What Does Remission Mean in Bipolar Disorder?
I mentioned what remission means for a mental illness in a clinical setting: reduction in specific, empirical symptoms by a given amount. In other words, you are given a depression “score” and remission means reducing that score by a given number.
But does that number mean anything at all to the patient in question? If you achieved it, are you "better"? If you suffer from mental illness, what does remission really mean?
A Cure for Bipolar Disorder Is Remission of Symptoms
Bipolar disorder is a life-long illness and no one in the medical community is suggesting bipolar can be “cured” (What to Do If You’ve Just Been Diagnosed as Bipolar). The best that can be hoped for is a suppression of symptoms through treatment. In the best case scenario, the person with bipolar disorder would take medication, attend therapy, build relationships, get a job, be happy and live one of those normal lives everyone seems to talk about.
How often do you get that normal life? Well, I can’t say. In my experience, almost never, but that’s probably because I only hear from people who are experiencing difficulties. Those who don’t struggle as much probably aren’t reaching out to bipolar writers.
What Does Bipolar Remission Mean?
Every person with bipolar disorder, or any mental disorder, is different. Some have more mania, some have more depression, some self-harm, some have anxiety, some can’t hold down a job, some are homeless. All of these people have bipolar disorder, but in every case it manifests differently.
And not only does it manifest differently, but an individual’s tolerance to each symptom is different. Some people have hypomanias that are euphoric and not problematic; some have anxiety but control it through meditation; some have a history of self-harm but have found a support group that helps suppress that behavior. And in other cases, mania, anxiety, or self-harm is completely unacceptable.
In each case, bipolar remission means something different. For a homeless person without a job, remission may be the ability to hold down a job and pay rent. For someone else, it might be having stable relationships and a happy home life with a wife and children. And for some it might be enjoying their previous hobbies and interests. We all have different goals and different levels of illness that we are willing to accept.
What is Remission for My Bipolar Disorder?
Personally, I never think of bipolar remission; all I think of are levels of symptoms (Are Bipolars Crazy? I Am.). I never get to the place where I can just say, yes, my bipolar disorder is under control. I never get to the place where I don’t have fairly bothersome symptoms, side-effects and cycles. All I think about are temporary periods of stability. Times when I’m feeling OK. I’ve come to accept that these times will never be great and likely won’t last long. But that is my experience and certainly not everyone’s.
Should Bipolars Try to Achieve Remission?
Yes, I think most of us will have to accept that bipolar disorder will never really go away, but I think striving for an acceptable level of treatment is important. I see people give up when their symptoms have only improved 20% and they are still much debilitated. This shouldn’t be enough for your doctor and this shouldn’t be enough for you. You deserve better and you should aim higher. Remaining sad for the rest of your life is not good enough.
Yes, accept that your life will likely never be what it was before bipolar disorder, but also know that with bipolar treatment you can do better. Call it remission, assign it a number or don’t. It’s better than being sick.You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.
Tracy, N. (2010, July 19). What Does Remission Mean in Bipolar Disorder?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, May 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/07/what-does-remission-mean-in-bipolar-disorder
Author: Natasha Tracy
what I keep reading is exactly what happened to me--all of a sudden last year i would up in a depressive episode, lasted for months and months. Finally I talked with my doc and told him that the current meds weren't working and I deserved better. So we tried one more and it's the one! Never ever settle! Just because we have this disorder doesn't mean we have to bow our little heads and take whatever someone else thinks w should. We have to stand up for ourselves and say "This isn't working. I want something better!"
Thank you for this production and its players (not that they aren't real. I'm an old lady now with a history of bipolar. It's been a long rocky road but a rather stable one after my third marriage. I will be printing your info to make sure it doesn't slip away. I hope that's okay.
My Medical Doctor determined that I was Bipolar in 2010,in Lester
Prairie, Minnesota. Four years ago, he determined the I was in partial remission, so apparently I was only partially Bipolared. I have never heard of anyone being in remission from being a Bipolar. What you say, is that is a lifelong, so called disorder, that is is not curable. If I ever was bipolar, the medication should have tricked me into not being bipolar. Instead I was still bipolar. Why? Because the deadly side effects of the poisonous drugs prescribed to me, were in fact making me bipolar.
