“Feeling bipolar today” – Stop it.

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You are not being bipolar. You are not a little bipolar at times. It is not funny, so stop saying it.

Bipolar is not mood swings, no not everyone is “a little bipolar”.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by having experienced two polarities: depression, and mania. There are degrees of severity, but no one who experiences the two extremes think it is something to take lightly.

As someone who has been hospitalized for both a manic episode and a depression episode, watch a father go in and out of the hospital throughout the year, it is hell.

Now I’m all for the fluidity of language. It changes, and with how people use it words mean different things. I still say ” that’s gay” at times, and and still can’t seem to shake saying “Jesus fucking Christ”. But this feels different. Maybe it’s because it is personal.

But this is a disease that people fight. I don’t know why anyone would want yo joke about it, or belittle it into being equivalent with life’s natural swings between happy and sad.

Newsflash: happy is not mania, sad is not depression.

I digress.

Reader: What are your thoughts?

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10 thoughts on ““Feeling bipolar today” – Stop it.

  1. Hearing ya! I get really peeved when adults say things like that. Teens, I will cut some slack. At least I know I can educate the teens my kids are friends with.
    Feeling bipolar, huh? I’ll give ya bipolar!

    • Glad I’m not alone!

      Yeah, the teenage stage came to my mind as well when writing this. I was diagnosed with depression at 14, but didn’t at all understand what the fuck that was. I don’t think any teen does.

      Adults, yes, they should know better.

  2. On the flip side, casual use of such terms indicates an awareness of the condition, something some people with less distinct conditions can only wish would happen with their infliction. Like a naturally occurring ice bucket challenge in a sense. Awareness is the first step toward understanding.

    As someone who has experienced significant depression, I have also even wondered at times if I possibly could have even fallen under the category of bipolar. It wasn’t to a degree where I absolutely needed to seek help – well, I figured if I did that I would certainly be medicated and I preferred to find a way out of it without medication.

    But I have my doubts that bipolarity is something you either have or you don’t. It seems to me to be something that will encompass a full range of degrees. Unfortunately it sounds like you’ve had experience with severe degrees of it so you don’t like when such terms are thrown around mild experiences of such a condition. An understandable reaction, strong personal experience can amplify connection with a cause.

    • Agreed in that it does show awareness. However, it’s an ignorant awareness and misuse. Jokes are made of it, whereas no one jokes about cancer or fibromyalgia (although the later took time to understand, for sure).

      Btw, good on you for finding a medication alternative path! That is very hard to do, and I truly aplaud you for it. Sometime, you will have to elaborate. I’d love to discuss that with you. I’m actually in the process of weaning off my meds for baby making purposes, starting today. So I could definitely use some alternatives in my life. 🙂

      With the later paragraph…. understand that the definition of bipolar disorder includes the word “severe” and “life-disrupting” in practically every single medical dictionary, and the DSM. So, no, what I went through is not sever, it’s simply Bipolar I as opposed to II, NOS, or cyclo. No, not everyone has been hospitalized, but many do (definition of bipolar I ). Mild is not a thing in the disorder. Mood swings are normal. Mania and depression is not something a normal person experiences as often, if at all, as someone with bipolar I does. The symptoms and definitions are, by nature, sever. If one doesn’t have them, they do not have the disorder.

      • Definition? Yes, we do seem to like to put things into tidy boxes when they are actually a part of a full spectrum. That tends to put focus on a specific part of the spectrum, which has its benefits in communicating about the issue, but I find it troublesome when that portion of the spectrum is disconnected with the rest of it.

        I’ve heard jokes about cancer. Off the top of my head, I’ve heard smokers refer to cigarettes as “cancer sticks” many times. Diabetes tends to be referred to in connection with eating sugary things. I’m sure there are plenty more examples out there.

        From my experiences, it seems fairly common for people to joke about actions that connect with a condition. Sure, it demonstrates a level of ignorance, but it also demonstrates a level of awareness. If they are joking about it with a hurtful intent, then it is certainly a problem. If it is a more naive joking, they are leaving themselves open to an opportunity to learn more about the condition they are joking about should someone correct them in their joke.

        As for getting through my depression-related troubles, chiropractic was quite significant. My depression came along with some muscle issues in my back – mostly because I never allowed myself time to heal from physical or emotional injuries. So there was a lot of working backwards through both. In addition to helping loosen up my muscle issues, I found that having regular chiropractic visits ended up working like an emotional therapy too. A regular connection with someone who I could to some degree share my struggles with.

        This helped allow me to work through my emotional issues. There were a couple of years where a lot of crying was done. I figured crying was going to be a regular occurrence from then on out! It ended up slowing up as I progressed though.

        Being welcomed into a church environment helped me as well. The community aspect brought connection I was in need of to continue to help pull me out of my funk. Gave me insight into how people would come to believe such things as well.

