This conversation is closed.

If one is bipolar but can control both sides (mania/depression) to perfection, is that one truly bipolar?

Some refer to bipolar as a "manic depression." There is still a lot of confusion surrounding the subject and I hope my question gets the right people thinking about an interesting answer.

  • thumb
    Jun 1 2011: I think remission is possible without drugs or minimal drugs to take the edge off. One crucial part is strong relationships with others, which unfortunately can be hard for the bi-polar person to maintain due to their actions while in the swings of their disease. When the patient has a close mentor to show what behaviors are off and how they are inappropriate they have a better chance to gather the understanding to keep themselves level and be able to identify when they start to shift in either direction. If they can identify when they first start to drift they can reign it in and stay in a logical state of mind.
    • thumb
      Jun 1 2011: Thomas..what a great wisdom you have brought to this exploration of working towards and staying in bi-polar remission.
      The two people closest to me who are bi-polar both included in their well ness stragegy building an informed safety net around them. One actually stood up in church where she hardly knew anyone and said she finally had a diagnosis for beahiors and episodes that had distorted and hindered her entire life..she acknolwldeged th eimpact of her behvio ron others abd asked the community for support..which is ther unfailing. Thatfreind is in remissison on meds and in a very very limited enangement with the wolrd..she is n permamnet disability because of her bi-polar condition. The person closest to me who refused to accept ger diagnosis for 10 horrific and very daramtic years actually went to evry person in her life she trsuted most and told them she was accepting her diagnosis, commiting to remission and asking for their support and love.

      Your idea of a close mentor or partner is very important too. I am sort of that to one of those closest to me. When major events happen in her life she knows she can call me or that we can send time together and partner through it.

      Finally your observation on the habits that get cultivated and established as part of coping with the disesas..lying, denial, extreme behaviors, drug and alcohol use, can make it very difficult for others to hang in there and dont just go asay because the manic episodes haven't occurred for 4 or 5 years.

      Wonderful wisdom Thomas..great share!!!! thanks so much!!
  • thumb
    Jun 3 2011: Let answer your question by another question: if someone with asthma is well control does he still have asthma? Yes the pathology of the lungs is still present. Why would it be different for a brain that is deficient in certain neuroreceptors? My bipolar is control but at anytime life can send a curve ball my way and break that very fragile balance. For example, just the fact there to much light in my bedroom can affect my sleep and then affect my thought process. It's a disease like any disease and if present I believe will be there. Just like some people have very bad asthma other lighter one. Bipolar is the same. Some people have climb Everest without oxygen with asthma or made it to the olympic. Like any disease, how well the individual perform with it depend of the person, their surrounding support, ect. Even control, it's always waiting around the corner to come back in strenght.
    • thumb
      Jun 3 2011: Daniel..wonderful..thnaks so much for your first person account. So valuable for everyone.

      Your comment that a curve ball can come at you from anywhere is an important elemnt in the trsuggle to find and stay in remission.. Is there any advice ytou could give on how to recognize siutaions that might throw curve balls or how to recognize that one is thrown aand about to confront you dircetly?

      I think tthe "curve ball suppport & readiness element" is one of the most challenging parts o finding and staying in remission.

      What do you do when you see a curve ball you have a practice that might be helpful to others trrying to maintain remission or to theirlsupport network?

      How can you know when the cirve ball risks are done?
    • Jun 7 2011: I like this analogy. I would submit that if one is truly bipolar, perfect control is unattainable, unless they experience a remission. Even then, the prognosis for continued remission is poor. Great question. Lots of answers.
      • thumb
        Jun 7 2011: Hi Dan..glad to have you hereand glad for each and all that take an interest in knowing a little more about the devastation of this very prevalent disease and realising how close it maybe to each of us.

        I like to think that complete life long remission at a farily high quality of life may be posssible for lal who suffer bi-polar idsorder with the ight combination of personal and medocal support and , a lot of determination and will.

        It's certianly not easy and any of us who knows of anyone nearby who is working to schieve and stay in remission, what we do and say even in a casual encounter can be part of the support that makes it possible.
  • thumb
    Jun 3 2011: To attain and sustain bi-polar remission requires a support network. And taking that up can seem like avery daunting task.for family and friends . Every one in the life of a bi polar sufferer can make a difference just by not turning away.Keep doing together the thngs you've always enjoyed, take it up again if you've let it fall away, be willing to do what you are comfortable doing and a little bit more

