"Bipolar Disorder" -- what a moniker!
"Bipolar" is such a misnomer. The term implies two poles, or extremes of mood, and a person who switches back and forth between one extreme and the other. Many people with that label have an illness which does not resemble that model. I personally have "mixed episodes," which means I'm either well, or I'm a combination of agitation and depression that is like both poles crashing together at once.
People who are labelled bipolar are actually just people. We are people who struggle with mood swings at times, but at other times we are not actively ill, and are as even-tempered as anyone. While on the appropriate combination of mood-stabilizing medications, natural supplements (such at omega-3 oils, amino acids, vitamins and minerals), and/or lifestyle modifications (such as yoga, meditation, regular exercise, drug and alcohol avoidance, and stress reduction), most people with bipolar disorder live normal, productive lives in our communities. Bipolar people, on average, tend to be highly intelligent and creative, so if we are relatively stable and actively included in society, we have so much to offer.
While anxiety and depression are considered acceptable deviations from "normal" mood, for some reason the word "bipolar" often leads to fear and rejection. It is true that a small percentage of bipolar people spend a small percentage of the time hospitalized for mania. However, such people should be viewed with sympathy and supported through their healing crises. Mental illness is an illness, and like any other illness, it has a biological basis and needs medication, rest, nurturing, and support to heal, NOT shaming, judging, or shunning.
Many of us bipolar people are "bipolar 2," which means we never get full-blown mania, just a combination of depression and "hypomania," which is really just a very good mood. Being bipolar, however, means no matter how depressed we get, we cannot take antidepressant medication, due to the risk of triggering a manic episode. So, we struggle with our depressions, and the many side effects of mood-stabilizing medications, and must hide our condition due to the risk of alienating friends and co-workers.
Social support has been proven as one of the most effective treatments for mental illnesses of all kinds, yet social support is denied to us, due to the stigma of our diagnosis. This needs to change. I am "coming out" as bipolar in this blog to show that a real person, a mom, a health-conscious yoga teacher and writer, and a friend and neighbor, is bipolar, and that is okay.
I'm not a danger to anyone, but I sure do get moody. I take my Lithium and do my best, with the help of my loved ones, to ride out my depressive episodes. Meanwhile, I take care of my children, I write and draw and practice yoga, I eat healthy foods and take nutritional supplements, and I hope to make a positive difference in the world.
There are so many people out there suffering right now, in so many different ways. We need to come together, not come apart. The toxic chemical load and accumulation of mental, spiritual, and physiological stresses in all of our bodies is so great, we are all feeling the burden in a variety of ways. For me, my nervous system is the most vulnerable, thus mental illness and chronic pain. For you, it may be something else. We are all dealing, the best we can.
Let's support, encourage, and nurture each other, as we work together to heal the world for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. We can do this!
And please, if you care about the future of the world, please VOTE NOVEMBER 4TH.
You Do the Math
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