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Understanding...?

I know a number of people with bi-polar disorder.  I find them very difficult to get along with.  Mind you, all these people engage in self medication (drinking or pot), some play with their medications and all of them spend long periods of time neither sleeping or eating.

They all seem to have enormous ego problems though many of them are very intelligent and aware.

I would like to understand these people better.  I have never been manic (and it seems quite painful).   I have been depressed but that doesn't seem to help me relate to people with this 'disease'.

I find the medical systems understanding of  'mental illness' meaningless in terms of human experience.

Any help would be appreciated.

 

claysu claysu 56-60, F 1 Response Apr 5, 2010

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Bipolar Disorder also has it's depressive mode. You have mentioned that you have felt depressed before. Now just imagine that going to the nth degree at times. Now imagine being really overjoyed about something. Times that feeling by 10, or 100, heck even 1000 for a really manic phase<br />
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With the descriptions that you provided i would daresay that those folks were in their manic phases. We can be quite grandiose when manic. We think we can conquer the world oftentimes.<br />
We may also do things to the extreme, such as overspend, we can often become in entangled in risky behaviors.<br />
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Yes many of us will self-medicate. See, many of us are trying to even out this roller coaster ride that we find ourselves on. It is sometimes called "the roller coaster ride from hell". <br />
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It often seems as if we are either in a depressive phase or a manic phase. Sometimes we can even be having the dreaded "mixed episode" where we are experiencing both phases at the same time.<br />
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If you wish to know more from our perspective you can go to Google, and type in "bipolar forums".<br />
These are people that suffer from bipolar communicating with one another.<br />
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Hope this has helped in some small way.