Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bipolar Disorder and Impulse Control © Megan Snider

“Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It's a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life.”

--Carrie Fisher

This is my second edition of this blog as the first one mysteriously dissappeared on my laptop. Be gentle with it.

People are under the misconception that people with Bipolar Disorder move through life exhibiting “Happy Exhibit A” and “Sad Exhibit B” when in reality this could be no further from the truth. Bipolar Disorder is a complex illness and at its root, as that of any mental illness, is a complex host of twisting and turning emotions that are tangled into a web of pain and agony that stretches across the person’s whole persona. They do not roll out of bed one day cuckoo happy and go to bed the same night sobbing uncontrollably.

A lot of people also make the mistake that mania is a happy time for Bipolar people. However, mania is not synonymous with “happy”. Mania can be a very threatening and scary time in a Bipolar person’s life where they are unable to connect events in any meaningful order and instead the world seems to have been turned on its head. Interpersonal violence and assaults can occur during this time that would normally never happen. Bipolar people emerge from their manias shocked and deeply hurt by what they have suffered through.

Bipolar people are not beings with predetermined emotions that feel happy one day and sad the next. They are often highly sensitive, creative individuals with deep longings and yearnings to be fulfilled. During mania they cannot understand the world around them, they have a classical lack of insight that is seen with mental illness, and may internalize perceived gestures as slights and offenses when in some cases there was absolutely no catalyst for the action.

I use this analogy a lot when dealing with mental illness. Going through a cycle of mental illness is like losing your eyesight. I remember vividly getting my first pair of glasses and putting them on. Suddenly I could see! But, before that I had had no knowledge that I had been unable to see and had been pressing my nose up to the T.V. to see my favorite shows. One day I did not wake up with perfect vision and the next wake up with damaged eyesight. It is a gradual slipping process. You begin to lose your footing somewhere along the way and signs are harder to make out. After a while everything is fuzzy and all you know is that things are making much less sense.

Fear, desperation, hurt, agony and confusion all build up within the Bipolar psyche. Over time these feelings metastasize and choke out the good aspects of a Bipolar person’s life. Conversations may become one sided; empathies are divided down the middle. Bipolar people may only see the world as rallying against them and everything they stand for. Paranoia and fear grip them as hard as icy death. Well-behaved gentlemen and ladies become caricatures of their former selves and may become isolated and overwhelmed with emotional stimuli.

Risperdal (Risperidone) is a medication particularly effective for the anger-fueled manic. It is used to treat Schizophrenia, Bipolar mania and aggression issues in children of the ages of 12. It can help suppress the paranoia, deep hurting wounds and anger that arise out of full blown manias.

I encourage you if you know a Bipolar person or a mentally ill person to talk to him or her. Society has let them down, medication has let them down, and doctors set up to help them have let them down. They have few outlets, resources and methods of release. Sometimes talking, even though the conversation may be skewed, would be enough to help one mentally ill person shoulder his or her burden alone. Let them know you care. Bipolar Disorder, like every other mental illness, has no cure. There are attempts to control or suppress it but the effectiveness of these methods hinge solely on the individual, the therapy and the medications prescribed. Don’t mislabel or misunderstand mental illness. Sufferers already undergo enough stigmatization as it is.

© Megan Snider





  1. Thank you for sharing this Megan! I was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and coming to bipolar blogs like yours makes me feel like I am not alone. I also have found a lot of helpful websites like http://onlineceucredit.com/edu/social-work-ceus-ba that have helped me learn more about bipolar.

  2. Melanie,

    Thank you for your comment! You are quite welcome. Information is the first step to empowering yourself on your journey through life.

    People have a lot of strange misconceptions about mental illnesses and I'm not sure why this is. Generally, I can only blame stigma and ignorance.

    People going through mental illness usually have a good handle on what they are experiencing. They know the story firsthand. The thing is, not everything is as "normal" people perceive it-- there is a lot going on in the mind of a mentally ill person and he or she has to force things to hold together more often and more forcefully than a "normal" person would.

    My main goal is to dispel stigma and ignorance and to be of some support for other people out there going through mental illnesses. There is enough abuse out there already for the mentally ill-- both from "normal" people and from other mentally ill people. I have experienced it myself repeatedly. My goal is to kill this idiocy and stigma and to show people what it's like on the inside of these illnesses.

