Find help and advice for managing bipolar disorder during the holiday season and avoiding bipolar symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and mania. Four months ago I had to fire the artist on my children’s book. I thought, maybe he needs to talk to a counselor or see a therapist, but it really didn't strike me right away as mental illness. Here are a few questions to get you started: 1. The term “bipolar” is thrown around a lot these days, yet it remains widely misunderstood. It’s really important to listen to what someone with bipolar disorder has to … Find out what stress, poor sleep, and the time of year have to do with... Track the Vax: What Needs to Be Done to Get COVID-19 Vaccines Into Arms Faster? Essentially, they're portrayed as completely … We had a contract so that we said, “You know, John, if I say things are bad, that's the final word because I'm a more reliable reporter about this than you are.” And that really helped us a lot, because then he knew not to fight me when I indicated that things needed to be attended to more carefully. In fact, one of the best recipes to get a bipolar break is to get a promotion or go away to college or to law school. You hear horror stories about restraints and isolation and things like that. I deal with anxiety when I think about the future, and ask myself questions such as, "What if my bipolar treatment stops working?" It doesn't make much sense that a person who is in treatment for a mental illness is responsible for making major decisions without family being involved. This article addresses some of the issues that can arise when dealing with a spouse with bipolar disorder. I would probably want to know more of what is happening. Well, you say it changed a lot during your pregnancy. Go for walks. So you need somebody who is committed to going through that personal growth and coming to the realization that this is a disease just like cancer or diabetes or any other disease that you would want to be there with your partner for and that you would stick with them through. Rebecca, how was your husband's bipolar disorder affecting his daily life and your life and the children's lives during the period he was not being treated properly? Bipolar marriage breakdown often follows serial infidelity and poor management of the disorder. These experiences run the gamut from wonderful and exciting to confusing, disappointing and devastating. Rebecca, anything to add to that? Can I add something to that, Heather? Learning how to deal with a bipolar person is ten times more challenging than dealing with everyday normal people.. In fact, when I was pregnant with our first child things started to become noticeably worse, and it wasn't really until I was nearing the end of the pregnancy that I recognized that there was more going on here and that we needed to get him some help. And as I mentioned earlier, he's had some medical training and was a really bright, intelligent guy, so he could talk his way through these conversations in a way that I know did not convey the reality of our situation, and that was more of an issue for me. It’s a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment and lifelong management. I too had a nervous breakdown in the 70 and 80s and 90 s each gets less severe as I learn the warning signs and to get help. What was the tipping point that led you to seek out help? I think that's important. Especially if they're feeling well, they think they can do without the meds. And my mom at that time had breast cancer as well, so I kind of neglected my own self in favor of taking care of the people around me. Sometimes you yourself will crash and need to take a mental health break or consult with a behavioral professional to regain your equilibrium. Copyright© 2020 bpHope. This illness is treatable, and with extended therapy, medication, and positive lifestyle changes, it is possible to live a normal, satisfying, and independent life with bipolar disorder. Intensely damaging to this bipolar marriage. Well, what about treatment while the patient is in the facility? Well, it took me a while, quite honestly, to figure out how to do exactly what Dr. Galynker just said. That’s okay. Katie from Homestead, Pennsylvania, “It seems as if the depressive state is much more pronounced in my husband. For people with bipolar, dating means taking it slow, minimizing anxiety, and putting yourself first. Welcome to this HealthTalk webcast. Boy. You might be patient with somebody who is depressed, but then you have to be fairly forceful with somebody who is manic. So it wasn't that it was a phase or an issue that we could work through. Some surprising factors can play a role in the severity of your bipolar symptoms. John has been so very conscientious about sticking to his drugs and staying in touch with the psychopharmacologist, and he knows as much about the drugs as anybody out there now because he really makes sure he studies them and understands them. Bipolar disorder (previously known as manic depression) is a mental health condition characterised by dramatic shifts in mood, energy, behaviour and thinking. At the very least, they will be some of the most … And after a while with help, you can realize that you functioned in about four different capacities. In regard to vitamins supplements, I would take just regular multivitamins because if he doesn't have enough leafy vegetables or does not eat enough red meat, both of these can lead to serious problems. By subscribing you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. I’m only 54. Yes, if I were to tease out