    Here is a tiny very readable book..just little vignettes, experiences in caring

    Caring in Remembered Ways Maggie Davis Heartsong Books

    ( available on amazon

    Most of us don't see ourselves as ever needing help or support and its not the first thing that ocurrs to us when we do. It's hard to recognize when we need help. But amazingly if you can say what you need it will be there..Get some one to be your patient navigator.your health care advocate .to go with you to appointments..appoint a health care advocate/power of attorney who knows you well, knows your remission program is close enoigh to know what's going on in your life. ( Bi-polar patients are not well treated for example in emergency rooms or by their doctors when they have legitimate medical issues..the presence of a medical advocate can make a huge difference)
  • Jun 2 2011: I have recently been diagnosed with manic depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorder. It sounds like a mouthful. But I am grateful to finally know what's going on and have people to help me move towards understanding and gaining control.
    I've known there has been something unbalanced since I was a teenager. My parents attributed my behavior to being a typical teenager, but seeing how my friends reacted and acted, I knew there was something different. As I got older and was faced with many different choices, I now know I lived 2.5 years of my life in a manic episode before I crashed into depression. I searched for help, but was told there was nothing wrong, I was just stressed at that point. I even had one doctor ask me who had sent me because he thought it was a joke.
    The doctor that finally diagnosed me, was strictly for prescribing medication. When I asked if she thought therapy would help, she said she didn't think so, but I could try if I wanted. I didn't like this answer. I feel that if I am to gain control and be able to actually live my life, medication alone will not solve the problem.
    The lady I see now, is wonderful. We are working together to help me recognize triggers, and why I react how I do. She is also teaching me how to be independent and hold myself accountable. I am on medication, but I feel like it's to help support rather than as the complete answer. I don't think that either one would work alone, but together, I think it's possible to control both episodes.
    Bipolar disorder is just like any other sickness. It shouldn't be overlooked just because people don't understand or think 'it's all in your head'. It has to be treated just like anything else.
    • thumb
      Jun 2 2011: Hearher,
      Thank you foryour courage in sharing your story here. It is by the way almost identical to the experience of two people very close to me.

      I have heard and read that many others, certainly one of the two people close to me, were actually gtaeful to have a diagnosis because then they felt they had something tto work with and could look forward with hope to a different life thatn they had known..a better life. I hope that is so for you..that you have the supports in place to achieve remission at an excellent place.

      And yes, your final point hasn't been explicity stated and bears emphasis. Bi-Polar disorder is a isn't a character falw..a moral failure, bad'sa disease ..on ethat is very difficult to ddiagnose and often mis diagnosed..a disease with many many many different manifestations.

      Wishing you every success on your journey.
    • thumb
      Jun 2 2011: Thanks for sharing. I will be interested in hearing how it is going later on. If you made it this long in life without meds it seem that you will be able to make great progress in understanding the triggers. Good luck on your journey and please share incite that you have gained.
      • thumb
        Jun 2 2011: Thomas I am glad you mentioned triggers and that should probably aslo not be buried way down here in a double indent

        .In the same way that my immune system from chemo/radiation is impaired..and ordinary stresses..working too much, not resting enough can cause a major set back for me, people struggling to maintain a high level bi polar remission are much more sensitive to dramatic life challenges. My young friend just broke up withher fiancee, had an abortion and smashed her car up all in about a two week period...enough to challenge anyone but definetly a special danger to her..which she recognized..she reached out to me and others pledged to support her in her determination to stay in remission and she has consulted both her MD and her Psych.

        She also knows her triggers and the signs of a posisble onset and has told all the loved ones near her about that. And she knows how to bring things to center through her music. ( she is a composer) So when she is approaching an "edge" she sits at her piano for days and days and days and fends it off through music.

        And again..same with any have to know your body..know your disease..know what your limits are..have a plan and stick to it.Thomas you are great to be here..
  • Jun 1 2011: If you can control both sides of it that might mean that it's no longer bi polar. In other words, it's very hard to control both, or either sides when they are happening. If you do control it and it is not happening any longer how could one prove that you actually did control it and that it did not just change of it's own accord?
    • thumb
      Jun 1 2011: as in a healing

      Hi John..nice to see you here.

      Do you mean as in complete healing?

      Do you know of anyone who has had a long term healing without medication? It would be great to have more informationout on such cases.

