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    What bipolar looks like
    bipoet001 posted:

    I've been one of the fortunates who take my meds and have had very few episodes, none requiring hospitalization, in almost 30 years. Yet I work with those who have difficulty making it from day to day. I have always wondered what made the difference, outside the obvious things: taking meds as prescribed, working closely and completely honestly with your psychiatrist, a structurered life-style, regular sleep, work and relaxation, talk therapy (in person or on-line), support individuals, and stong purposeful goals. I found this article interesting enough to share here.
    fenton04 responded:
    outstanding article. thank you very much.
    Anneinside responded:
    I do everything that you are doing except I volunteer instead of working for pay. I have been hospitalized more than a dozen times, have 2-3 episodes of depression every year lasting 2 to 5 months each time unless I am on maintenance ECT. I take my meds every day. I sleep on a schedule and use my CPAP for sleep apnea... I do everything I can and I still have episodes. What's the difference? I don't know but wouldn't it be nice to know.
    1957_chevrolet replied to Anneinside's response:
    Psychiatric wards have seemed to be my second home since age 15(I am now 54) and the number of times as an inpatient thereof I've lost count after 25 or so admissions. I do not think in terms of "will this be my last time but how long before my next time" as an inpatient. I've been committed maybe 5 to 6X. What I try to do if possible is look for the positive aspects of which this out-of-balance reality brings.
    Yes, it is very difficult at times to keep-on-keeping-on and I if in any way have helped then it has been time well spent.There are some 100% certain promises made for all that I never forget but I am not allowed to put them in writing; you can probably guess. Everyone have a great day!
    wena2 responded:
    I am a Bipolar I unstable and I have often wondered why the medication does not fully work for me The answer is unknown it is just the way life is dealt to you I am using my creative talents (and most Bipolars have them) to write and having hypergraphia comes in handy with it I do not know the answer and would like to find out if there is a medical reason why
    Anneinside replied to 1957_chevrolet's response:
    Chevrolet, I have to admit that I too see hospitalization in terms of when I'll be back, not if I'll be back. I am having ECT monthly and the last time I had stopped maintenance ECT I was stable for 9 months and then back in the hospital. I see my pdoc in May and she said we would talk about more ECT then. I do have one scheduled for April. Unlike a lot of other people when they talk about ECT, I worry that she'll want to stop it rather than start it.
    bipoet001 replied to wena2's response:
    TRIGGER - I see individuals who are chronically unstable. Many people live out their lives in this manner until a crisis comes that forces them to decide to be extremely vigilant with their meds, sleep, and routine or they too often die. Men are more vulernerable to suicide as they tend to choose methods that are violent and irreversable in nature, women choose more reversable methods. Often family and friends enable those with bipolar, and sympathize and provide them with money for alcohol or drugs or provide them with lodging or bail them out of jail without an agreement for them to follow a course of treatment. Those who are enabled in their condition may go through their lives without every having to come to a place of crisis and therrefore live well below their potential for their whole life. This is a tragedy. Bipolar is treatable and with medication and the knowledge of your invidiual changes that occurs before you go into episode, allow a person to take positive actions so that they do not ever get to the point of hospitalization. A support group or mentor should be someone who tells you when you begin to act differently from your normal self and be able to know what changes you need to make in your sleep, meds, diet, and routine. Bipolar comes in distinct episodes where by definition the person acts markedly different form their normal self. If your normal self is chronically disturbed, then you more than likely have something else occurring like a personality disorder which is primarily treated in a therpeutic setting, as bipolar medication will have little effect on these disorders. If you "self-medicate" with drugs and alcohol, you may need to detox before bipolar medications can have a positive effect. Even the most stable individuals experience the normal ups and downs of life, but they do not go outside the bounds of their normal personality, by severely over or under reacting then not being able to let go of that illogical escalating reaction for days, weeks, or months well beyond the initial incident, in dealing with these events. Many people who have chronic bipolar, are not being treated for all the disorders that keep them in that state. David.

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