Bipolar disorder is one of many mental disorders that affect the human beings. Bipolar disorder is one of the leading disorders that can result to disability. It affects both children and adults but is more prevalent among the adolescents. The condition is not equally distributed in the world; African countries are the most affected, while the United States, Canada and Australia record the lowest percentage of disease transmission. There is no specific known causative agent of the disorder. Combinations of many factors are believed to be the cause of the disorder. Some of the factors that are related to the bipolar disorder are genetic inheritance of the disease, brain injury, hormonal imbalances and extreme climatic conditions. Current research paper examines the personal experience of the bipolar disease, its causes, symptoms and management.
When I was admitted to high school, my dream was to become a doctor. I was admitted with good grades from the junior school and my hope was so strong that at the beginning of high school life everything was going right. The first exam that I sat in high school resulted in the best marks. I was driven by strong enthusiasm that one day my dream will come true. It was not until the second term that I my life changed. My zeal for success was short cut by an unknown feeling that I could not explain. It was really a hard time for me since I could not normally continue with my studies; I dropped from the first position to the unimaginable 54th position. My relationships with my friends started worsening, and the time we spent together seemed not precious to me at all. I felt contented being alone.
The good times we had together when playing, sharing stories and joking around deteriorated. I did not understand something was going wrong in me. I did some activities that seemed abnormal to my friends and teachers, but to me they were normal. Sometimes I felt extremely happy and I could find myself laughing in class while others were not. There were times when I felt so energetic that during evening athletics, I found myself trying to participate in every activity uncontrollably. I always quarreled with other team members because I interfered with their activities, I was at odds with the sports master and sometimes I was summoned. The decision making was becoming poor and I prioritized things that I never liked. It became noticeable to many but to me the life was going on well. I found myself getting rude to my friends to the extent of arrogance and violence, and in some instances I was cautioned by the dean of the student’s office.
My friends and teachers realized that something was going wrong; my life in high school became hard. In the discussion groups, I rarely contributed and I was not taken seriously by my group members, so that they accommodated me in their discussion group just because they had to, but not because of my contribution. My mind was easily carried away by insignificant matters and my concentration weakened, so that I was unable to manage my time properly and in most cases I was late for classes. I gradually became disorganized. I became reluctant to make my bed and take care of my personal hygiene like bathing, combing, ironing cloths and brushing. In most of cases, I felt alert and did not feel like sleeping at all. I found myself roaming up and down in the dormitory until one day I was reported that I was scaring other students at night.
Besides, I could not concentrate on a single activity. I jumped from one activity to another without caring whether I have achieved my goal in the first activity. I felt energetic and in some instances I bullied other boys. There were times when I felt lonely, hated, and weak. I felt worried inside but I never realized the cause of worries. I separated myself from others; other boys treated me as a loner. Some of my friends became concerned about my abrupt changes of behavior. I was always in deep thoughts but rarely did I realize what I was thinking about.
All this time, the school administration took my case lightly. The teachers who observed a change in my behavior cautioned me thinking that deterioration was caused by bad company or substance abuse. I was twice summoned in the office of the head teacher for bullying, distracting others and records of declining grades for my papers. The guidance and counseling master invited me several times to her office; she tried to question me about my changing trends and many of my misconducts pended in her office. It was not until one day that I realized that everybody at school was avoiding me. My close friends no longer wanted to be identified with me. My dream to become a doctor was fading away in my mind and the world seemed upside down to me. One night, I walked out of the dormitory with my mind ringing about death. I thought of all possible ways to get rid of my life, but all seemed in vain. I realized that the school electricity transformer was right behind our dormitory and electrocution will be the quickest and most painless death. I walked towards the transformer but as I tried to hold the dangerous part, the security officers on duty came with lightning speed to rescue me.
I was lucky to be saved. The school administration was so mad at me. My parents were summoned to school and the whole story about mysterious behaviors was unrolled to them. After a lengthy discussion of my parents and the school administration, it was decided that I was unfit to continue with studies in my present condition. My parents agreed to leave with me and bring back to school when my condition was back to normal. I took a year off during junior year of high school to take care of my bipolar disorder.
