Currently this is a lot of buzz on Social Media centered around Stop the Stigma. I do understand that stigma and the campaign, but something else needs said.
Understanding and proper diagnosing bipolar is still new. It was not until the 1990's that is was starting to be understood and at that time it was called manic-depression. It was soon called bipolar.
So what is bipolar? Severe and uncontrolled deep mood swings. From a high to a depressing low. That's the short answer, Google it for details.
But as the understanding for bipolar was being understood so was ongoing depression. Severe and ongoing depression is just as life changing as bipolar, but aside from depression and bipolar there appeared to be another "group" to squeeze in to the mold.
There was a group of people falling between ongoing depression and bipolar, they would suffer from bouts of depression for days but then level off to a normal mood, then back into depression and then normal mood, no manic and no lasting depression.
So in their great wisdom DSM doctors opted to create Bipolar-1 and Bipolar-2, keep in mind bipolar is an illness with 2 extememe opposing moods. Not 1 every now and then.
Over time ones given the label Bipolar-2 shortened it to Bipolar and this caused a great deal of confusion for people in general who believed all bipolar is the same. I have often heard, "so and so has bipolar and they don't have these issues that you do." Well so and so does not have bipolar they have a label called bipolar-2 to mess up the real illness.
So with the passage of time it was discovered that bipolar has a genetic marker or switch. This means that there can't be a Bipolar-2, but that bipolar can be spectrum. So last I heard the DSM will soon remove Bipolar-2 and either place those in the spectrum of depression or bipolar. However since bipolar is a genetic disorder and on a spectrum then there are different degrees of it.
My gretest hope is to rid the medical term Bipolar-2. It is very difficult to be bipolar and have to try to explain to others that ones with Bipolar-2 are not and that is why they do not have the same issues.
Another lesson from learning that Bipolar is a genetic disorder was that medication CAN'T treat it. I've heard everyone is different speech, but that is a total lack of understanding what a genetic disorder is. I also think people in America are convinced we have preset levels of chemicals in our heads. Truth is Downs is genetic but no doctor in his right mind would suggest taking an SSRI can make Downs go away. The pharma has got into people's head that drugs are needed to fix Bipolar. Sadly they can't. Just consider, since bipolar is a swing between to moods, manic and depression, if you take an anti-depressant you go manic, if you take an anti-psychotic you fall into depression. So the doctor convinces you that it has to be tweaked to find a balance, really?
(I will not even take to the time write about how dangerious SSRI's are.)
So how do you treat real Bipolar? There is a growing understanding at the NIH and the APA that drugs make the condition worse. However there is a way to deal with the symptoms.
1) Live a structured life. Much like Altztimers, life a fixed schedule. Sunday - Monday the same thing every day and plan for trips and the unexpected. Sounds boring, sounds lifeless, no, in fact for someone like me that is Bipolar I have thrived and I function a lot better having a fixed schedule.
2) What about manic times when you can't sleep? STAY in bed. Doctors used to say get up and do something to burn off the energy, but if you are bipolar you know that has the opposite effect. It has taken a great deal of discipline however I have learned that staying in bed has resulted in a much better outlook and shorter manic periods and less severe.
3) Depression cycles, GET OUT and help someone else. So what that you don't feel like it, so what that you want to stay in bed. When you are depressed get out and help someone in need. Find someone worse off than you are and help them. Helping others shifts the focus from you to them.
Other things that help
Melatonion 1-MG nightly
Vit C 2,000 MG daily
Lithium Ortate (dosage is difficult but at 25mg pills about 3am 3 noon and 3pm)
Grounding (your mate and others will need to learn how to do this)
MIndfullness (be aware of when, where and what you are doing at all times. Be in the moment that you are. Again mate and others need to help on this)
In manic times accept what you are told about how you are acting and give your mate permission to give you strong suggestions to make adjustments in how you are acting.
Do not feed your mind negative information, do not take in violence, gambling, Shopping shows, shopping channels, extreme activities, in any form, no visual, music, or reading. Keep what you put in your mind safe, calm and not over stimulating. If you do you will likely have bad manic periods.
When in a manic state stay OFF the computer. Online shopping is murder to manic's.
Soon Bipolar-2 will be deleted and those with that form of depression will be placed in a proper category, until then those who suffer from real Bipolar will suffer the stigma of having to explain what bipolar is and is not when someone with a form of depression is saying they have Bipolar when it's Bipolar-2 which is not Bipolar.