Bipolar Answers

I think I am Bipolar

Hello Minhea,  You are wanting confirmation about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I will provide you some information about BPD including diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment however you must speak with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist to get validation of this diagnosis. I will answer your question however it is not a confirmation of your diagnosis.  Some people are more prone to these cyclical changes in mood, also known as cyclothymia. They experience a more or less regular alternation of periods of happiness and sadness, without this phenomenon preventing them from living normally.  As long as it remains bearable, cyclothymia is not a real disease. Bipolar disorders, formerly called psychosis manic depression are characterized by changes in the mood disproportionate in their duration and intensity. Cheerfulness becomes exaggerated euphoria, sadness is expressed by deep depression. The behavioral disorders that accompany these phases deeply disrupt the life of the affected person and degrade their family and professional relationships. Bipolar disorder is an illness that can be serious and requires long-term treatment.   The symptoms of bipolar disorder are cycles of alternating phases of excitement, also called mania, and depression. These cycles are often linked by periods when the mood is normal. They vary in intensity, duration, and frequency from person to person. The alternation of symptoms can be impressive, between hyperactivity, aggressiveness, absence of inhibition, then sadness, depression, and total demotivation. According to the symptoms, sometimes referred to as bipolar disorder type 1 and type 2. Type 1 bipolar disorder is characterized by one or more manic or mixed episodes with or without major depressive episodes. Bipolar disorder type 2 combines at least one major depressive episode with hypomania.   A person in the manic phase is unusually euphoric, energetic, hyperactive, or aggressive. The individual is elated and conceives of unreasonable confidence in himself.  He no longer has inhibition, does or says what goes through his mind, without worrying about the consequences of his actions and words.  He has a very high opinion of himself and does not take any criticism. He is irritable and gets carried away over nothing. His thinking is accelerated. He talks a lot, follows several ideas at the same time, digresses from one topic to the next without always a logical connection. He is teeming with often incongruous projects, moves constantly never feel tired. He may forget to eat for several days and sleep little. His sexual urges are heightened. This state can last for several days or even several weeks. Some sufferers enjoy these manic episodes in which they feel invincible and think that nothing and no one can resist them. Some of them prove to be very successful professionally or very creative, during a manic phase. But mania has mostly negative consequences. The person can act thoughtlessly and cause real upheaval in their life (quitting their job or spending recklessly, for example). Sometimes people with bipolar disorder end up in trouble with the law for crimes committed during manic phases. What is hypomania? A hypomania is a mild form of mania. The person is very energetic, behaves impulsively or recklessly, frequently quarrels with those around him. Her condition is agreeable to her and she denies being sick all the more easily as her troubles do not interfere too much with her daily life. Hypomania is often an early sign of bipolar disorder.   When the depressive phase sets in, discouragement sets in within a few days or weeks. The higher the manic phase, the deeper the depression will be. From hyperactive, the person becomes indifferent to everything, downcast. The symptoms are those of severe depression, such as sadness, overwhelm, slowing down of thought and movement, constant fatigue, lack of motivation, sleep, and appetite disturbances. These manifestations last two to three times longer than the manic phases, often from several weeks to several months. Suicidal ideation is common. Suicide is wrongly considered by the patient as the only way to free himself from his illness and no longer subject those around him to it.   In some patients, there are so-called mixed phases. During these periods, the person simultaneously presents symptoms of mania and depression: restlessness, disturbed sleep, and appetite, suicidal thoughts, etc.   Mixed phases are sometimes observed between the end of a panic attack and the start of a depressive episode. A cycle is made up of a manic phase, a depressive phase, and possibly the normal phase that separates them. The length of a cycle is very variable, ranging from a few hours to a year or more. The frequency of cycles is also very variable. Most untreated patients experience eight to ten manic depressive cycles in their lifetime, but others will experience several cycles in a year. The disease is said to cycle rapidly when the person develops more than four cycles in the year. Treatments and living conditions influence the frequency of repetition of cycles. A patient who is well cared for and surrounded will be more likely to see the cycles spaced out.   When the background treatment with mood regulators is effective, the intensity and frequency of manic cycles decrease significantly, allowing the person to return to a normal life. After several months of treatment, the cycles may become less frequent until they disappear completely. For this reason, all people with bipolar disorder should be treated.   Without treatment, cycles continue and their frequency may increase. The intensity of manic and depressive phases can also worsen. In some cases, ill people develop symptoms of psychosis, hallucinations, and delusions, insistently defending false and illogical beliefs despite evidence to the contrary. The complications of bipolar disorder are manifold. Left untreated, an estimated 25% of people with bipolar disorder make one or more suicide attempts. The risks of alcoholism and drug addiction are significant and the associated behavioral disorders can have serious consequences, including divorce, dismissal, or imprisonment. Bipolar disorder sufferers often resort to a mixed combination of treatment: talk therapy and medications. I would recommend talking with a psychiatrist for a medication consult after being diagnosed. Talk therapy can be provided by a licensed therapist.     
Answered on 10/28/2021

Why can people be diagnosed of more than one mental illness?