No more drugs for me. Is it any wonder that I distrust all medical doctors as well as Psychiarty. It is not a proven science , and it never will be. And for me in my experience, will not trust any psychiatrist.
I have bi-polar disorder. In my opinion there is no remission, however there is management with medication. Just like Hypertension can be managed with medication, the condition is still there, but is only being managed, if you discontinue the Hypertension medication, the blood pressure will rise again. You either have it, or you don't. There is no remission. Bi-polar is the same, it is only managed. As someone with Bi-polar I am disturbed to see that the phrase "remission" is being used in conjunction with the disorder. Using words like "remission" could lead a newly diagnosed and newly medicated person to have unreal expectations and get off of the medication because they are "feeling normal" while taking medication.
I have bi-polar disorder and the first time I read the word remission for bi-polar I couldn't believe it could ever be reached. I understand the meaning of the word and it is not appropriate in this instance, because we can work so hard towards a permanent peace of mind and never be full of stuff in the head, it would still never be remission as it is coming back one way or an other.
Understanding how we feel and most of all, with experience, recognising what our ever changing behaviours are and remembering for the next time how to tackle the moments and so on. But, remission? I wish.
I just want to say, you said you almost never hear from people in complete remission. But I am one such person. I have no symptoms of my bipolar and haven't had any for years... every few years I might get a brief relapse, but I adjust my medications and then I'm better. So those of us with 100% remission of symptoms do exist. I think, most just don't talk or think about it much... we just go about our lives. But there are choices I make.... like not ever getting pregnant, since I don't want to risk my stability. I have also never gone off my meds or gone in denial of my illness. But I also realize I am extremely fortunate... in many ways. For one, I tend to respond really well to medications. For another, I have been told by more than one mental health care provider that I have really good insight into my illness. I also don't like hypomania, so I never try to extend it. So some of it is just being really fortunate, I think.
The main problem is any and all Health Care Professionals, who do Not listen to their patients or even worse, neither understand, believe, or does not hear or care what you as their patients should find another line of work. Whoever even you are prescribed a prescription medication, and you don't get better; but instead get worse, or die, your are in a dangerous and disturbing situation!!! If, in fact, you are incorrectly diagnosed, and take medication, and nothing happens, it almost always a full blown, in my case, made me BiPolar, with 6 days imprisoned in athe Keeper County Psychiatric Top floor unit, you are in deep trouble. Why, You get to take Showers with two female Nurses watching you, to make sure you have no wounds or whatever ... I hope they enjoyed my nude show in the shoer. I agree to a Psychologist visit to Sioux Trails mental heath clinic in St. Peter, Minnesota, the first Friday in September, 2017. I sat down in a love seat that what exactly sitting in a seat of Marshmallows, and the Psychic Melissa Cobble, calls 2 St. Peter Police with weapons, as wellas 2 male Medic to take me to the Psych Ward in Mankato, Minnesota, I said "No, I will go back to the Glencoe Regional Health Center ER, and meet with the Doctor. Lucky for me there were No rooms available for another incarsaration, yet again! I was told to take my bipolar meds. Psychiatry is as the Actor Tom Cruise once told Matt Lauer on the Today Show, " Psychology is a pseudo science.". Tom was right. And all in the Medical Health Care professionals have unlimited power to incarsareate you. I have only spent time with a Bipolar Clinic in Belleview, Washington, and a Dr. Barbara Farmer at the West Seattle High Points? Clinis, who both told me that I was NOT bipolar. So dump anyone you can not or do not TRUST!!! This includes well intentioned Sisters, who are convinced, that you are crazy, terminate the relationships, forever!!! I have a doctors appointment today at 4:30 PM. Time to revise and change my Chart!
