The debilitating disease of Bi-Polar has had an impact on many lives. The questions, confusion, disbelief, and other emotions attached to this disease have baffled many. I am writing this article because I have Bi-Polar, and my dad wanted me to use my writing abilities to help him, as well as others, better understand the disease.
This writing is from the vantage point of someone who struggles daily with Bi-Polar. I am not a doctor and donít profess to be one, I am simply a guy who wants to share with those who donít understand the illness a little bit about what it is like to have it.
I wake up daily with a new challenge; not knowing what the illness will be firing at me that day. Sometimes I get an extreme mood change where I am edgy and angry for no reason; which is very confusing because there typically is no reason for me to be so. Iíve spent hours trying to examine why I feel so many random emotions, and the messed up part is: it all goes back to the Illness. There is no rational way to think your way out of needless anger, or extreme depression-it just is. For me this has been very difficult to swallow, because I want an answer and solution for everything; however with Bi-Polar, there isnít a rational answer. I can be on a euphoric high one minute ready to conquer the world, and the next minute I am so depressed I feel like suicide. I know this may be hard to take for some reading this article; however, it is the truth. The drain and anxiety of dealing with Bi-Polar is very taxing on the individual suffering from it. There are many days I just want to go to sleep because the ridiculous mood swings wear me out, but basically you just have to learn to ride the emotions out.
Another element to my Bi-Polar is hyper-religiosity. Iím a Christian, and have been since age 12. When I was growing up I would love to hear a preacher teach, or an evangelist give a powerful message, but as I got older my illness got involved and really caused my faith to shake a bit. Everyone does something wrong now and then; some things are bigger than others; however, everyone falls. In my faith we believe in confession of sin to be forgiven by God-a wonderful thing, but my illness decided to make a good thing a horrid thing. I was no longer enough for me to confess my sins once, I had to do it perfectly and feel that it was done perfectly, or I was doomed. This practice leads into a compulsion of repeating prayer after prayer, and confession after confession; which would last up to hours at a time. I have been tormented over not having that ďperfect feeling of confession,Ē and as a result, my faith has become stale. Iím learning, through therapy, to retrieve my faith again and ditch the hyper-religiosity; I take it a day at a time and am slowly seeing progress. This is another element of what Bi-Polar can do; take something wonderful and turn it into something frightening and disheartening. There have been many practices I used to enjoy like: hanging with friends, going to the movies, walking the mall, and other ventures; however, my illness jumped in the way and I stopped doing them.
There is a topic I believe must be addressed, and that is the element of hallucinations and delusions. Some people with Bi-Polar deal with hearing voices, seeing images not really there, paranoia, and grandiose thinking. Technically this is called Bi-Polar with Psychotic features; for those of you who enjoy a formal explanation. Personally I have experienced voices talking to me, extreme paranoia, and grandiose thinking. When the voices speak they might say something negative about me, tell me to do something out of the norm, or just plain drive me nuts. The paranoia can range from thinking the cops are out to get me to thinking people can read my mind. When grandiose thinking comes in I may believe I can become an FBI agent or I may decide I can become a millionaire overnight-it all just depends upon that day or moment. Having any of the above mentioned symptoms is probably, in my opinion, the hardest to deal with. I cannot describe what itís like to have some ďvoiceĒ telling you to do something bizarre, or to be so paranoid about people that you never leave your house; however I can say that once you learn what is really going on, psychosis, itís a bit easier to handle. I would encourage anyone who has a friend that deals with this form of Bi-Polar to be very understanding and not be afraid, because in reality, itís just another form of the mental illness.
Bi-Polar is a disease that can be controlled with medicine and therapy. I am currently in therapy and on a medicine regime which seems to really be helping; although it is a lot of mental work. If anyone reading this article can relate to some of the symptoms, or knows someone who deals with the symptoms I have mentioned-seek help immediately. I can testify to the importance of getting a doctorís help when dealing with Bi-Polar, because for many years I was not treated. I lived in agony and total dysfunction; simply because there was no treatment going on.
In conclusion, Bi-Polar is a very real illness. I have tried my best to share some of the symptoms I go through in hopes of shedding a little light on the illness. I hope this article has been helpful in demonstrating what Bi-Polar can look like, and I hope those reading this writing have a better understanding of the disease.