Mental health is a confusing subject area, sometimes! People can have 1, 2, 3, or more diagnoses, but all would be accounting for a different branch of what's going on with that person. A lot of symptoms overlap, yes, but each diagnosis is unique in its own regard. You mentioned that you have Bipolar Disorder, BPD, and an eating disorder. Those sound accurate in their diagnosis, given that each is in a different area of mental health, as well as each separate in how it presents. That being said, it does make living difficult sometimes, having several diagnoses. I'm sorry that you struggle with those and I'm sorry to hear that you often feel tired. I don't blame you -- it's difficult to wrestle with yourself all of the time. That being said, it is possible to live a life that you're comfortable with. Some diagnoses are simply there -- thanks, genetics! Bipolar Disorder is probably something that runs in your family, which declares that the diagnosis is NOT YOUR FAULT. Is the diagnosis unfortunately your responsibility to manage? Yes. But it was never your fault in the first place. Medications, reaching out to your positive supports, and reaching out to professionals can all be exceptionally helpful in battling the symptoms that make your life difficult (i.e. mood swings, your ups and downs, feelings of emptiness, etc). Don't hesitate to reach out for support -- it is so necessary for the proper treatment of things like this. You are strong -- you have made it this far! Asking for help can be really difficult -- one of the toughest things in the world to do. That being said, no one was meant to navigate life alone let alone a life that is riddled with emotional difficulty. Identify who your biggest supports are -- the people that help you to feel safe -- and reach out. Your diagnoses can certainly be managed and your life can certainly become more comfortable, but don't be afraid to lean on others in order to beat that tiredness. With hard work and treatment, your diagnosis of an eating disorder can be placed in the status of "in remission," which is when you cease to display the symptoms of that disorder (including the distorted thinking patterns). Bipolar is something that you'll likely wrestle with forever, that that doesn't mean you can't live your life comfortably -- it is possible to have this diagnosis, while also living comfortably, but that's possible through treatment. BPD is likely a result of some difficult things you've been through -- it is generally a result of some sort of trauma. I'm sorry that you've endured something difficult, albeit I'm assuming, but those things will need to be addressed in order to help you move past some of those traits of BPD that make your functioning more difficult (i.e. having stable relationships with others, any level/type of self-harming behavior, etc). I urge you to reach out, because you're worth that! You deserve a life that is comfortable -- a life that isn't so tiring. You aren't alone -- help is here. Reach-out. Grab that life you deserve and enjoy the life that you've created for yourself. 
(MS, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 10/28/2021

What are some tips on coping with a bipolar parent?

Bipolar Disorder is a diagnosis whose symptoms create an erratic and sometimes create gret chaos in the person's life who has the diagnosis but also in the lives of those who regularly come into contact with them.  What seemed fine two or three sentences ago can just as suddenly turn dangerous and lead to a hospitaliztion as you notice.  It can also just as quickly destroy the peaceful setting of a wedding and create forever negative memories of something that should be beautiful and wonderful.  It is, however, as you probably already realize something that is difficult to manage.  Setting boundaries is healthy but it can be difficult to navigate the emotions of another person who is hearing or receiving the boundary setting.  The timing of setting boundaries needs to be chosen with the greatest of care.  It seems that you have been managing this dilemma for a while and would like some guidance. It would be important for you to share how the person diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder has been affecting your life.   You say that this happened 3 years ago so I would ask that you prepare a time line of how she affected your life prior to the diagnosis and since the diagnosis.  No piece of information is too miniscule.  They are all very important to resoling your dilemma and determining how to begin setting boundaries.  Please be as specific as you can concerning any past interactions and attempts to work with her mental health symptoms.  What was successful and what was not successful?  Are you aware of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill a/k/a NAMI?  There are many groups throughout the United States and they provide resources at their websites and meetings that are educational and supportive.  You can reach then at www.nami.org.  You may find that their availability is limited to or heavily internet or virtually focused today.  That would be a good resource whether virtual or in person.  Bipolar Disorder is best managed through a combination of counseling and medication.  Medication is going to be generally a lifelong situation as it is a chronic disease much the same as diabetes or heart disease.  She will decompensate from time to time so finding successful responses to her symptoms that you can use on a regular and steady basis.  This is likely to reduce the chaos and change for you.  Read a good book on Bipolar Disorder. The best writer I know is Kay Jamison who wrote An Unquiet Mind and who is a medical professional diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  You will find that a search of "Bipolar Disorder" on Amazon will produce family books for those who love a family member diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
(Psy.D., LISW-CP/S, CACII)
Answered on 10/28/2021

I really appreciate that because I don't have money .. thank you

Hello Shams, Thank you for reaching out and asking for help. It is very difficult to live with bipolar disorder as it impacts your ability to function socially, emotionally, and physically. I will try to provide you with some tools and resources to help you improve your symptom management and your overall well-being. Firstly, do you belong to a support group? There are numerous groups in the world that help individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder (BPD) to access resources but also that provide them with a space to vent and express their feelings. Some of these groups are lead by a trained facilitator and others are lead by people who struggle with BPD. Secondly, it is very important that you maintain good communication with your medical doctor and psychiatrist. Being compliant with your medication is going to ensure that you remain stable. it is important also that you get enough sleep, eat well and diminish stressors in your life. I also would advise you to have a daily meditative/mindful practice to build your coping skills. The more you learn about guided visualizations and meditation, the easier it will be for you to access these skills when you need them the most. Thirdly, let's destigmatize the perception of the disorder. Suffering from BPD is not a choice but a consequence of factors that are beyond your control. You didn't choose to present with it anymore that I chose to suffer from diabetes. It is important that you are aware that you are suffering from it and not it. Saying: "I live with bipolar disorder rather than I am bipolar." In one case, you manage a disorder and in the other you are the disorder. Let me tell you that your identity might be impacted by living with BPD but it doesn't mean that you become it. The key to success is education. The more you learn about treatment, management and reach out to other folks suffering from BPD, the more you will gain a sense of empowerment. I will attach a few links to this message so that you can access some online resources. Best of luck to you.   https://nami.org/Home   https://www.dbsalliance.org   https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/  
Answered on 10/28/2021

How do I know if I have bipolar disorder?