    I wish you all the best! Please come back and comment as you see fit! Thank you for your reply! I cherish hearing what others think of my blog-- but most importantly, what my fellow sufferers think of the small service I am trying to provide with my words. :)

  3. wow your so pretty and incredibly brilliant.

  4. Anonymous,

    Ha ha! Who? I? Thank you for the complements. Unfortunately, to understand some of these things you have to live through them. I am comforted by the fact that other people live with these disorders somehow.

    I have my own personal disorders which I struggle with, but I do not want this site to be about me. I want it to be about all people struggling with something. Psychiatrists don't often care and misdiagnose. Things differ from area to area, but I disagree completely with the notion that we have made so many strides in the psychiatric field in the last 50 years.

    In regards to what I write, I just simply have time to think. This does not mean I don't have responsibilities; it just means I dedicate time to thinking while other women dedicate time to other things. Perhaps I would like to be busy with other things, but I am not really a typical woman and I realize that.

    Anyhow, enough of that. It's best not to think on one's limitations.

    I have some people who e-mail me. My e-mail is on this site if you wish to talk to me. I check my e-mail often. So, if you would like to drop me a line, we can talk if you would like. I don't turn people away. I'm not going to say I have all the answers, but at least people can talk to me about things and I will make a great attempt to listen and help if I can. I will also simply write back just to build up relationships. That's important, too.

    Thank you for your nice words. It is rare I consider myself either of these things, but I am glad that someone does!

  5. "Well-behaved gentlemen and ladies become caricatures of their former selves and may become isolated and overwhelmed with emotional stimuli."

    Wow! That's me. I'm 55 and becoming more and more insular. I can't deal with discord or even negotiations. I get so jangled around people I have a hard time staying competent for any length of time. I avoid situations where I have to be around anyone on a regular basis. I've become almost obsessive about my time to myself.

    I used to be a professional geologist and sought the tough stuff just to be challenged and engaged. Then a few blasts of my bipolarism knocked me down to the point where I avoid stress by making my world as small as possible.

    I know I can't take on much anymore because I might crash and burn. So, I do what I can and try to stay in a middle range of emotion and effort. It's sad for me and it's sad for my friends and family. I had so much ability and heart.

  6. Susie, All I can say is wow! You so eloquently described Exactly what I have been going through formany years.
    The past 5 years have been so tough..not being able to hold a job. I am such a talented Sales Rep., but just like you described, I simply can't make it work on a consistent basis.
    My marriage has suffered tremendously in great part to my illness. After 20 years, it looks like it is over. We gave 3 amazing kids, and the pain is tremendous.
    I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar disorder about 5 years ago. I am now 43 btw.
    Lately, I have been doing a lot if research online about Implusive Control Disorder. As I honestly evaluate myself, my "issues" are much more similar to many of the ones associated with ICD rather than Bipolar Disorder.
    Now my head is spinning. I even read that some experts believer ICD is a subset of Bipolar disorder.
    I have been to many Psychiatrists the past few years, but they really don't seem to be really listening to what I am saying. Or maybe they aren't really true expects like they want us to think they are?
    Megan, thank you very much for your blog. I am fortunate to have come across it!
    Any of your comments would be most welcome!
    Best regards,

  7. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comJune 11, 2014 at 10:03 AM


    Healthline just launched a video campaign for bipolar disorder called "You've Got This" where bipolar patients can record a short video to give hope and inspiration to those recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

    You can visit the homepage and check out videos from the campaign here: http://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/youve-got-this

    We will be donating $10 for every submitted campaign to To Write Love On Her Arms, so the more exposure the campaign gets the more the videos we'll receive and the more Healthline can donate to research, support, and treatment programs for mental health disorders.

    We would appreciate if you could help spread the word about this by sharing the You've Got This with friends and followers or include the campaign as a resource on your page: http://wwwthelooneybin.blogspot.com/2011/02/bipolar-disorder-and-impulse-control.html

    Please let me know if this is possible and if you have any questions. And, if you know anyone that would be interested in submitting a video, please encourage them to do so.

    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
    p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199

    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 www.healthline.com | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

    About Us: corp.healthline.com