Hi all, im pretty much new here, short sum of why im here is copy and pasted below from another thread. I'm really trying to better understand my aunt's illness, she has had the diagnosis for Bipolar I, and has since before i was born, so ive never known it any other way. Can anybody give me a better idea of what experiencing this psychosis is like? A Manic or depressive state? I know that is probably pretty broad, but really I would sincerely appreciate any kind of perspective you could give me. Things your close family members have or have not done that were positive/negative? I would like to eventually be able to talk to her about all of this face to face, its something my family is really pushing me to do, but at this point I dont feel like i want to, im afraid the outcome would not be good. Any advice....please do send it my way!
I'm new to this board, just stumbled upon it the other day. I'm 20 years old and i'm here because my aunt has had bipolar disorder for as long as I can remember. She can't work, spends lots of time going between home and treatment facilities, etc. Ive always had a very hard time dealing with her illness, everything ranging from being really angry with her (even though i intellectually know its not her fault), to being just really sad about the situation. I don't want to get too lengthy here but bascially i'm hoping that by hanging around this board that I can maybe start go better understand her and maybe how to deal with it better, or help her. So any advice... send it my way!!!
Well I'm not really sure I understand what you are asking, but I can welcome you to the boards. So welcome to the boards. I'm sure the mess of us can jointly find a way to answer your questions. What has me curious is that you're afraid the outcome of talking to your aunt would not be good. What do you mean or what do you think will happen?
In haven't failed! I've accomplished much. I just found a lot ways that don't work . . . yet.
i know its broad and to be honest, im not really sure myself what it is i am asking. im just trying to gain a better understand of what it must be like to live in my aunt's shoes. my hope is that if i can do that, maybe i can better deal with the situation and get along better with her. as far as why im afraid that talking about all this with her could lead to a negative outcome: the story of her bipolar disorder and my families experiences with it is long, long enough that i fear nobody would ever read it! but in short, im afraid such a confrontation would end up with me either very upset or mad which would likely in turn upset her end up with her back to the inpatient facility she goes back and forth from. that doesnt help me or her. if that makes absolutely any sense at all. sorry
Well I'll try to give you an insiders view of BP, I hope you have a very good imagination. Keep in mind this is best I can describe it based on my own experiences. Everyone is different, there is no garuntee your aunt experiences BP like this. I apologize in advance if this is incoherent, I'm really tired right now and the neurons aren't firing in a timely fashion.
Okay here we go. What I'm going to do is pick a few of these symptoms and give examples of how you might imagine them. Bipolar Disorder (BP) is a mood disorder. I hope you've read the primer that is the third sticky on this board it covers the symptoms fairly well. It is characterised largely by swings between depression and mania. The severity of the mania determines the type of BP someone has.
Racing Thoughts - imagine you are in a room with 5 televisions sets, all tuned to different channels, volume at max.
Goal Orientation - Every so often randomly pick a tv program on one of your 5 tv sets of which to do the project being in instructed. Each tv is airing a different DIY, cooking, etc type show. And Each project is weird with instructions you may be incapable of accomplishing. But grab onto that project and don't stop despite how bizarre or hard it is, keep this up for a while without finishing the project then abruptly stop and pick a new project from one of the other TVs or do something else
Lots of energy-imagine drinking a case of red bull and running around from project to project, idea to idea, task to task, and be obnoxious and loud while doing it. And keep in mind that you might be doing things that could get you arrested or otherwise get you noticed by people in positions of authority.
Insomnia-after the red bull stay awake, for at least 5 days straight (while doing the "lots of energy" stuff)
Irritability- After the above, imagine you might be getting a little tired and frustrated that you haven't finished a project and it seems like the world is against you doing anything right. Now start snapping at everyone you see for any reason at all.
Hallucinations (visual, auditory, olfactory) - I don't know how you can imagine this but try to imagine that you are seeing, hearing, and smelling things that do not exist and may be telling you very strange or scary things. Then get scared when you figure out none of it was real.
Hypersomnia - imagine sleeping for more that 8 hours for 5 days straight and the sluggishness that goes with that.
Lack of interest - don't do anything you like. Don't leave your home. No hobbies or favorite tv shows or grocery shopping or chores or errands or changing clothes or bathing or eating (or eating less than you normally would) or seeing or speaking to other humans (via phone, person,internet, or smoke signals). Nothing but sleeping, staring into space, and thinking you are unworthy or worthless. Remember not only are you not doing what you enjoy, you no longer enjoy it and really really don't want to do anything anyway. You are also inexplicably constantly tired. The only thing that sounds of remote interest to you is sleeping.
Crying jags - start crying for no reason at all or for every reason you can think of. And remember you are unable to stop crying at will and will start crying no matter where you are or who you are with.
Distractability - imagine everytime you start to do something simple with your brain, like count or remember something, suddenly somebody tells you to think about something else. Now try to think of the next thing only to be instructed to think about something else then get confused, then get a headache, then forget where you are.
Imagine having these things going on (mania and depression symptoms independently, although they can happen together) whle trying to live life or hold down a job. I think you can start to see the difficulty. Also imagine people with college degrees throwing expensive medicines at you that make these symptoms worse or make you gain a lot of weight or make you dizzy or screws with your vision. Keep in mind I've illustrated some extremes of the symptoms (and some comedy), they can in actuality be less severe and occur together. For instance you could have no interest in doing anything (depression) but still manage to go grocery shopping (except you are shopping very slowly and keep getting lost in the store or can't remember where anything you need is and then you forget where your car is parked.)
I think it is great you are taking the effort to learn about your aunt's illness. I'd recommend reading some books on the illness (the Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide is fairly good). Look around on amazon, there are many books on the subject of being a loved one on some with mental illness or BP as well. Please ask questions, I think I just wrote a rambling mess of stuff. Gosh I'm tired.
I will now apologize to by fellow BP sufferers who have found my description of the symptoms to be grossly inaccurate. Please donate your impressions to the cause! Kelsie is attempting what I think most of us wish our family's would and I really want to see her suceed.
In haven't failed! I've accomplished much. I just found a lot ways that don't work . . . yet.
Last edited by reesie; 07-08-2005 at 10:11 PM.
Reason: rambling and atricious grammar
Reesie, Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a wonderful reply for me. You gave me a good start to exactly what I was looking for. I have read the primer on this board, as well the typical facts symptoms, etc. But the way you have described them really brought them to life for me in a way ive never been able to see them before. My aunt is bipolar 1 and I see a lot of these things in her, and I, as well as the entire family can very easily tell when she is entering a manic episode, etc. While we see and deal with what the outward effects are, it is very interesting to try to put myself inside her skin. For me, the scariest part of her illness is the hallucinations, or what I believe they call psychosis. Things like, she thinks the CIA is after her or that the neighbor across the street is trying to rape her. I never know exactly how to respond. She hasnt been able to work for the past 5 years and when she has particularly bad episodes goes to an inpatient treatment facility for weeks at a time. Right now there is talk of a sort of detox, putting her in a hospital and taking her off all her meds and then starting fresh, since whatever they have been doing lately, obviously is not working. Thanks for sharing with me, you have no idea how much it is appreciated, I intend to share it with the rest of the fam as well. Anybody else?