Hello and thank you for reaching out to Betterhelp for support. Our thoughts create our feelings and our feelings determine how we act. It seems like your thoughts are racing and becoming more emotional in nature which is causing the highs and the lows.  It sounds like you are experiencing some emotional instabilities at this point when it might not have been as noticeable earlier on in life. There is really only one way to know if you have Bipolar Disorder and that is to have a consultation with a Psychiatrist. They are the professionals who can make the official diagnosis based on your symptoms because it is composed of several different factors over a specific time period which would classify such a diagnosis. Diagnosis or not, it seems like the fluctuating moods and the ability to overthink is impacting daily functioning at this point.  Keep in mind also that since you have ASD, there could be some natural overlapping. We would not know from just basic examples if you were struggling more with anxiety types of symptoms combined with your ASD or if Bipolar could be a consideration. Look around your neighborhood and determine if there are any free clinics or resources for if funds are tight and see if you can consult with a mental health professional who can further explain based on what you are experiencing exactly.  When it comes time to finding strategies for emotional regulation, I would challenge you to focus on raising your self awareness and catching yourself in unhelpful thoughts. If you notice that you are obsessing or fixating on something which is not serving you, visualize a Stop Sign and internally say, "Stop!" Then challenge yourself to replace the thought with something more productive. Often if we can intercept at the negative thoughts, it can prevent as many negative emotions which can make us behave in a way that feels more stable. Check out "Guided Meditations" and "Progressive Muscle Relaxation" online as well. You can get free scripts and videos for these forms of Mindfulness and when you feel that urgency in life, it is helpful to focus on redirecting your thoughts and staying more present.    Best wishes! 
(LMHC, CRC)
Answered on 10/28/2021

Do I have bipolar disorder

Hi, It takes a lot of strength for a person to even ask this question.   Thank you. The term “bipolar disorder” is often used by nonprofessionals to give a title to themselves and/or someone else when there are seemingly quick shifts to a person’s personality. One day they are bouncing off the walls and have lots of energy and then the next day it seems like they are sad and withdrawn.    However, the only people that can give an accurate diagnosis are professionals trained in mental health and in assigning a diagnosis to an individual.    Some of these professionals are Social Workers, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Nurse Practitioners trained in mental health and others. Bipolar disorder is classified as a mental health disorder exhibited by shifts in mood not typical of that person. Such as, an increase or decrease in energy levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. There are three types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder and Cyclomatic Disorder.  Each diagnosis has specific criteria that needs to be met before an official diagnosis can be made.   However, it is very common for a person to think that because something is different, there must be “something wrong with me.” However, many moods, behaviors and emotions can be connected to certain lifestyle choices. The following are some areas to explore: 1.     Breathe! It sounds simple.  If you weren’t breathing, you wouldn’t be here. With that being said, there are right ways to breathe and inefficient ways to breathe. If you are in a situation where you become anxious, stressed, emotional, angry and so on, you can do a deep breathing exercise right where you are and nobody would know the difference because you are simply breathing! There are different types of breathing exercises that you can explore to find the one that fits best with you.   Breathing the correct way is important! 2.     Sleep!   Sleep deprivation is a common and widespread problem amongst all age groups. If you aren’t getting enough sleep (everyone is different here), combined with activities directly before bed (technology!), combined with distractions in the bedroom (TV, mobile phone, work, noises and lights), it will only take a few days to experience a change in mood, behavior and emotions. It will affect your ability to tolerate and “laugh off” annoying situations and behaviors of others.  It can cause you to be angry and easily “lash out” at someone for apparently no reason. So, if you get quality sleep one week and then poor sleep the next week, it can be interpreted as “something must be wrong with me.”     3.     Nutrition! What we eat and drink has a big impact on our mental, physical, social and emotional functioning. Nutrition is often compared to that of a car or performance vehicle. If you put the wrong stuff in the car, it won’t function at its optimal level and may break down and need constant repairs. On the other hand, if you put good stuff in your car, it will function at its optimal level and will prevent frequent breakdowns and repairs. These will help you function at your best: 1.     Drinking water! 2.     Eating fruits and vegetables 3.     Limiting alcohol and other harmful substances 4.     Do not vape or smoke cigarettes.    4.         Exercise! Exercise has been proven to have enormous benefits to our emotional, social and physical well-being. It can help you process upset feelings and experiences.   The best way to “get rid of them” is to get moving and allow the good chemicals in your brain to be activated. 5.     Rationally detaching from school and/or our jobs/career. Rationally detaching means to mentally let go or separate yourself from school or work.  If you “take home” your work and have no separation between the two, you can begin to become anxious, moody, sleep deprived, and be at risk to engage in harmful behaviors. This then lends itself to burnout which doesn’t do you or anyone around you any good. My final thoughts are to explore the above categories and see if any of them may help explain your feelings. You can/should also consult with a professional that can give you an unbiased assessment of what might be going on with you that is resulting in these feelings and concerns. All the best, Steven R. Levey, PhD, LCSW  
(PhD, LCSW)
Answered on 10/28/2021