After a eight year battle with bipolar I’m officially in remission - it took the right meds, therapy and a good doctor’ I watch my sleep, eat well and keep away from anything high stress’ - it’s a new life for me and it’s all about adapting’ I think it’s key to take a medication for a long period’ I can’t see myself ever wanting to go back to the massive highs and lows which damage every relationship around me’ not to mention the financial mistakes. I’m happy to always take medication - I know by now I need it to live a normal life’ the only down side is getting used to how normal people feel without bipolar - it’s calmer’ more subtle emotions - I find I’m in tune with how I am on a day to day basis - I know I love holidays and I feel at my best on them so I prioritise four a year’ after my last manic episode I’ve managed to regain trust’ to build financially and to have relationships back’ I have a small family - a wife and daughter and I can honestly say medication and therapy has given me my life back’ I can’t go back to a high stress career though nor would I want too’ I live a simple life but take pleasure in the moments - like being able to take my daughter to school and pick her up’ I still enjoy cars - I tend to keep them now as opposed to changing them and I enjoy driving one of the three I have’ financially I’m steady - making less risky decisions- I would say I’ve been in remission for 6 months and it feels great’ it is like learning to walk again because things I liked before are no longer that interesting’ the only thing is I’ve lost all my friends over the years of manic and depressive symptoms’ my therapist says I need to make new friends but it’s hard to met people’ I’m about to buy a house now and feel I’m achieving my goals’ my medication is due to be decreased soon but it’s very slowly done’ I hope to have a little more energy and lose some weight as meds sadly do make you out on weight but it’s a small sacrifice- my advice to anyone with bipolar is to understand there is a remission that’s possible - it can be reached with time, medication and therapy’ if you keep stopping and starting meds you won’t reach it’ it’s a long road but be persistent’ no one would know now I have bipolar - I would say look at the injections because that’s whats got me this far’ I hate taking tablets and as soon as I feel well I was prone to stopping my meds - an injection once a month to take away all the issues of bipolar is a small price to pay’ I know how bad my mania and depression is so I will always take meds and be a part of any talking groups or therapy’ if your here because you’ve reached remission congratulations- your life starts from here’ if you still waiting to find your remission - understand meds take years to work always take them - life without meds is like a loaded gun ready to go off it’s bit worth the risk’ - I take one depot injection of paraperidone 100/150 mg a month’ no mood stabilisers - it gave me my life back and I’m very thankful’ good luck and never give up hope - remission is as good as a cure
I didn’t know my diagnosis and lived I thought a good life for 21 years after I had my first manic episode. That time both me and my family thought it was post partum depression with psychosis.
I was Med free for 21 years after I recovered from my episode
Now 3 years ago had another manic episode and I’m having a really really hard time wanting or accepting medication
For 3 years I been to a few different psychiatrist all with different opinions
In my mind I feel like I created this negative/ obsessive thinking that made me go psychosis the second time.
Never did drugs or even drink at all
Always worked full time without missing one day except when I was hospitalized for the two times
Not sure what to do, any advise!
Episodes can be very difficult to work through and recover from and sometimes they do require medication. It's a personal decision as to whether you want to take it, but most people with bipolar disorder need it. But please keep this in mind, while it can take time to find the right medication, once you do, it can help your life immensely if you're still experiencing bipolar symptom (especially psychosis).
- Natasha Tracy
Yes, remission is totally possible. I was diagnosed with Bipolar when I was 20 and involuntarily hospitalized for 12 days. At the time, I was hallucinating (without ever having taken drugs and only rarely drinking).
Ten years later, I've graduated college, hold a steady full-time job, and I'm married (he's wonderful). I have good relationships with friends and family. I've learned a lot over these ten years.
I take medications every day for bipolar and I track my sleep, emotions, exercise. I've restarted therapy, and I'm hopeful that I will learn more skills for when I get anxious, moody, or don't want to do what needs to be done.
But life is normal now, and has been for a very long time. Few people know how hard I work to stay well.
I'm sorry, but I have to strongly disagree with some of what you are saying. I have been battling bipolar disorder for almost 30 years now. I suffered each extreme, from deep dark depressions, that only by the grace of some higher being I made it through, despite every close attempt I made to end things. I also suffered from episodes of extreme mania, which led to legal issues, hospitalizations and a whole host of damaging behaviors, that even now will forever affect my life. Because of my extreme highs and lows, at times I struggled to even function. At times I lacked the skills to take care of myself both emotionally and even in the basic things we do to physically maintain ourselves. I struggled with relationships, with myself, my family, my friends, and at times with anyone. At times I was able to keep it together to some extent, enough to start a career and to even keep and succeed in a very stressful and demanding job from almost a decade.
My illness came to a head about 5 1/2 years ago, I lost my job, a lot of my close relationships, and a lot of money, among other things. I guess you could say that I reached a rock bottom, and from there I couldn't go any deeper, so my only choice was to start over. It didn't happen overnight, and it didn't by any means come easy, but I stuck with the program, I took my meds, I changed my mindset, and I dedicated myself to the hard work needed to heal myself.
