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Christmas, Bipolar Style

The holiday has been much on my mind of late. My reactions to the holiday aren’t necessarily what you will experience, but as a bipolar person, I wanted to share what depression and hypomania do to me during the holiday season.


I’ve tried the traditional giving of gifts on Christmas Day, but this year our gifts are all either pre- or post-holiday. Last year, I was hypomanic and overspent. I was disappointed, though, when my selections for my husband didn’t garner the response I thought they would. He still hasn’t used the camera I got him last year on the grounds that he didn’t have the time to figure it how to use it. (I’m going to suggest that one of his gifts to me will be to learn its workings.)

This year, I’m slightly less hypomanic. We got a present for both of us, a little early. We got matching heart, lock, and key tattoos. Since the tattoo shop is closed on Christmas and the tattoo artist is much in demand, we booked the appointment early and have already had these done. I’ve bought Dan another item or two on sale—oven mitts and a bathrobe—that I’m telling myself aren’t really presents, just things he needs, so he doesn’t have to get more presents for me. I honestly don’t mind if he doesn’t get me anything else. He gives me little gifts all year long—just things he finds at the store he works at that he thinks I’ll like.

This year I’m working at home, and I plan to work on Christmas Day, at least for a few hours. Realistically, I could take the day off and not risk missing my deadline, but the routine of working helps keep me centered. I have been exploring what local restaurants are open on Christmas Day so we don’t have to cook. For New Year’s Eve and Day, we actually have a tradition—champagne and appetizers on the Eve and Chinese Buffet on the Day. We often ask friends to join us for that.


I don’t think I’ll be too depressed to go out New Year’s Day, but then again, who knows? Dan has invited friends from work, so there will be people there I don’t know, as well as two that I do. I don’t really feel up to small talk these days, so Dan can handle that with his work friends.

I’ve given up trying to get into the “Christmas spirit” by dressing for the occasion. It never works for me. I’ve had Christmas earrings. One year I had a Grinch t-shirt. I once worked at a place where everyone wore holiday sweaters and sweatshirts. I didn’t have any and felt left out, but I didn’t want to pay the prices for the sweaters. After the holiday, I bought a couple on sale for the next year’s festivities, but I lost the job before I had an opportunity to use them. Oh, well.

My Lack of Advice

I know there are a lot of articles this time of year giving advice on how to deal with the holidays while in a shaky mental state. I’m not going to do that, because you already know all the standard advice—self-care—and I have nothing really insightful to add to it.

Except that it’s okay to have your own traditions or to ignore the holidays altogether if they’re just too much for you. If you’re alone, you could be subject to depression or just feeling numb, but that’s a natural reaction if you’re like me. Scale down your celebrations to suit yourself. If you’re experiencing anxiety, you can skip big celebrations and have your own small—or private—one. If you’re hypomanic, you may be up to some festivities, but you don’t have to be the life of the party at every one. And keep track of your spending. Most people prefer to get only one or two thoughtful presents rather than a flood of random ones.

I don’t wish you Happy Holidays, just survivable ones.

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I have bipolar disorder II. Although, I don’t reach full blown mania, I experience hypomania, which is pretty intense. I shift from major depression to feeling 10 feet tall and bullet proof. I get agitated, extremely agitated and restless. I have mood swings from very high (feeling alive and invincible) to low (enough to experience suicidal ideation). I have comorbid diagnoses, but I will just talk about this now. I believe mental illness is a challenge to be met with courage, that actualizes our potential. It teaches resilience. I don’t see myself or others as weak, due to mental illness. I see them as strong. Bipolar disorder is my superpower! What’s yours?

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Reckless Behaviour past 50

I wanted to share what is happening with me right now after coming off some antipsychotics that were harming me. Quetiapine messes with your pancreas, blood sugar can drop alarmingly after 2 hours and your appetite becomes ferocious. As a recovering anorexic, the weight gain became torturous and the sedative effects were affecting my ability to be a present mother to my 8 and 16 (who have autism) year old.

I wasn't diagnosed with Bipolar Depression until I was in my early 40's so I've experienced a life of lurching from personal car crashes to apocalyptic experiences with both my professional and personal life. I am a recovering addict, anorexic, co-dependent, and BPD.

Even with Lamictal, which allows my creativity to manifest, I still have these episodes where I leap into shit without thinking about it. Or thinking about it entirely in the present with no thought to the future. Or, more importantly, the implications it has on my family. My husband and I have struggled greatly through our marriage, he had a lot of anger issues due to GAD which he is also medicated for. We are still in love, and he has been very forgiving. We have two beautiful kids and a roof over our heads but still, I keep fucking it up.

