The good news is that over the past 10 years or so, our understanding and treatment options have increased - The bad news is that this medical condition still harbors shame, isolation, and tragic consequences.
Healing The Blues, Depression & BiPolar...
Since we are having an open discussion here, I want to start by saying that I speak about the ride of depression and bipolar disorder from personal experience. I was blessed to have found proper treatment during a suicidal episode in my 20’s. Years later, I discovered both yoga & meditation which have considerably eased the moods & symptoms. But one of the most empowering things I’ve found along the way is learning to understand myself and educate the people around me.
Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Sometimes, it can be triggered by situations but depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Yes, I said it twice because it’s important to understand. Oftentimes, it is NOT a pull your socks up and keep trudging it will pass kind of situation. During one of my crisis, I was resisting medication and a friend said to me, “If you had diabetes, would you take Insulin?”
Because depression is psychological disorder, we view it differently & we believe that we ought to be able to talk ourselves out of it. In reality it is no different than taking insulin for diabetes. Being a chemical imbalance, it often requires medication to stabilize. That being said, proper treatment also includes ‘therapy’ just like proper treatment for diabetes includes dietary awareness and restrictions. Medications can help prevent a situation from becoming fatal as well as help people to cope with life more effectively. And yes, either circumstance can also be handled without meds.
There are so many treatment options – the key is realizing that in order to heal you must take the first step and seek help. Realize this condition is not your fault. You aren’t meant to live unhappy. Offer yourself the same kindness and compassion that you would to a friend.
Bi-polar disorder is vastly misunderstood. It is Not a synonym for crazy! Just because your neighbor or your ex is ‘nutsy’ that does make them ‘bipolar’ People throw this term around a lot without knowing what it actually means. FYI - Some notable bipolar people include: Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Charley Pride, Frank Sinatra, Catherine Zeta-Jones…
I like this simple explanation - Bipolar is a condition where person’s mood regulator is broken. This imbalance creates extreme highs and extreme lows in a person's behavior. It can also manifest as ‘mood cycling’ - emotions that shift rapidly without any pretense. Happy, Sad, Angry, Elated, Crying, Laughing, - the whole spectrum in short periods of time.
When you’re in it and it hasn’t been diagnosed, it can be very confusing and even when you know what’s going on, if you’re in it, you can see it happening, but don’t always have the ability to control the ‘shifts’.
Bipolar 1 disorder, also called Manic Depression, is characterized by episodes of extreme highs (mania) and lows (depressive) lasting for extended periods. Bipolar 2 refers to the more rapid mood cycling, less intense mania and extended periods of depression.
Similar to depression, Bipolar can be triggered by circumstance (usually emotional trauma), and/or by an innate chemical imbalance. Oftentimes, both depression and bipolar are heredity conditions. Once again pointing to the genetic and chemical component ;)
Gosh, this article has gotten long…..!
The point that I want to make is if you identify with these conditions, you are not alone! Often the hardest part is the accompanying self blame, solitude and anxiety. Welcome to the club – we’re not very elite ;) It’s just your DNA. And help is available. Seek out resources and offer yourself kindness and compassion.
If there is someone close to you who is exhibiting these symptoms, my true hope that this article will offer you some insight, understanding and resources. Depression and Bipolar also have a rippling affect on the people around us. So if you are dealing with someone who has either condition the same goes, seek resources, take care of yourself and be kind and compassionate, it can be a rough road. But understanding that it’s the disease, not the person is helpful place to start.
Here’s some other info for you
The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive by Stephen Fry - This movie is amazing
Part 1 (link below) - Part 2 is also avail free on Youtube
Book List - CLICK HERE
More About Robin Williams and his struggle with Depression - CLICK HERE
May the light of those blessed spirits whom we’ve lost keep shining on at us from above :) May we move forward with understanding &
healing for ourselves and those around us
Love & Light