To begin with I am not going to write from a doctors perspective. Its truly from a person with bipolar perspective. I was 31 yrs old when i was first diagnosed as bipolar disorder. Tag given to me was i am in maniac phase by a famous psychiatrists in Connecticut, USA. I had no clue about bipolar at that point hence felt offended when i was called a maniac. I know the word meaning at that point, so i reacted in an attitude showing off. Now i realise what she meant, and now i agree i was in maniac phase. So if you ever come across this situation don’t get mad or at least try not to get mad.
Few months later, i started reading about bipolar condition (its not a disorder from my perspective). You can google it, but in a nutshell its a mood swing condition. Person with this condition could feel like a god (for a period which is called maniac phase) and totally into lost condition (for a period which is called depression phase). Combination of these 2 phases is called an episode which could last for a month to 3 months in my case. I am 35 years now, and i have experienced such episodes for multiple times at least 3 times. There were some smaller episodes which didn’t affect my life significantly. Those 3 times were horrible. Changed my life completely from fairly tale to horrible tragedy.
Good news is i have now recovered from the fall and back on my foot. It wasn’t easy though. Will tell you my story, i was in US earning decent money with my working wife and a beautiful child. Once i got into so called maniac phase, in my head i was completely normal in fact having a ton of confidence but i was spending lot of money on shopping/gambling, rash driving car, making new unwanted friends, having extra marital affairs, fighting with my loved once, sleepless nights, finally ended up in a treatment centre. That is when i realised i need special attention. My sleep schedule, diet, bathing time, everything was controlled by someone else. Life was horrible with that feeling “that life not having control on our own self”. I was on medication during the treatment and i was discharged once they felt i am not going to hurt my wife for admitting in hospital. I flew back to india which is my motherland, and felt good for a while with the medicines until i got into my second episode. You might wonder what about the depression phase of the episode. I will come back to that later.
During the second episode my wife and kids weren’t with me, i was staying at my parents place. I had a huge fight with my parents and told them to get out since i built the house with my money. I was alone with no job, no money to spend. I started selling all my stuffs right from the motorcycle till my furniture. Finally i was having nothing but my laptop and bed sheets to sleep. That is when i was admitted in another treatment centre in india, this time my mother admitted me while my wife and kid were still in US. My wife had no clue whats going on in my life because my parents don’t talk to her.
This time the treatment period was longer that 10 days in US hospital. I spent 6 months in the treatment where i learnt i could survive without medication provided i am in a restricted condition. Meaning i don’t have access to mobile, money or whatsoever. To be honest i started feeling comfortable and i was helping the centre members like a volunteer. Once i came out of the treatment i was feeling ok, but my parents thought otherwise so they admitted me in another centre for another 6 months. 1 year gone already in treatment centre, finally i came to conclusion this condition can be treatment if i am aware of my mood swings. I stopped using mobile phones and told myself not to get a job which will give me access to money. So i involved myself in service, i worked in de-addiction centre for an year and worked in old age homes for few months. Life was so meaningful than the white collar job in IT company. My family understood my situation and greatly supporting me. They provide shelter, food and cash for some travel expenses.
If you are a bipolar or living with bipolar, you need to understand few things. One, even though the mood swings are unpredictable, you could learn to watch the signs based on the previous episodes. In my case, if i start talking too much, willing spend more money for nothing, sleepless nights, over productive, quick reflex in thoughts and started bragging something unrealistic. These are the signs i am getting into maniac phase. During that time, restrict yourself or your partner with limited cash and limited access to mobile phones. Admit yourself/partner in a treatment centre based on the situation. For instance if that person started abusing physically, he/she definitely needs treatment in-house. You can’t treat them at home, unless you are an expert in handling bipolar which is most unlikely to happen.
Second, give them the emotional support needed for them to recover if they understand their situation. In the case of self, reach out for help from your friends and family. You will be amazed to see the results. There are good people out there who cares for us. Give them the chance to help us.
Third, once the episodes are over don’t self-pity or have any guilt. Either of them is not going to help. Instead learn what we can do better at the next time. Create an environment where you are invariably monitored by third person (not family members) who can tell you honestly when you are not at your best. Those are the positive measure we can take to handle this.
Let me stop giving advise and tell you the other side of the coin. Bipolar to me is not something dangerous to life or something of that sort. There are cases people attempt suicide or kill themselves during depression phase. But don’t get scared of that. Be cautious but nothing to worry about. Even a normal person has high chance of committing suicide due to various reasons. I enjoy my life after realising the fact during maniac phase i could literally do anything i believe i can do at the best. I feel like a god or son of god. All my outputs/results were awesome, some of my best works were done when i was having maniac phase. Good thing about bipolar is other than the close family no one would be able to tell the difference. In fact they admire me when i am maniac because i am sharp at that time. My answers to their questions will be like Sherlock homes talking to their clients. Bright side to bipolar is you can channel your boosted energy to something good for yourself or others. I work like a machine without sleep for more than 3 days straight. And i won’t even feel tired after that. Isn’t it amazing.
Only people with super power could do some of the stuff i did my life. So i am proud that i have bipolar. I have had rough part of my life, but who doesn’t have it. So I thank god for bipolar, otherwise i couldn’t have done what i did in my life. I am currently practising couple of naturally therapy for healing others. Its called flower therapy and reflexology. I promise i would have lived my life like a selfish if i didn’t have bipolar. Now i am giving care for old age people, give natural treatment for poor people and part of multiple social work organisations. None of this could have happened if i was working in IT company as a manager. God bless bipolar. Share your comments and thoughts below. I am happy to answer any of your questions even if it is very personal.
Lead a happy life, its in your hand right from your birth. Tragedy is we don’t know that.