  • thumb
    May 13 2011: There is remission for bi-polar just as there s remission for cancer. There is a wonderful book, by the way, Suffering and the Courage of God ( not as theological as it sounds) written by a man who through self management achieved his own bi-polar remission. I suppose it's like us cancer ever says we are cured.only in remission. Would be so great to bring forward here other stories of bi-polar remission and how that was achieved and also any perspective on whether the medical establishment recognizes bi-polar remission. ( as opposed to life time meds). The author of the book as I recall is in a long term remission unsupported by meds . I have two people close to my life who are trying to self manage their bi-polar disorder and achieve this remission but it does take phenomenal courage and determination. Thank you for bringing this to TED. I hope it brings forth lots of first hand accounts of remission and remission strategies.
  • thumb
    • thumb
      Jun 8 2011: Thomas thank you..I want to read and considerthi svery important artcile more throughly but it is pointing to a serious new Phenomenology orietnted approach to diagnosis of menta lillnesses and congnitive disorders that have trapped many children and their families in a nightmare. ( the article Tjomas has posted is about checklist diagnoses)
    • thumb
      Jun 8 2011: I think that people who have tried to help have done so much unintended damage to so many. I feel so deeply for so many families which have struggled to protect and help their loved ones while dealing with a 'science' that did not have enough knowledge and all the bluffers that pretended that they did.

      These are the people- those who suffer and those who love them- who deserve the 'one thousand (or maybe a million) white roses - to pay homage to Lindsay's lovely phrase.
    • thumb
      Jun 8 2011: Interesting article Thomas. Particularly the following:

      "Were there any proposals for mental disorders you rejected?" I asked Spitzer. "Yes," he said, "atypical child syndrome. The problem came when we tried to find out how to characterise it. I said, 'What are the symptoms?' The man proposing it replied: 'That's hard to say because the children are very atypical'."


      "Psychiatric diagnoses are getting closer and closer to the boundary of normal," he said.
      "Why?" I asked. "There's a societal push for conformity in all ways," he said.
      • thumb
        Jun 8 2011: Thnak you Tim..( very nice to see you here, bythe way)

        frightening and so very true..a societal push for conformity do you think that is cultural..or just a practical matter that schools and families with both parents working just have a lower tolerance for children who aren't easy to "raise"?

        The implication here of course is that many adolesecnts diagnosed as bi-polar are actually within the far side of normal mood swings associated with dramatic hormone changes.I shared Thomas' article with a friend who is very involved with our island school who has long labored against the readiness with which children are labled ADDHD and put on drugs..She is looking up some links to a physicians who has written a good deal about the medical side of this which I will post here when I have it.
        • thumb
          Jun 9 2011: I am interested to see what your friend comes back with. The ADHD/ADD wave is another topic I feel it has more to do with information sources then psychological problems. I would love to have a conversation about all these factors but need a hand in summing up the idea in a way that would be a good starter or title question. Suggestions?
      • thumb
        Jun 8 2011: Deeply frightening! Great comments Tim.
      • thumb
        Jun 9 2011: "atypical child syndrome." I wonder if this would have been what autism is now?
        • thumb
          Jun 10 2011: I think it's any child who doesn't submit to authority..who doesn't fall in line..which is the really scary part about the article.
      • thumb
        Jun 9 2011: I would like to to that as welll Thomas and wouldlike to collaborate with you on that. we can be in touch via ted email. I am an advicatefor poeple with mental illness and conginitive disabilities..not a medical expert but I am very interested as well to leran ore about the medical side and expecially to identify any hopeful models for bi polar remission or life mnagement of addhd/ocd.
      • thumb
        Jun 9 2011: According to a 2008 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, [Joseph] "Biederman's influence is so great that when he merely mentions a drug during a presentation, tens of thousands of children will end up taking it."

        And the psychiatrist at the end should also have been tried for the murder of Rebecca Riley.
  • thumb
    Jun 2 2011: @Lenore ( below) whose brother was diagnosed in 2009


    First thank you so much for sharing your story and welcome to Ted Conversations.

    This particular conversation for which I am a volunteer moderator until Christian-Jean returns to us, is open ended. So stay with us. it is clear how many lives are closely touched with bi-polar dosorder; how many families and loved ones struggle as you have for your brother.

    Iit takes a vlilage and though we here at Ted Convesations may have no more to offer thna you can find yourselves..we are a village.

    I am an advocate and companion for people with various cognitive disabilities and brain injuries..not a medical person..I just try to be there for folk who are often abandoned. I know it makes a huge differemce for the patuent to know someone i s on their side..there for them without judgment no matter what..there to . Most are oit as lucky as your brother.. What tou are doing will amke all the difference and will empower and ebcourage your brother toward a remission. The more the better that can gather round. As you get more of a grip yourselves ..include grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins..every one...explian the illness..its causes..what you are trying to do and just ask for their compassion and good will. It will make a huge difference. By the way, I think my young friend has the same diagnosis as your brother. She has no mood swings but during an epsidoe things are very darmatic..for her it has included staright jackets, time in jail, time in mnetal institutions . I only listen and never question people I am a companion to but I gather from what my friind has told me it is often a physical illness..not an emotional distress, that brings on an episode. For what it's worth, what you are doing for your brother we and our loved one's have to do for all serious illnesses.May I say how very impressed and inspired I am that you are all doing what you are for your brother. I am on the team in spirit.
  • Jun 2 2011: Hi there Christian and everyone else, a lovely thread. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't bipolar sort of the HIV/AIDS of mental health? As in, it makes one more susceptible to "problems" created in the human mind? Now I might be completely wrong here, but I was wondering about this.

