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Mental Seek Treatment Illnesses


Because of the stigma attached to mental illness, many people with Bipolar Disorder do not seek medical treatment.  "It’s embarrassing”, "It’s not me it’s everyone else” "I feel that it’s not my fault” "I just don’t feel up to it” "I don’t want to talk about it”. Does this sound familiar?  Well most people with a mental illness experience the symptoms and simply don’t know what to do or even understand what’s going on. 

To help them you must get them the medical attention they need. You must convince them that it is not their fault and that they need help.  They may feel isolated and depressed about it.  Other times they feel elated and like they can leap a tall building in a single bound.  While manic they will clean excessively, throw their selves into work and become a workaholic alienating their family, they will paint the whole house in a single weekend. 

When depressed they don’t want the help, they will isolate, they will cry uncontrollably, they will feel as though they are in a dark hole that they can’t get out of.  When in a depression it is most likely that they will not respond.  However, when manic they may.

Get as much literature as you can to help them and read it to them. Take this simple test to see if they fit the criteria:

Mania:


1.   Do you have a large amount of energy?

2.   Do you need a lot less sleep?

3.   Do you feel that you’re on top of the world?

4.   Do you feel powerful, like you can do anything you want, like you are invincible?

5.   Do you feel restless all the time?

6.   Do you spend lots of money on things you can’t afford and don’t need?

7.   Do you feel very mad?

8.   Do friends tell you that you have been acting differently? 

9.   Do they tell you that you are talking louder?

10. Are you starting fights more frequently?

11. Are you getting angrier with time?

12. Do you have trouble trying to focus on anything for a very long time?

13. Do you seem to talk really fast and can’t seem to stop talking?

14. Do you have a lot of sexual energy?

Depression:


1.   Do you feel sad most of the time?

2.   Do you have trouble sleeping, feeling restless and awakening not feeling refreshed?

3.   Do you have trouble enjoying the things that you previously did?

4.   Are you always tired and find it hard to get out of bed?

5.   Do you feel ill often and have a lot of aches and pains?

6.   Do you find it difficult to focus?

7.   Are you forgetful?

8.   Do you have trouble eating, is food not appealing to you?

9.   Are you mad at everything and everybody?

10. Do you feel upset and fearful, but don’t know why?

11. Are you having trouble feeling like yourself?

12. Do you feel bad quite a bit of the time?

13. Do you not like yourself very much?

14. Do you feel like there is not much point in living?

15. Do you feel like nothing good is ever going to happen to you?

16. Do you think about death a lot?

17. Do you think of how you might kill yourself?

18. Do you have low energy sexually?

If you answered yes too many of the above questions, you may be Bipolar.  Give this test to your friend or relative.  Let them see for themselves.  They will probably relate to the list.  Then follow this article to get them the help they need.

First take the test.  Then seek the treatment of a trained professional, one who is trained in Bipolar Disorder.  You may also have a totally different mental illness, as a lot of the mental illnesses have similar symptoms, but your doctor can determine which illness you have. Note that not all Psychiatrists are trained well in Bipolar Disorder.  What I mean by that is they may not have as much experience as you need. My psychiatrist is very well trained in Bipolar Disorder.  He remains calm and calms me.  This is a good way to think of it.  If they are calming to you then they are for you. My first Psychiatrist handled things very differently and ended up yelling at me, this is not what you want.

Next seek the treatment of a well-trained therapist.  They must have experience in Bipolar Disorder, if that’s what you have been diagnosed with.  My therapist can read me like a book. She is very good.  She has even stopped sessions when I have been too manic to proceed, knowing that we will get nowhere.  She will call my Psychiatrist and explain the need at the time and she will send me to him.  She is wonderful and I am very lucky to have her.  This article is dedicated to her, Melinda my therapist.

If you have been abused and Bipolar Disorder is a result of that, talk therapy is crucial to getting past it.  I have to admit that a lot of the time in the past I have let some of the things she has told me go in one ear and right out the other, not intentionally, but I have a hard time concentrating and have a terrible memory problem because of my pain medications, another side-effect.  But eventually I get it.  She has told me numerous times that she has told me something before.  I have not listened well enough.  I eventually get it but the Bipolar makes it hard to focus sometimes and I forget.  It is crucial also that you find someone who is trained in child abuse, if you have been abused.  They will know what to do for you in your time of need. 

