For quite some time, I have longed to write about BPD. As you know, I suffer with it as do MANY other people in every location of the world. Recently, it seems that everywhere I look from soap operas to books to daytime and nighttime tv to national and state news, it is there socking me in the face. In many cases, I find the information being reported to be sincere. In other places such as soap operas and movies, I find that the truth gets a bit twisted up. Writers and producers may change things a bit to bring in more people to watch the storyline.
This can be very dangerous. Some people may believe that since they act much like a portrayel, they are definitely suffering with BPD. Others may not see themselves with certain symptoms so they think they are "normal". As with many diseases, disorders and illnesses, only doctors can make the accurate diagnosis. Another thing that has been bothering me is the reputation that some of these sources have given to the victims. Therefore, I feel it is time for me to step forward and give you MY impressions on this matter. Don't take what I about to write as the absolute all for BPD. Believe me, much research on this disorder has been done throughout recent years. It is out there and available to anyone seeking more information. Many updates have also come about. Things that people once believed about what was originally known as Manic-Depressive Disorder have been discarded. Other things have been added to the mix. Most importantly is that many more drugs and therapies are available to us than at any other time in history.
Everyone experiences varied moods throughout their lives. In a bi-polar victim, the mood swings can be very severe with means extreme or frequent. They can be:
1. Manic--extreme highs
2. Depressive--extreme lows
3. Mixture of the two
No lab tests can determine this disorder.
BPD tends to run in families but not everyone in that family is necessarily a victim. Some researchers say that the symptoms skip a generation before the disorder rears its ugly head again. I don't put much belief in that. I've seen grandparents, parents and children all display the same tendencies. In my personal case, I was diagnosed with borderline manic depression as it was then called in 1988. Because it was borderline, no medicine was prescribed. By 1994, it was full-blown manic depression. Since then, the name was changed because it was more "politically correct". Three months after I was told my condition was full-blown, my grandmother was also diagnosed with it.
BPD victims don't "deserve" this. They didn't go out and do or take something, breathe bad air, etc that caused this disease to develop. They didn't just "catch it" somewhere like the common cold. Instead it is believed that this is a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. The good news is that it can be corrected with medication. Something that many people do not realize is that the condition is lifelong. To begin with, people around the victim are misunderstood by the people around them. In grade school, many of my classmates refered to me as being "weird". Oh, my gosh! I cannot begin to tell you how hurtful that word really is!!! I don't allow it to be spoken in our home. I don't want anyone else to feel the pain that it caused for me. I hope that my children have learned enough about this from my personal experience, that they will not go out and hurt someone else by saying it.
Mania or manic refers to extreme highs in a person's moods. Here are common symptons that the mania brings on to the victims. Not every person will suffer with each of these.
1. He/She feels super great or super human.
2. We are practically invincible or indestuctable.
3. Everyone just LOVES us!
4. Way too much energy.
5. Needs very little sleep.
6. Some experience hyper sexuality and may go from one partner to the next.
7. Extremely talkative.
These are the lows of the disease. Again, not every bi-polar disorder victim has to have each of these. In many BPD cases, the depression is what victims notice the most in their day-to-day lives. To be considered an actice depression, the victim will experience depression every day for at least two weeks.
1. Sad feelings or feelings of being inadequate, non-worthwhile, empty inside
2. Things that normally cause pleasure and happiness for us, lost their appeal.
3. Major weight gain or weight loss
4. Too much sleep or cannot get enough sleep
5. Thoughts are slow
6. The body's movements are slow and/or sluggish.
8. Unwarranted guilt
9. Poor concentration
10. Poor decision making skills
11. Serious consideration of suicide and death
12. No one appears to like or care for us
Wow! Isn't Bi-Polar Disorder just grand??? This is what a large amount of us live with each and every day. Our lives are dreadful if we are not taking the correct medications for it. Don't get the idea that taking a pill or two a day will "cure" you. It won't. It will help tremendously to smooth out the rough spots but it won't stabilize everything. Sometimes, doctors need to increase, decrease or completely change our medications so it is important to update your doctor on how you are feeling. Something that I cringe to hear is that a BPD patient went off of his/her medication because he/she was no longer feeling the symptoms. Oh, boy. The reason that the symptoms were minimized was because of the medicine. Duh.
So if you are a friend or relative of a person with BPD, reach out and offer the support that he/she needs to get over the humps and out of the trenches. Your non-stopping alliance is a MAJOR influence on that person. I can't tell you how many "friends" I have had through the years who have dumped me during my extreme high or low moments and came back to me when I was steady again.
I hope that what I just wrote has helped to "educate" you on BPD. For tons of information on this desease, it can be found on the internet, in books and at your clinics and hospitals also. If you think you may have it, go to your doctor or mental health clinic. Non-lab testing can be done. Once positively diagnosed, medicine will be diagnosed to put you on track for a much happier life. Your symptoms won't go away overnight. It is a lengthy process but well worth the journey.