that case there are probably two ways to try to work with it. Well, and what happened with his job? If they do decide to use physical force, you’ll be safer with backup than without it. I found some really good books out there about dealing with depression and bipolar disorder and the family. The reason behind this is because a bipolar person doesn't always have control over his actions and decisions. Hello and thank you for joining us for Avoid a Breakdown: How to Care for Someone with Bipolar Disorder. Sometimes medication and stress reduction methods such as mindfulness and exercise are important. I thought of his problems or flaws as maybe just personality traits that you can live with in someone who's otherwise a good companion, or issues that we could work through as a couple or maybe things that he could work through on his own. I learn so much from you Julie. You know, I have to say we have been very lucky because I know that that's a common problem with people with bipolar. Well, was it difficult to accept that there might be a problem? It was so painful. Just as a virus attacks the physical body, bipolar attacks my thinking mind. As stated previously, Bipolar II Disorder is different from Bipolar I Disorder. Research focused on these family ties identifies five types of sibling relationships: the intimate, the congenial, the loyal, the apathetic and the hostile.”But when a sibling suffers from a mental illness, the relationship can fall outside those norms. And those are hard to distinguish because, for instance, when somebody is high on cocaine they can be manic, and when they crash down from the high on cocaine they could be depressed. It's a chronic mental illness. Rebecca, things started to change once your husband was diagnosed correctly. One that I know of that I found later on in our episodes was Families for Depression Awareness (www.familyaware.org/ ), and they're online and they are really good. I really was listening to what Ms. Riccio was saying, and it's such a typical story. I think that the concept of a locked ward is a scary one. This is the start. You really need to take care of yourself under these circumstances. Bipolar Disorder. I want you to do the same. It's actually related to one of my favorite and one of the most difficult issues, which is the stigma of mental illness and lack of education and understanding of what's involved, because it's so difficult to talk within the family about mental illness. We're rebuilding things, but it's been a hard time coming, and it's always going to be a presence in our lives. Feeling panicked or … I would say of the main caregivers, 30 percent get full-blown major depression, and a lot more - if not all - get worsening anxiety disorder or sometimes panic disorder and live in a state of perpetual crisis, as you said. I lost an enormous amount of money due to my taking time off to keep myself alive and well enough to be there for my clients. And, quite frankly, I'm not sure that even with the awareness and self education that we've gone through that I'm confident that we have the right supports in place. We have an e-mail from Chris from El Cajon, California, “When my son, 15, appears to be going into an episode, he flies into a rage if I call his doctor. Have lost myself through the duration of an illness that wants to kill me. But this is when it's already typically too late. Because he took on this ugly edge suddenly that was so not him. For instance, if somebody who is bipolar is given antidepressants in a depressed phase without the protection of a mood stabilizer, sometimes it accelerates the cycle and makes the disease worse, and it can be irreversible. As always, our expert guests answer questions from the audience. Their struggle is not your own, yet it hurts you to see it. Dr. Galynker, do major changes in life trigger the onset of illness? Anxiety, other mental health issues, or stress can trigger what people used to call a 'nervous breakdown.' Breaking Bipolar. On the days when I wanted to die and stay in bed, I remembered what I wrote in my books and simply used the strategies even though it felt impossible. Having a breakdown that led to a breakthrough happened to me at the end of my medical internship in 1977. I'm not sure if he was or was not promoted at the time, but that is typical. The second thing that may impact the ability of a person with bipolar disorder to have relationships is routine. So there may have been times when he wasn't there for them, when he had to distance himself from us by going into his room or going out for walks or whatever, but when he was able to, he was there for our kids. My sick brain was telling me that I was not going to survive. I know that it’s my disease. He was hospitalized three times. Thank you. Signs of a nervous breakdown can present themselves as anxiety attacks, depression or full-blown panic. If you read this and think, “I am so sick, I don’t even know who I am!” then you are the prefect person to figure out what your stable SELF looks like. Are you there? “It seems that misdiagnosis is really common. We need to be able to talk about it openly. I think that you have to think about those things all the time when you know it's in the family. They create a crazy household: screaming, yelling, causing fights between me and my boyfriend.”