Finding Your Center
It can feel like a roller coaster, full of sudden turns and unexpected changes, rapid rises followed by fast falls, all of which induce fear and euphoria. It may be more like the steady rise and fall of the ocean, building up to a lofty crest that always breaks and bottoms out in the wave trough. No matter how it presents itself, bipolar disorder prevents you from staying in the middle “normal” space for very long.
Everyone has mood changes. Most people have the ability to control their moods, perhaps by getting some sleep, eating something or taking a walk for a change of scenery. When you have no control over your moods, life becomes unmanageable. In a manic phase, you can burn through your bank account with extravagant shopping sprees and purchases of drugs and alcohol. Your behavior may put off your friends and relatives. In a depressive phase, you may also alienate people, because you cannot engage in normal social relationships. You may not be able to get out of bed, go to work or take care of yourself or your family.
Every once in a while, you may exist in that “sweet spot” – the middle ground where you feel you can live a normal life. For some, that short time of normalcy seem like a tease, just a fleeting reminder of how it feels to be “normal.” Then, things quickly cycle into a manic or depressive stage. However, with comprehensive treatment, you can center yourself.
The Bipolar Enigma
All types of bipolar disorder include periods of both mania (highs) and depression (lows). However, there are actually several distinct types of the disorder:
- Bipolar I typically involves significant shifts between mania and depression.
- Bipolar II is a less extreme form of the disorder with periods of “hypomania” (highs that do not reach the level of mania seen in Bipolar I) alternating with depression.
- Cyclothymic disorder involves hypomania interspersed with depressive periods that are less significant and shorter-lived.
- Mixed bipolar disorder occurs when all symptoms of both the manic and depressive cycles happen at the same time.
- Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder manifests with several distinct swings occurring in one year.
Am I Just Moody or Am I Bipolar?
What marks someone as bipolar is extreme mood swings. The person’s mood can change rapidly and radically.
Signs of a manic phase are all about excess: extreme exuberance, overwhelming irritability, unreasonable excitement, uncontrollable restlessness, increased need for sex, decreased need for sleep and a feeling of invincibility that can lead to unrealistic plans, poor decision-making and increased risk of suicide. It is an extreme period of energy that can result in incredible artistic creativity and immense work output. It can also lead to tremendously bad consequences.
The flip side of bipolar disorder is depression. Feeling sad or blue and wanting to cry all the time are some symptoms of depression, which may also be marked by irritability and anxiety. Depression makes you feel as if you have no energy, need more sleep and cannot make decisions. Many people end up feeling worthless and hopeless.
When these two states continually alternate, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder may be appropriate. The Casa Palmera staff understands the importance of a correct diagnosis, and we consider many factors in making a diagnosis. Every one of our clients receives a full assessment of their physical health, which may include blood testing and other diagnostic tests. Another important consideration is whether there are reasons for feeling very happy or very sad, or if there is just a spontaneous revving up into a hyper state or unprovoked slipping into a depressive state. Identifying and tracking mood changes is an important piece of the puzzle and is the first step towards healing and change through treatment.
Centering Yourself Through Treatment
There are ways to both control manic energy and to overcome the depths of depression that comprise bipolar disorder. Casa Palmera’s holistic healing approach takes into account all facets of the individual, from the body’s needs to the individual’s physical surroundings as well as the person’s spiritual and emotional health. Contact Casa Palmera behavioral health facility near San Diegoi, California today to uncover a better you.