SECTION 2 Symptoms of Bi-Polar Disorder
The feeling of depression is something we all experience from time to time. It can even help us to recognise and deal with problems in our lives but in clinical depression or bipolar disorder, the feeling of depression is worse. It goes on for longer and makes it difficult or impossible to deal with the normal things of life. If you become depressed, you will notice some of these changes:
-- feelings of unhappiness that don't go away
-- feeling that you want to burst into tears for no reason
-- losing interest in things
-- being unable to enjoy things
-- feeling restless and agitated
-- losing self-confidence
-- feeling useless, inadequate and hopeless
-- feeling more irritable than usual
-- thinking of suicide
-- can't think positively or hopefully
-- finding it hard to make even simple decisions
-- difficulty in concentrating
-- losing appetite and weight
-- difficulty in getting to sleep
-- waking earlier than usual
-- feeling utterly tired
-- difficulty in starting or completing things -- even everyday chores
-- crying a lot -- or feeling like you want to cry, but not being able to
-- avoiding contact with other people
Mania is an extreme sense of well-being, energy and optimism. It can be so intense that it affects your thinking and judgement. You may believe strange things about yourself, make bad decisions, and behave in embarrassing, harmful and -- occasionally -- dangerous ways.
Like depression, it can make it difficult or impossible to deal with life in an effective way. A period of mania can affect both relationships and work.
When it isn't so extreme, it is called 'hypomania'.
If you become manic, you may notice that you are:
-- very happy and excited
-- irritated with other people who don't share your optimistic outlook
-- feeling more important than usual
-- full of new and exciting ideas
-- moving quickly from one idea to another
-- hearing voices that other people can't hear
-- full of energy
-- unable or unwilling to sleep
-- making plans that are grandiose and unrealistic
-- very active, moving around very quickly
-- behaving in unusual ways
-- talking very quickly
-- other people may find it hard to understand what you are talking about
-- making odd decisions on the spur of the moment, sometimes with disastrous consequences
-- recklessly spending your money
-- over-familiar or recklessly critical with other people
-- less inhibited in general
If you are in the middle of a manic episode for the first time, you may not realise that there is anything wrong although your friends, family or colleagues will. You may even feel offended if someone tries to point this out to you. You increasingly lose touch with day-to-day issues and with other people's feelings.
If an episode of mania or depression becomes very severe, you may develop psychotic symptoms.
In a manic episode:-
-- these will tend to be grandiose beliefs about yourself - that you are on an important mission or that you have special powers and abilities.
In a depressive episode:-
-- you may feel that you are uniquely guilty, that you are worse than anybody else, or even that you don't exist.
As well as these unusual beliefs, you might experience hallucinations - when you hear, smell, feel or see something, but there isn't anything (or anybody) there to account for it.