That brings me to something you said in your article, "Personally, I never think of bipolar remission; all I think of are levels of symptoms. I never get to the place where I can just say, yes, my bipolar disorder is under control. I never get to the place where I don’t have fairly bothersome symptoms, side-effects and cycles. All I think about are temporary periods of stability."
I used to think this way, in fact I thought this way for a very long time. I would have brief episodes of stability, but there was always something in the back of my mind telling me not to get too comfortable, that this is just a fleeting moment of normalcy and it's never going to last. But I am hear to tell you, THAT IS NOT TRUE! All that is is fear, and all fear stands for is, false evidence appearing real.
If you are willing to have faith, faith that there is a better life waiting for you at the other side of a bipolar diagnosis, than I promise you, you can feel "normal" one day too. I have been in remission now for over 4 years, and I can with confidence say that my bipolar is under control! I don't experience bothersome symptoms, side-effects and cycles anymore, and I no longer hang onto every insecure thought that this is something temporary, which is never going to last. Instead, now I am in check with my emotions, because even "normal" people have ups and downs. If I am having a "bad" day, or two, I definitely acknowledge it, but I don't jump to conclusions. I make myself aware of it, and if I am worried about it, I tell people. I talk about it with the people in my life, and also my doctor. The more people that are aware that I am struggling helps me to stay accountable for how far down the rabbit hole I let myself slide, and helps to keep things in check before they have a chance of becoming a problem.
But for all of you who are out there suffering, there is hope. Even if you think that you have destroyed all chances of being "normal", or happy, you haven't! When I started to do the things I needed to, to manage this b***h of a disease, I started to feel better and stronger with each passing day. With time, and in being honest with most importantly myself, as well as the people around me, that I had done a lot of damage because of my illness, I was able to repair a lot of my badly broken relationships I had with friends and family. As for the job I lost, I couldn't get that back, nor did I want to. I decided that that career, even though part of me loved it, was way too stressful and only helped to trigger my episodes. Instead I decided to start over and went back to school. I was never a good student, but I have been in college now for 3 years, and I am amazed to say, that I am at the top of my class. I take care of myself now, both inside and out, and sometimes I am even there to help others as well. And I, with 100% confidence, can say now, that things are definitely not perfect, but I like my life, I like who I have become, and I am happy to be alive.
If there is any advice I can give to anyone else out there struggling is;
Stay on your meds, and if you haven't found the right ones yet, keep trying!
Own up to the things you do, and the person you have become as a result of your bipolar, you will be surprised at just how much people will forgive if you are sincere in owning up to and resolving your faults.
Don't alienate yourself, bipolar is not something you can overcome on your own, build and utilize a strong support system, whether it be doctors, friends, or family.
Seize the day, if today was a good day then remember it and use it to motivate you to more days like today. If today wasn't your day, acknowledge it, understand it, learn from it, but don't dwell on it, tomorrow will be better.
Stay positive, one good thought almost always leads to another, and that is true for the bad ones too, so be careful.
Talk to yourself, at the end of the day you need to be your own best cheerleader. I talk to myself everyday, whether it is to keep me from overthinking, from getting upset, to stop me from being impulsive or from engaging in negative behaviors, and of course, to remind myself to stay positive and to continue moving forward.
And last but not least, DON'T GIVE UP! Life beyond bipolar is so worth it, and the best part is, for me at least, is that I appreciate feeling good so much more than the average person because I know first hand what it is like to have gone from hell and back.
Simply put, I completely agree with you Alex. I never thought I would know how it feels to be present in my life, have memories that are real and an ability to see that I bring something to this world that is strong and caring not "crazy and dysfunctional". Life truly is good. Its amazing to be able to say that whole heartedly.
