Three Bipolar Disorder Symptoms No One Wants to Talk About
The three symptoms below represent the side of bipolar disorder we all know is there, but we rarely want to let the public know exists.
By Julie A. Fast
Jan 29, 2015
I know how important it is to protect the reputation of bipolar disorder in the general public. We donít want people thinking we are dangerous, scary, crazy people who canít be trusted. But I do feel we need to own up to the fact that certain mood swings DO cause the behaviors we want to sweep under the carpet. The three symptoms below represent the side of bipolar disorder we all know is there, but we rarely want to let the public know exists. This is only an opinion of course, but Iím truly interested to know if you feel the same.
#1 Dangerous, aggressive and violent behavior in bipolar disorder
I work with parents and partners of those with bipolar disorder. In the majority of situations, people who are in a strong dysphoric manic episode can be dangerous, aggressive and violent. Physical assault and weapons are not uncommon. Many men go to jail because of this behavior when they actually need psychiatric help. People, both men and women who are mild mannered and kind when well, get super human strength along with the aggression- ripping a sink out of the wall- punching through windows- throwing chairs and other dangerous behavior are not uncommon.
Families and partners suffer in silence because they are scared to tell anyone about what really goes on at home.
I have violent and HOMMICIDAL thoughts when the dysphoric mania is raging. I used to chase down cars if the driver flipped me off or made a strange face. It is not my goal to scare anyone reading this blog. Itís my goal that we are honest about these hidden and pushed under the rug symptoms of bipolar disorder.
The solution is management. People with bipolar disorder do not have these symptoms unless the mood swings are raging. Prevent the mood swings and you can prevent the dangerous, aggressive and violent behavior.
#2 Psychosis in Bipolar Disorder
I have rapid cycling bipolar disorder two with psychotic features. I experienced undiagnosed psychotic symptoms from age 19 to 31 when I was finally diagnosed. Iíve had hallucinations and delusions all of my adult life. What scares me is that no one and I mean no one educated me about psychosis when I was diagnosed. It was as if the symptoms didnít exist. When I learned the extent of my psychosis, I was appalled that I had lived with it for so long. My symptoms were mostly visual hallucinations and paranoid delusions. I didnít know that others didnít have them as well! If you have bipolar disorder one, there is a 70% chance of full on psychosis when you are in a full blown manic episode. This psychosis can be very bizarre and mimic schizophrenia. The difference? People with bipolar disorder only have psychosis during a manic or depressed mood swing. There is no psychosis outside of depression or mania. If a person has psychosis in between episodes, this is called schizo affective disorder. Do you or your loved ones have psychosis? If bipolar disorder is involved, psychosis could be involved as well.
#3 Cognitive Impairment in Bipolar Disorder
Many people find this scary. We already have bipolar disorder, does this mean we have memory problems as well? Maybe. Cognitive impairment from memory lapses, forgetting appointments, being unable to remember information and experiencing brain fog during certain episodes is common! If you have bipolar, youíve probably felt the sluggish brain that comes with depression. If you havemania, you have probably tripped over your words, said things you donít mean and had trouble thinking in order.
READ Discussion: 3 Topics No One Want To Talk About
My cognitive symptoms visit me daily. Iím not able to remember dates and numbers and need help with calendars and appointments. Mine got worse after [intense therapy I had for severe depression.] Itís something I find distressing, but itís easy to manage. I want us to be open about cognitive issues. This is the only way we can get help! Mine tend to linger all of the time, but get worse with mood swings. A perfect example of this- I am supposed to put this blog up by midnight the day of my blog slot. I reminded myself all day yesterday to put it up, but still managed to go to sleep without posting it on time. I have to live with these symptoms and even though a few things slip through, I do control the majority of my minor memory problems with a good support system!
Hereís the good news- yes, there is good news!
Bipolar disorder is an episodic illness. We have all of our symptoms while in a mood swing. This means we are STABLE when we are not in a mood swing. The symptoms I list above usually go away when the illness is successfully managed. It can take regular monitoring for those of us who have daily symptoms. Others who have long breaks between mood swings may even forget the symptoms even existed. This is why we must have a management plan that can recognize the dangerous, aggressive and violent behavior, psychosis and cognitive impairment as soon as it begins.
I know we want to protect our reputations around this illness. We donít want to be seen as different or freaks. But I ask that within our community, we get brutally honest about what really happens to those of us with the illness. Itís the ONLY way to stop the symptoms and make them stay away forever!