    Lets say that you are bipolar, and you are in a relationship. And you hear "voices"(yourself thinking) telling you that your husband/wife is cheating.

    Now the term "cheating" is human made and thus a norm created in our society, and it doesnt have any value in and of itself. So where does this function (to cheat) stem from? Well in this case it would seem like jealousy. A fairly negative emotion, that doesnt benefit much. So.. why have we allowed a negative emotion to have monopoly on our behaviour?

    I'm not sure if I'm getting my point across here hehe. If we could think more inwardly, we could strip ourselves of the negative emotions that are inside of us, and I dont mean to totally rid ourselves of them, but to truly understand our feelings, to truly see whats worthwhile hanging on to in our nature. As we do with the world around us. This way, there could be no "voice" telling anyone anything thats negative.

    So it seems to me that the problem is not being bipolar at all, but the negative aspects that inhabit every human up to this point in evolution. And therefore solvable through introspection or intrapersonal growth. Just some thoughts =)
    • thumb
      Jun 2 2011: Bipolar people do not hear voices. That would be schizophrenics, and besides that, true bipolar disorder is characterized by a hormonal chemical imbalance within the brain that inhibits your ability to control emotions, and is often connected to depression when diagnosed.

      While most research concludes that bipolar is a spectrum disease, which means it ranges from very functional with very limited symptoms to severe with possible social incapabilities, it does not mean that a manic-depressive would obsessively assume that their partner was cheating on them without reasonable consideration and reason.

      The disease is not solved through introspection, and while many can learn to live with the disease and cope with its cycles, medicine is needed in most cases to help regulate the neural receivers in the brain, and to aid in releasing chemicals at more regular intervals. Proper diagnosis seems to be rarer with a rising epidemic of children being diagnosed with bipolar as well as ADHD, dyslexia and other disorders or ailments. However, a true diagnosis will mean years of trying different medications, seeing what type of therapy works for you, and learning to understand yourself differently. It is not just a matter of telling our inner selves that we are in control of our bodies. If it were that simple, this would not be a disease so much as a personal complex.
      • thumb
        Jun 2 2011: Ashley..welcome and many thank for your comment.Conforms with everything I know through those who are bi-polar.. Have you een close to anyone able to achieve and maintain bipolar remission at a very high qulaity of life for the long term?

        Thnaks again..
      • Jun 2 2011: Hey Ash, thanks for the input. I was just tossing ideas around in my head, and now I just learned something, so thank you =)
  • Jun 2 2011: I'd like to start by saying that I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was younger (only 20 now), it was the mid-90's and that was a popular diagnoses for many kids at the time, and my mom has kept me from taking meds to 'fix' this or any possible psychotic problem. Later on in life I became more aware of myself and Psychological studies and found out that there was a great chance that I might be bipolar, but also that the drug they would've likely put me on when I was younger would've worsened the disorder.

    My point comes in this paragraph though... These days (at least in the US) we are becoming a heavily medicated society, looking for a quick fix to the issue instead of trying to solve it by slow (yet effective) counseling. Often times people start to rely on their meds and use them as an unessecary crutch, just as they would a disease. Also, the meds help, on one contidtion, you keep taking them, giving you a tail-spin when you stop taking them abruptly.
    • thumb
      Jun 2 2011: Think they should outlaw prescription drug advertisement and legislate the incentives programs for doctors to pass out medications?
    • thumb
      Jun 2 2011: My one concern is that we might stigmatize the prescription drugs (or the act of taking them) when they often help people to reclaim their lives. I am fully in agreement that a really healthy lifestyle with proper eating and exercise and vitamins is the very best foundation and choice initially. There are many people, however, who really struggle to get any sort of handle on this disease.
      The point I made earlier bears repeating- they are thinking with a brain that is not cooperating with them. It is hard enough for people who have no cycle of depression and elation to maintain good habits of healthy living. When life pulls the rug out from under someone and they are flattened by vicious depression they are less likely to make choices we see as 'obvious'. When the elation comes -they are flying- talking fast and loving life and then they do not want anything that would make life less exciting - because they do not realize the damage their impulsiveness is doing or the consequences that they face.

      Meds are not perfect. They have to be closely monitored but for many they are a godsend that makes life livable.

      My point is that brains are just organs. They get sick and malfunction. Treating it should have no more stigma than diabetes but that is not the case in most of our societies.
      • thumb
        Jun 2 2011: Excellent time to reaffirm that point Debra..ending meds suddenly can provoke a major tail spin .