I was diagnosed 8 months ago. Almost 2 weeks after my 25th birthday. I’m medication sensitive and resistant. Reading comments like this keep me going. Thank you so much
A person may feel helpless, but they are never hopeless. The so called worker tolls me upon my dx there may be a new drug developed tomorrow that will change everything. And now at 60 years of age. Being undermedicated, overmedicated, my Psychiatrist announced my remission. 40 years later. Trust yourself. Trust your own body. Pull back back and be mindful of it. Attend every mental health group you can find. If they aren't for you, move on. Try try and try some more. Never give up. The biggest shortcoming of mental health patients is lack is insight. I had a Doctor once say to me after something behavioral had happened... what Are you you going to do with me? She said, what I've always done. Nothing. And it clicked. If I was going to find my way out of this darkness I would find it alone. It was my responsibility. Responsibility. The key. Never be whined. And never become absorbed in symptoms. We are so much more than they are. I am. Not a survivor. I'm a Thriver. You be too!
May God Bless You. I'm building understanding of why me, and you are helping, sir...
I was diagnosed with bipolar and phycosis and schizoaffected disorder , 15 th Dec 2016 was told that I'm in remission. I'm on a tablet and injection. I feel lost at mo not having to fight my illness each day is that normal????
Be hopeful. God is always with you.
Think - A perfect man is perfect but don't know cooking
On the other hand a man with many disabilities know cooking
Again think.. in situation of flood the disabled person saved himself and the healthy one starved.
hi natasha im 30 years old and diagnosed with bi polar disorder i wonder if temporary not using of medication would took effect for a while.. i really hate the side effects. i am planning to follow the meds religiously for a while and then stop it if the doctor dont give me another prescription. i am also planning to wothdraw from medication and live cleanly.. if there is no follow up medication..would that be ok?
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, I am not a medical professional and I can in no way offer medical advice. What you should do is talk to your doctor about your plans and see what he or she thinks.
- Natasha Tracy
Also I have been on disability for about 9 years but always try to work full time and get off disability but then I have a psychotic break or get suicidal and end up at the stupid ER and then they send me to acute in my state hospital. My question is how do I not self harm or threaten to kill people when I am stressed out? I am in remission now fr 3 weeks or 4 weeks. Also do drugs cause a healthy person to become bipolar?
I have been in and out of hospitals from 21 diagnosed for the first time at 24 and am now 35. I keep having my diagnosis change from bipolar to Schizoaffective to a "mood problem" plus BPD. It is frustrating they (social workers and nurses) tell me everything and can't just leave me alone they grill me constantly about stuff I can't and don't need to understand.
Now I am in court system and they are trying to either out me in Jail or make sure I never go to a hospital again. I asked my psychiatrist resident to put me on a mood stabilizer and she refuses. Most people believe I have no mental illness at all. I do isolate and get anxious and sad and stuff and I have psychotic breaks but I don't think its that serious. So basically is it okay for me to get off the meds since I have been better for 4 weeks now?
It is not true that remission happens "almost never". Read the book "Unquiet Mind" by Kay Redfield Jamison. It is an autobiography about a PhD Psychologist who gets diagnosed with bipolar and then goes to work as a researcher for Johns Hopkins. I myself have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and work as a functioning member of society. It has been 12 years since my last manic episode. There was one major depressive episode 2 years ago after a doctor took me off an antidepressant and lowered the mood stabilizer. I am a working professional at a job that could be considered stressful to the general public. Recently I got promoted to a management position at my job. I am also considering going back to graduate school and pursuing a doctorate level of education. People would not guess that I suffer from bipolar disorder unless I disclose the information. I take my meds every day, follow with a psychiatrist, go to therapy and keep myself healthy. I am careful to get enough sleep, rarely drink alcohol and have never done drugs. These are all things I do to maintain a healthy balance. Mostly I struggle from the stigma of the disease and am working to maintain a healthy self esteem. I live completely independently, have a bachelors degree and don't struggle with symptoms on a day to day basis. This is manageable disease and there is hope for people who suffer from it to be able to live a productive life.
Remission for at least a year. Perfect med package, therapist, and psychiatrist.
