I Have

I HAVE bipolar disorder. It is not who I AM. It is what I HAVE.  I do not choose to define myself by this disorder anymore. I would not say that I WAS cancer or I WAS diabetes.


Just saying.

greenlionburning greenlionburning
19 Responses Feb 11, 2010

yes.....but then again-everything in life shifts in perception according to the way it is viewed--...bipolar is just one of everything on earth!! Does that make sense? It is all about shifts in perception to be sure - whether I say I AM bipolar or I HAVE bipolar changes not the fact that it affects me in a deep and powerful way....it does not change whether I get sick again or not - but it does allow me to not live in the issue so intensely. I remember sitting in a circle at a rehab for cross addicted folks--people with both a mental issue and an addiction issue--being forced several times a day to announce to a group of folks that I WAS bipolar as well as an addict. Not one of the professional people there thought anything of that--defining ourselves like that. Interesting, huh?

You describe this wonderfully. Subtle shifts in perception do make a huge difference! It's like viewing the world from a different vantage point. Like looking at the valley from the hilltop, instead of being down below and looking up. After seeing the entire valley, the way you see things down below is altered to include a fuller picture, and put things more in relation to one another... don't you find?

yes--I found this concept very freeing. For 20+ years I said that I WAS Bipolar--and believed it as though I was a seperate class of human. It explained everything about me--or I expected it to. It was liberating to be turned onto the concept that I HAD bipolar--....it made me less afraid to be myself--to reach for new heights--to achieve great things for myself. I was not this bipolar person moving about in the world--suddenly I was a smart funny warm loving person moving about--who had bipolar....it made a big difference to me.

Yes, this is so important to understand correctly! We are not the conditions we find ourselves in. It seems this takes time to sink into the public consciousness -- but isn't it freeing to understand this individually! It's wonderful to see this more clearly. :)

I am glad that it did. YOu are welcome WarriorMom!!

Thank you for researching that for me.<br />
That answers a lot.

Again--here is from googling it:<br />
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It has long been believed by lay and medical people that bipolar disorder is hereditary. Geneticists laboring under the same belief are endeavoring to determine which genes and chromosomes, in tandem or singularly, are the carriers of bipolar disorder. Geneticists believe they may have found links between the GRK-3 gene and chromosomes 4, 6, 13, 15, and 18 and bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in the case of chromosome 6. Some geneticists also think that bipolar disorder was not "selected out" during human evolution because some of its symptoms are extremely positive in small quantities. These traits or symptoms include creativity, willingness to experiment and take risks, and high productivity. <br />
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These same traits may be passed on to other family members. In the past there have been those who believed that family members did not inherit bipolar disorder, but acquired it through osmosis or living in close proximity to a bipolar sufferer - those days are gone. If earlier family members have had mental illnesses a person has a higher genetic vulnerability or disposition to become ill. In fact, evidence suggests that family members not totally effected by the inherited genes or chromosomes may still show mild symptoms of the same or a similar disorder. Ken Kendlar, a psychiatrist at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, believes that it is a 50 - 50 split between genetics and environment when it comes to developing a mental disorder. <br />
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Fifty percent of all mental health patients have a parent suffering from a mood disorder. A first-degree relative is 8 to 18 times more likely to develop a disorder. If both parents have bipolar disorder there is a 50 - 75% chance of their child having the disorder. There is a 25% chance that the child of a bipolar parent and non-bipolar parent will develop the disorder.<br />
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Those odds are daunting enough without considering environmental influences. These influences can be obvious: family relations, abuse (physical and mental), physical illnesses, stress and traumatic experiences. The influences may be self-imposed: abuse of drugs, both illegal, prescription, and over the counter, a poor diet, affecting brain and body chemistry in a negative way, alcohol and tobacco use and abuse, and other types of self-abuse. There are other culprits, which include allergens, exposure to toxic chemicals, heavy metals, noise, carbon monoxide and non-specified or general pollution. <br />
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Geneticists are researching today in hopes of providing bipolar sufferers and members of the medical field with concrete answers regarding hereditary influences and bipolar disorder. Until that day comes sufferers and their families can take solace in the validation of their beliefs by the scientific community and their continued research. Until the day comes when science finally makes further advances in the treatment and possible prevention of bipolar disorder through genetic manipulation, there are ways for sufferers and their families to deal with bipolar disorder. The most important act that families can commit to is staying knowledgeable about advancements in treatment of bipolar disorder. Secondly, families can work with qualified medical professionals and make use of the many drugs and types of therapy available. Finally, families can do everything they can to avoid environmental stressors and the possibly lethal pitfalls of self-abuse. Work together, stay knowledgeable and stay well. <br />
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Bipolar World © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009<br />
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I know that depression runs in my family--and my father has an anxiety disorder.