I read many books and magazines on bipolar disorder to understand myself and the disorder. Some of the books were brought by my uncle who worked as a psychiatrist in one of the government hospitals. The books contained much information about the condition my uncle thought was affecting me. I read those books through and gained much knowledge about the disease. I learnt that the bipolar disease affects brain. Bipolar disorder was discovered in 1854 by a French scientist Baillager. He referred to the condition as a dual mental illness because the patients experienced extreme happiness and extreme sorrow interchangeably. The condition was characterized by high moods so that the patient could laugh and show gladness, but after some time the patient turned sorrowful and depressed to a point of crying. In some cases, the patient may experience both depression and high mood at the same time. Many scientists observed that bipolar disorder was associated with the reduced time of sleep among patients. A great deal of bipolar disorder cases are recorded among people of adolescent age and in the age of early adulthood. Some rare cases have been recorded amongst children.
Bipolar disorder has no causative agent, as it is a condition and not a disease. There is no proofed cause of bipolar disorder but a combination of factors is believed to trigger the disorder. One of the factors that contribute to the bipolar disorder is genes. Some scientist believes that bipolar disorder can be passed to the children by the parent who had that condition. They believe that, the chances of the children inheriting the disorder from their parents or their grand-parents are high. However, some scientists disapprove this notion by arguing that, genes contributes very little to the transmission of bipolar disorder. They support their argument by saying that, even in the case of identical twins that have the similar genes, one of them may have the condition, while the other one may not.
Bipolar disorder can occur when some nerves in the brains fail to function normally. When abnormal brain nerves are compounded with the stress conditions, the chances of getting bipolar disorder are high. Environment, which a person is born in, can contribute to the bipolar disorder; children who are brought up in a stressful environment are prone to the polar disorder in adolescence or adulthood. Some cases of bipolar disorder are associated with the neurological issues like the injury to nervous system, infection of the brain by the virus like HIV and stroke. Hormonal imbalances that are responsible for crying, sadness and depression are known to be another cause of the bipolar disorder. Evolutionary scientists argue that, bipolar disorder can also develop in people living in the global temperate regions. In an effort to adjust the extreme conditions of summer and winter, it is believed that during summer, people in temperate regions of the globe develop hypomania as adaptation to enable them complete the tasks which pile during winter. Hypomania enables them to be faster and more energetic. During the winter, temperatures are extremely low in the temperate regions; people in those areas develop hypersomnia. Hypersomnia is believed to be the means of adaptation because it reduces the feeling of the social cohesion among the people in those areas.
Symptoms of the bipolar disorders are sometimes mistaken for those of the normal mood swings. Some of the symptoms associated with the bipolar disorder are as the following: high feelings without the clear cause like those caused by drug abuse as well as anger, easily distracted concentration, incoherent ideas, reduced feeling of sleep, abnormal feeling of heroism, poor decision making, hopelessness, guilt, withdrawal, sadness and a desire to commit suicide.
Diagnosis of the bipolar disorder is conducted differently among children and adults. Adults have high cognitive skills and can communicate their feeling. Children on the other hand are difficult to deal with because their cognitive skills are low and the psychiatrists have to spend much time communicating with them. Parents of the young children can observe the changing behavior in the children. If the parents are not well informed about the bipolar disorder they might punish their children without knowing that it is not their wish to act differently. Parents should seek medical advice from the psychiatrist immediately after they notice the changing behavior in their children. Bipolar disorder that is detected at the early stages of development is easily dealt with unlike the one that has stayed for long without detection. Doctors spend quite some time with the children gathering medical history about the condition. The doctor may advise the parents to seek professional help several times depending on the seriousness of the child’s condition. Once the doctor is through with collecting the medical history of the patient, he or she must conduct some tests before reaching the point of concluding whether the condition is related to the bipolar disorder or other related conditions.
There are conditions that have similar characteristics to those of the bipolar disorder and in some cases they are mistaken while diagnosing. Childhood depression, oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder and mild autism are some of the conditions that are mistaken for the bipolar disorder. Some children are mistakenly diagnosed with the above conditions. Children with the attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder have poor relationship with others, are disruptive in class, and show violence and restlessness. The symptoms of both conditions are very closely related and are often confused during the diagnosis. Experts of the bipolar disorder argue that, more often bipolar disorder is accompanied with other diseases or disorders. This refers to the situation of the diseases coexisting together as comorbid. Comorbid make the diagnosing of the bipolar disorder difficult and complex, while doctors struggle to deal with the different condition at the same time, which is a challenging task to them. Some of the conditions that are known to coexist with the bipolar disorder are condition disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Bipolar disorder can be managed in different ways. The patient can be administered with treatment or else he/she can undergo psychological counseling. Lifestyle changes are also known to be one of the management tools of controlling the bipolar disorder. Lithium is one of the medications that are known to treat bipolar disorder. Lithium is administered in the form of lithium carbonate. Lithium is used to treat maniac disorder. It is used to reduce the possibility of the suicide among the patients suffering from the bipolar disorder, and it also prevents patients from withdrawal behaviors which can lead to harm caused to the patient by others. Carbamazepine is a treatment of bipolar disorder that is used to control maniac conditions which is one of the symptoms of the bipolar disorder. Convulsants are used in the treatment of the bipolar disorder because these are mood destabilizes. Because of bipolar disease, I learnt yoga and healthy way of eating to make my mind and body healthy.