        Bi-polar remission is genrally a self initiated program that has as one of its goals to eventually be free of those drugs and that lessening dependence requires close partners..especially a lose partnership between medical doctors and those who can write perscriptions for the pscho-tropics., and close contuing support from a mentor/companion..perferably a spouse, sibling,parent or best freind.

        The people I companion and mentor in their struggle to achieve remission or who are freinds don't seem to get active support beyond "stay on your meds for life"..which is far from the qulaity of life people seeking bi polar remission hope for.

        The person clsoest to me has made her commitment to remission a makn focus of her relationship with both her dotors and with all family and freinds. She has asked and I think is getting some cooperation for her pscyh in gradually phasing out the meds.

        As some have noted is a very long and often disappointing process.

        Of course remission never gurantees a full vitality and complete recovery of all we lost.. As a survivor of aggressive chemo/raditaion for an advanced cancer I accept that my qulaity of life is less than it would have been but I also find that through hard work and determination to have as full and vibrant a life as I can I have busted through and gone beyond what is expected.

        Bi-polar remission is much the's that lement of taking charge of one's own life and pushing hard to make it better..pushing hard to get the support of doctors continually jiggling and sercahing to see what further gain is possible.

        It's not enough to just say to bi-polar sufferers..stay on your meds.. There is much more to remission than that and I hope that is what we can explore here.
        • thumb
          Jun 2 2011: I am sure we are in much agreement about how lacking the systems that we have in place are. It is a major reason why I took my career in a very different direction. The fact is that many medical professionals do not understand the issues well enough. You may have heard me express before that I think prescribing should be taken away from Doctors who have very little training in medication and their interaction and be given over into the hands of pharmacists for the right choice of meds for the patient. Doctors should do what they do best and diagnose and form a treatment plan but pharmacists shoud prescribe based on years of education in the actual chemicals and their effects.
          God blesss everyone who hangs in and supports someone with any mental illness. I often think these people are unaware of how great their contibution really is!
      • thumb
        Jun 2 2011: Tu Deb..I wonder if we can lift thisout ofthe 2bar sub thread to more promnence as I think it's a key issue for those seeeking bi-polar remission. I am uncertain on how the regulations and cerifications work for perscriptions but I know that the person closest to me always seems caught between her regular MD ( who doesn't seem that "up" on the latest for bi-polar patients and who cannot write the perscriptions necessary..the psych..isn't interested in just writing perscriptions and want sto engage in counseling that seems no productive and ot supportive of this young woman's very courageous struggle to achieve a bi polar remission.

        Do you happen to now how that all works in Canada..can only pschiatrists write the perscriptions for bi-polar patuents or can any doctor write them as long there is a confrmed diagnosis of bi-polar?
      • thumb
        Jun 2 2011: Medications can be a helpful tool for many and even a longterm necessity for some but the current system is to diagnose once and medicate for a life time. This is absurd and needs reform. Proper medication for many of these patients would be an occasional guide to keep them in the correct mental state. After the medications level them off then weening the meds and stepping up the counselling should occur. This is another problem caused by pharmaceutical companies being for profit. It is counterproductive as a business to fix the problem if that is your job and there is no one else who can make the repairs. It brings in much more money to apply a band-aide that you are paid to replace. I know I'm getting off track here, sorry it's just pharmaceutical reform is something I am really passionate about. I see it a one of the most important issues that no one is facing.
        • thumb
          Jun 2 2011: Thomas

          it is not off track at all..

          the whole issue of who can issue perscriptions..and what support bi-polar patients seeking remision can get for reducing meds responsbly is very central to the support structure that is needed to achieve bi-polar remission atthe highest possible qulaity of living. and safelt/o
        • thumb
          Jun 2 2011: In Canada, all doctors can prescribe but few will consider prescribing until someone with training in psychiatry diagnoses. Fewer people in Canada can prescibe- for example I believe you have psychologists who have the right to prescribe but that does not exist here. The field is incredibly complex and few people are really up on the current research. Thomas brings up a good point about the pharmaceutical industry and their motivations but for now few people have many choices. At least forums like this and the internet help people to realize that they are not alone.
          Having an advocate is the one thing every person needs in any medical situation. I am reserved on the concept of remission only because I know that many meds are not as effective the second time they are introduced and no one seems to understand why. I find it all a very fine line to traverse between the hope of remission and the potential lack of support if the remission doesn't stay.
    • thumb
      Jun 2 2011: thank you Joseph..must have been very difficult navigating those years. I am glad your mom was a good advocate for you.