I am saddened to hear your views about remission in bipolar. I feel free of 'symptoms' of the condition most of the time, and rarely have episodes of full scale unwellness. The one thing about mental health conditions is that they effect the underlying reasons we make decisions. Given this, everyone on the earth differs in their reasoning for making decisions on a wide ranging scale. There are actually no 'acutely unwell' symptoms in a person with a bipolar condition to speak of. You cant actually notice a person feeling more or less emoitional on a given day if their moods are in a period of fluctuation or not. As in all areas of life, we are subject to our social circumstances and the resulting pressures these apply to our emotional state, whether we become more or less emotional reacting to losing a job or a place to live or a friend does not even necessarily dictate us as having an abnornmal "bipolar" reaction as such. The anyone reacts to given stressors in their life is unique to that person and at times,everyone is a little over-emotional during different circumstances. I had a child at age 37 and since then my whole outlook "settled" significantly that I have not had significant issues with my emotional reactions to stress, I have effectively been in a "remission" from my bipolar symptoms. I am not sure if this is due to hormonal processes through having a child, or due to my age, or lifestyle but I am very thankful to not suffer with frequent bouts of illness and am convinced this is my true remission. Having a child necessitates a stable steady lifestyle of daily routines and eating and sleeping patterns all of which are beneficial to stabilising mood and ability to cope with stress. I have never considered myself as a person who suffers with a "chronic" condition or chronic symptoms ever. Even though I have had several episodes of illness, I am always able to return to a stable and very boringly normal 'self'. I feel sorry that your experience of bipolar is so chronic and constant.
I was diagnosed with bi polar at 22 and am now 33. Three years ago I got the right medication, a helpful and respectful psychiatrist and I kept going to my psychologist (8 years). I've had my current full time job for two years, I have savings for the first time in my life and a lovely fiancee. This is better than I could have imagined was possible.
I would consider myself a person with bipolar in remission. Bipolar remission to me means fully functioning on a daily basis with symptoms mild enough that they are not noticeable to those closest to me. After reaching stability through cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, I was able to titrate off daily medication 7 years ago. Please know you should never attempt to go off medication without both the approval and the close supervision of both a psychiatrist and a psychologist. In order to remain stable, I work hard. I am vigilant in my self-awareness and well-versed in the first signs that my stability is wavering. I utilize CBT strategies daily and reintroduce medication when necessary, usually anti-anxiety medications. By introducing these medications at the first signs of depression or rapid cycling, I have been able to maintain stability. I closely track my sleeping patterns, because I know that when my sleep patterns change, rapid cycling follows. I keep tabs on all the symptoms I know are precursors to depression and rapid cycling for me. I believe I am fortunate and that as hard as I have worked to reach this place, much of my ability to manage my symptoms sans medication is due to plain old chemical luck.
I will never be normal again. Meds, therapy, sleep, eating well, supplements. Nothing works. I hate this. This is no way to live. And I see symptoms of how I was as a kid in one of my kids. It's terrible to see the monster lurking in your beautiful child. All I can do is wait.
I go to work. I come home. I try not to yell and snap at people. Or cry, or get so hyper that others raise their eye brows at me. Repeat.
I can't tell my Pdoc. I want to separate eventually, and my medical records can be subpoena'd if the DH says I'm an unfit parent. I can tell no one what I'm going through.
Great blog on remission. I was dignosed with bipolar at 18 after several misdiagnosis. After a lot of different therapies, medications, and self-education I was able to cope with my illness. I have been able to stop destructive behaviors and able to cope without medication. my therapist has listed me as in remission for several years now and we are dicussing discharge from treatment.
I would have to agree that remission is different for everyone. While my illness has taken a major turn for the better there are still days when coping with symptoms is difficult. Never try to achieve 100% normalcy, because in reality normal does not exist. The key to coping with bipolar is to surround yourself with positive situations and supportive people. Know your red flags and educate your self on the illness. Always have a plan of action for when things become unmanageable.
I came across this blog while looking up what life was like in remission. I have been in "remission" for quite a while. I guess what it means to me is living almost symptom free. Life will never go back to the way it was before diagnosis but I have adjusted to my new norm. I work full time and am getting my master degree. I go out with friends and have fun with family. I have had to make some adjustments to get here. I go to be earlier. If I am tired I rest. If I am feeling very hyper I reign it in before it gets out of control and if I am feeling down I tell someone. I have had some severe symptoms in the last year but none have turned into a full blown episode. I occasionally have symptoms but just enough to remind me that I have to take care of myself.