Is it possible to have BPD and bipolar disorder at the same time

Hi there. I'm sorry that you are struggling with the symptoms that you are experiencing. I can imagine that it is overwhelming and distressing for you. What I would like to do for your question is to give you a better sense of what BPD is in contrast with Bipolar Disorder. From what you described, it is highly likely that you have just BPD. BPD often mimics or appears like Bipolar Disorder. The difference between the two is with respect to the length of time and severity of the symptoms. For Bipolar Disorder, people often experience grandiose ideas, impulsivity secondary to those ideas, high levels of energy, and a decreased need for sleep. These symptoms occur together and are for a specific period of time therefore considered a "mood episode." With BPD, the symptoms are more pervasive and difficult to control in your day-to-day. The symptoms do include: difficulty with maintaining relationships because you go back and forth between "idealizing" to "hating" them; fears of abandonment; self-harming behaviors to help with alleviating emotional pain; frequent and intense experiences of suicidal ideation and/or gestures; impulsive behaviors (the goal being to alleviate emotional pain or to "fill the emptiness"); difficulty with managing your temper/anger outbursts; frequent and intense moodiness/mood lability; fleeting paranoia when you are under a lot of stress; lack of an identity/poor self-esteem (you often build your relationships with others by being a chamelion/blending in so that you are not rejected and feel like you belong but don't have a strong sense of self); and, chronic feelings of emptiness (which fuels impulsivity, self-harming and clinging to relationships even if they are unhealthy). Self-harming is one of the more "classic" or telling symptoms of BPD. When a person is experiencing bipolar disorder, they may become impulsive and also, during that episode, struggling with insight whereas when you are experiencing symptoms of BPD, you are aware of what is occurring but you have difficulty managing how you feel because it is so overwhelming. Can people have both? Absolutely, but there is generally a period of time when if Bipolar symptoms are under control that you are better able to see if BPD symptoms are still occurring or if they have stopped. I hope that this is helpful.
(MPhil, LMHC)
Answered on 10/28/2021

How do I get over my ex and move on?

Hi! This sounds like a lot. During the month you guys were communicating through email was the expectation for reconcilliation? Did anything happen during the emails that you suspect might have caused the sudden halt to conversation? Closure really is important to us as people when we are having to end a relationship for any reason. It sounds like you did not get closure and was not expecting the relationship to end entirely. Is that right or am I misunderstanding? Getting over your ex and moving on can be made even harder when there is no closure. Other factors to consider are how long you guys were together and such. Since we do not really have the abilitiy to communicate all the factors in the relationship some general suggestions that I hope might be helpful are for you to give yourself a "pity party" what I mean by this is perhaps saying ok I am going to take this weekend to just really be a mess about this and I will really use this time to validate my feelings of grief, frustration, and such. After this though I am going to do my best to get back into my normal life routine or make plans on how I will adopt to changes in this routine made by the change in the relationship ending. A lot of times not allowing ourselves to really process our emotions and instead trying to be strong or distract ourselves makes moving on even longer and harder to do. That being said we also do not typically have the luxury of spending a long time really down and upset while we allow the more overwhelming waves of our unpleasant feeling emotions to process through our mind. Balancing mental health while dealing with loss and making sure we balance our lives to avoid further upset and complications down the road can be tricky. You said that the original split up happened after a bad bipolar episode. I know this disorder can also make moving past these emotions harder. Without knowing what you mean by a bad episode and what you were feeling during it I would not want to say anything about that aspect and potentially be giving you really wrong or inconsiderateadvice. I would love to work with you if that is something you are interested in and feel is a good match for you. 
Answered on 10/28/2021

Am I bipolar?

Diagnosing Bipolar disorder is one of the more challenging things to do in psychology. Part of the reason, is that Bipolar Disorder is now perceived as being on a spectrum, meaning that a wide-range of behaviors, from mild behaviors to self-destructive, delusional behaviors can be symptoms of the disease. Mood swing are not always indicative of Bipolar. Any of us are subject to mood swings, irritability and anger and these feeling can be intensified by depression, anxiety or stress. Based upon the information that you have provided it would difficult to say if you have Bipolar Disorder without a further assessment.  To look for for Bipolar Disorder here are things that I would assess. I would determine if you have ever experienced a Major Depressive Episode. Major Depression is marked by a chronic sad mood, lost of interest in life, sleep disturbance, feelings of hoplessness and/or worthlessness along with behaivors like withdrawing from friends and family. Depression tends to persist for several weeks before letting up and you would likely be well-aware if you have experienced a depressive episode. Often, people with depression need psychotherapy and sometimes medication to help them climb out of that dark hole. While depression can be marked by anger and irritability, there are usually other signs that accompany the condition. Again, we all have fluctuating moods and depending on our stress levels, this can result in anger and saying things to others that you might regret. It is, not by itself, fully indicative of a depressive episode.  I would also assess you for a history of a manic episode. Mania can be described as several things ranging from excess energy to outright hallucinations. In my interview, I would be looking for the following kinds of signs: periods of time in which you functioned well with little or no sleep, excessive happiness and energy that was unlike you, a temporary sense of grandiosity or self-importance, racing thougts, distractability and exxagerated self confidence. Mania can sometimes be characterized by a break from reality with active delusions or hallucinations. Sometimes mania can include impulsive and reckless behaviors such as driving dangerously at excessive speeds or spending money without caution.  If I determined that you had a history of both a manic and a depressive episode, you would meet the criteria for a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis. If you are still particularly concerned about having this disorder, please schedule a session with me or one of my colleagues for further evaluation. Based upon your question, there are likely other causes for your mood swings but a complete evaluation may be able to give you peace of mind. 
Answered on 10/28/2021