      Good advice..stay on the meds if you aretaking them ieven in remission..exit under expert medical supervision.
  • thumb
    Jun 1 2011: here is a really excellent first hand of account of drug-free bi polar remission that may be helpful. The author also suffers from PTSD and other disorders.


    The most successful remission or management stories I have heard of have involved a very rigorous self-management plan as described by this author. It' a sort of personal fine tuning not always supported by one's doctors.
  • thumb
    Jun 1 2011: I would like my elderly uncle assessed then maybe he can see what he goes through has a name that he can put to it,i've been around mental illness and don't like to label until the professionals have assessed properly,if you asked me then it would be bipola but i would'nt want him to start medicating as i've seen what the morning cocktails can do to psyche patients, anyway aren't we all a little bipola and that some just have their system suddenly tuned up faster on a more regular basis.
    • thumb
      Jun 1 2011: Ken.

      Thanks for joining us here.

      Your uncle is very fortunate tohave you as an advocate. I gather he is home and hope some how it willbe possible for him to remain at home. The treatment of eederly people with mental illness in the nursing homes.I visit is, to say the least, disappointing..

      There is most likely a State Agency on the Aging near you who could help with that. Ours here in Miane is just amazing at navigating and coordinating the many diffreent agencies and sercices that might be of some use. That may include free psychiatric evaluations.

      It sounds as though you have witnesssed the very harsh effects of meds, as well.and the frustration of being close to someone at the mercy of a medical system that doesn't offer much hope or compassion.

      Stay with us here, Ken....maybe we can be of some support to you as you try to help your uncle.
      • thumb
        Jun 1 2011: I used to work as an orderly at a psyche/geriatric/obstetric hospital back in the early nineties,i've been out of the system for a longtime so i can only draw upon that time and experience,of course that knowledge is dated and i could be misreading the situation with my uncle but hes definitely suffering.The problem is his persona,hes been gay all his life and he's the queen persona type,the extreme an assessment must be bang on,the family think i want to commit him due to strife between me and him,but an assessment is just that an assessment,the system dose'nt commit unless total incapacity is's community based care here in nz and i don't want to see him dumbed down it will impact upon his other health issues which is serious,his behaviour in the last 6 years has been changing but because it's your family it's the last thing one looks for until an event sparks off a suspicion that there could be something wrong,i know many people who suffer bi-pola and they suffer at different levels but i don't know anyone with his persona type with it.Think of him as the extreme drag queen and times that by 10 but that's how he's always been.we won't put him in a home but want him to go to occupational rehab as his sense of heath has degraded.
        • thumb
          Jun 1 2011: Ken thanks..what per centage of those in your facility were bi-polar? And if you know, what per centage were brought under management enough to go back home?What you say about your uncle's broader history tracks with my close expereiences as well..sexual promsicuity, hi-risk behvious of many kinds, a flare for the dramatic, and in two of the people I know well a habit of lying. these behaviors seem to continue even in remission with effects that can be barriers to forming good relationships withfreinds, family members and medical providers. In other words what I see in those close to me is that ..the initial illness results in other patterns that persist and are not treated or dealt with as part of the management process of part of keeping the person in remission.
      • thumb
        Jun 2 2011: What debra said in her post and yours has shed light upon alot of out of normal interaction charateristics,i.e excitement,lying,a flare for the dramatic,sudden explosive anger and abusive language,in the last 10 years a total mismanagement of finances,impulse buying of real estate but hopefully i can get the family to take action and get an assessment done,when he was hospitalised last year he followed the doctors regimen and got himself out in a good state but once at home fell back into the old pattern,i don't think medication will be his avenue but it will give him a name to put to his inability to control himself at times.
        My time at the hospital and it's satellite units was a long time ago,i never heard the word bi-pola ever used,though i was just an orderly, we knew what patient had what except for those that checked themselves in for a respite, the words manic depressive,clinically insane,schiczophrenia,dissorder this dissorder that,plus we were'nt privy to med recs or unit stats but the majority were schizophrenic sufferers,after 8.30 in the morning they got their cocktails but it was'nt a lockdown facility,a patient could come and go as they pleased except those too deep in the spiral,they were usually in the i.c.u wing under was the women that we had to watch carefully.
  • thumb
    Jun 1 2011: Thanks to Lindsay for reviving this important topic.

    Bipolar is a very difficult illness and it is sometimes characterized by long remissions. The problem in all mental illnesses is that the very organ with which we percieve is not doing its job appropriately. If one has kidney disease we are not surprised if it does not produce healthy urine but with mental disorders many people seem to be surprised that the product of the brain is illogical or unsound thought.
    All of that is to say- many people who deal with bipolar are not able to see themselves or their behaviour clearly and may miss the symptoms of a mild cycle. I had a friend once buy a house I had for sale in the midst of a bipolar episode and even with training- I mistook her manic behavour as excitement and enthusiasm. Of course the sale had to be voided. Thus, it is important for people to develop an ongoing relationship with a trusted professional.

