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Bipolar Disorder and African Americans

Every person, regardless of race or ethnicity, should seek help if they have a mental health problem or symptoms of a mental disorder.

-- David Satcher, M.D., Former U.S. Surgeon General

For Teens Only: Could I Have Clinical Depression or Bipolar Disorder?

Every annoying adult will tell a teenager that adolescence can be a troubling time. Hormones drive moods and the struggle to find both identity and your place with friends can be a touch and go experience. Observing friends’ moods can help you gauge whether your own fall outside the typical range or not.

When your feelings seem more intense—either when you’re happy or when you’re sad— than those of your friends, it’s worth exploring the signs and contours of a mood disorder.

Racing, Obsessive & Grandiose Thoughts

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder eleven years ago. Over the years, I have become familiar with my symptoms and I’m actually good at recognizing them for what they are (which is a good thing) and addressing them. One of the main issues I have always had are my thoughts. Racing thoughts, obsessive thoughts and grandiose thoughts (although I don’t struggle with the last one since I’ve been medicated properly and stable).

Running Bipolar—The Effort to Chase Away Darkness and Manage Mania

I don't like running. To be honest, I began running out of vanity. My ten year high school reunion was coming up and I refused to look as if I'd just bore two children when I walked through that ballroom door so I started running. Walking just took too long. Since then, ten years have passed and I'm still running. I don't run fast and I don't run far, but I do run. There have been waves of time that I've run nearly every day, up to six miles at a time. And there have been spans of time that I only run a couple of days a week for only twenty minutes a pop. But I do run.

Hypomanic Project Spending

I can always tell when I am dealing with renovation construction while in a hypomanic mood. It costs money, lots of it. My landscaping job started at $5000+-. Add a walkway and entrance pad of hand laid stone on a whim. $12,000+- total. Add an irrigation system $14,500+- total. Finish off with a driveway tearing apart and repaving with stone liners $19000+- total.

Bipolar II Hypomania: The Catalog Sweater That Doesn't Quite Fit

Those of us who have battled Bipolar II long enough know the signs of hypomania.  And since a hypomanic episode happens so rarely compared with depression, when one does occur, it feels like receiving a beautifully gift-wrapped present. We unwrap it with frenzied anticipation, knowing the gift comes with an expiration date. Just what we've hoped for, just what we've wanted, but it may not be exactly what we need, like a sweater ordered from a catalog that doesn't fit quite right.

5150 to Meet Britney Spears

When I saw Britney Spears on the news on a gurney with paramedics, sirens blaring, a team of policemen, two helicopters, chaos, and a lot of paparazzi and she was placed on a 5150 my heart was breaking and tears filled my eyes. I said to myself, “Oh my God! Even a pop princess can have a mental breakdown.” Suddenly, I started having flashbacks of all the times I was strapped down on a gurney being taken to a mental hospital.

A Mixed Episode

A mixed episode…my latest road-trip from one pole to the other…with road food

For extra fun these last three days--I've been experiencing symptoms of a mixed episode. I am wildly rosy and ready to take charge...and simultaneously weeping uncontrollably. And unable to sleep.

I wept while I cleaned and alphabetized the pantry.

Fought back guttural sobs as I made chicken stock and spice cake.

The Tipping Point

Last Tuesday, I was telling my friend Anna that generally speaking, I am quite self-aware when it comes to my bipolar moods. I have never been able to understand it when people say things like, “I was depressed, but I didn’t even know it”, because I am so acutely aware of my descents into low mood. I have tried my best with mood monitoring systems, but I tend to find that they just tell me what I already know (usually that I am mildly hypomanic, since that seems to be my default state these days).

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