My Struggles with Weight Loss and Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Some try to express terms called Bipolar I and Bipolar II. I guess Bipolar I is more extreme than Bipolar II. I don't like the terms, but they are out there. By those measures I am Bipolar I. I am somewhat functional on some days and crippled by my illness on other days. Generally physical illness or stress can trigger an episode and sometimes episodes just come whenever. Unlike depression that can be helped through medication and therapy that often "corrects" the problem, Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the mind. It never goes away. Bipolars should all have regular and frequent visits with psychiatrists for med control and therapists.  And medication should continue for life. Any Bipolar that stops medication is dangerous to themselves and possibly others. Friends don't let Bipolar friends drive med less. Joke. Often, when Bipolars feel "good" they drop their meds. Its a very stupid mistake. 

An episode is an extreme shift from moderate to either hyper-mania or deep hopeless depression. My illness renders me unpredictable and unable to hold regular jobs so I write blogs, poetry, and books.  

Being Bipolar doesn't make you less intellectual or less creative. It's just the opposite. God gives you some awesome gifts and then gives you a handicap. Ironic. Many famous people today and in history are bipolar. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_with_bipolar_disorder or http://www.famousbipolarpeople.com/ .

I have had a particularly bad month or, for that matter, year of Bipolar episodes. I have shed many tears out of frustration and I have barely kept myself out of the mental ward (this year- 2013). My illness seems to be progressing and at the same time my poetry, writing and painting have reached greater satisfaction and public acclaim.

Here is some info on Bipolar Disorder. I don't necessarily agree with all of it, but, I would enthusiastically recommend reading Kay Jamison's book "An Unquiet Mind." You can always email me for support or questions about Bipolar disorder (Manic Depressive Illness) at my email csharits@comcast.net

I like this poem I wrote the other day (November 2013)

“The Pea”

‘tis a feeling. Small, yet smoldering. Like a demon waiting it’s turn. It waits like a cancer. Small as a pea and as large as a whale. Waiting, waiting for its turn.

Slicing through sanity It’s made it before. Playing its own tune and dancing with screaming intensity With no end in sight, It almost won. So close.

Condemned to the depths it waits. It waits its turn. Just a pea. I can feel the pea, I know it’s there, And it terrifies me.

- Christopher Sharits

 

From Nami (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness with recurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from one day to months. This mental illness causes unusual and dramatic shifts in mood, energy and the ability to think clearly. Cycles of high (manic) and low (depressive) moods may follow an irregular pattern that differs from the typical ups and downs experienced by most people. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can have a negative impact a person’s life. Damaged relationships or a decline in job or school performance are potential effects, but positive outcomes are possible.

Two main features characterize people who live with bipolar disorder: intensity and oscillation (ups and downs). People living with bipolar disorder often experience two intense emotional states. These two states are known as mania and depression. A manic state can be identified by feelings of extreme irritability and/or euphoria, along with several other symptoms during the same week such as agitation, surges of energy, reduced need for sleep, talkativeness, pleasure-seeking and increased risk taking behavior. On the other side, when an individual experiences symptoms of depression they feel extremely sad, hopeless and loss of energy. Not everyone’s symptoms are the same and the severity of mania and depression can vary.

More than 10 million Americans have bipolar disorder. Because of its irregular patterns, bipolar disorder is often hard to diagnose. Although the illness can occur at any point in life, more than one-half of all cases begin between ages 15-25. Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally.

(Note: Bipolar's all seem to have different combinations of meds that work for them. Mine are currently Lamictal, Seroquel, Ambein, Trileptal, and Clonzapam.)

From WebMD...

What Are the Treatments for Bipolar II Disorder? continued...

People with bipolar II disorder can benefit from preventive drugs that level out moods over the long term. These prevent the negative consequences of hypomania, and also help to prevent episodes of depression.

Mood stabilizers

Lithium: This simple metal in pill form is highly effective at controlling mood swings in bipolar disorder. Lithium has been used for more than a century to treat bipolar disorder. Lithium can take weeks to work fully, making it better for long-term treatment than for sudden hypomanic episodes. Blood levels of lithium must be monitored to avoid side effects.

Depakote: This antiseizure drug also works to level out moods. It has a more rapid onset of action than lithium, and it can also be used for prevention.

Lamictal: This drug is approved by the FDA for the maintenance treatment of adults with bipolar disorder. It has been found to help delay bouts of mood episodes of depression, mania, hypomania (a milder form of mania), and mixed episodes in people being treated with standard therapy.

Some other antiseizure medications, such as Gabitril, Neurontin, Tegretol, Topamax, and Trileptal may also sometimes be prescribed.

Antipsychotics

For severe manic episodes, newer antipsychotic drugs -- also called atypical neuroleptics -- may be necessary. Abilify, Risperdal, Seroquel, and Zyprexa and  are often used, and many other drugs are available. Antipsychotic medicines are also used for preventive treatment.

Benzodiazepines

This class of drugs includes Xanax, Ativan, and Valium and is commonly referred to as tranquilizers. They are used for short-term control of acute symptoms of mania.

Antidepressants

Common antidepressants like ProzacZoloft, and Paxil can set off a manic episode in a person with bipolar disorder. For this reason, the first treatment for depression in bipolar disorder should be lithium, Depakote, or an antipsychotic. If these fail, after a few weeks an antidepressant can be safely started. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, may also help.

People with severe or frequent symptoms of bipolar II disorder (mania or depression) should take medicines on a continuous basis for prevention.

How Is Bipolar II Disorder Different From Other Types of Bipolar Disorder?

People with bipolar I disorder experience true mania -- a severe, abnormally elevated mood with erratic behavior. Manic symptoms lead to serious disruptions in life, causing legal or major personal problems.

In bipolar II disorder, the symptoms of elevate mood never reach full-on mania. Bipolar II can be thought of as a milder form of bipolar disorder.

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