That is good info. <br />
Both myself and a daughter of mine hasve been diagnosed with it. She self medicates with drugs and alcohol like I use too when I was young. Which breaks my heart. But that's a different story. Does this tend to run in families?

no problem!

Thanks I had used the search engine but I never found that much on it, yours is full of good iinfo. Thanks so much!

Hugs back to ya Ladee!

thanks puck! Shellfinder--here is some infor that I googled for ya--<br />
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Symptoms & Types<br />
Font SizeA A A Bipolar is a complex illness. There are many different symptoms -- and several different types -- of bipolar disorder. The primary symptoms of the disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings. The various types of bipolar disorder range from mild to severe.<br />
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Symptoms<br />
Bipolar Symptoms <br />
The primary symptoms of bipolar disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings.<br />
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Mania Symptoms <br />
Mania symptoms may include excessive happiness, excitement, irritability, restlessness, increased energy, less need for sleep, racing thoughts, high sex drive, and a tendency to make grand and unattainable plans.<br />
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Depression Symptoms <br />
Depression symptoms may include sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of energy, uncontrollable crying, change in appetite causing weight loss or gain, increased need for sleep, difficulty making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide.<br />
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Types<br />
Bipolar Types <br />
There are several types of bipolar disorder; all involve episodes of depression and mania to a degree. They include bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, mixed bipolar, and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.<br />
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Bipolar I <br />
A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.<br />
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Bipolar II <br />
Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time. However, in bipolar II disorder, the "up" moods never reach full-on mania.<br />
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Rapid Cycling <br />
In rapid cycling, a person with bipolar disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year. About 10% to 20% of people with bipolar disorder have rapid cycling.<br />
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Mixed Bipolar <br />
In most forms of bipolar disorder, moods alternate between elevated and depressed over time. But with mixed bipolar disorder, a person experiences both mania and depression simultaneously or in rapid sequence.<br />
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Cyclothymia <br />
Cyclothymia (cyclothymic disorder) is a relatively mild mood disorder. People with cyclothymic disorder have milder symptoms than in full-blown bipolar disorder.<br />
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Complications<br />
Bipolar Disorder Complications <br />
Self-injury, often referred to as cutting, self-mutilation, or self-harm, is an injurious attempt to cope with overpowering negative emotions, such as extreme anger, anxiety, and frustration. It is usually repetitive, not a one-time act.<br />
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Warning Signs<br />
Bipolar Warning Signs <br />
When a person's illness follows the classic pattern, diagnosing bipolar disorder is relatively easy. But bipolar disorder can be sneaky. Symptoms can defy the expected manic-depressive sequence.<br />
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Emergencies & Suicide Prevention <br />
Suicide is a very real risk for people with bipolar disorder, whether they're in a manic or depressive episode -- 10%-15% of people with bipolar disorder kill themselves. But treatment greatly lowers the risk.<br />
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Hope that helps a bit.

What exactly are the symptoms of bipolar disorder? What is it that is missing in the brain? Seratonins?

I have BP disorder too. I could really relate to this story. Great perspective.

Thanks! I think so too.

Cool brother!

My brother told me once not too long ago<br />
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"You are not mentally ill. You have mental health issues."

I am glad about that! Just because I HAVE a mental illness - chemical inbalance or am lacking a chemical in my brain resulting in the bipolar disorder does not mean that it is the whole of me. I can say with certainty that I am a few things. I am a woman, a mother, a member of a family. I am a student, in recovery, and a musician. I will never say that I AM BIPOLAR again. It is a part of me...like a bad back or food allergies. Granted--bipolar is quite severe and can really muck up your life--but it is still something that I HAVE.

Thank you for sharing this. <br />
This is exactly what I needed to hear.