This is my journey and I'm inviting you to share it with me. This is an entirely safe place for people with bipor, or people with a simple curiosity. A little love goes a long way.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, manic depressive disorder or bipolar affective disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated mood clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Extreme manic episodes can sometimes lead to psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. Episodes of abnormality are associated with distress and disruption, and an elevated risk of suicide, especially during depressive episodes. In some cases it can be a devastating long-lasting disorder; in others it has also been associated with creativity, goal striving and positive achievements. Manic and depressive episodes, hallmarks of Bipolar Disorder, have been compared to a roller coaster ride.
To me a support group for anything, is a safe place where you can go to be around people who are dealing with some of the same things that you are. A support group allows you time to tell your struggles and explain your story and allow support from the group. A support group to me, gives ways to help you manage what you’re dealing with. A support group is suppose to give you tactics to stay on track with the goals that you are making for yourself.
The support group that I went to on Monday had only 8 people in the room (Three of which included myself, and the two other people that came to support me). I wasn’t too fazed by this. I figured, it might be small but the point is that we’re here to support each other. The leader of the support group had us go around the circle and say:
The leader started us off. The tone that he immediately set was competitive, and mental illnesses are something that you need to be immensely careful about when getting into a competitive mood. He was diagnosed with Bipolar1. He was on 12 different medications, including:
This, right off the batt, scared me. I am on one medication which is Lamotrigine. He on the other hand was on 12 different medications, and he was maxed out on most of them if not taking more than the max. He had been hospitalized 2 times.
The next was a woman who was completely out of it. She was on more medications than he was. She was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and had been hospitalized four times. Seeing her, to be completely honest, scared me. She seemed dead inside. I don’t want to become that.
The next was another woman, who was just lovely. It was her first time there, as well as mine. She was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 as well as myself. She was on Seroquel and she had been hospitalized once. You could tell that she was very nervous. She was very quiet and her voice was shaking.
The next two were with me and they were supporting me.
They were sitting beside me. I am significantly younger than everybody else. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2. I am on Lamotrigine and I have not been hospitalized before.
The two after me were both men and they were in about the middle ground.
I immediately felt like some of the people thought that I was less than them, not to mention the fact that I was so much younger than everybody. I did my best to express myself but a lot of what I was saying was dismissed. Everybody was quiet and they all listened to me, but after I was done talking they all looked at me as if I had confused them.
There were no tactics, or ways to stay in a neutral zone. I am well aware that support groups can be amazing and extremely helpful. This one did not do it for me.
Okay, another example of my bipolar. One tattoo I have that I planned out, and adore - the script on my bicep. I love it. Simply adore it. On the other hand is a tattoo that I got completely on impulse, during a manic episode - the jellyfish on my thigh. Out of my twelve tattoos, this is the only one I hate. I really do. I’m talking to my tattoo artist about getting a cover up. During a manic episode, I get these insatiable impulses that I can’t control, and sometimes, they leave a permanent scar.
First of all, there is a lot of stigma that comes a long with bipolar. It’s very hard for me to tell somebody that I have bipolar. The person will either take that to an extreme and assume that even though I am being kind and friendly to them at that moment that I will turn around and shoot them the next. On the other hand people dismiss it. It’s very simple for someone to say, “Well everybody is a little bipolar in some ways, I guess.” “I think that I have bipolar too! Sometimes I get sad and then happy and then sad.” I am in no way saying that just because they are saying it at that moment that they may not have bipolar, but I feel like at this point in time, bipolar is starting to become more of a social construct than a mental illness which is entirely untrue. People use bipolar as a verb. “The weather is being bipolar.” The way that I am I don’t bring attention to my bipolar. If I do tell somebody however and that’s how the react I usually just change the subject because I don’t see the point in arguing about it.
This is just stuff that has been on my mind lately. Being Bipolar is a really difficult thing to deal with sometimes, but there are ways to do. It helps so much when there are people that you can talk to that understand. And I mean TRULY understand. There’s no way for a person who does not have bipolar to understand the full affect, and even then everybody is different.
You can always talk to me.