Having large amounts of energy is a common trait of Bipolar Disorder. You may feel so energetic that you feel you can do anything.  You know this is not true, but you feel it anyway.  Slow down and take your medication.  This will help to dispel the feeling.  It is good to have energy, but too much is not good, as it can cause other health problems.  If you feel energetic, do something to work through it.  Work on your hobby; put the energy to good use.  Clean the house, but be careful not to get carried away.  Have sex with your mate, this always helps to spend excessive energy and it will bring you closer to your mate.  In other words take your medication to bring you down and put your energy to good use.

If you find that you don’t need much sleep, realize that you do, you may need a sleep aid.  One of the medications that help with Bipolar Disorder is Valium, and it’s not addictive. I went through a period where I couldn’t sleep at all.  I had to go on sleep medication for a short time.  You may have to do this too.  If you do have to go on sleep medications or Valium, realize that it won’t be forever. Realize that you are only doing what you have to get some sleep until you get back on track.  If you go the Valium route, this is not addictive, and it has a benefit for your mental illness too.   Depravation of REM sleep makes people have psychotic episodes.  So don’t deprive yourself of your REM cycle. It will only make your symptoms worse.

When you feel that you are on top of the world you may like this feeling.  It is not realistic though.  This feeling is euphoric.  It’s kind of like being high.  You need to talk to your therapist about it and take your medication to bring you back to reality.  Reality is where you belong.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you feel this way.  Always take this disease One Day At A Time. 

You may feel that you don’t need sleep medications, but you really do because you are living in the symptoms at this time.  You want to control your symptoms as much as possible. For example: this feeling may make you overspend (exhibiting poor judgment, another symptom), this is not good for your pocket book.  It may cause strife with your mate and you don’t want any more strife than you already have.  If I’m correct, you probably have lived with these feelings for a very long time, they may feel comfortable to you, but they are not normal.  You need to get help for your symptoms to recover to the best of your ability. 

Remember that recovery is individual to each person, what works for one may not work for another.  Also remember that you are now being recognized for being ill, validating your illness.  This is very important, as you may have lived with this secret for many years.  It may have cost you a lot in your life, like being fired from jobs because of your symptoms.  And, you are going to have to adjust your life to fit the new set of rules you have to live by, which will be given to you by your therapist, known as tools to cope, and taking medications.  Trust me, you don’t want to live in the symptoms, or you will never feel normal.  But, it is so very important that you do something about your symptoms to find your place in this world.  As many times, people with this disease feel like they don’t fit in anywhere.  If you get help, you will find your place in this world, eventually, please be patient, because it’s oh so worth it to find your way finally. 

When feeling powerful, like you can do anything you want, like you are invincible, this is a symptom as well.  No One is invincible.  You may like this feeling as well but it is not acceptable.  Again make sure you are taking your medication and talk to your therapist about this feeling.  This symptom can make you do stupid things that can have devastating effects on your life. It is not true that you are invincible so don’t buy into it.  You need to get to your doctor and tell them this.  Be honest with them, you will only benefit from it.

When you feel restless all the time, try to take some deep breaths. Know that you are going through a manic episode.  Understand that you will come down and possibly crash.  When this happens you need to tell both your therapist and you psychiatrist.  The therapist will talk you through it and the psychiatrist may adjust your medications to relieve the symptoms.  This is crucial to your recovery.  Always be mindful of the fact that you will need to adjust and readjust your meds to get it right eventually, this is a hit and miss diagnosis.  You need this treatment to recover.  I like to call it in remission when my symptoms are under control.  You may find that this adjusting and readjusting your medications may be a way of life for you to go on for the rest of your life, as it has been for me. Medications often times become ineffective after a time.  So be mindful of that fact of life with Bipolar.

When you spend lots of money on things you can’t afford and don’t need, you cause trouble with your pocket book.  Be careful with this one.  You don’t want to get yourself into the position that you are in over your head. Usually if you’re a good credit risk, anyone will give you credit, when they do use it wisely, and don’t let anyone have access to what should be rightfully yours.

When you feel very mad, scream into a pillow.  Don’t take it out on your mate or loved ones.  This is a common trait of an abused child.  When it’s righteous anger, know that it is VALID. There are medications for this. Have your Psychiatrist address the issue and take the medication given to you.  Trust me it gets better. 

When friends tell you that you have been acting differently, LISTEN! Although many times the onset of symptoms can come on around the age of 25. However, the onset can happen late into your 40’s and 50’s.  I was diagnosed in my late 30’s.  Get the help you need and be honest about your feelings.  This is a MOOD DISORDER.  So don’t be afraid to speak your mind in front of your therapist and Psychiatrist.  They are there to help you recover.  You can recover and lead a "normal” life again.  Many people have and do every day.  So have hope and faith that you will recover.

