Are you experiencing:
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
- Sleeping too much or not sleeping enough
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Feeling of exhaustion or fatigue
- Disinterest in previously enjoyable activities
- Feelings of guilt or shame
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Reoccurring thoughts of suicide
- A sense of overconfidence
- Feeling you have enhanced abilities
- Impulsively making decisions
- Feeling very agitated or easily angered
- Feeling very energetic even with very little sleep
- Have racing thoughts, jumping from one idea to the next very quickly
- Speaking rapidly
- Feeling unusually optimistic
Bipolar disorder is a popular buzz word in our culture today. Previously termed “Manic Depression,” bipolar disorder is characterized by the presence of major depression in combination with some type of manic episode. Manic episodes occur on a spectrum that can range from very little increase in mood, where the episode is barely recognizable, to grandiose thoughts that can lead to delusions and hallucinations.
Less sever manic episodes are termed hypomanic episodes. During a hypomanic episode, people may feel a sense of relief that they are pulling out the depression that has been plaguing them. A heightened sense of happiness, concentration, decision making abilities, and positivity usually accompany hypomanic episodes. People who are experiencing a hypomanic episode are described as energetic, creative, and charismatic. They may have a decreased need for sleep and often demonstrate risky behavior. While a small percentage of the population experience hypomania without depression (thus not qualifying as having Bipolar Disorder) the majority of individuals who have a hypomanic episode will also experience a depressive episode.
It may sound like Hypomania is not that dysfunctional or debilitating. Most of us strive to feel energized and confident in our abilities. Unfortunately, hypomania is different from developing a healthy sense of self-esteem and a positive outlook. Hypomania involves an exaggerated euphoria. Clients describe hypomania as feeling “high” and “untouchable.” This feeling usually wears off over time when the depression returns leaving very little middle ground to stand on in the interim.
On the spectrum of mania, manic episodes are similar to hypomania, being differentiated by the severity of the mania. Whereas those that are hypomanic are able to function on a level where people may not always notice an episode, people experiencing full blown mania are more recognizable. Bursts of energy and over confidence in abilities can lead to making extreme decisions without thinking through the consequences. During a manic episode, one may feel he or she cannot fail at anything attempted, and in extreme cases, irrational thoughts can lead to risky and life threatening behavior. In less severe (but still dangerous) cases, people have been known to go on shopping sprees when they have limited financial resources, gamble away the savings account, or begin large scale projects (such as home remodeling) with little to no preparation.
As with hypomanic episodes, manic episodes are often followed by a major depressive episode. Clients report feeling as though they are on an emotional roller coaster with exhilarating highs and fearsome lows. They feel little stability and begin to distrust their emotions, moods, thoughts, and decisions. Every joy is accompanied by a fear of impending anguish.
During the depression, those with bipolar feel shame or guilt over actions that may have occurred during the manic or hypomanic episodes. The energy that had been fueling them seems to have run dry, leaving them feeling exhausted and burned out. Often physical illnesses, such as respiratory issues or chronic pain, accompany the depressive episode. Optimism has turned to hopeless pessimism, and seeing a stable future seems impossible. Making decisions becomes increasingly difficult, and preforming everyday tasks feels too complicated. Thoughts of suicide become more prevalent during this time, and they may begin to fear for their safety.
Bipolar disorder threatens the lives of many people. Fortunately you don’t have to ride this roller coaster forever, nor do you have to do it alone. Experts at Noyau Wellness Center have vast experience in working with clients suffering from bipolar disorder. Because this disorder effects not only your mental health but also the physical, treatment is much more effective if clients address not only the mind, but the body as well. Noyau Wellness Center employs a number of experienced practitioners from various areas to work with clients on multiple levels. This collaborative approach is an innovative step in the treatment of Bipolar Disorder. Offering counseling, nutritional consulting, medicine, and massage therapy, practitioners confer regularly to establish the most effective and balanced treatment for clients. Clients may require pharmaceutical intervention, and in these individual cases, we will use referrals to local psychiatric doctors to ensure proper treatment.
Living with bipolar disorder and experiencing these extreme highs and lows is a battle many people face. Practitioners at Noyau Wellness want to help you find that solid middle ground that has eluded you for so long, allowing you to achieve the success and fulfillment you deserve.