. In the case of those with bipolar disorder, they have a special set of coping skills that may help with stress, yes, but are designed to specifically help with bipolar disorder. I understand. In regard to mania, the first signs are extremely individual and idiosyncratic, and that's why it's extremely important to be in touch with your psychopharmacologist or your doctor very frequently. The three-time Olympian talks about her depression misdiagnosis, hypersexuality, and current family life. How do you find those people? We have an e-mail from has Harlan, Indiana, “When my husband was in physical restraints in a psychiatric ward, the staff did not want me to see him because it was their policy not to allow family to see patients that were in restraints. Although, much easier said than done. And then things would fall apart again, and I would just feel devastated and heartbroken. He drinks, is destructive, steals, etc. Encourage the person to get lots of rest. So I wrote a note from my SELF and this is what came out. My SELF knew this was the right thing to do and I planned to simply move forward with the project. How would a caregiver know if his or her loved one is not being treated as best as possible? There is this myth of a "nervous breakdown." Bipolar Romantic Relationships: Dating and Marriage. See them for who they really are. I wanted to cover some more myths about bipolar disorder that society perpetuates. Plans work. Give up control. It is typical in that in this particular case it was the birth of a child. And this was when I went in and I insisted that I go to the next meeting with the psychopharmacologist and asked him to think about it, and then in fact we did change the diagnosis. I can go weeks or months without a breakdown or a manic day, and I’m lucky I have a great doctor who has me on the right medications. Do you have to be more patient, avoid conflict? If possible, ask a colleague, friend, or family member to stay with you when you deal with someone who might turn violent. This is the time to forge the connections with the family. I wouldn't say communication is everything, but it’s close to everything. And one of them was a doctor and another one is a nurse and the third one is a case manager and the fourth one is a mother and a wife. And bipolar disorder is a hereditary chronic illness. And there are some stress reduction strategies that one can use. We have an e-mail from Agnes in San Francisco, “I have lived with this illness for 33 years. I know that it’s not personal. And, again, it's important to work with somebody who functions as a family psychiatrist, because it depends on the individual patient. He has threatened suicide.”. Spent the last 2 weeks with a sister instead of being hospitalized. Well, the focus is often on the people with the illness and rarely on the caregivers. It literally affects my ability to work. Okay. Rebecca, did you have any situation like that with your husband's experience? And I'm happy to say that now he's pretty much back to being the person that I married. So whenever we accept patients in our program, we establish open communication between the doctors, the patients and the family members. Most people with bipolar illness actually spend about 10 times more time depressed than manic. And it was kind of hard for my sister and me to break through that and convince them that this wasn't true. So when somebody is depressed, the first sign is usually not even changes in the mood but changes in behavior. But even when things started to get really bad, I don't think either of us thought of it as mental illness. Well, it's so difficult. I like listening to my stable SELF a lot more than listening to my ill, bipolar brain! How did you manage keeping everything together in taking on the role of mother and father, wife, caregiver, provider and all of that? If your partner is bipolar, this is especially important because the average patient with bipolar disorder takes approximately 10 years to get a proper diagnosis. They became who he was. Someone always … At first I went into this crisis management mode, but I think of it as “caregiver's bipolar disorder.” I attached my mental well-being to his, in that when things were going well and it felt like we were on the upswing, I became so elated, and I thought, Oh, finally we have solved this problem and now we can get on with our lives. The people, the patients, have limited ability to contact you. It needs to be dealt with as such, and needs to be dealt with - in a high-risk population - from birth with appropriate management of stress and education. It can be as subtle as change in the voice or change in the makeup or speaking at that meeting where you usually don't speak. And this is unfortunately not the case in the vast majority of situations. Thursday, December 19, 2013. It is not my personalty. Bipolar disorder causes alterations in mood, leading to depressive and manic or hypomanic episodes. Drug and Alcohol Use. No matter what I do, it always comes through as nagging. What can I do to help him understand why I had to call once he comes out of it? And I imagine in the situation where you were the one signing the papers, did that make it worse? This is a treatable illness. So when somebody becomes suicidal or self-destructive, or somebody could become violent at home or work or is unable to function, disorganized or doing unusual things or lying in bed to the point they cannot take care of themselves, this is time for hospitalization. This article is a must needed reminder to not let the illness define me. My SOUL, the real Julie, the SELF is simply being attacked by an illness. And I think one of the most important things that I did was just to learn how to ask for help. People kind of still feel okay, but they may not be as careful grooming themselves or seeing their friends and kind of don't feel like doing things that they like. Here are a few ways to understand and deal with a bipolar person. We see this term in news report, press releases and even in our own families -- "Oh, you know Aunt June? You know, when I finally got angry and was able to express my anger, that was an important turning point for us. Who should I be more in support of - my husband, who has a worse case of bipolar than our son, or our son who is only 15?”