A bipolar disorder irritability story. Not even a severe one. Won’t even go there!

Anger sign

I thought I was doing fairly well today, mood-wise, until I went to the grocery store. Well, maybe I started to get unwell towards the end of my conversation with my sister. She didn’t say anything to trigger it. I totally brought it on myself. I was not angry at her at all, but more fuming about other people (politicians, certain organizations, etc.). Then I asked my brother to come over for dinner tomorrow, in exchange for some handyman advice. He accepted, so then I realized I needed some groceries in order to make him a nice meal. So I set out for the grocery store. Then the “irritability” started to balloon. Continue reading

Is it a bipolar mixed episode, ultra rapid cycling, or just “mood lability”?

mixed episode face

Putting a label on what’s happening to one’s mood can sometimes be difficult for people with bipolar disorder (BP). Having visited bipolar online forums for years, I encountered the questions in the title quite often. I know what is written in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and highly-regarded textbooks on the disorder, but that hasn’t always cleared up my occasional confusion, either. Some questions have been mostly answered, but others not fully. Truth is, answers can vary by mental health expert. Even the teams of doctors and consultants working on the DSM debated on some of its contents. Regardless, I hope some of what’s in this post is interesting food for thought. Continue reading

My 1st through 10th painful psychiatric incarcerations (Part 4 of 4)

depression falling down

Please consider reading Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this four part post series before continuing with this post, though this post can be of interest all alone.

***Some content in this post may be disturbing or triggering. This post primarily focuses on a major depressive episode of Bipolar disorder type 1***

At the end of Part 3 of this post series, I had attended my eighth out of 10 hospitalizations for mania and/or mania with mixed features, and was again in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). The remaining major depressive episode eased briefly. I had improved sufficiently enough to return back to work part-time and resume care under my private psychiatrist, Dr. Ripley.

Only two months later, the depressive episode worsened to severe, but there were no hints of mania involved. Continue reading

My 1st through 10th painful psychiatric incarcerations (Part 3 of 4)

insanity Van Gogh

Please consider reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this post series before continuing with this post.

***This post may be triggering. It details my personal experience with Bipolar type 1 full blown manias and mixed manias. Not all people with bipolar disorder behave as severely as I detail, or even severely at all. Experiences with bipolar disorder vary.***

At the end of Part 2 of this series, I mentioned that it was after my sixth Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that I likely quit my medications cold turkey. Because of that, my transition from quasi “wellness” back to complete mood instability was quite rapid. The scariest part was that I had recently returned to work part-time. Continue reading

Efforts to take control of your illness

Control sign
The Hope sign is bigger than the Despair sign, and points to the sun.

Taking control of an illness is possible for many, to various degrees, but anyone who has had a serious illness knows control isn’t always that easy. It takes work and often support from various people in your life. Sometimes control doesn’t necessarily mean curing the problem, but just lessening the symptoms and the illness progression. Continue reading

Jolts causing rapid emotional or psychological switches

lightening major

I think we’ve all experienced emotional jolts at times in our lives. Imagine one moment we feel happy and positive, and then during a conversation someone says something that brings on a sudden feeling of fear, self-consciousness, fury, or the like. Or imagine that you go to your living room and discover your beloved pet is seriously ill, and are later told that he/she needs to be put down.

funny joltPowerful emotional jolts can also work in the opposite ways, as well. Continue reading

Psychiatric Avalanche Effect – Unraveling the mystery of my past brain quirks

avalanche

About 12 years ago, one “thread” of my brain’s tapestry got pulled hard, and some of the rest started to quickly unravel. It wasn’t just the blue threads, but the red, yellow, and purple threads seem to unravel, too. The image of stability and mental wellness started to disappear. Doctors of various sorts, and numerous therapists, tried to knit my brain back to before, but the various colored “threads” became misaligned at times and the image was sometimes unrecognizable and disturbing. Continue reading

I’m not mentally ill. This will go away like the flu.

denied-1936877__340

The most significant denial I have ever experienced was denial that I had a diagnosable mental illness. It didn’t help when I was younger that people around me didn’t recognize I needed a thorough psychiatric evaluation. I lacked insight into what was really happening, and so did people around me. It is common that people with bipolar disorder are not diagnosed for between 10 and 15 years after the illness begins. Continue reading