My husband has worked abroad for over 3 years and we see him about twice a year. He's working to fix a problem that I created. I'm very tired and very lonely. A single mum with no support (both my parents are dead).

My theme song would be, 'It's Been Awhile' by STAINED.

So my latest is, that I play a lot of Battleground Royale games, gaming really helps me relax and push through agitated moods. I'm sure other BiPo warriors can relate.

I started playing with the guy, a really sweet American, and we hit it off. I mean sometimes you just do and I rarely talk on games because being a woman, you can get targeted and it gets tedious.

This guy, he's special. He speaks to my soul, he is everything I thought I would marry. Someone I could help and support and make happy. Now, I could have handled that and just let it give my heart a squeeze and feel good that I met a friend who I could have fun with online. But OH NO. That's not how it works.

Coming off the Quetiapine has launched me into reckless, hypomania and I haven't eaten for 5 days. We began to develop an emotional intimacy & before I knew it we'd swapped emails. And, if I hadn't been such an idiot we wouldn't. Worse I made up a huge persona, 20 years younger, not insane, clean, innocent because clearly, this is what I wanted all my life. I feel I was cheated out of so many informed decisions because of this fucking illness. And that makes me so sad, I can hardly bear it today.

I felt so guilty I had to come clean to a point. I told him I was older and had children. Couldn't bring myself to talk about my marriage. And I broke him. He was devastated - I mean this guy told me everything about himself, prison when young (all checked out) - his 4 kids he never saw (legit) and what did I do? Fucking catfished him (I didn't even know what catfished meant before my friend told me).

I know I should just stop this. But his purity, we are both Catholics, and his innate goodness is addictive and I want to make him happy.

I know I'm mourning what could have happened and perhaps, what should have. I know I'm incredibly lucky to have this wonderful family and children who I would take bullets for and love more than life. So how the fuck did I get here. After 15 years after my last implosion, I spent all our savings and have spent the rest of the time atoning for it.

So now, I'm stuck. It can't go anywhere and I need to release him which I tried to do but he was resistant. I'm praying a lot. I know I'm sinning. I'm asking for forgiveness on a minute-by-minute basis.

I'm crying in stupid places. My heart feels heavy and ill.

Fuck this hurts.

Thanks for reading. #

1 reaction


I came here to be with others living with Bipolar, and Complex PTSD.
I’m exhausted and hypomania at the same time. It can feel lonely when you don’t have anyone who knows how it truely feels. I have patient and supportive people in my life, but no one who gets it, the frustration that comes with living with these mental health conditions and how limiting they can be at times. I just want to hear, ‘yep I get it’ and not feel so alone in it.

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5 Things Not to Say to Someone with Bipolar Disorder

You need to calm down. I mean, does anyone really want to be told this? Probably not, but it’s even worse when you can’t control how excited, loud or energetic you are. When someone is manic or hypomanic, this is definitely not something to say to them. Mania and hypomania can cause the person to speak more loudly, speak over people, have tons of energy while getting very little sleep, make them hyper focused on a topic or project, or cause really severe irritability. None of these things are controllable, and odds are, if they could “calm down” they would, they don’t need to be told.

Just snap out of it. This could be something said to someone during a manic episode, but I think it’s more likely to happen during a depressive episode. Depression is very poorly understood by a lot of people. They tend to think if you try hard enough to be happy, or do x, y, or z you can go back to being your normal self. That’s just not the way it works. Depression isn’t a choice, and it’s not something that just affects someone’s mood. It can cause physical weakness, problems maintaining proper hygiene, hypersomnia (sleep too much), grogginess, poor judgment, and a whole list of other symptoms. It’s not as simple as just, “snapping out of it.” Just don’t say it to anyone suffering from depression; it only adds to the guilt and hurt they are feeling.

I’ve never seen you depressed or manic, so I don’t think you’re bipolar. Leave the diagnosing up to the medical professionals. Just because someone thinks they haven’t seen someone with bipolar either manic or depressed, doesn’t mean they haven’t. People with any mental illness can get very good at masking their symptoms. Seeming perfectly okay to others while absolutely falling apart on the inside. Statements like this also feed into imposter syndrome which a lot of people with bipolar disorder suffer from. Imposter syndrome can take on different forms, but in bipolar disorder it usually means that someone feels as though they aren’t actually sick, or don’t actually have bipolar disorder. This is the main reason a lot of people with bipolar disorder will stop taking their medications at some point in their life. When they’re well or manic, it’s easy to think everything is good, that they were just faking their illness, and they’re not actually bipolar at all. Statements like this make it even harder to push those thoughts to the back of their minds.