How do you know if you have bpd and why do I have strong uncontrollable sexual urges when depressed?

Hey there! You said that you were really concerned about having BPD and uncontrollable sexual urges when depressed. You also mentioned already have a diagnosis of bipolar 1, agoraphobia and anxiety, along with stealing, and mood swings. It sounds like you are really going through a lot.   Well, therapy might be a good place to start, whether it’s through Betterhelp, or another agency. If cost is a concern, put your location + community mental health into google, and a low cost agency (who often works on a sliding scale with payment as low as zero), should pop up. I wish there was an easy, overnight magic wand type answer for you. I would also recommend seeing a psychiatrist! Doing therapy and medication management can help you learn about your symptoms and develop skills to heal. It’s not an easy path, but neither is the one you are on if I’m reading you correctly.   So what is therapy? Well, a worksheet that I like to use has the following information. Psychotherapy is a process that many believe is shrouded in mystery, but it doesn't have to be that way. Therapists are normal people who usually chose their profession because they care about other people, they're good listeners, and they want to help. What does a therapist actually do, and how can they help me?Therapists act as a neutral party who can listen and try to understand without judgment. Therapists help you learn about yourself by pointing out patterns and giving honest feedback. Therapists teach specific techniques and strategies to deal with problems. Therapists can refer you to additional resources in the community that might be helpful. Therapists provide a safe place to learn and practice social skills.You won't be annoying your therapist, whomever you choose, by being present and working to change and grow as a person. It sounds like you have a lot going on, and therapy really can help you sort through everything.  What are the limitations of psychotherapy?Therapists should not tell you what to do or try to direct your life. Think of the proverb: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for life." Therapists will help you learn to solve your own problems, rather than solving them for you. Some mental illness cannot be managed by psychotherapy alone. If medication is recommended, it's probably important. Benefiting from psychotherapy does require work on your part. Speaking to a therapist for an hour a week, and then pushing it out of your mind, probably won't do you any good. Complete homework, practice your skills, and legitimately try the recommendations you are given. Therapists cannot be your friend after starting a therapeutic relationship. Therapists generally like their clients, and would love to get to know them better, but ethical rules prevent the formation of relationships outside of treatment. It isn't you, it's just that the therapist could lose their license! Therapists cannot read your mind. If you hide information, or are dishonest, you're wasting your own time and money.Therapy is a great way to help you sort out what’s causing the anger, and develop a plan for change.A therapist can help you figure out what you want to change, and work with you develop a plan for change. Anyway, I hope this helps you out and gives you some food for thought. I encourage you to reach out and talk to a therapist. I can pretty much guarantee that there is one out there who you will click with and can help you figure out how to grow and achieve your goals. Therapy can be expensive, but it's an investment in yourself. Ultimately, it’s hard to help you figure out what to do without knowing more about you and the situation. You’re in a tough spot! I wish you the best of luck!
(LMHC, MCAP, (FL), LMHC, (WA), LCPC, (ME))
Answered on 10/28/2021

Do I have BPD? If so how do I handle/deal with it?

Hi Konix. Thank you for reaching out and asking a question to get clarity and understanding. It sounds like you are curious about your mental health diagnosis. From what you shared I can tell that you have done a lot of research and that is a good thing to gain education and also to assure you of agency over your concerns. When you reach out and research it does help quite a bit. When it comes to diagnosing formally it is very important to have actual consultations with mental health professionals in order to avoid mislabeling. This is vital because if you suspect you have one diagnosis and you are incorrect you could be following the wrong treatment plan and directive and that would not be good at all and could actually have adverse results. I would suggest that you keep a notebook of your symptoms and record them for at least seven days and once you have this information please make an appointment with a counselor or psychiatrist to be able to go over your specific findings and be ready to answer lots of questions related to your mental health history as well as your family history. Typically you will be asked to have an intake appointment and complete paperwork that aligns with being a new patient. This information helps the mental health professional to get to know you better and it helps to build a healthy start and foundation for your time together.  I see that you went to a medical doctor and discussed your mental health and the question came up about medication and counseling and you declined. I am wondering what made you decline? I think that it would be good to explore your reasoning. I suggest journaling and listing to help you to gain clarity about your apprehension with a mental health practitioner. When it comes to medication I suggest seeing a psychiatrist because they are specialists when it comes to mental health prescriptions and it is always best to see someone who is skilled and an expert in this area. You also mentioned concerns about your interactions with others and that might be a good thing to explore with a professional as well. There are opportunities to work on social skills and to gain techniques that might make your habits with others less awkward and give you an opportunity to feel more confident about interacting with others. I do hope that this feedback is helpful Konix. I think the main thing that I can stress is that a professional is a route that it sounds like you need whether you have bipolar disorder or not. Counselors are really helpful for exploring many factors and you mentioned some serious ones in regards to childhood trauma and so many other issues. I am grateful to be able to interact with you and I hope that this brings you a bit of information that provides peace and education. Remember if you are concerned about your safety you can reach out to crisis lines as well. Many crisis lines have text functions too and they have trained volunteers who can help you if you feel as though you are in crisis or if you are having an emergency and you don't know what to do. This is not a long-term solution but it can help if you need something right away.  The one that I usually suggest is 1-800-273-TALK. Take care and know that you can always reach out virtually to a counselor on Betterhelp for assistance and consultation. I know that it is not easy when you are having mental health and emotional concerns.  
(LPC, NCC, RYT-200)
Answered on 10/28/2021

