Sunday, February 3, 2013


Bipolar disorder, with its extreme mood swings from depression to mania, used to be called manic depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder is very serious and can cause risky behavior, even suicidal tendencies.-webmd

I have three people in my family that are bipolar. Back in the day they were diagnosed as manic depressive.  Each person has different issues and severity. Each person deals with it in their own way.

 My mother takes lithium. She does pretty well with her bipolar.  Growing up with her in her mania state was great. She would dance around the house while she cleaned. She felt alive and really happy. Her mania was her best time. Then the depressive state would come. She would struggle with suicidal thoughts. Getting out of bed was impossible. She was irritable and angry. She has it under control better now. Lithium and therapy has really helped. The mania is less and although the depression comes it is much less debilitating.

My sister was also diagnosed as manic depressive. We did not live together growing up but we visited very often. She was a very aggressive and sometimes violent child. She has had issues with drug abuse. She lives very far away from me.We talk about once a year. I am very familiar with her depressive state. She seems tired and irritable. She is often angry and sad.  She is currently not being treated for her bipolar disorder. She has major mistrust issues and although I would love her to get help, I understand her hesitation. Last time we spoke she was in a mania episode. It was the first time I have ever heard her happy. I cried when we hung up the phone because I want her to be happy. I want her to have a good life. I want her to be stable. I know it was only a mania phase and yet was relieved to hear something in her voice I have never heard before. Happiness is fleeting with her but at least I will have one memory of her being something other than sad and angry.

My other family member has slight to moderate bipolar disorder. She struggles with anger, depression, and manic episodes but at a much slower rate. Her episodes last weeks to months.  She is dealing well with the help and support of her family and friends.  She has been on medication and had therapy. She is dealing with loss of her mother. I am very proud of how strong she is. She is an amazing friend. She, like many of us with mental illness , does not broadcast her illness with others. The stigma of it keeps her silent.

These three lovely ladies in my life have dealt with more anguish and suffering than people normally do. Their shame and silence has been deafening. We should not live in a society that looks down on people that don't meet their standards of perfect. We should not be so afraid of it that we reach out to dangerous substances to cope. We should not be so afraid of our mental illness that silence becomes our chosen option.We should not be afraid to seek help. We all should find the courage to stand and say this is me. This is us and we are matter . This is their story and so it is also all of our stories as well. End the stigma. End the shame. Be an example to all those that can't speak by yelling from the highest rooftops. Be their voice. I am these three  women's voice. Hear me.

Although bipolar disorder is a disruptive, long-term condition, you can keep your moods in check by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder can be controlled with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy)

If you would like to learn more about bipolar disorder you can go to these sites:

Bipolar disorder - 
Bipolar Disorder Center: Symptoms, Types, Tests, and ...

               Nelly Neurotic

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