Living With Bi-polar Disease

by Arnold Nelson

There is no way of knowing how many types of bipolar disorder exists. I will give you three most common types

Bipolar one disorder: one or more maniac episodes. Subcategories specify whether there has have been more than one episode, and the type of the most recent episodes. While depressive episodes are common in bipolar disorder, they are unnecessary to make the diagnosis.

Bipolar two disorder: no manic episodes, but one or more hypomanic episodes and one or more major depressive episodes. Hypomanic episode do not go to full extremes of mania and this can make bipolar two more difficult to diagnose, since the hypomanic episodes may simply appear as a period of successful high productivity and is reported less frequently than the distressing, crippling depression.

Cyclothymia: the history of hypomania episodes with periods of depression that do not meet criteria for major depressive episodes. There is a low-grate cycling of mood which appears to the observer as personal trait, and interferes with functioning.

Bipolar disorder NOS( not otherwise specified): this is a catchall category, diagnosed when the disorder does not fall within the specific subtype. Bipolar NOS and can still significantly impair and adverse affect the quality of life of the patient.

Bipolar disorders typically start in the late teens or early 20s, but they can start at almost any age. My niece Cindy has been battling bipolar disorders since she was a baby. Her mother said when she was a baby there was times when she was a happy baby and there were other time that she was very depressed. When Cindy was born there was not a lot known about bipolar disorders so no one knew what to do with them. Bipolar disorders tend to run in families and her father also has it.

It used to bother me, her father was pretty rough on her and her brother. I would get upset by it and my mom would tell me he loves the kids. as if that would make it all right. It didn't help much because I've always been really sensitive to the pain of others,especially the pain of children. When the second and third girls came along their father mellowed out a little bit and wasn't quite so rough on them.

When Cindy was a teenager her parents divorce. Her father moved to the East Coast. Her mother stayed in California and got a job and worked hard to raise her four kids. Because of this Cindy and her brother had a lot of time alone. Cindy started running around with the wrong crowds and made some bad decisions when she was depressed. One of those was they decision to start using drugs. Another one was a marriage, which she doesn't like to talk about, which didn't last very long. Cindy started taking her mother stuff and selling it to get money for drugs. The only thing her mother could do with lock Cindy out of her house to protect her stuff. I know it was hard on Cindy, and her mother, but it was what they call tough love and sometimes you have to do it.

When Cindy got a little older she kicked the drugs. She started cleaning up her life and she met another man. She got married again but that marriage only lasted a couple years. The only good thing that came out that marriage was her son. While Cindy was raising him the father got plenty of times to be with him so the son got to know both his parents which is a very good thing. A few years after the end of the marriage she got in another relationship, got pregnant again, and had the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen ( I don't know, maybe I'm prejudiced because she's my God daughter.) but she is very beautiful.

Up until the girl started school, Cindy was with her kids almost 24 hours a day seven days a week. Then with the kids in school she decided she better go back to work. She worked in telephone sales for a few years. Then she decided to go back to college and become a psych tech nurse. Then she start making good money. All this time she was going through periods of depression. When she was depressed she would hide in the bedroom and the kids would have to take care of themselves. So because Cindy work and was gone a lot and during the times of depression. The kids had to learn to take care of themselves. They did and they did a good job of it. Cindy did a good job raising her kids. The boy's doing real good. The girl has a few problem but she'll work them out, she still young.

Sometimes the depression would get so bad she would hear voices in her head, which would tell her to kill herself. She called the suicide hotline many times for help. She spent many nights in the hospital trying to get back on her feet. For years I wished that she would take more time and get a better grip on herself. She always figured she had to get back to work as fast as she could to take care of her family so I think her health suffered more than it should have.

Finally after her kids were raised and she lost a couple of jobs because of the depression she decided she better get some serious help. She stayed with her mom for a while, while she's getting treatments. One of the treatments she got, was shock treatments. Shock treatments are one of the ways they treat depression, I don't know that it did much good for her, but she went through it. One of the side effects of the shock treatments is that you lose part of your memory. Most the time that memory will come back when the shock treatments are over. Cindy got most her memory back I think.

Then they started put her on all kinds of medications trying to balance out her depressions. She was seeing several doctors at the time and also going to groups to help people who are depressed. She was able to get SSI but it was just barely enough to pay for cheap apartment and some bills. So to make ends meet she would go to places they gave away groceries and get whatever she could get.

During this time she still had bouts of depression. I don't know how many times she tried to kill her self or how many ways she tried it, but every time I tried to call her and couldn't get her I knew she tried again. Then I would call her mother and her mother would tell me what happened. A few days later she would be back home again. She got a dog for a while, a Jack Russell Terrier, but they are not good dogs for apartments. That dog barked a lot, one of her neighbors complain, so she had to get rid of him. She loved that dog took good care of him. He helped her too. I know it was hard for her to get rid of the dog, but she did find a good family to take him in, so that helped. Now she has a parakeet. She is very happy and sings all the time and make Cindy happy.

One-time when Cindy was starting to feel good about herself she decided to get back to work, she had a job lined up, and just as she was ready to move to start her new job she had another bout with depression an she tried to kill herself again. So that stopped everything for a while.

I talked to her many times on the phone and tried to cheer her up and she's even cheered me up a few times when I needed it. One time when we were talking she said she needed something to do so I suggested she go back to her knitting because years ago she loved it. I told her how much I love the blanket she made for me and how sad I felt when I had to throw it away when it got old and full of holes. I wasn't suggesting anything just trying to help her find something to do with her time. She said I'm going to make you another one. She did, it is beautiful and I love it. Her son found out about it. He wanted one, so she made one for him. then her daughter wanted one I think she is working on one for her now. One time she was taking about going back to school and getting her RN license. Another time she said she changed her mind because she did not like to see blood (This from someone who slit her wrist once.)

Finally they found the right medication for her. She started leveling off. She started talking to her doctors again about going back to work and finally they agreed. So she went back to Fulsom prison ,where she worked years ago, and got a temporary part-time job there. After a few months they gave her a permanent part-time position. She is happy now she's got her life back and that she got a job which she likes. Soon she will move out of that cheap apartment into a nice apartment in good area. That will make her very happy.

One thing I did want to add. For years Cindy and her mother had kind of a rough relationship. When Cindy moved in with her mother and started the shock treatments their relationship improved, and after Cindy moved into her little apartment they would spend every Sunday together at her mother's house. I think it really helped both of them. They are closer today than they have been for years.

One time I knew a man who made a statement. He said There is no such thing as bipolar disease. It is just a way for people to get money for not working. I was shocked, I couldn't believe anybody was that stupid, after watching everything Cindy went through for so many years, it was I could do to keep my temper under control. I wish I could say this was an isolated case, I'm afraid there are many people that feel like he does. Education is the only way to get to these people.

Here is a partial list of famous people who have had or has Bipolar disease. I give you this list to show you that Bipolar disease does not care who you are or how much money you have. It can hit anyone.

Adam Ant

Dick Cavett

Rosemary Clooney


Richard Dreyfuss

Patty Duke

Carrie Fisher

Mel Gibson

Jessie Jackson Jr.

Margot Kidder

Vivien Leigh

Jane Pauley

Charlie Pride

Axl Rose

Frank Sinatra

Britney Spears

Margaret Trudeau

Ted Turner

Jean-Claude Van Damme

Vincent Van Gogh (They think he had it. It was too far back to know for sure.)

Catherine Zeta-Jones

I wish to thank Wikipedia for the technical information about bipolar disease and the list of famous people who suffer from it.

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