Bipolar Disoder 101

A great day! Our niece is with us for the weekend. This morning we slept in then went out for pancakes (I know, not good for the diet…now shut up). Afterwards we went to the beach.

The beach is about the only place my mind is at rest. Maurice and I sometimes go watch the pelicans for hours. Pelicans are so graceful when they fly and then suddenly dive bomb. Wow, that sounds kind of bipolar. Poor guys probably need lithium.

Here’s some pics from the day and proof that I do clean up well. Finally got the scruffy beard cut back where I like to have it.

Now a lesson for the day:

A friend pointed out I reinforced a stereotype when I said that in past eras that those with bipolar were viewed as crazy. She’s right. Most with the disease function in some form even without medication. Here’s a description of the two types of Bipolar:

Both bipolar I and bipolar II have similar symptoms.

Depression:

* Decreased energy
* Weight loss or gain
* Despair
* Irritability
* Uncontrollable crying

Mania:

* Grandiosity
* Decreased need for sleep
* Pressured speech
* Racing thoughts
* Distractibility
* Tendency to engage in behavior that could have serious consequences. (overspending, sexual, etc.)
* Excess energy

The difference between BP I and BP II is severety.

BP I experience higher levels of mania for longer periods. They may experience psychotic episodes or breaks from reality. It’s not unusual for BP I individuals to have been hospitalized for mania.

Generally BP II is considered the milder of the two. BP II have “hypomanic” episodes, which are not as severe as mania. Those with BP II tend to be more depressive. They’re frequently diagnosed with major depression before it’s determined they’re BP. They may have required hospitalization for depression, but rarely do for mania.

I was originally diagnosed with BP I, but that was changed to BP II just this week.

In past eras, and today, many with BP were viewed as moody, volatile, snappy, snippy, “happy” or irritable. Many self-medicate through various substances. Many alcoholics are masking BP disorder, both the depression and the mania. Most people with bipolar have a harder struggle with day to day activities, but only extreme cases would someone appear crazy. That is where I stand corrected.

That’s our lesson for the day. You can expect an exam later in the week. Class dismissed.

  2 comments for “Bipolar Disoder 101

  1. April 28, 2008 at 15:50

    Hey Bradley -This is really informative. I always see information as power and you did a fantastic job of boiling down the DSM V or whatever version they are on now. When I was in the classroom we spent a lot of time trying to educate kids (high school kids) about their disabilities so they could combat it effectively and knowledgeably.Thank you for all this info! :)Hang in there!Kim

  2. April 27, 2008 at 22:41

    Hey Bradley – A good 101 on BP. Let’s give ’em all the education we can!The Rev.

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