April 2, 2017

Hi, Folks.How was everyone’s week?  Happy Beginning of Spring!!

My week was not all that special.  In fact, I spent most of the week rather saddened.  I was working on entering a poem for the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI).  I tried working on this for the last 3 weeks. However,  being that I’m my own worse critic, I actually gave up on it yesterday.  I felt it was too dark because I reflected on the most horrific time of my life.  Then again, my life was rather filled with some moments that were pretty dark.  This past week seemed harder with each passing day.  Two of the people I consider family to me have been planning on moving out of transitional housing beginning of April.  My one dear friend Jason T., has been a rock for me.  He also helps with editing my blog with grammar, spells check, and setting the pictures throughout my blog.  I consider him to be my scarecrow to Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.  Jason also helped me through the most trying times within these walls of Alternatives.  Jason got me to quit smoking, by introducing me to vapor.  That in itself was a miracle. It’s been a year of smoke freedom. I always say “Everyone needs a Jason in their lives”.  

I also have developed a very close relationship with a woman named Lydia G.  Although it has only been a little over six months, I consider her more like family to me.  We can sit for hours, and talk about every subject under the sun.  We have cried together and laughed hysterically. The greatest gift from both Jason & Lydia was their time, love and understanding.  I honestly don’t know how I’m going to handle them leaving here, and not seeing them daily.

I have spent most of this past week very depressed, and isolated.  This has to lead me to the Bipolar 2 within me.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression,  affects about 1% of the general population.  Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder that causes extreme mood swings that range from mania to depression.  People with bipolar disorder usually have episodes of depression, each lasting a few weeks or more.  In between these episodes, the person has few or no symptoms.  People with bipolar disorder may also experience other symptoms during these episodes, such as hallucinations or delusions.  Symptoms of bipolar disorder can often disrupt work, school, family and social life.

What are the Primary Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

The episodes of bipolar disorder include depression, mania, and a “mixed state” that includes symptoms associated with each extreme.

Mania:  Euphoric, irritable mood or anger.  Decreased need for sleep.  Increased goal-directed behavior, such as work, school or exercise.  Agitation, overconfidence.  Grandiosity (unrealistic beliefs of having skills, attributes, power or money that one doesn’t actually have).  Rapid speech.  Increased sexual drive, or none at all.  Distractedness.

Depression:  Hopelessness, sadness, discouragement, or emptiness.  Loss of interest in hobbies and regular activities.  Significant weight change (increase or decrease of 5% of body weight in a month).  Excessive sleeping or having difficulty sleeping.  Restlessness or sluggishness, with slow speech or body movement.  Extreme fatigue; feeling to physically drained to completely.  Worthlessness, guilt, or constant self-criticism.  Inability to concentrate or focus.  Extreme irritability and frustration.  Body aches, joint pain, and other physical ailments.  Persistent thoughts of death or suicide.

Mixed State:  Symptoms of mania and depression occur at the same time.

What is the cause of Bipolar Disorder?  The exact cause of bipolar is unknown, but it is believed that biological, genetic, and environmental factors contribute to its onset.

I want to thank Hazelden Foundation for the program sheets for co-occurring disorder program, all of which I learned through Richard Hall Mental Health, Somerset County, NJ.

I will continue to write more on that subject next week.  

In the meantime, I will work at keeping myself busy or lay around like a slug.  Who knows?  I’m a work in progress.  I just try to live in the moment and utilize the tools I’ve been given to cope.  Every day is different.

Again, I hope to hear from you…  Please comment, and/or share your experience.  Not that I have all the answers, but we can help one another through the highs & lows.

Take Care my friends, and have a good week.

Beckie

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