        But yeah, it’s been a long journey since I was at rock bottom, and it’s still ongoing, but I am in a much better place now than I had been. Knowing my downward spiral was a long, gradual one, I went into recovery mode expecting the road back up would certainly take time as well.

        As for manic/depressive episodes, a couple of people I’ve worked with dealt with bi-polar or something similar at least. They definitely dealt with more dramatic cases of it. My experiences don’t match the extremes of what I had observed in them at times, but what I dealt with at times was certainly beyond mood swings.

        Anyways, I’m sure every case is unique. The key I found was in finding a way to safely be vulnerable to the causes of the troubles, then allow the pain to occur so that healing and understanding could then take place.

        Not sure if this is of much help, but I do hope you are able successfully move away from the use of meds and onward beyond the troubles you deal with!

      • Granted on labels. See latest post. Been grappling with that and “definition” qualms.

        Jokes – good points! Did not think of those, tbh. Thanks for the correction.

        Thank you truly for sharing that experience! Really. I haven’t tried working on my depression in almost half a year, and although some of that may seem obvious to others, for me, to hear from someone who has battled depression (as opposed to outsiders looking in) it is helpful.

        I can see the muscle thing. My husband is in school to be a licensed massage therapist, and when he first did a session on me he found so many trigger points that he had to stop and really suggest I see a chiropractor. I was screaming at some points. Even so, that one massage helped me pull myself out of bed the next day, as opposed to my months of just laying there stiff for an hour. I think I’ll definitely look into that.

        Community is definitely awesome, wherever it’s found. Hope you know I’ll never judge you for finding that in a church, no matter what my beliefs or rants may say.

        Ultimately, my whole rant was with people using bipolar to describe mood swings and earnestly thinking it true, or a joke. But, I suppose it’s my fault for not engaging those people and fostering learning. Kind of passive aggressive of me, no? Being butt hurt helps no one.

        I’m only just not being vulnerable or out of the closet, so it’s all new. I’m sure I’m bound to make a lot of mistakes. Finding who to talk to, and who can bring pain is touch and go.

        I hope so too! Thanks. I am prepared for it not being an option for me, but I’m hopeful that there is a way. I’ve done so much researching on it and I think I have the brain to do it… but I’ve also snapped in ways I still can not believe happen and is in no way “me”. So, we’ll see.

      • Ah, great new post on labels!

        Oh, I totally forgot, part of my depression seems to be connected to a pretty nasty bout of pneumonia I had as a teenager. I am under the impression that the remnants of that pneumonia have remained in my lungs, and working to allow those remnants to clear has been part of my journey.

        The strangest thing is, typically when I have a feeling of depression come over me, within the next day I end up clearing some more remnants out of my system. It just happened to happen today for the first time in a while, which is what reminded me about it. It’s quite interesting how connected our physical and mental state really can be.

        Interesting too to hear that your husband has made the same suggestion of looking into a chiropractor. My neck locked up on me, which is what got me going. Went on a weekly basis at first to help work through the initial problem, went once ever other week for a few years after that, and now I’m basically on a schedule of every 3 weeks where the odd time I will wait an extra week or two in helping my body adapt to receiving fewer adjustments. Of course, I’m fortunate theses days as my work benefits now cover a significant portion of the costs.

        Having a husband with some muscle knowledge should be helpful. The chiropractors I’ve been seeing aren’t the typical snap crackle and pop style, they work more on targeted muscle manipulation and only pop as they see fit.

        Te best advice I can offer is to focus on a greater awareness of what your body and mind are trying to tell you. Do your best to find the connections between what your pains are and be mindful of where those pains may have originated.

        Remember that your body compensates for injuries in order to continue functioning. You may find yourself working backwards through these compensations in order to re-ignite pains. This is what you want to do in order to allow those pains to finally heal properly.

        That’s the way I’ve come to understand it in my case anyways.

        And yeah, the church community was great – though it would be nice for such communities to exist without the questionable supernatural beliefs.

      • Definitely right over the connection between physical and mental states. I recall when I was going through outpatient, how our group went through a run down daily of how we were taking care of our bodies. It’s amazing how many of us don’t eat or groom extensively, and how much can affect our mood if we push ourselves to do them.

        We were also encouraged to look into anything that hurt, or felt off. Even though heart sensations can be just anxiety, the anxiety only builds if one doesn’t rule out a medical cause. It helps to know and say to yourself “it’s just anxiety, there’s nothing wrong with my heart, breathe through it.”

        Depression is the same way. Those aches and pains contribute so much to the downward cycle of feeling yucky and dragged down.

        Aaaah, I’m typing mostly to myself cause I haven’t walked the talked lately. 😉 This is good though, bringing it to the forefront of my mind so I can work on it and not ignore it.

        Good that you were able to see the pneumonia connection, I hope that gets worked out well for you. Being aware of it I’m sure helps.

      • Ah! I think I’ve had the heart sensations recently! Like when you take a step in a direction where you are unsure/nervous about the results, but know you need to step in that direction?

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