Remission happens. I was diagnosed at 15. I was extremely symptomatic throughout high school, despite different medications. In college, due to no car and no consistent university psychiatrist I quit therapy, drug and talk, quite abruptly. I do not recommend this. I suffered off and on for four years, eventually tried a new medication, which didn't work, decided drugs didn't work, but continued talk therapy and figured out a strict exercise regimen and solid support group worked best. I still hold a highly physical job, and try to maintain a good support system. Sometimes I think about trying to find a medication that works again. But for the last several years I've had minimal symptoms. As close to a remission as someone with bipolar can get.
[...] An example: if you have bipolar disorder you have a chronic illness but if you are in recovery, the mental illness is in remission. You are then considered well; the illness remains but you are free of symptoms or they are [...]
I have been diagnosed with bp type I for 15 years. Honestly I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't feel like I had it (even preteen). You're right, it never really goes away like you think about remission in terms of cancer or something. I have more issues with mania than depression thankfully. I feel if you can call something in bipolar "in remission", I'm there. Cognitive behavioral therapy has done wonders for me and given me the ability to look at myself and say "I need medication now". I don't have to take it all the time, or even most of the time anymore. (I would not recommend this as a standard, I've had years and years of therapy). I've even gotten to the point that I accept this disease as part of me and something that I don't want to go away. It's made me a stronger, better person. You can live with this and through it.
I am bp and ahve reached remission. My doctor feels we have finally found the right medications. I think that is a big contributor, but more important is daily exercise, a strict sleep regimen, and disciplined positive thinking. My lows are suicidal, and I've learned not to dwell on the bad or jump to the conclusion that the worst will happen. There is hope, fellow bps!
I have bipolar and have had three psychotic episodes, which where very hard to get over.
I am now in remission without any drugs or therapy.
I do strudle in the mornings, when my thoughts are very erratic, so i just get up out of bed and keep myself busy, so I can't have damaging thoughts.
Each day for me is a massive task, but the evenings are good, when I can relax after getting through without depression.
To Deloris, Get Help For Your Son-Do Not Commmit suicide. Get a sleep study done. Ask your regular doctor to perform one and log your sleep hours, have your broken nose fixed (if you have one). The brain needs oxygen and sleep or you will go insane. Check your surroundings, check your sleep and oxygen, sleep apnia, broken nose etc. Have surgery, get an auto pap machine for oxygen. Take meds while your doctor says. YOUR SON NEEDS YOU. Life Will Get Better!
Really great comment, thanks so much.
That is all exactly what I would say. I'm glad to hear that is working for you.
I am also one of the bps who found remission. It comes from conscious, regular use of meds and talk therapy. Exercise helps, too. Keeping a consistent mood chart is the best way to get here. It helps you learn the patterns of your mood ups and downs, and helps you learn to handle the waves when they do come. Find the right doc for you -- and trust your own judgement about what works best for you, then speak up to your doc. If they don't listen, they're not the right person to be seeing. Don't let your family or internet forums talk you off meds. If you need them to calm the waves, do it. Your own experience is the best indicator of what you need to achieve remission. Hang in there, fellow bp'ers! Remission is achievable!!
You would not be better off dead and your children certainly would be better with you dead.
If you are suicidal you have to get help. Get help now. If that help is a hospital, then that's OK.
If your doctor isn't giving you what you need then you need to try something else. Is this a psychiatrist? If not, then see a psychiatrist. Look into getting therapy for yourself. You are working through a lot of issues and you need professional help right now to get you through them.
You are not alone. Do what it takes to survive because it will get better.
Here are the numbers of hotlines and resources. Use them.
I have left a verbal relationship, but after separation it continued, he did whatever he could to hurt me. He placed the blame on me, and lead my eldest son that it was all my fault and that I was crazy.
My family doctor doesn't listen to me and just keeps prescribing medication. Tells me to go to the hospital if I continue thoughts of suicide. I feel helpless and alone and that maybe I would just be better off dead. I am fighting this every day, but feel I will need to go to the hospital if I am going to survive.
This is something I can relate to as well:
"We go through new worries that one day our brains may crack or some stress will be too much or we’ll exceed out respective limits and find ourselves sick again. We bend over backward, contorting our lives, to avoid all triggers."
It's a good point that those in remission need support, lots of support, too. Congratulations on taking the initiative to get the support you need when you couldn't find it elsewhere.
I can't promise I'll take a look, but I will if I have the time.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing your story.
"I have been able to realize that my emotions are completely in line with the events in my life."
That's an amazing thing. Congratulations.