    Another possibility when a person appears to be perfectly able to control their condition is that they were misdiagnosed in the first place.
    • thumb
      Jun 1 2011: Thnaks, Debra you must have alot of information on this..

      Do you know of any succesful tteatments associated iwth long term bi-polar remission?
      • thumb
        Jun 1 2011: Lindsay, I wish I could be more helpful but I am not really aware of any drugs that are actually associated with remission - that isn't to say that they are not out there- I just have not been following the research. There is, however, substantial research that particular anit-depressants can increase the number of episodes over the course of a lifetime. The issue of medication has to be closely monitored with a trusted professional.
    • thumb
      Jun 1 2011: All of that is to say- many people who deal with bipolar are not able to see themselves or their behaviour clearly and may miss the symptoms of a mild cycle.
      Debra , thats very ture.and also i think the self stigma can make people want to get rid of mental conditions as soon as possible.

      for a person to diagnose wth bi-polar is not just about having difficulties managing emotions but also many other areas that are affected by it. for example ,social fuctions,thinking...there are chances that symptoms are relieved but not cured which increases the chance of relapse later.

      i guess it would be helpful (as Debra said)to assess the cuurrent conditions with a professioal.
      • thumb
        Jun 1 2011: Amily thanks for stopping by. a very good point that advocates and loved ones can be key to managing bi-polar disorder and a good doctor..

        Christian's question is aboit bi-polar remission. If you have any epereiences or resources to ahre with us on bi-polar remission we would be mst grateful if you could bring them back ti us here.i
  • thumb
    Jun 1 2011: Here are two testinomonials on bi-polar remission ., one very long term ..10 years .just from a google search

    here is another from a personal blog and a first person accoun


    "None of us on meds is being treated in an scientific manner. It isn’t scientifically valid to say that bipolar disorder causes cognitive deficits if a large percentage of the patients in the study were on meds. Antipsychotics have been *proven* to reduce the IQ by affecting the short-term memory. They aren’t the only drug to cause cognitive deficits. Lithium makes you feel as if your brain is wrapped in cotton wool.

    "Would be so great to get some information and stories here.
    • thumb
      Jun 1 2011: My father was diagnosed with many psychological issues, bipolar schizophrenic manic depressive with chronic fatigue and chronic pain syndromes. He spent most of my childhood as a zombie on Meds such as Resperdal and every other anti-psychotic under the sun, A pill to wake up, a pill to go to sleep, and a pill for just about every bodily function. He takes pills to regulate his insulin levels, bowl movements, pain levels, uppers downers redders blueders square ones round ones fat ones skinny ones. A pill for every occasion. I wish I had a good story of remission instead of the cautionary tale.
      • thumb
        Jun 1 2011: I am so sorry, freind, and thanks for joining this conversation to share what sadly seems to be the story of many with mental illness. As with the people close to me and the testimonials above the meds are debilitating and the standrd teatment is your Da'd;s experience.

        Thnak you so much again, Meher, for shraing your story.j
      • thumb
        Jun 1 2011: Which leads me to wonder if a study was done on when particular medications are prescribed o a patient in certain combinations what other follow suite on a regular bases? By this I mean to ask are there any frequent reoccurring issues that are treated by a separate medication, eddies of side effects if you will? So by treating patients in such a way it leads to these side effects which can conveniently be treated with another product from the pharmaceutical company.
        • thumb
          Jun 1 2011: Thomas..thanks for checking in and I agree that Meher's Dad's story suggests drug interaction issues on top pf the alreday notoriously ineffective medical intervention for bi-polar disorder.

          One of the people clsoest to me is now 30 ..was diagnosed with bi-polar in early adolescence. She happens to also have a clsuter of other unrelated other medical problems which also require management. She is technically in remission in that she hasn't had a manic episode for several years but her life is very limited in comparison to what her family's wealth,her musical talent and her intelligence should have made possible. She realizes that she is not that far from homelesness group or institutional living and struggles every day to find a way out of the maze of meds here doctors have her on.

          One of the issues is coordination of care..the medical side of care and the psychiatric side never team up on her behalf.

          So bi-polar remission is not very often close to normal life or normal living..

