I feel like I'm a professional patient right now -- a professional patient being one who has found that maintaining their health is a full-time job. This is not a job I applied for, not one I accepted, and not one I want. In fact, being a professional patient might be the worst job one can have. So, let's talk about being a professional patient, how to live with it and how to get through it.
When you have bipolar disorder, advocating for your health is even harder. And honestly, doctors are often to blame for this difficulty. Not all doctors are the same, of course, but many treat people with serious mental illness in ways different from other patients. Learn why it's so hard to advocate for your health with bipolar disorder and what you can do about it.
I was recently asked if trauma can cause bipolar disorder. This isn't the first time I have been asked this question. I think the question often comes from two types of people. The first type is people who have trauma in their past and want to know if it caused their own bipolar. The second type is of people who are concerned that trauma may cause or have caused bipolar in another. I can understand the concerns of these people, so let's dig into the question: can trauma cause bipolar disorder?
I've been asked if being a mental health advocate is worth it. After all, that could describe my full-time, all-time job. As in, since I became a professional mental health advocate, almost all my days are dedicated to it. Whether I'm doing something for a client or not, mental health advocacy is just something I sleep, eat and breathe. But is being a mental health advocate really worth it?
If you have bipolar disorder, there's a good chance you've wondered, "Is it my fault I have bipolar disorder?" In my experience, most of us wonder this at some point, usually early after diagnosis -- I know I certainly did. There are multiple reasons this seems to come up for people. If you're wondering if your bipolar disorder is your fault, read on.
It's hard to know how bad a bipolar episode is when you're living it. That's because it's your brain that is sick. It is your perception that is skewed. Other people may look at you and think it's clear how sick you are and how truly bad a bipolar episode is, but these people are fundamentally missing the problem: you're so sick that you can't see how sick you are.
Sometimes, you can't get to a doctor's appointment because you're just too sick. You might have too much anxiety to leave the house. You might be too depressed to get out of bed. You might be incapacitated by mental illness to the point where you can't get to a doctor's appointment when you need it the absolute most. This is a real barrier to mental health care that some people face. Read on for tips on what to do next.
Recently, I've had to talk about bipolar as a disability way too much. I talk about it online as part of my advocacy work, but that's not the issue. I have no trouble talking about it in general. The issue is talking about my bipolar as a disability in real life. The issue is talking about it to a psychiatrist, to a family doctor, to a nurse practitioner, to whomever I need to in order to get the help I need.
Sometimes sleep is the only escape from depression in bipolar disorder. I know that sounds bleak, but it's true. Depression can be a horrifically painful, possibly lethal and endlessly attacking illness. Severe depression can feel unbearable to live with. That's why people are looking for an escape. It's completely natural. And while, for the average person just experiencing sadness, escape might be found through a myriad of things, sometimes sleep is the only escape from depression.
Because of bipolar and depression, I have a lack of motivation. Lack of motivation is not technically a symptom of depression according to the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition" ("DSM-5"), but in my experience, it's highly correlated. I must admit, I harshly judge this as being a personal flaw. Here's a look at how depression and a lack of motivation are linked and how a lack of motivation isn't really a personal flaw at all.