Thanks for sharing your hope.
Thank you very much for writing this piece. I'm bipolar and have been in remission for close to a decade with the exception of one six-month hiccup. You wrote that in your experience almost no one achieves remission because your experience mainly involves hearing from people not yet there. To realte, in my experience, the collected Internet also seems to think that remission is rarely achieved given the lack of writing, blogging, etc on it. Similarly, it's rare to find support groups and the like for those of us in remission, the so-called High-Functioning. Not all of our symptoms go away, though they may minimize. We deal with finding ways to rebuild the trust we lost from our friends and family. We go through new worries that one day our brains may crack or some stress will be too much or we'll exceed out respective limits and find ourselves sick again. We bend over backward, contorting our lives, to avoid all triggers. I'm yet to find a productive, supportive forum for discussion on these issues. So, last month, I started one. I'd really appreciate your thoughts and feedback on this nascent project. It's the website linked to this comment.
Thanks again for this post.
I just wanted to write because I believe I am one of those individuals who has reached bi-polar remission. After 7 years of unstability, I have had over 6 months of wellness to date. I am on a very minimal amount of medication. I can say that I work every day at maintaining my wellness. I don't talk about it much but I do assess my emotions, eat right, exercise and monitor my sleep patterns. I figure, if a diabetic has to monitor themselves with food and blood sugar levels, then I am no different. The hardest part to wellness has to be "feeling" again. I have been so medicated and numb for so long that certain feelings are unusual to me. However, with a great support network, I have been able to realize that my emotions are completely in line with the events in my life. This confirmation is extremely helpful and relieving. I could go on and write so much more but I would mainly like to tell every bi-polar person not to give up hope. It is the one thing we all have and it is what kept me going when I was ill and brought me to a place of wellness.
Thanks for writing about bi-polar.
Yes, i have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, rapid cycling, I'm getting therapy and meds, the meds specially have been helping me a lot, cause, well, i'm not very consistent, so at first i didn't follow the therapy the way the told me to, but now i'm getting on track... so, how time shall pass to say i'm on remision?.
I'm 17 and I have bipolar disorder too, and I didn't knew of the existence of the term "remission" till' know, but i think that is what i'm experiencing right now, an estability, i've been on remission for a week now, it sounds a very short period of time, but it feels like years, it makes me feel as if i weren't ill anymore, like i don't really need all the therapy and the meds, as if everything that i went through before was only a dream, all the self-harm, all the euphoria, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts. But i know that one day, all this will be back, maybe tomorrow, maybe within a month, but right now i'm really calm, I am more me. And I'm happy to know that everyone's bipolar is diferent, because I thought because of TV programs and stuff my personality should be like, Very Extroverted, all the time. But I'm actually a really chill person most of the time, regardless of how I behave when I have my episodes, when I have them of course I'm more much extroverted than I usually am, but that's not the everyday me.
Hon, I'm sorry, I don't have the answer. If I had the answer I would feel a lot better myself.
The only thing I can tell you is that if you're not happy, don't settle. Your meds aren't right. You can do better. Get more therapy. Try a different doctor.
All I can say is that if it's not good enough for you, then it's not good enough. I know where you are. I know the functioning-miserable-daily-slog. It just means you're persistently unwell. If you want that to change, then you have to try something different.
Natasha- I am 32 and have been diagnosed with bipolar NOS, ADHD, PTSD and an anxiety disorder. I have a great psychiatrist and therapist who work very closely with me. I have gone from non-functioning living on disability to working full-time for the last 4 years. I even started my own business in March. Sounds great but its not. I still constantly struggle. Yes I have made leaps and bounds but often times I find myself wondering if its even worth it. Sick of the roller coaster ride. How can I find "remission"?
It's great to hear you're getting on track.
Remission? I don't know of a specific time. It sort of depends on the person. Some people cycle a lot (like me) so if I have a good day, I don't call that a remission. For me, I would say a month, maybe, but like I said, I think that's individual.
What you call it is up to you. What matters is that it's good. :)
Yes, i have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, rapid cycling, I'm getting therapy and meds, the meds specially have been helping me a lot, cause, well, i'm not very consistent, so at first i didn't follow the therapy the way the told me to, but now i'm getting on track... so, how time shall pass to say i'm on remision?.