If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the world may be caving in on you, or like me, you found it a relief to know that your erratic thoughts and behaviour has a name. I have written this article specifically for those who have just received the diagnosis and what should happen next.
Please use the links in the article to other posts I have written, as all of them combined will help you live your best life.
However, we are all different, so some of my suggestions may not suit you, but my main point is that life still carries on, and you can lead a fulfilling life with bipolar disorder.
There are many ways to help yourself, and this website covers many options for those with poor mental health. I hope the following article will help you excel in life after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Getting a diagnosis can be tricky; I was initially diagnosed with depression, although they did have concerns, it was bipolar. They mentioned it in their notes, but it was not until I was officially diagnosed a few years later.
I had ended up in hospital after becoming ill after my son’s birth; I was diagnosed with Puerplar Psychosis, a rare form of post-natal depression. I became deluded and thought my newborn baby was my mothers and not mine. It felt so accurate at the time, and I still have reoccurring doubts, which are fleeting because the memory is so strong.
Once you are diagnosed with bipolar, things begin to change. You will be given medication that I will briefly discuss, and I have a post regarding the helpfulness and side effects of medication. But the medicine is a hit and miss affair. We are all unique, and what works for some may not work for others.
You may go through several different medications to find the one which suits you. And some can make you feel so drugged up you don’t know whether you are coming or going, and others, in my case, affected me so bad they destroyed part of my memory process where I cannot learn new things properly. But those were heavy-duty anti-psychotic meds; not everyone will need to go on those.
The Right Psychiatrist
I’ve had plenty of psychiatrists over the years, and because I am in the UK, I am very grateful to the NHS, which provides them for free. Although I don’t get to choose who I see, which can be a problem as some I find very difficult to get on with, I even remember telling one psychiatrist to look at me when they talk to me and not my mother. I found it hugely frustrating as they spoke of me, not to me, and I was right there, sitting directly in front of the psychiatrist, and they completely ignored me as though I was invisible.
When I paid to see a private one, he was lovely, kind, considerate, but expensive. I say I paid, but it wasn’t me. My mother very graciously dipped into her savings, she paid the consultation fee, and I stayed in a mental health unit for two weeks while my medication was sorted. I learned many coping skills from this hospital stay that I share with you on my website.
The private sector is so entirely different from the state mental health units as eggs from bacon. (If you are in the UK, you will normally be diagnosed with bipolar disorder via the NHS.) , it comes with a price, and back in 2006, it cost £10,000 for a two-week stay; I dread to think how much it would cost today. I didn’t have insurance, and my mum paid out, and it was worth it as what I have learned I can relay to you for free, less than the cost of a hospital stay!
If you live in another country, to me, you may find when you enter the hospital, you then have the worry of huge debts when you leave. I have heard many stories where people have gone into a mental health unit in the US, and they didn’t have insurance, and when they came out, they have thousands of dollars in medical bills. I can’t imagine the strain this must put upon a person who already has issues with stress from their illness, and then they have extra piled on top of them.
Mental Health The Lesser Side of Medicine
It is improving, our world is viewing mental health in a more positive light, but there are still countless ways it can be improved upon. The diagnosis checklist I wrote shows how varied the symptoms of mania are and why a one tablet approach does not fit everyone.
There is no way around it. A person with bipolar will need medication in the end, and it is pot luck. But I hope that they will be able to base all requirements on our DNA and how we react to side effects and how the drug interacts with the system in the future.
More money is being spent on mental health these days, and I hope it will continue as, without good mental health, everything else fails—our love life, money, work-life and friends and family.
Diagnosed With Bipolar and What it Means for You
When you get your diagnosis, you may be at a loss about what to do; how will other people react? Will they think I am a psycho axe murderer. Should I tell family and friends, or should I avoid telling my boss?
These are all valid questions, and they go through everyone’s mind as mental health is only just being started to be accepted as a regular part of a humans existence. We all, to some extent, have a few mental health problems, even if it is only a blip in our lives, never to be repeated.
But with bipolar disorder, we know this is a lifetime thing, an illness that is classed as a disability due to its severity. When you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it will change your life.
As the years have passed, I notice that more people are being diagnosed with it, which begs why? Why is there such an increase in diagnosis? I like to think it is because more people seek help, and others understand the person is not a criminal or a weirdo; they need health care for a disability.