As the spouse of someone diagnosed with bipolar, how do I take care of myself?

Hi Sunshine, I admire your dedication to your spouse and want to help with the illness that has taken over his/her life.  You are correct when you say that bipolar is a "mean" illness and it takes a lot of compassion to understand that the person is not in control of many of their responses to others. It is understandable that you would feel emotionally and physically exhausted after caring for a spouse with a disease for so many years.  But one thing that caretakers often forget is that - you must take care of yourself in order to have the energy to care for others.  If you do not make time for self-care, then you will essentially try to pour from an empty bucket.  Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act - but a way to recharge so that you CAN take care of others.  Self-care helps to build resilience and deal with all the stressors in your life. Self-care can be achieved in many different ways.  Are you getting your physical needs met?  Meaning...are you getting enough sleep?  Are you eating healthy?  Do you get exercise?  All these things are very important to staying healthy and keeping stress at bay.   Are you able to spend time with friends and family?  Social time is very important to our well-being, but many times when we are caretakers, our time is dedicated only to the person we are attending to, and we begin to feel isolated which breeds depression. It is also important for self-care to acknowledge our own emotions.  When dealing with caring for someone with a long-term illness, there are a myriad of emotions that will come into play because of all that you have to deal with.  Many people experience anxiety, depression, anger and sadness while being the caretaker for a spouse, then feel guilty when they acknowledge those feelings to themselves.  It is important to realize that emotions are not right or wrong - they just ARE.  It is very normal to have all these feelings because of everything you are dealing with, and to be gentle with yourself when you have these feelings.   Lastly, and most importantly, you must take care of your own mental health by finding a person that you trust to talk over all these things.  Whether it is a trusted friend/ family member; or you find a counselor that you trust - find someone that you will be able to talk openly and honestly about all these things.  Just being able to say your feelings out loud sometimes provides so much relief from stress.  Being able to say all of the things that you think, and know that you are in a judgement-free zone, will help take a lot of the burden off of you. I wish you the best on this journey.  
(MA, LPC, CCTP)
Answered on 10/28/2021

Bipolar

Hello, I would need to know what you mean by moods on the rapid and what you mean by the 12- 30 span. If your saying that one minute you are fine, and next minute you become dysregulated, you should try a DBT technique called the Wise Mind. The wise mind is when we use a balance between rational and emotional mind, we are mindful in our decision making path, and are honoring. nurturing emotions while trying to rationalize our thought process. You have to get into a place where you are able to identify the cognitive triangle. This can be A. what the initiation event trigger is. B. what was your thought. C. what was your feeling. and D. What was your behavior. Once you can direct your thinking pattern, you will be able to regulate your emotions. As always, speak further with your assigned counselor on other ways to manage dysregulated behaviors. If when you are having these moments of dysregulation and tend to feel your body is not practicing mindfulness. there is a technique called grounding to manage yourself. What you would do is the following: Take a look around the room and identify 3 colors in the room. Once you have chosen your three colors, identify an emotion associated with that color. This can be an emotion you are hoping to feel in the moment versus being angry or sad. Then once you have identified your emotion, think about the last time you felt that emotion along with the positive memory associated with it. Notice what you hear, feel, taste, smell, and see. You can do this exercise with someone you trust, or on your own. If you are having a hard time identifying the emotions with the colors, you can choose 3 objects instead. Of the 3 objects you can discuss a positive memory related to the object. This can be when you first received the object, or even when you notices something about it. I hope you find this exercise of grounding to be helpful. If you would like to know more techniques, lets connect or speak with your assigned counselor.
Answered on 10/28/2021