When I was reading about the bipolar disorder, I was also undergoing treatment at home. My uncle who is a psychiatrist and an expert in the matters related to bipolar disorder was treating me at home. He used both medication and counseling. In order to get better, my family had to support me as well. After a year of treatment and counseling, my condition improved and my uncle recommended me to go back to school. The school administration did not object and in the following semester I was readmitted to the former class. My friends were one year ahead of me but I was happy to meet new friends. My dream of becoming a doctor once again rejuvenated in my mind. My effort in academic performance was renewed and to me the sky was the limit. I easily adapted to the school life again. In order to get better, I realized that I needed to change myself and not blame others. My teachers shined with passion towards me and encouraged me saying that all was not lost. I went back to school drama team where I participated before the bipolar disorder attacked me. I became a very scheduled person to keep good condition.
I resumed the position of the best performer in our class. A couple of years later, I changed from a negative person to positive person, and started to appreciate every day. As a result of the experience I went through as a victim of bipolar disorder, I decided to start a club to help students in our school to understand that bipolar disorder is a phenomenon that everybody is prone to it. I helped them to understand the causes of the disorder, its symptoms and treatment. Due to the seclusion I faced on the part of my friends when they tried to avoid me as a result of my condition, I taught other students to love and care for other students who had the similar conditions. We conducted school trips to the hospitals, hospice and other places where we could find patients suffering from the bipolar conditions. We organized games together, ate lunch together and had a lot of fun. They felt as part of general community and not as secluded people. They showed to us their will to resume their normal lives.
The school administration was happy with my efforts towards creating awareness about the bipolar disorder. I requested the school administration to provide me with the monetary support because I wanted to publish some magazines about my struggle against the bipolar disorder. The school had no objections about that, while teachers and students supported my idea and contributed too. I wrote my whole story about the disorder with a touching note that attracted many both in school and outside the school. Some press media invited me for a talk about the disease. I educated the society through the media and my publications about the dipolar disorder.
I learnt that, many of the successful people actually had bipolar disorder and they used it as a good way to improve the world. An example is Allan Garner. Allan Garner is a novelist from United Kingdom. His book, ‘The Voice that Thunders’ contains a collection of his essays and public talks. Allan used his essay and public speech to create awareness among individuals and enlighten them about the bipolar disorder. Another famous person who had bipolar disorder is Mary Lambert; she is an American singer and song writer. She confessed that her musical style is characterized with sadness, grief and darkness. Much of this feeling is connected with the suffering she went through when she was sick. She claims that, it is because of bipolar disorder that she created a unique musical style.
When I was conducting the campaigns of creating awareness among people about the dipolar disorder, I was still working hard to achieve success in the academic world. My dream was to be a doctor but my experience with bipolar disorder made me specialize with treatment of this disease. I passed my high school examination well and joined the medical school. I feel courage to confess I have had bipolar since high school and I had a hard time. My aim is to make the whole world realize that the bipolar disorder is a condition like any other and one can recover from it. It is also my wish that the parents should know the symptoms of the bipolar disorder and other condition that are related to it. If the parents are knowledgeable about the symptoms of the bipolar disorder, they can easily identify it at its early stages of development and seek medication before the situation worsens. I became a very strong person just because I got over my disorder; I became a person who wanted to respect every single person instead of judging them.
In conclusion, bipolar disorder is not a deadly disease and the patients should not be abandoned or left suffering. Instead they should be taken to the hospitals for medical attention. Failure to give medical attention can lead to disability. The governments should create awareness through multimedia and printed media. More so, the centers to treat the bipolar disorder should be made accessible and affordable to everyone.