Positive support for people with bipolar disorder
Read this today on the BBC:
Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity SANE, said: "Bipolar disorder is a cruel affliction carrying a high risk of suicide and this research appears to underline the importance of preventing relapse, which is already recognised as one of the most important goals in the long-term management of the condition."
This is disgusting. We are strong, productive people LIVING with Bipolar Disorder. We are not "afflicted" with anything. WE ARE NOT VICTIMS. She acts like we have the Plague or something. I don't like her deficit based, negative language.
I am NOT suffering from a "cruel affliction" - I am a cool chick who happens to be Bipolar.
Sure, we all suffer from symptoms. But so do diabetics and people with Cancer but we don't talk down to them about it.
Write SANE and let them know they need to choose their words better:
On weight issues:
So my binge eating to deal with stress has been causing me to gain weight. Also, my meds are associated with weight gain.
But let's get positive about our bodies and our looks. We can still be beautiful, sexy people despite being a little chunky.
I binge eat to deal with stress. I am on some meds that cause weight gain. I weigh 150 pounds at 5 feet tall. According to the rule, I should be more like 120 pounds.
But so what?
I can still be attractive, healthy and strong. I work out and lift weights. My heart is strong. I don't have any physical health issues associated with being 150 pounds.
So what if I don't wear a size 6. I wear a size 10 (well, sometimes an 8 on a good day, lol.) It's okay.
We're okay even if our meds cause us to gain weight. We are okay if sometimes our depression causes us not to exercise. We are okay if sometimes anxiety or mania causes us to overeat.
Let's feel good about our bodies and realize that weight is just a number and we are more then a dress or pant size.
How is everyone doing out there?
I quit a high stress job to go back to grad school full time. This is a huge accomplishment for me. As some of you know, I had a mental break in Feb and had to drop out of school. Now I am on a new cocktail of meds and I am going back! Grad school here I come!
I am exercising, staying in contact with friends, meeting new people. I have had some recent issues with binge eating but I am now working the 12 steps of Overeaters Anonymous. I am in therapy and I am seeing my psychiatrist regularly.
How are you doing? Please post with new accomplishments or set goals for yourself. Update us!
As people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, we motivate and support each other.
I wanted to update here because things have been dead. I love this community and want to keep it alive.
So, an update from me...
Things have been better for me. I am making it through shifts at work better. In fact, the last time I had to leave work early due to symptoms was July 22nd. So it's been a few weeks of solid work.
Had a weird experience today - I have this thing that happens where my eyes feel like they are bugging out of my head, I get extremely anxious yet incredibly tired at the same time. Then I have this thing where I feel like I am constantly experiencing de ja vu. I have told my psych doc and she thinks I am either a)having a bad anxiety attack or b)dissassociating. I don't know what goes on.
But the important thing is that I experienced this thing and continued my entire shift at work anyway.
I have started an exercise regime and have been sticking to it. 30 minutes of intense cardio every other day, a few exercises with weights on my off days.
I have ventured into the world of dating. I have decided that I may be Bipolar and have a million other DSM diagnoses but I am still attractive and lovable.
I am putting things in motion to go back to grad school. I had to take a leave of absence when I had my emotional breakdown in Feb.
I am hanging in there, taking deep breaths and doing the best I can.
So how has everyone else been??? I would love updates from all of you.
The past two years, I've mostly only experienced depressive episodes and the occasional hypomanic episode that was quickly squashed by med changes. It had been awhile since I'd had any inklings of real mania afoot. That all changed a week ago. It started to get harder and harder to sleep, I went from 8 to 6 to 4 to pretty much just 2 or 3 hours a night. My thoughts started to race but I was a little too busy creating elaborate pieces of art to notice. Classic, right? Then something happened that I couldn't ignore. I started to feel... ummm.. turned on. All of the time. I'd never really felt this way during an episode. A day later it was 10x worse. I wanted to jump complete strangers and had to hide in my apartment to prevent myself from doing so. I wanted to have sex with men, who normally I am not attracted to. Then came the kicker. One of my best friends, who had been hanging out with me constantly helping me through this whole mess until I could see my doctor, professed that he had sexual feelings for me. The manic voice in head was thrilled. Clearly, I could use this to my advantage. No regard to the fact that we both have girlfriends away at summer camp. No regard to the fact that I haven't even had a pleasurable kiss with a man in my life, never mind anything else. Oh mania, how you rule us.