Try harder. This kind of goes hand in hand with, “just snap out of it,” but it is different. This directly implies that depression or mania are within the person’s control; that’s just not true. Yes, there are things people with bipolar can do to reduce their symptoms, but nothing is going to cause someone to come out of a depressive or manic state aside from medications or time. Others may argue with me on that, but that’s been my experience.

Your life isn’t bad, you shouldn’t be depressed. This statement says to the sufferer that their depression is based off of life events; that’s not the case. Depression is cause by a chemical imbalance in the brain. There can be a catalyst that starts a depressive episode, but someone could have the best life ever and still become depressed. Depression is out of everyone’s control. No one can just smile more, or think happy thoughts and cure depression.

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5 Misconceptions About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses. I’m sure at some point in your life someone has called a person bipolar because their mood shifted rapidly, or they were irritable. Unfortunately, comments like that only further the confusion about what bipolar actually is. Today, I’m going to address five of the most common misconceptions about bipolar disorder.

People with bipolar disorder have rapid mood changes:

This is probably the most common misconception out there. Someone goes from cheery to angry or sad in a matter of minutes or hours, so they must be bipolar. In reality, the mood shifts in bipolar disorder happen over long periods of time. In order to be diagnosed as having bipolar disorder you need to experience either mania or hypomania (a lesser form of mania) for at least one week, or be so severe that it requires hospitalization. Someone can be manic or hypomanic for weeks or months at a time. The length of time all depends on the individual, but it must last for at least a week to even be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

There is only one type of bipolar disorder:

There are actually three different types of bipolar disorder, and many subtypes as well. Which one someone has is dependent upon their mania.

Bipolar I disorder means that a person suffers from full blown manic episodes for at least seven days or require hospitalization. Someone with bipolar I disorder, like myself, can have episodes of depression and also mixed episodes where there are symptoms of both mania and depression present.

Bipolar II disorder occurs when someone has hypomania, a lesser form of mania. Someone with hypomania may go through periods of elevated mood and then periods of depression, but the highs aren’t as severe as in bipolar I disorder.

Cyclothymic disorder is a lesser form of bipolar disorder. Someone with cyclothymic disorder has highs and lows that are much less severe than bipolar I or II.

People with bipolar disorder have regular cycles of high and low mood:

Some people believe that the mood states cycle between mania or hypomania and depression. In reality, someone can have a depressive episode followed by another depressive episode with no mania or hypomania in between. Someone can also have two separate episodes of mania or hypomania in a row with no depressive episode in between. Bipolar disorder is extremely unpredictable, which is one of the reasons it makes it hard for people with bipolar disorder to maintain regular employment. The longest depressive episode I’ve had was almost six months.

Bipolar disorder only affects someone’s mood:

Contrary to popular believe, bipolar disorder affects a lot more than just someone’s mood. Bipolar disorder affects sleep, energy levels, weight, concentration, and risk taking behaviors. When I am unwell I don’t sleep well. Whether I’m manic or depressed doesn’t matter. Both of them rob me of sleep. My energy level drops massively, and depending on the episode, sometimes I can’t even do a simple task like read a grocery list due to a lack of concentration. Bipolar disorder can also severely impact someone’s risk taking behaviors. When a person with bipolar disorder is manic, they are much more likely to engage in risky behaviors of all sorts. Weight gain is a big struggles for people with bipolar disorder. There is a lot of science behind it that I don’t understand, but medications aren’t the only reason people with bipolar disorder gain weight, or have a hard time losing weight. There are metabolic and physiological differences in people who have bipolar disorder.

Mania is a lot of fun:

There is a false belief that mania always comes with an increase in energy, not needing sleep, and generally having no inhibitions, but this isn’t always the case. Mania can also mean anger, irritability, and feeling so energized that it’s physically uncomfortable. Mania can be very damaging to the person suffering from it, and also to those around the person, especially if mania comes with psychosis. People who are manic tend to take risks they wouldn’t normally take, and a lot of times they can be dangerous. There has definitely never been anything fun about the mania I’ve experienced.