When they tell you that you are talking louder, starting fights, and getting angrier, again LISTEN!  Many will never understand that these are symptoms of the disorder.  When your friends and family tell you of this be mindful and respect their comments.  They are on the receiving end, so they know what they are hearing.  It’s often hard to tell yourself, I know this for a fact as I experience it regularly. 

When you have trouble trying to focus on anything for a very long time this may affect your work.  Your co-workers and boss may not understand this.  Tell your Psychiatrist; he may need to adjust your meds yet again. I cannot tell you how many times my medications have been adjusted and readjusted.  I am allergic to so many medications I have lost track.  But, my doctor has all the information that I need if I need to gather it for some reason.  Be sure to write down the medications you have taken and the medications you are allergic to from the beginning.  This can affect your work in an adverse way.  You may be fired because of it.  Don’t take it as a defeat.  Just move on and another job will come along.  It can be very embarrassing to be this way.  Don’t let it get you down.  It may just be your time to retire, if you are disabled with Bipolar Disorder. 

When you seem to talk really fast and can’t seem to stop talking try to avoid this.  Be mindful of others in this state of mind.  It’s really hard for a person without the disorder to try and keep up. So slow down, if you haven’t taken you meds yet, take them.  Let your loved ones know that this is a symptom and they will start to understand in time.  Try not to do this too often.  It only confuses people.  They will understand if you give them time.  I have this problem.  I talk way too fast and jump from subject to subject, not realizing that I am confusing the people around me.  But, it is a symptom and I cannot help it at times.  I am better at it now, but when I am nervous it starts up again.   So be careful what you say, or you may get yourself into trouble. 

When you have a lot of sexual energy this can be a benefit to the disease.  I have the opposite problem.  If you have this problem and have a safe partner, enjoy it.  I’m sure your mate will be all too happy to oblige.  But, if you have a mate who is tired of the excessive sexual energy you may have a problem, unless you are comfortable with masturbating.  This can help in the bedroom, and lessen to pressure of your mate.  Not everyone is able to deal with the side-effects and symptoms of the disease.  So be patient and if it is excessive on your end try to find a way to satisfy your needs on your own some of the time.  Talk to a friend, take the dog for a walk, or just take a walk if you don’t have a dog. But, be mindful that your partner may get jealous, if you masturbate.  Be ready to deal with this also.  Tell them you are only trying to help the situation.  Also, talk to your therapist about this.  Be sure to be honest.  Maybe take your partner to a session; this may help to dispel their idea of jealousy.

Let’s face it ladies, most men don’t like to talk much; they are hard wired to fix things.  So, when all you want to do is talk, and don’t need advice on how to fix it, take it to your friends.  They will help you by just listening, and reassuring you.  Men will want to fix the problem when there is one.  It’s their nature.  Whereas, a friend will give you the understanding you need.   So even if your spouse is a private person, you still need to talk some things out, so go to your trusted friend instead.  It will take some of the burden off of your marriage. 

When you feel sad most of the time this is a sign of a depressive episode.  You need to talk to your doctor about it.  It may be that you AGAIN need to readjust your medications.  They will know what to do with your meds.  Also, again talk to your therapist about this. They have deep insight as trained medical professionals.  So you will be given the proper care if you will only be honest with them.  

When you have trouble sleeping, feeling restless and awaken not feeling refreshed you need some help.  Don’t be afraid to take the sleep medications your Psychiatrist prescribes. Some of them are habit forming, but others aren’t.  Try to get rid of your fear of taking them if you are afraid of becoming addicted.  Ask for a medication that is not habit forming; there are those out there.  In time you will return to a regular sleep pattern.  But, deprivation of deep REM sleep can be very disruptive to your work life, your social life and your loved ones.  You can develop psychosis from lack of deep REM sleep, essentially masking the symptoms as something else.  This is not what you need piled on top of all your other symptoms.

If you are having trouble enjoying the things that you previously did, this is a symptom of a depressive episode.  You need help to get through it.  Make sure your medications are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Talk to your psychiatrist about it and again be honest.  Then use your talk therapy to get through it.  Your therapist will help you by giving you tools on how to deal with it, and help give you tools that will help your loved one as well.  I have this problem, so I developed a new hobby.  My new hobby is my job now, and that is writing. Writing is a wonderful way to get you back on your feet.  You don’t have to write a book, just keep a journal.  Try to get the courage to show this journal to your therapist.  Your time with your therapist is personal and private.  If they are a good therapist, they will see things and point them out to you that you may have missed or not recognized this is a type of tool.  Making you aware of your behavior and showing you how to correct it. Often times, I get to loud.  My therapist only has to mention it now and I adjust my voice.  If someone tells you of a symptom that you are exhibiting, take heed and listen.  You and only you can do something about your symptoms.  Listen to you therapist and use the tools they give you, they are only giving you them to help you.