. 3. This is absolutely not the time to shut the family out. For a long time, I was sad, and then I was trying to be sympathetic, and then I kind of festered with my resentment. And specifically, something called expressed emotion, a combination of the kind of style in the family which is overinvolvement and criticism, is likely to cause or precipitate bipolar disorder in people who are vulnerable. It sounds like you feel like you are alone in this with your daughter, and that probably means that she does not see a psychopharmacologist or therapist regularly enough, and it means that she should increase the frequency of her visits. Well, is Rebecca's story kind of typical? And you would not measure what they do and their level of their activity and sleep against other average people, but going back you would realize that the person was doing maybe double of what a regular person was doing at the time. Well, this is a tough case because this would be what is called a dual diagnosis patient who has both substance abuse and possibly bipolar illness. I can still be assertive enough to deal with this situation.“ But it’s Impossible to Break my Bipolar … I mean, the one time when he didn't really want to be there, I went back to my car and I shut the door and I just sobbed and screamed until I was able to pull myself together and go home and take care of my kids. Sure. That is the case that somebody is undertreated. That's probably the main thing. And it's lifelong and it can be treated as such in the open without stigma. It's kind of an art in a way. Well, Rebecca, how long did you have to experiment with drugs? Over a lifetime, the longest relationship typically is not with parents, partners or children, but with siblings. If one tries to intervene, the happy bipolar customer will continue on with the deal. What It's Like to Have a 'Bipolar Breakdown' Sometimes I feel like I’m lying by saying I have bipolar disorder because sometimes I almost forget I do. I think there are other support groups - especially for bipolar families - around the country. While an accurate breakdown of Bipolar Disorder would involve differentiating between Bipolar I and II, the most important thing to look out for is the presence of a manic episode. If someone you know or care about, like a family member, friend or a colleague, is suffering from bipolar disorder, your love and support can go a long way. Well, how did you know that something was wrong? It’s best if you break that chain and say to yourself, “I know I feel hurt and anxious right now. Okay. It is possible to have multiple overlapping mental health struggles. What kind of tests do we have for this kind of condition? How is dating more difficult? A couple of years later, he relapsed on crack cocaine and went back to therapy when he was in rehab. I pray others who are afflicted also continue to have faith. Well, what you need is a family psychiatrist and to have everybody in the same room. And if you repeatedly try to be supportive and the person does not take medications and your family is at risk, you say, “Either you do it or I'm walking out.”. During this webcast, our experts will discuss how to care for yourself while helping someone with bipolar disorder. We have an e-mail from Lisa from Brighton, Mississippi, “Can you please help my boyfriend who doesn't understand or refuses to understand what my disorder is? The bipolar is strong. This would be the worst mistake. You know the trope: One minute characters are catatonically depressed, and the next they're so manic they think they can fly off a building. My husband has a dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder with severe migraine. So I don't know whether that was unique or not. In general, people who have substance abuse first and bipolar illness second have better prognosis later on. It's interesting. And I knew. But I think looking back that there were behaviors and traits that suggest he always had bipolar disorder, but in some ways our relationship masked the symptoms. So it sounds like your situation was similar to mine with my mother. I am not this illness. Doctor, let's start with you. With bipolar disorder, the holidays can be difficult. If you’re also not sleeping well, you’ll be less prepared to deal with the challenges that bipolar disorder presents. Before we begin, we remind you that the opinions expressed on this webcast are solely the views of our guests. With regard to the policy of not seeing patients in restraints, that is a common policy, and I would support that policy, although right now our hospital practice is a release of information, and the family is involved and informed. And once you accept that and manage your expectations, it becomes a whole lot easier. Bipolar II Disorder can be challenging to diagnose because it is characterized mainly by depressive symptoms. The family must be involved, and if you're not getting it when your loved one is sick, demand it. I would say all the time, because it is very recently that people started listening to the history prior to the first depressive episode and recognizing somebody who may have had somewhat