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New Episode Alert! The Hidden Costs of Health 💰

Living with a health condition is expensive — and not always in the ways we think. In this important discussion led by @skyeg, @harrison-polo, and @chronicallymeh join and deliver some mic drops of their own. From hypomanic spending to pain-fueled shopping sprees to funding sensory sensitivities, the trio explore the tangible and emotional costs of health and disability. They suggest some tips and tools for managing and tracking your expenses, all while sifting through the following conundrum: What do you do when you need a job to pay for insurance and medical bills, but aren’t well enough to work? They don’t promise to have the answers, but they sure do deliver on the “ugh, ditto” factor.

Grab your headphones, your favorite beverage, and subscribe to Table Talk With The Mighty to hear more topics like this every Wednesday!


#Podcasts #money #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #MentalHealth #Hypomania #SensoryProcessingDisorder #Misophonia

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Being stable - Euthymia?

What does Euthymia feel like? I think I am finally finallly coming down from a (hypo)manic episode after like 6 weeks + of being manic. The hyper sexuality has been really bad and I’m finally feeling like I can fucking think straight. I noticed today I’m feeling kind of blunted, anhedonic, I read that can happen with Euthymia. I recall feeling like this many times in my life. I thought I knew what it felt like to be stable but I don’t fucking know anymore.

Is this just like a mania hangover? Lol. Is this Euthymia? Is this as good as it gets? Am I mildly depressed? Feeling a little anxious, dreading going back to work. I fucking hate being bipolar. My coworkers are going to think I’m fucking insane.

How do I explain my complete 180 personality change? I’m typically bubbly and outgoing. But I don’t even know who I am anymore. I guess as I say all of this it does sound a bit like depression. But that’s not great either because that means I’m still cycling from mania to right to depression and will probably go right back to mania.

I love when I’m euphorically manic. I feel on top of the world. I’m outgoing and extroverted. Bubbly and so attractive. Everyone loves me and thinks I’m so funny. I feel so confident. I make everyone happy. I do everything right. I’m productive. I’m a better spouse and mother. I am just a better version of myself but it always fades and it always comes with caveats.
#Bipolar2 #BipolarDepression #BipolarII #BipolarIIDisorder #Mania #Hypomania

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New Me?? *trigger warning*

I'm feeling a little down today. Nothing like usual, just a little off. Sometimes this happens before the shit hits the fan, so I'm anxiously anticipating that. I feel like I live in a pinball machine, bouncing off the walls and bumpers and glass, however, today I'm just slipping along the sides and avoiding all of the obstacles. It's not a very good analogy, but it makes the most sense to me. I am asking myself if this is 'regular' or 'level' ... I can't remember the last time I felt this way.

I started a new medication (both new to me, my p-doc, and to the market) about six weeks ago.The new med belongs to a group of drugs called an atypical antipsychotic that also has an antidepressant effect. For the first time in over 40 years, I haven't had suicidal ideation every single day! It took me a couple days to realize I hadn't thought about it and it really threw me off. You have to realize that that line of thinking has been my life. Every. Single. Day. It has always been my go-to; the only thing that I felt I had control over. My p-doc is astounded at how I've turned around. He decided to wean me off of the antidepressant I was currently on. I've noticed that I'm a little more snappy; my patience level has changed, though, for the better. I think I'm being shown that I can deal with my illness, and that it's time for me to put in a little mindfulness and being more conscious of my mood, and the ways I choose to deal with those feelings.

To put it in nutshell, I'm terrified that this is only going to be a quick fix, that it won't work, or that it will work but there's a HUGE crash coming. I'm just really afraid. I'm trying hard to stick to today and not give thought to tomorrow, but I can't just flip the switch that's been on for so long.

I really hope we're onto something here. It has been nice not to spend so much time thinking about and planning my demise.

Thank you for always listening. It's nice to have this community's support, understanding and sometimes a well-placed foot to the butt.

#Abuse #Addiction #Anxiety #BipolarDisorder #Bipolar2Disorder #ChildhoodAbuse #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #CPTSD #Depression #EmotionalAbuse #Hypomania #MentalHealth #MightyPets #neglect #OurSideOfSuicide #PTSD #Relationships #SubstanceUseDisorders #Suicide #SuicidalIdeation #SuicidalThoughts #SuicideIdeation #SuicideSurvivors #SuicidalThoughts #Suicidethoughts #Survivor #Trauma @dannygautamawellness

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