          Maybe you could do a little reaserach for us and report back?
    • thumb
      Jun 1 2011: The thing about a lot of these medications is that it is not known how they work. With many of these drugs you will receive an explanation starting with "It seems to work by..." or "We have observed that this medication has this effect and we think that it has an effect on ____ to create this type of reaction..." It really surprises me the apparent lack of understanding about these drugs and there effects.
      • thumb
        Jun 1 2011: The four people close to me and the first person account at the web site above all speak of struggling with the effects of the meds..imapirment of cognitive ability, fkat affaect, lethargy, weight gain, exhaustion. And yet, the official intervention is get on a drug and stay on it for life. ( none of the people close to me are off the drugs)

        Did you see the book I refernced in my first comment "Suffering and the cCourage of God" ( not a theological book at all and the uathor fought hi sown way to permamnet drug free remission.. I will try to bring some useful quotes here..may be out on library is much circulated...

        At the moment th eperson closest to me is managing on Abilify and trying to mage all her other medical problems through nutrition and natupathy. She is in a time of great crisis at the moment but still fighting hard to stay in remission .
        • thumb
          Jun 1 2011: Proper nutrition can play a very big role in the drugless remission.
      • thumb
        Jun 1 2011: Thomas @ proper nutrition

        Yes that is my sense too..what more can you point us to on that ..links??? personal experiencee???

        As an advanced cancer survior ( so far) I know that is true.. in the ground of my being..Iknow that is true.

        I live that and serach for that every day..but mostly it's just me expermenting..trying to listen to my own body..but ultimately just guessing...just trying out what works and doesn't work for me in giving me the best hours I can squeeze out of every day.

        no differnt for advanced cancer or bi-polar..we are ultimately on our own

        .ther are noi guides definitive external experts

        ..just each of us on our own

        trial and error

        sharing what we know

        and hoping that will be useful to someone else...
        • thumb
          Jun 1 2011: Lindsay, I would like to provide more but when all this was near in my life I was young and distracted by other things. I do remember that fresh juices were a large part of it along with a vitamin and mineral regimen. Wish I could be of more help.
        • thumb
          Jun 2 2011: As far as nutrition an lifestyle is concerned, there was one point for about a year that my father can be said to have remitted. I got him to ween off all medications and adhere to a vegan diet and exercise everyday, he was even able to stop taking insulin because his glucose levels were being maintained through healthy dietary habits. During this time I saw him be able to run up and down a flight of stairs without trouble and be able to interact with people on a normal level. However he did not stick to the regimen for long and retreated back to the "ease" of a medicated lifestyle.
      • thumb
        Jun 2 2011: Meher,That is very interesting..that you were able to bring about a remission with your father through diet excercise..and of courtrse your active support and enagement as advocate and Thomas suggested

        Here is a link at WEBMD also advocating a meat free diet and regular excercise to control bi-polar disorder


        Must have been heart breaking to see that achieved..then lost again

        .But still a very encouraging first hand accountthat this may be good advice at WEBMD

        .. Thanks for that share.
        • Jun 2 2011: Hello! My name is Lenore & I am new to the TED conversation boards. A brief background history to further convey my comments: My younger brother was diagnosed with bipolar in 2009 and since diagnosed with Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder since he has experienced 4 full on mania episodes in the first 11 months & then a 5th more recently.

          My family & I knew nothing of bipolar & had to learn what we could on our own. We found that the information that was being given to us by the psychiatrists was filtered (if you will) & extremely one-sided (the side of pharmaceuticals.) He was placed on Lithium (which caused very un-pleasant "side" effects, which I do not like calling "side-effects" because they're DIRECT effects of the medication & should be told as such) along with Valproic Acid, Tegretol, & Zyprexa (olanzapine) to name a few since his diagnosis.

          My point here is, & what EXTREMELY upsets me is that the bulk of our current knowledge (I would say at least 90% of what we know) of the SEVERAL medications he has been placed on has come from my own & our mothers own research from either online sources, books & 2nd opinions from other doctors.

          It upsets me to NO END that I've stumbled upon/ had to search for myself the importance & VAST positive effects of what nutrition, supplements, exorcise etc. have on a person with bipolor. This is where I thank people like you, Lindsay (referring to your link to bipolar diet/foods to avoid) & others that I have come across who put forth knowledge that is beneficial to us families & NOT to the pharmaceutical industry.

          I do believe medication absolutely has it's place for mental illnesses, what I DO NOT agree with is the information that is withheld or filtered by many (not all,but certainly a great percentage) of the psychiatric community. I am talking about the DIRECT effect these medications prescribed have on our bodies, the lack of knowledge they come with & the benefits alternative methods have on individuals with Bipolar.
        • thumb
          Jun 2 2011: Lenore, I sure hear your outrage and frustration. I think people have the right to knowledge and not the mumbo jumbo that the medical profession allows us to know. I am wondering if you might like to post some of the links that you found most useful to you so that others here could have an easier time finding information.

          Welcome here and thanks for a great posting!