When an earthquake occurs in the ocean, the ripple effect causes tsunamis whose effects are felt on shores thousands of miles away. The intrigue about tsunamis is that they can never be predicted and even when they are anticipated the damage caused is always unprecedented. Bipolar relapses are often like the tsunamis, even with all the well documented warning signs available to patients and caregivers sometimes we end up being caught off-guard. The ripple effects of a relapse are usually depression, mania (or hypomania) and at worst mandatory hospitalization.
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Six weeks ago I relapsed from my addiction recovery and, subsequently, from my Bipolar Disorder recovery. The two are so intertwined that a distinction can barely be made by me or my mental health team. When I use substances I also quit taking my medications. When I quit taking my medications I am more likely to use substances to control growing symptoms.