Do you often feel sad for mundane reasons and irritable at the slightest provocation?
Once in our lives, sadness is an emotion that we all can’t avoid. But if this sadness leads to unpredictable mood swings, concentration and memory problems, feelings of guilt worthlessness or restlessness, you might not know it but you might be suffering from bipolar disorder. Unlike depression, which usually winds down once the cause of the depression is addressed, bipolar disorder can be dangerous. If it’s not diagnosed and treated properly, it can ruin your life and your relationship with others.
What is Bipolar Disorder? Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, thoughts and behavior–from the highs of mania on to the lows of depression. The cycles of bipolar disorder can last for days, weeks, or months. The mood changes are so intense that they could interfere with the ability of an individual to function or think logically.
How can it affect you? In a manic state, a person with bipolar disorder may hastily quit his/her job, indulge on an unreasonable shopping spree, or feel recharged and hyper even without sufficient hours of sleep. On a hyped stage, a manic depressive may go through extremely high levels of euphoria, creativity, and heightened energy. This, initially can be good but it can lead to reckless behaviors such as feeling of invincibility, unusually very “optimistic” , and even unrealistic perception of one’s self and abilities.
On a depressed state, the same person with manic depression may feel inadequate or hopeless over problems that can be solved like unemployment or problematic love life. This state may lead to self destructive behaviors such as suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and delusions.
What causes bipolar disorder? There is no single cause to this condition but studies have shown that this condition can be inherited; but not everyone predisposed to manic depression will surely acquire this condition in time. Studies have also shown though that symptoms of manic depression can be triggered by outside factors such as stress, substance abuse, medication, seasonal changes, lack of sleep and even problems of the heart.
Manic depression can worsen over time, especially if left untreated. The good news is- bipolar disorder is highly treatable. The first step to treating it is understanding and acknowledging the condition itself.
What should you do if you think you’re affected?
1. Know yourself. Be aware of your stress levels and avoid situations with high level of stress. If you can’t, learn some tools that will help you cope like yoga, meditation,deep breathing or a hobby that will temporarily distract you. If you know your triggers, try to avoid them. If lack of sleep makes you grumpy and irritable, then try not to deprive yourself of your precious hours of sleep.
2. Seek help. If you need to vent to let loose of all the tension and stress, then ask help from willing friends who would listen. Depression can sometimes be avoided by venting all the frustrations away. Be humble enough to know when to seek professional help. A psychologist can examine your symptoms and suggest therapies and treatments necessary to control the condition.
3. Strive to be healthy. Develop healthy sleeping and eating habits. Regular exercising will stabilize your mood. When you’re healthy and happy, your body stimulates your brain to release endorphins that work like natural analgesics; they mask the pain away and tells your mind that it can handle anything life will throw at you.
Dealing with bipolar disorder will be difficult, but it doesn’t mean that you can let depression run your life for you. Hold the reins and take charge.