Years ago, people with bipolar disorder would have been locked up in a mental asylum with barbaric treatments and left to fend for themselves. These days, thankfully, we have moved on but not far enough.
We need to find out what causes bipolar? So we can eradicate it. But I fear more money is spent on physical illnesses than that of the mind. If bipolar were destroyed, it would free up a whole workforce. In the UK alone, there are 1.3 million people who have received the diagnosis. Bipolar UK
1.3 million people who experience it are vast numbers, and most of these people keep quiet about it for fear of stigma-related reasons.
If we all shouted and said, find a cure, I’m pretty sure people would listen. If we can discover vaccines within a year for Covid19, we can find a treatment for bipolar disorder.
So You Have Bipolar What Now?
As I said before, just because you have been diagnosed does not mean your life has ended. You will need to adapt, only like every other person with bipolar has done or is trying to. Even after 20 odd years with bipolar, I still find out new things and what is beyond my limitations.
I realised several months ago; I could not create multiple blogs; I used to be able to but now, what with my memory problems and bipolar, I can not handle the stress and the timetable required to do such a thing.
I now run just one blog, this one, which is eclectic in its very nature, as I’ve had to combine all my passions about mental health into one place. I learned to adapt, and this is what you will have to do.
Too much stress can trigger hypomania, which in turn can trigger full-blown mania and land you in the hospital if it is not treated quick enough. I have had this happen; I ignored the initial symptoms, and then it ballooned into a monster of an attack.
As you progress with bipolar, you will begin to figure out your triggers. Mine is the responsibility and piling too much on my plate. I have an overriding sense of duty and feel I must do such and such, and if I don’t, I have let others down.
Where the fact is I’m the only person I am letting down.
The other things are that the people around you need to know your limitations, and you can only do that once you know what they are.
How do You Find Out Your Limitations?
The first thing is to grab a piece of paper and write down everything that led to your diagnosis. Did alcohol play an impact on drugs? Did a stressful job or relationship add fuel to the fire? Was being a yes person the straw that broke you? Or did it happen after taking anti-depressants for depression?
For me, stressful situations play a role, now long-term stress, as opposed to smalls blips, is the critical factor in setting off an episode, but the other surprising fact is I am affected by anti-depressants. I need them when depressed, but they have to be so finely balanced with an anti-psychotic otherwise, I will shoot into a manic phase.
Which is more dangerous, mania or depression? For me, it is when they combine. Not many people realise that you can have the dual nature of the illness presenting as one. I have this when on particular medications if I am taking them for depression.
Prozac is my nemesis, but for others, a complete lifesaver. But even the lowest dosage of Prozac will lift me too high without treating the depression, and it will lead to an evil spell. So bad I have been hospitalised twice before because of it.
And it takes ages to get out of my system. I have to be very careful with anti-depressants. I’m always wary of a doctor who does not ask me about my medical history of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder because of the potential reactions to certain medicines. If they don’t ask, be very cautious.
So medications can lead to a diagnosis of bipolar but stress also plays a pivotal role. We are not designed to be constantly stressed. We are designed to take action when a singular stressful situation occurs. But in today’s world, stress is around every corner and to be honest, it takes a lot of effort to avoid any form of stress.
I’ve heard some say if it’s not stressful, you are not doing it right. I think these people have never suffered from bipolar, depression and anxiety. Never listen to anyone who diminishes stress as they have no idea what they are talking about regarding mental health issues.
You will also have those who say exercise is your way to better mental health; yes, exercise is good for releasing feel-good endorphins but not combatting long-term stress-induced depression. You can’t punch your way out of debt or Prozac side effects. I’ve tried.
I once spent so much time exercising; I became stressed if I didn’t raise my heartbeat. You may think I’m very complex, but we all are, and none more so than the person who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I hope this article will help you achieve some form of stability or begin the process towards becoming stable. Remember, you are not alone with bipolar disorder; there are millions of us out there, each trying out their own way of coping and living life as best they can.
- Do the Symptoms of Bipolar Get Worse With Age
- Being a Mother With Bipolar Disorder
- Living With Bipolar Disorder: 7 Ways It Affects My Life
Peace & Blessings