Okay, but here's the positive part. I realized that I was at risk of doing something really stupid and I asked him to leave. I must point out that he was a complete gentleman throughout this entire affair and always moved away from me if I moved closer. He left and even though it was hard without his support I knew that I had done the right thing. I've seen my doctor, added an antipsychotic and am now down to normal moods. I'm so glad that I didn't do anything I would regret now. I am strong and brave and so are all of you living with this illness.
This is one of my favorite songs when I am feeling really down or stressed out. It's called "Just Can't Last" by Natalie Merchant. It always makes me feel better. It's off her "Motherland" album.
I swear I know your face
I wish I knew your name
I wish I could take you by the hand.
If I could name it, if I could just explain it.
If I could only help you, help you understand.
I can see that you're hurting
Weighed down like a beast of burden about to break your back.
God only knows that you're human so what are they trying to do then?
Believe me, they don't understand that you have the weight of the world today.
It's on your back.
A heavy load like that is gonna hold you back.
It's gonna drag you down.
You know it just can't last, you know it just can't last.
They thought they could use you
Push you down and abuse you
And what's so sad is you've decided to hide all your feelings
Got more pain than you can deal with but ask yourself, how can this last?
I know you have the weight of the world today, it's on your back.
A heavy load like that is gonna hold you back, it's gonna drag you down.
You know it just can't last, you know it just can't last.
Happy people are not people for whom nothing bad ever happens. Happy people are people who know how to deal when bad things happen.
My wise Mommy told me that years ago and I think it's true.
Everything happens for a reason I am convinced.
Today was not so great a day. I experienced some pretty bad panic and that put a damper on my plans. I had this great day planned and then just messed it all up when my mental illness symptoms got out of hand.
I felt bad about it, really bad but then I realized something: things do not always go as planned and that's okay. I had a rotten day, didn't do the things I wanted to but hey, that is life and it's okay. I can adapt to unexpected change no matter how annoying or painful it may be.
To look at my "wasted day" in a more positive note, I will list what I did accomplish today despite my symptoms:
1.)Cleaned the kitchen
2.)Went to the gym and worked out for 30 minutes even though my anxiety was wicked high at the gym
3.)Had coffee with a friend and stayed 30 minutes with them eventhough my panic was almost unbearable
4.)Returned a friend's phone call
5.)Took a 30 minute nap after taking some Xanax to ease my panic symptoms
6.)Made my bed
7.)Called my mom
8.)Emailed with another friend
9.)Knitted a few rows on my scarf I am working on
10.)Bought some needed items at Walgreen's
11.)Called my last therapist's billing company to work out a payment plan
So it's not a wasted day. Was it the day I was expecting and wanting? No. Did my panic prevent me from doing everything as planned? Yes. But I have to roll with that and do the best I can.
So the list for the rest of the day so I can feel as productive as possible:
3.)Call my grandmom
5.)Call my stepsister's girlfriend who is very supportive of me and my illness
6.)Knit a few more rows of my scarf
7.)Clean the litter box
8.)Take a short walk
9.)Read some of my book - I am reading Dracula, a great classic - I am determined to finish it soon.
10.)Take out the trash
So here is to no wasted days! Here is to doing the best we can! I hope everyone out there is trucking along, doing the best they can and remembering to be as positive as you can (even when you want to be as cynical as you can, lol.)
I don't think that I've been a very good mod, creating this community and not keeping it up. And I probably won't keep it up much for the present. I'm applying to med school. Yeah, I want to add to the number of (hopefully good) psychiatrists out there. So I'll be busy. But I'll keep checking this.
One last thought before I sorta disappear though. Having bipolar disorder has driven me to pursuing the path of medicine. How has it driven you in your life? Or does it even?
I don't know how many people are from the twin cities metro area, but we are starting a new peer support group aligned with the icarus project. (http://theicarusproject.net
The first meeting is in a month's time, Wednesday, May 24th at 7:00 pm at Arise Bookstore in Minneapolis. (Address: 2441 Lyndale Avenue South) Coffee/tea/desserts will be provided. We are also compiling packets of zines, articles, resource materials etc. There is a new meeting room there that is in the process of being "comfy-fied" so I think it will be a great space for meeting. Already about half a dozen people have expressed interest in participating.
If you are interested in attending, please reply here or at email@example.com
If you aren't from Minneapolis, but are interested in similar group there are some listed on the Icarus Project website. I strongly recommend looking at the website in general because it has loads of resources, art, and really fantastic forums.