empty stomach listening to my father hum the prayers to which he doesn’t know the words.)  If they believe it,  it’s another hundred pounds of weight dropped onto their already heavy bipolar bench press they have to find a way  to lift.  If they don’t believe it, they are treated to the guilt imposed on them by family and friends of faith labeling them “in need of saving.”  Just one more burden to bear for the already over-extended bipolar mind.

I don’t know if there is a solution.  As long as there is fear of the unknown, there will always be religion.  And some bipolar people will believe, and some won’t.  For those who believe, I urge you to not allow it to take precedent over your bipolar treatment.  Because, if you lose control of your illness, you will not be able to be of service to your religion.  And I don’t believe anyone’s god wants them to suffer physically or mentally.

If you are bipolar and a non-believer, remember that guilt is a feeling you create, not someone else.  People have a right to their beliefs and concerns for your soul.  But don’t take on the burden of someone else’s religion because you feel you should be religious.  Or, because it will keep the family peace.  Focus on yourself and your bipolar treatment regiment.  You are your own first priority.  Sitting in church with your family out of guilt isn’t going to replace missing the group therapy sessions you find so helpful. Or the workout routine that seems to really cut through your depression.  And you should be able to do these things without feeling like your are mortally wounding your family members.

Religious beliefs are a spiritual decision.   But how you deal with bipolar illness is a life and death decision.  You have the right to prioritize your life in order of urgency without penalty.   Then, whatever you religious beliefs, do good works on earth and random acts of kindness and you’re bound to end up in a good place.