I haven’t done one of these in a looooooooong while so I figured I’d bring back the bipolar Q and A and if y’all have any questions based off of the Q + A here or just your own questions about mental health, bipolar, addiction, life, etc, etc, feel free to comment below or email me at email@example.com.
So without further ado, let’s begin 🙂
What is mania and how does it look like for you?
Mania or hypomania is an elated state of mind that is prone to delusions, higher self esteem than normal for ones self, hallucinations (auditory and visionary), acting on impulses one wouldn’t normally do like excessive shopping, drinking, gambling, any habit forming activity in excess.
With that being said I had a full blown manic episode for about a week in duration in the month of April or March. Hypomania is a lesser form of mania. I have or did have bipolar 2 disorder which usually means I can’t have full blown manic episodes, so I am not sure if I am now bipolar 1 or not but the diagnosis to me isn’t as important as long as I can get effective treatment for either bipolar 1 or 2 or whatever I may have.
During my manic episode, I didn’t sleep for five days straight even though I was taking 900mg of lithium, a mood stabilizer (which is a lot considering the max dose is usually 1200mg), along with an anti psychotic and an anti depressant. I went to my doctor on day 2.5 and she gave me another 300mg of lithium to even out my moods and take until the mania is gone so it was a PRN (as needed med). I was irrational, irritable, agitated, delusional, hallucinating near the end, and even with all those meds plus another PRN of hydroxyzine it was like the elephant can’t or won’t go down with a tranquilizer gun. I was engaged to my now ex and I ended the relationship pretty abruptly and was self harming (hitting myself).
Mania and hypomania look different for everyone though so it’s not fair to judge my personal experience and use it as a stencil and compare it to others’ stories.
Do you have hallucinations or delusions or both? How does that differ from schizophrenia or other mental illnesses?
I have way more delusions than hallucinations. I think that is the defining feature between schizophrenia / schizoaffective disorder versus bipolar disorder. More hallucinations are more common with schizo – diagnoses than delusions and with bipolar more delusions are more common than hallucinations. But both can switch and vary with each particular person and diagnosis. I am not sure what triggers my hallucinations, I tend to see animals near me like at night I visualize raccoons and possums near me and have the sensation of bugs crawling over me and have double vision. As for delusions I feel like people are out to get me, specifically cops and generally feel like people are watching me which makes me very agitated. I sometimes feel like even friends of mine are out to get me and it’s a very… unnerving feeling to say the least?
Are you more prone to addiction being bipolar?
Yes. I have a gambling addiction, but I also have addiction pretty bad in my family. Both of my parents are now sober, but are alcoholics in recovery. So I think addiction deals with genetics and mental health in a great capacity.
Are you more manic or depressed?
Mostly in a mixed state. I have been keeping track of my moods the whole month of May and most days I feel average due to the medication I take and have had a surprisingly enough equal amount of manic and depressed days. Overall though, I tend to say I am more sad than manic.
How do you view religion and going to church being mentally ill?
Let me start this off with I believe in God and that Jesus died on the cross to save us all of sin and misery. I know that Jesus would have died on the cross even if it meant just saving me, Dani. I personally detest religion and even more than that I despise church.
So how does that work?
I pray, worship, and read scripture on my own. I do not attend any church because the people of the church are corrupt. Running a church as a business much like my local church did and they have no sense of trauma informed care. With that being said, yes every church is different but I generally speaking don’t agree with a church’s ulterior motives i.e. money.
God spoke to my in a church during a worship session and I distinctly remember being 15 years old and God lifting the weight of my burdens off of my shoulders and I instantly felt relieved. Of course I am appreciative of this experience, but church is wherever you make it because the Lord is wherever you go so there is no stopping me from praying and worshipping in the peace of my car or my home or even on my way to work. So yes I believe, I repent for my sins, I have been saved, and I very much believe in God. I just don’t believe in organized religion or churches.
If you could choose, which mental illness would you have and why?
Oof. This is a hard one. I guess if I no longer, hypothetically, had to be bipolar I would choose plain depression because I spent my teen years before being diagnosed with bipolar as a depressed teen so I figure I have the best coping skills for that to handle it the best.
What are your coping strategies?
Writing. Drawing. Painting. Playing video games on my Nintendo Switch. Listening to music. Singing. Cooking. Just keeping myself preoccupied.
What is the hardest thing about dating someone with bipolar disorder (or any mental illness)?
From my perspective the hardest thing about dating a normie without mental illness is that they don’t understand how I am feeling when I am feeling it or being told that they can’t or won’t understand where I am coming from. I try not to fault partners about not “getting” bipolar but as long as they aim to try and understand it / me, then I feel like I can’t ask for anymore.
The hardest thing for a normie to deal with a bipolar person or mentally ill person is the why behind these sudden changes of emotions and feelings. I mean, I know that would irritate me sometimes or maybe not understanding where someone was coming from who can’t necessarily articulate what’s happening to them.
How can someone support you with your mental illness?
Like I said previously, all I can ask for is for people to aim to understand what I struggle with. Listening to my crazy conversations is a great start to understanding and asking follow up questions so you can clarify what you don’t understand.
That’s it for me for this post.
Any questions or comments, feel free to write me!