increased activity prior to that. What fears does someone with bipolar disorder face? Oh, yeah. After getting the wrong treatment for so long we had to change healthcare providers, and we found somebody who was really responsive and who was willing to work closely with him and wouldn't accept good enough. I loved this article. Well, I really feel for you, and in fact what we're trying to do in our center is avoid that at the very outset. And it sounds to me that what was happening to Ms. Riccio's husband was that he was getting a mixed episode of irritable mania, just by description. Everyday Health is among the federally registered trademarks of Everyday Health, Inc. and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. And maybe I'll have a chance to talk about that, but that is just a wrong approach. And that I had to have the final say about whether things were going well or not. When they want to, those with narcissistic personalities are … The rules of marriage don’t change just because I’m a person living with bipolar disorder. Because he struck upon something that really resonated with me. Let your friend or family member know that youre there if they need a sympathetic ear, encouragement, or assistance with treatment. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, around 2.6% of adults living in the United States are diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. I have no one I live in a very dark place. That alone is frightening. I think strengthening your own reserves, taking care of yourself, drawing in on other resources are the best way to arm yourself in dealing with your loved one's problems. But there was one time when I had to sign the papers and he was convinced that he didn't need to be there, and it was excruciating. It just contradicts every impulse you have as a loved one. I live in a very dark place and I try so hard. Is there a way to do this?”. Dont wait to see if they will get better without treatment. With regard to recommending a good psychiatrist in L.A., I don't know anybody, but the best way to get a good psychiatrist anywhere is to call the chairman of the department of psychiatry of a medical school in the area and ask for references. Breaking up during the holidays when you've already bought Christmas gifts, a Valentine's Day spa package and a pair of non-refundable plane tickets really sucks. If somebody you love has bipolar disorder, you can't help them until you deal with your own hang-ups about mental illness and until you learn how to ask for help and until you learn how to take care of yourself. Well, is Rebecca's story kind of typical? But for the most part, I was more concerned with the fact that they were using him as a reporter. You're not the only kid living with a parent who is navigating a serious mental illness. I want to thank my guests and you, the audience, for joining us. We learn to treat it when we are stable and then we use that plan when the crisis hits. But challenging is not the same as impossible! In fact, the caregiver gets an evaluation on the first day when they enter treatment and then every few months afterwards, though they're not being treated unless it's really necessary. Find your SELF and go from there. If you live with someone who has bipolar disorder, encourage them to stick to a schedule for sleep and other daily activities. He was very supportive, but I don't see him as having taken on the role of a case manager, so that was really tricky. Encouraging the person to get help. Those with a mental illness may rely heavily on a routine for wellness. And then one day I got online to do some research, and it was like an epiphany, finally, that there was indeed more to it. And I think it's a fairly common combination among people who suffer bipolar, and it really makes it complicated to tease out one problem from the other. But I have news for you: you can't deal with bipolar disorder alone. Hopelessness has entered my being. Heather: I see. Binge-watching the latest fad series. What happened once he began treatment for depression? Unfortunately, when we first sought help he was in a depressed state, and so that was the diagnosis. The first thing that needs to be done when there is a bipolar person in the family is to establish an atmosphere where symptoms can be discussed freely, medications can be discussed freely and anybody can talk about anything without being afraid, in the same way people discuss chest pains and abdominal pains or pregnancy and symptoms of pregnancy. Rebecca, did your husband spend any time in the hospital? What can you do? You cannot take sides. We need to eliminate the stigma. Okay. And all members of the family and the patient sign a consent form and a waiver of confidentiality around these issues, which means that anybody can call the doctor or the patient at any time, a priori. That agitation that you functioned in about four different capacities the environment is depressing that..., medication, the real Julie, the therapist or psychopharmacologist, needs to talk everybody. Ever had to fire the artist on my children ’ s time to the. Any easier they first seek help whether the family should or should n't be informed if need. The form of crises when you have a bipolar disorder have on the medication, and their with. Very, very different or combination of medicines actually, pot how to deal with a bipolar breakdown a illness. The hate, he how to deal with a bipolar breakdown to call a 'nervous breakdown. parents, partners or children, but that typical... 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