Coping with bipolar

The first step, if it is not already diagnosed, would be to get an evaluation from a qualified psychiatrist or licensed mental health professional such as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or other equivalents. After this is confirmed I would work to get on medication as quickly as possible. Coping skills can help, but are an inadequate stand alone intervention for bipolar disorder. It is genetic and biologically caused. I would also seek out patient education and information such as through counseling, or The Depression, Bipolar Support Alliance https://www.dbsalliance.org/. This will give you a good start on information you need to know to manage your illness in supplemental ways to medication, and to be able to recognize and track symptoms, and communicate better with your doctor about your symptoms or progress. I would also work to reduce any avoidable stresses that you don't feel you are stable enough, or have sufficient coping skills to avoid being overwhelmed by stress. Bipolar disorder is lifelong and relapses are normal. They can be minimized by ongoing contact with your medication provider, reporting symptom flare ups early, use of good support system, exercise and involvement in activities that give balance if you are doing too much. It is also important, when getting your evaluation to ensure you report about past episodes of possible mania. It is not uncommon for a mental health practitioner to simply focus on what symptoms you are showing at the time you present to them. Part of a thorough evaluation should include asking you about possible past manic episodes, which research shows happen less frequently than depression in bipolar disorder. It takes the average person who has undiagnosed bipolar disorder 8 years to get the proper diagnosis when past mania is not screened for. Taking a "mood stabilizer" is paramount to getting the best therapeutic response. For a percentage of persons with bipolar, taking an anti-depressant alone may trigger a manic episode and thus be harmful. Mood stabilizers include such medications as Lamictal, Lithium, Depakote, Tegretol or others in the same class. It is important to know that bipolar disorder is treatable, not an indication of weakness or lack of self control. It's not uncommon for persons with bipolar illness to have severe irritability and anger. If this happens enough it can shape one's self-esteem and lead to a view such as "I must be a really mean and cruel person to act this way." With medication this can be controlled. With mania related anger this is not who you are at your core, it is the illness showing itself. You are not your diagnosis so please get help and take care of yourself!
Answered on 10/28/2021

I have a son that is 30 yrs old who was diagnose with Bipolar/Syspherinic and he refuse to take medicine or get therapy and I am disabled and I am afraid of him and do not know how to convince him to get help

I empathize with your situation. Mental illness causes a ripple effect. When it is this severe sometimes families can feel they are not going to be listened to by providers. I want to acknowledge and understand your pain. There are a lot of dynamics in your story that need to be addressed. It appears that your son requires medication and psychotherapy. If you are in fear for your life, he may be presenting a danger to others (means there is a substantial risk that physical harm, will be inflicted by him upon another person as a result of his mental or emotional impairment) in which you should seek voluntary hospitalization or consider involuntary hospitalization if necessary. Involuntary hospitalization/commitment depends on the laws of your state. Seek information about your state's mental health act and crisis resources or Call 1800273 TALK(8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or text MHA to 741741. Since you have concerns about your safety take him to the nearest emergency room or dial 911. I would also suggest that you get support for yourself. Every person is different. Recognize your limits in this situation. You will need someone outside of your family like a therapist to discuss your feelings and frustrations without fear of upsetting him/her. A therapist can help you understand how your son's mental illness affects your life and help you explore your unmet or repressed needs and emotions. There are support groups for family members of people that have severe and persistent mental illness through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). These are often peer-led groups. You should remember you are not responsible for causing his problems or fixing his condition. You will also should educate yourself to understand what your son is facing to help you calm any guilt, anger, embarrassment, shame, and/ or fear you may be feeling. A therapist is an excellent resource to understand mental illness and recovery for you and your son. It is important that you remain as healthy as possible. You indicated that you are disabled; so remember to pace yourself and not overextend yourself to cause further problems. You can only offer compassion and acceptance even when love seems of little impact to your son.
Answered on 10/28/2021

How do I know if I'm bipolar

Before someone is diagnosed with bipolar disorder a medical evaluation is recommended as many types of medical issues can mimic bipolar disorder such as hormonal problems. If your erratic moods are impacting your life negatively then it can be helpful to discuss this with a professional. While the term bipolar disorder can be a bit intimidating, there is no need to fear the diagnosis. There are treatments that work! A person with bipolar disorder will experience shifts in mood, usually dramatic. Often the shifts look like periods of feeling on top of the world, when we feel that we are capable of doing really great things, we call this phase mania. During this time one might overspend, have indiscriminate sex or stay up all night. As you can imagine this can create significant problems in one's life. Sleep is not usually missed during this time. This can last for days only to be followed by a period where you feel unable to function due to severe depression. You might explain this as regret regarding one's actions during a manic episode but it is much more than that. Sometimes the mood shifts are not quite as dramatic or severe but the shifts are clear to those who live with you. Relationships can be tumultuous with times of increased passion followed by ambivalence toward the relationship. Often a partner can be confused by the behavior, as they are unsure of why the behavioral changes occurred. Persons who have bipolar disorder may find that they have difficulty with employment, they can misread ques and have difficulty with colleague relationships. Usually, this is due to the instability of mood and colleagues feeling as if they are unable to "read" someone's moods. Behavior can be erratic and unpredictable in the workplace leading to loss of employment. The good news is that bipolar disorder is treatable with mood stabilizing medication and therapy that teaches you good self-care along with techniques for managing your symptoms. I encourage you to take the time to learn to manage any erratic behavior you may be/have experienced that is keeping you from creating the life you want. Hoping you set and reach your personal goals for healthy living. Rebecca
Answered on 10/28/2021

I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder I knew all along I did not have it. But my mood swings are so high and low and feel so intense. I have strong mood swings in the same hour or day. Is that border personality? Ps I have had a lot of trauma

