When someone is depressed, it is difficult for them, but also difficult for family and friends to know what to say and do. Below is a list of suggestions that I hope you will find helpful.
Do learn everything you can about this disorder. The more you know the better equipped you will be to know what to expect.
Do realize I am angry and frustrated with the disorder, NOT with you.
Do let me know you are available to help me when I ask. I'll be grateful.
Do understand why I cancel plans, sometimes at the last minute.
Do continue to invite me to all the activities. I never know from day to day or minute to minute how I will feel and just because I am not able to participate one day does not mean I won't be able to today.
Do feel that you have the right to ask about my doctor or therapist appointments...but DON'T ask me if I'm taking my medications if I'm legitimately upset about something.
Do continue to call me, even when I only seem to want a brief conversation.
Do send cards, notes, and other reminders of our friendship or relationship.
Do offer me lots of hugs, encouragement, and love, even when I seem to withdraw.
Don't tell me I look too good to be depressed. I may be really fighting here to stay above water.
Don't tell me you know how I feel. Each of us is different and two people with this disorder can feel totally different. Pain is a relative thing, this includes emotional pain. Do let me know that you understand or that you can relate to what I am saying.
Don't tell me about your Aunt Margie or the friend of a friend who is managing in spite of this disorder. We are not all the same and I am doing my best.
Don't tell me to "pull myself up by the boot straps", "snap out of it", "what have you got to be depressed about, you have so much to be grateful for", "there are a lot of people worse off than you", "happiness is a choice" or the likes. Believe me if I could "snap" my fingers and have this depression be gone, don't you think I would have done that a long time ago? Don't you think I would "choose to be happy"?
Don't tell me not to worry, that everything will be alright or that this is just a passing phase...this is happening to me right NOW and things ARE NOT ALRIGHT!
Don't ask me how I feel, unless you really want to know.
Don't tell me about the latest fad cure. I want to be cured more than anything and if there is a legitimate cure out there, my personal doctor will let me know. Also don't call my doctor a quack and encourage me to throw out my medications.
Don't count me out. This could be the day that I'm ready to accept an invitation.
Don't give up on me...
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The other side of bipolar (the suffix "bi" indicating two things) is mania. Mania includes feelings of superhuman powers and extreme joy... to the point of being hyper. The person's mind goes a million miles an hour and he or she can keep going for days with little or no sleep.
Having cyclothymia myself, I can only begin to understand how these people feel.
Because people with bipolar cannot control the way they feel, and might be close to suicide at times, it is of utmost importance that everyone around them be as supportive as possible rather than deject them as a "psycho." ...as if the person actually has any control over their actions with such out of control emotions.
as well as periods of mania in bipolar I disorder, or hypomania (a less extreme form) in bipolar II disorder. Symptoms of hypomania include:
-high energy/decreased need for sleep
When hypomania escalates into mania, symptoms include:
-incomprehensibly fast thoughts/speech
-dangerously impulsive behavior
Contrary to popular belief, most people with bipolar disorder are not constantly fluctuating between extremes. They may experience normal moods for extended periods of time, and a single mood episode tends to last for a few weeks, though mania can quickly become depression and vice versa.
Another common misconception is that bipolar disorder is like depression, but with the bonus of hypomania. Depressive symptoms are equally severe in bipolar I and II disorders, but for people with bipolar I disorder, mania is at least as dangerous and frightening as depression.
Even for those people who experience relatively harmless highs, depression tends to immediately follow hypomania. Whereas major depression can be treated with therapy (as well as medication) and possibly never recur, there is no cure for bipolar disorder and therapy is of limited use. Bipolar disorder has a strong genetic basis and is usually found in families.
People with bipolar disorder are often stereotyped as screw-ups, drug addicts, etc. There is a strong link between bipolar disorder and substance abuse, but many people either recover from or avoid these problems altogether and lead relatively normal, responsible lives.
Your girlfriend when she is mad at you = not bipolar
Anyone bitchy or randomly moody = probably not bipolar
And sometimes when you're on, you're really fucking on
And your friends, they sing along and they love you
But the lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap
And it teases you for weeks in its absence
When you are depressed, it is horrible. The whole world is in shades of grey. No one can pull you out of it.
Bipolar should not always be viewed as negative. The way I see it, it is compensation. When someone is extremely smart, creative, or talented, it disrupts the balance in the brain. So, the brain must do something to restore the balance. ADD, Bipolar, Depression, etc. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert E. Lee, Beethoven, Buzz Aldrin, Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Isaac Newton, Plato (according to Aristotle), St. Francis, St. John, St. Theresa, Mark Twain, T.S. Eliot, Sigmund Freud, Victor Hugo, I think you get the idea.
Just realize, every gift comes with a curse, and every curse comes with a gift.
If you take medicine, and practice self-control, you can harness your mania and channel it into a talent.