If you are always tired and find it hard to get out of bed, this is yet another symptom of a depressive episode.  Don’t let it take over your life.  Again you may need a medication adjustment.  So see your psychiatrist when this happens and be honest.  Always be honest.  It is the only way to get the symptoms under control.  You can’t expect them to help you if you are not telling them the true problem.  If necessary and you cannot voice it show your journal to your psychiatrist.  They will get a clearer picture of the situation by doing this. 

When you feel ill often and have a lot of aches and pains, please understand that you are not a hypochondriac.  Know this.  It is part of the depression.   It will go away when you are on the proper medications for your treatment.  

Remember that not all medications are for everybody.  As a rule of thumb, I won’t take more than 3 Psychiatric medications at a time to avoid interactions, allergic reactions, and so it will be easier to determine which med is causing me problems, when a problem arises.  I set this boundary for myself because I have known of people who take as much as 10 to 15 medications to control their symptoms.  But, a lot of the time, many of the medications that they are taking are for side-effects from one of the other medications.  Psychiatrists can tend to over medicate in some instances, it’s all individual to every person.  You may get hives and itch if you are allergic.   If you experience these symptoms, talk to your Psychiatrist and change the medication first, especially if you have been recently put on a new medication.   This is a good indicator of which one is causing the problem if you have just started it and the reactions begin shortly thereafter.

Being forgetful can be a symptom of either the illness or a medication. Forgetfulness is a side-effect of many medications.  This may affect your work.  I was fired from my last job because I forgot to mail off the state payroll taxes. Being a bookkeeper this is a crucial error.  He suffered in fines from the state and had no choice but to fire me.  It didn’t matter that I was good at everything else, he had been fined and that was enough.  So don’t be surprised if you go through many jobs if you are Bipolar.  It is very common.  Bosses want competent workers; sometimes you cannot be a competent worker. Sometimes you must go on disability for your condition.  If this is the case rest assured it is a recognized illness by Social Security, in the United States.

If you are having trouble eating this can get very serious. It is another sign of a depressive episode.  When the 5 year depression started I couldn’t eat, I had no appetite.  I lost weight very quickly, which is very unhealthy. No one noticed but my therapist. She said, "you are skin and bones”, which was true.  You lose your energy.  You lose your motivation.  You lose sight of the big picture.  Don’t attempt suicide over this.  Seek the treatment of your trained professionals.  They will know what to do.  

When you feel upset and fearful, but don’t know why this is a symptom of the Bipolar.  So don’t fret, there is help for you.  There are medications that will help and you will receive tools from your therapist to dispel this feeling.  Again seek the advice of your trained professionals and listen to them.  Always listen to them.  They know what they are talking about.  Fear is nothing but a feeling.  So don’t be afraid of it.  You will overcome it.  Just take your time and listen to your doctors. 

Also try to meditate.  When I meditate I go back to the stream at the bottom of the hill at my parent’s property edge.  I imagine myself walking the tree engulfed path, until I get to the end, then there is a small steam I must cross, and I get to my favorite hiding place as a kid (a group of oak trees that formed a fort), I spend a little time there in my mind, then move on to the brook, I sit beside it there for a time and then walk across the brook to the other side, Jesus is always standing on the other side, then I walk to Jesus, and he points to a section of a clearing in the brush, I then go where he has pointed and eventually get to a box, which I take my time opening and whatever I find in that box is what I focus on that day.  It may be a feather, meaning that I am to fly, as I see it.  Or it may be a rock, meaning that I have to be solid.  You make it up.  This scenario works for me.  Whatever meditation works for you is best to get you out of your funk.  Just pick a place that makes you feel calm.  Take your time getting there in your mind.  I spend time enjoying the imaginary feeling of grass beneath me when I lay by the brook.  I also spend time remembering the fragrance of the wild flowers that are growing in the field.  I also take time to taste the water in the brook, while I cross it.  I’m always barefoot, as this is most comfortable for me and I can walk across the brook.  I love this meditation.  It is one of the few happy memories that I have, and can draw from to meditate.  You choose whatever works for YOU.  Pull from your memory, a happy time that you can spend some time with.  This will get you started.

