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Bipolar

What Does Depression Feel Like?

I’ve lived with depression my entire life. As far back as I can remember, I thought about suicide every day. On good days, I decided that I wouldn’t commit suicide and on bad days, I would think about how I would do it.

When I was younger, I didn’t realize this was abnormal. I assumed everyone thought about suicide daily. I just thought it was part of the human experience to weigh the pros and cons of living on an ongoing basis. I did recognize that I was sad -- mostly because I recognized that others were happy.

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Bipolar

Podcast: Should Religious Figures Give Advice on Mental Illness?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales welcome Katie Dale, a young woman with bipolar disorder who was convinced by a pastor to discontinue her medication and instead put her faith in God to heal her.

Unsurprisingly, going off her meds plunged Katie into a serious bipolar episode. She resumed her medications and has been living well ever since.

Katie shares with listeners a touching, yet very pointed letter that she wrote to this pastor explaining how she understood his motives. But, she cautions, this doesn’t change the fact that his advice was harmful.
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Bipolar

How Do You Know if You Are Depressed or Just Sad?

Contrary to what some people believe, depression and sadness are not the same thing. Sadness can come and go and affects your mood, while depression is a lingering cloud that affects your overall ability to function.

Sometimes it can be tricky to distinguish between what is normal for those going through a rough patch of life and actual clinical depression. Read the signs below to determine if your Eeyore-like mood could be something more.
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Aging

Over the Hill with Bipolar Disorder: How I Lived to Tell the Tale

I’ll be 67-years-old next August 7. I think I’m still 17 until I look in the mirror each morning, splash cold water on my face, brush my gray hair and discover more wrinkles on my face that were not there the day before.

My psychiatrist did not tell me what to expect in recovery when he diagnosed me with bipolar disorder II nearly 25 years ago. I thought that if I just took the medication all would be well. I didn’t know about maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, how to manage stress, eating balanced meals, exercise and psychotherapy to start living as normal a life as possible.
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Bipolar

Does Weather Affect Your Mood?

Is your mood influenced by weather?

I am clearly affected by rain -- especially when it rains consistently for weeks as it has lately. I know other people who are, too, so I thought I’d study why the extra precipitation alters the limbic system (emotional center) of the brain and review the research regarding mood and weather.
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Bipolar

Shopping ‘Therapy’ Only Gets You So Far

For many people, when things get tough and they feel down, if they can afford it, they go shopping. I know I do. And because I have a mood disorder (bipolar illness), I’m especially prone to feeling bad quite often. I don’t spend an exorbitant amount of money at a time. Maybe $30.00 or $40.00. But I do spend. The last time I shopped when I was depressed I bought a nightshirt that said “Don’t Wake Me I’m Dreaming,” a coffee cup that said “Call Your Mother,” some socks and an artificial purple orchid.  All to the tune of about $45.00.  TJ Maxx to the rescue.

But I’m learning that shopping “therapy” only gets you so far.
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Bipolar

How to Let Go of the Thoughts that Cause Depression

Depression is different from other illnesses in that, in addition to the physiological symptoms (loss of appetite, nervousness, sleeplessness, fatigue), there are the accompanying thoughts that can be so incredibly painful. For example, when my Raynaud’s flares up, the numbness in my fingers can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t tell me that I am worthless, pathetic, and that things will never ever get better. During severe depressive episodes, however, these thoughts can be
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Bipolar

Bipolar Loses Its Romance

For years, I thought my mental illness was romantic. I felt I saw things clearer than people without mental illness. I felt I was somehow more real, more in touch with reality, more capable of feeling. I thought it made me more interesting.

When, a year or so ago, I tried again to take medication, I was worried it would make me bland, that it would take away the thrills I found within my highs and lows. I liked the waves of emotion, of not knowing when or where my next episode would happen. The intensity of both mania and depression was exciting. Within the past 6 months though, things have gone from entertaining to incredibly painful, and I no longer want to be this way, I no longer look down upon normal people. Now I am jealous of them.
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Addiction

Did You Take Your Meds?

My support system has earned certain rights that other people in my life do not get. The main thing that comes to mind when I speak of this is the age-old question that most people with bipolar hate being asked, “Did you take your medication?” I have got to admit at one point in my life with bipolar disorder it was a question that would boil my blood. My husband would ask me, “Honey, did you take your meds?” in the most loving, sweetest voice he possibly could and I in return would absolutely blow up at him. In my defense, we weren’t working together to keep my bipolar disorder in check yet and so he hadn’t yet earned the right to ask me the meds question.
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