The information you have provided in your question isn’t enough for me or anyone to tell you if its Bipolar disorder or a Personality Disorder. Mood swings that are changing throughout the day can be indicative of many mental health problems. Whether you have a specific mood disorder, or any other mental health disorder requires assessment and information about other symptoms involved and how they are impacting your daily functions. While some of the possible diagnosis may require medication in order to stabilize mood such as in the case of Bipolar Disorder and some personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder. Counseling can help you not only cope with the mood swings but learn skills to reduce them in such a way that they are not affecting your everyday life task. If you have a psychiatrist who has given you this diagnosis it is paramount that you have candid conversations with, he/she in order to understand how they concluded Bipolar disorder and what medication is best for your individual case. Further, unresolved trauma can have detrimental effects in our overall wellbeing and quality of life. Counseling would help you process the trauma in order to reduce its effects on your current mental health. Some counseling modalities that would be beneficial depending on your diagnosis include Cognitive Behavior Therapy to examine how your thoughts are influencing how you feel and behave, or in the case of trauma Cognitive Processing Therapy which has been established as an evidence-based treatment for trauma. As well as Dialectal Behavioral Therapy which was created specifically for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. Which teaches skills such as mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance in order to be better at managing emotions which is usually a concern with a person that has Borderline Personality. Finally, although I am not able to answer your specific question about your specific diagnosis, I believe with the assistance of counseling you can find a way to feel better. I would be happy to work with you and help you understand your particular mental health concerns and effectively come up with a treatment plan that will help you overcome current barriers to a meaningful and fulfilling life.
(M.Ed, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 10/28/2021

How to start getting treatment for an undiagnosed bipolar during this pandemic?

Hello Struggling Jazzy Beans, I am sorry to hear you have had so much trouble getting the help you need. If you are looking for a diagnosis I cannot do that here. This site is purely for counseling services, but I do think that could help you during this time. There are other tela health sites that you may want to look into to get your diagnosis like Teladoc, of if you have a PCP see if they can book a virtual visit. Your PCP may even be able to refer you to someone new who could advise you on medications. I know you said there are not many services in your area, but with virtual visits becoming a normal thing you may be able to work with someone outside your area, that you typically would not have access to. I am sorry brightside was not effective for you. But you could email these other services to see if they could help you before you sign up. As far as counseling services I am happy to help teach you some tools that may help you get through this tough time. I have attached some resources for you since you said you may not have access to Better Help services right away. www.teladoc.com to see if you have better luck finding a doctor there. SUPPORT NUMBERS: Emergency - 911 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Veterans Crisis Line - 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) LGBTQ Crisis Line - 1-866-488-7386 Teen Line - 310-855-4673 HopeLine Text Service - Text HOPELINE to 741741 International clients, please refer to this link below for a list of helplines in your area https://www.betterhelp.com/gethelpnow/ For services just for IL Illinois Call4Calm Text Line "If you or a loved one are struggling with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic and need emotional support, text TALK to 552020 for English or HABLAR for Spanish. This service is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People seeking assistance will remain anonymous and will provide only their first name and zip code, which enables the service to link you to a counselor in your area who is knowledgeable about available local resources." The state of IL has many resources you can access. You can find the complete list here. https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=123539
Answered on 10/28/2021

What do I do if I think I have BPD?

You have to remember with anything, that you can’t diagnose borderline personality disorder by yourself. My recommendation would be for you to find a psychiatrist or psychologist to obtain an evaluation as it would be important especially if you are considering medication as part of your treatment. BPD is often confused or overlaps with other conditions, so you need a mental health professional to evaluate you and make an accurate diagnosis. Try to find someone with experience diagnosing and treating BPD. As BPD is rarely diagnosed on its own because it often co-occurs with other disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder; substance abuse; eating disorders; and anxiety disorders. When BPD is successfully treated, the other disorders often get improve, too. But the reverse isn’t always true. For example, you may successfully treat symptoms of depression and still struggle with BPD. For the assessment, it is good to find out if you have any family members with any mental health issues to ensure that you are provided with an accurate diagnosis especially since BPD is caused by a combination of inherited or internal biological factors and external environmental factors, such as traumatic experiences in childhood. Although many people with BPD take medication, the fact is that there is very little research showing that it is helpful. What’s more, FDA has not approved any medications for the treatment of BPD. This doesn’t mean that medication is never helpful but if you suffer from co-occurring problems such as depression or anxiety, medication will address those problems. There is not a cure for BPD itself. In addition to a psychiatrist or psychologist, you need to find a therapist who is qualified in BPD treatment and recovery. Therapy may serve as a safe space where you can start working through your relationship and trust issues and “try on” new coping techniques. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and/or Schema-Focused Therapy are helpful treatment modalities when addressing BPD. DBT treatment is a type of psychotherapy (talk therapy) that utilizes a cognitive-behavioral approach. DBT emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. Schema Therapy is an integrative approach to treatment that combines the best aspects of cognitive-behavioral, experiential, interpersonal and psychoanalytic therapies into one unified model. Schema-Focused Therapy has shown remarkable results in helping people to change negative ("maladaptive") patterns which they have lived with for a long time, even when other methods and efforts they have tried before have been largely unsuccessful.
(MSS, MLSP, HSV, LCSW)
Answered on 10/28/2021