Another meditation that I do has nothing to do with my childhood. I walk into a large room.  There is marble everywhere.  Floors, walls, everywhere even the ceiling.  Then there is a large glass window at the other end of the room. There is foliage all about the area just outside the window.  Then I walk to the pool.  It has steps to get into the pool.  I use the steps to get into the pool.  I lay on the steps of the pool and just sit there enjoying the surroundings.  The water is the perfect temperature.  Then I dunk my head under the water, this brings peace for me.  After that, I spend as much time as I need in the water to get me out of my funk.  I made this one up.  You can too.  Just think about what would make you calm.  Find a quiet place, that you feel safe and can spend as much time as you need to calm you.  Make it all yours only.  Share it with your loved ones or don’t, it’s up to only you.

If you are having trouble feeling like yourself, write in your journal.  This is a private book that your thoughts can run free.  You can share it if you like but be careful whom you share it with. Your therapist is the best person to share it with.  Also, again, check with your Psychiatrist about your meds.  They may need to be adjusted once again.

Feeling bad quite a bit of the time is another symptom of a depressive episode.  Talk therapy is the best medicine sometimes.  But, you must be honest.  Obviously if you have lived with this disease and gone undiagnosed for years, you are quite familiar with not wanting to talk when in a depressive mood.  You need to get over this road block and talk, even if you are thinking bad things to do.  I cannot stress that enough.  Be honest, with your Psychiatrist and you therapist.  I tell my therapist everything and she knows more about me than I think I do sometimes.  She is an exceptional therapist.  That is why this article is dedicated to her.  She is the best therapist a person could ask for.  I hope that you are fortunate enough to find one that is just as good.

Not liking yourself very much is yet another depressive symptom. You must get out of this funk. You are beautiful inside and out, no matter what your appearance is.  God made you in his image and he doesn’t make ugly people.  So, trust in this and regain your self-esteem.   Every person has beauty.  You just have to find it.  Look to your inner self for it.  It will come to the surface in time.  Don’t let it get you down, look to it as a minor set-back and move forward in your recovery.  I often feel ugly.  It’s part of the disease.  My therapist tells me every time I see her that I am beautiful.  I am starting to believe her.  No matter what I see in the mirror.

Feeling like there is not much point in living, think of your family if you have nothing else to hold on to.  My son is my reason.  We had a conversation recently that cemented this in me.  He had girl troubles and he needed his mom.  I cherish that.  I know now that without me he would be lost.  Just the same as your family would be, if you were successful committing suicide. If you have no family, think of your friends.  Everyone has someone who loves them.  Even if it’s a bunch of friends that you have met on the internet, those relationships can be the strongest.  I know I have many friends on the internet.  They give me hope and courage and encouragement.  The best thing about it is it’s anonymous.  We all try to get to know each other well, but there’s only so far you can go online.  So, I cherish each and every one of my friends on the internet.  Try to find some there; you will be grateful you did. 

Feeling like nothing good is ever going to happen to you is another depressive symptom.  I felt as though nothing good was ever going to happen to me.  But, look at me now.  I am writing for a living, I am alive, and even though I am broke and in pain I am happy.  For the first time in my life I am happy. 

You have to believe that something good will come to you eventually. It may not happen tomorrow, it may not happen next week, it may not happen next month, and it may not even happen till next year.  But, it will happen.  You don’t want to miss out on it.  So don’t attempt suicide when in this funk, you will only hurt the ones who love you.  

Thinking about death a lot is depression.  You just want the pain to go away.  Right?  It will, if you will only do what I suggest.  Death fantasies are common among people with Bipolar Disorder.  Death is not the answer.  It will only hurt your loved ones.  You may feel it is the only way out but it is not.  I used to think about death a lot.  And I have stopped because I have gotten the treatment I needed and I have gotten closer to God.  So, get the treatment you need and move forward.  Banish the thought of death from your mind.

Write about it to get it out of your mind and into another place. This will be helpful to you. Thinking of how you might kill yourself? This is a plan.  When you have the urge to kill yourself it gets stronger and stronger, and sometimes really fast.  You think that if only I was dead the people around me wouldn’t have to suffer.  You are wrong.  They will suffer more without you.  You are a wonderful person.  You just haven’t found it in yourself yet.   Give it time.  It will come. In my experience I always thought I was a terrible person because I yelled all the time and was angry all the time. I am not that person now.  I strive to be nice, always being the first to say hello, and goodbye.  I always encourage people.  I always wanted to be a nice and kind individual.  I am that now. 

Most of the Psychiatric medications have poor sexual side-effects. If sexual abuse was part of your past, you may need extensive therapy to get past it.  This may be why you are having trouble in the bedroom.  Don’t be afraid to talk about it and seek the help of a professional if needed.

Always, always, always be honest with your Psychiatric professionals.  And in closing I would like to just say that you are a beautiful person.  Please get the help you need.

By Andrea McKinney


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