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What NOT to Say to a Bipolar Person

Stupid things said to people with bipolar disorder

Bipolar Disorder has become a bit more recognized lately, most likely due to the “coming out” of celebrities with outrageous behavior.  This has been good in raising awareness about bipolarity somewhat, but it has been bad because a lot of people think they know all about it.

In addition to not completely eradicating the stigma – it is also highly annoying when someone says something mean, wrong, funny, or even just plain stupid about bipolar disorder.  If you aren’t bipolar – don’t give advice to people who are.  Here are some of the things you should not do:

Don’t try to “join in”

Soo DepressedDon’t try to tell me you “know how I feel”.  Don’t relate your stories about how you were soooo depressed when your dog died.  Don’t try to tell me about how bad your insomnia is.  Don’t try to tell me about how you seriously almost destroyed a poster once or how embarrassed you were when…. Don’t.  Unless you are bipolar, you cannot understand the depression, the agitation, the anxiety.  I can understand that you want to show concern and make me feel “normal” but don’t.

Don’t tell me I should do better

Don’t tell me I can fix this.  Don’t tell me that I brought this on myself.  Don’t tell me to try harder.  Don’t tell me that it could be worse.  Don’t tell me that only religion can make me better.  I am doing the best I can; I didn’t want this disease, and frankly, I don’t want to hear it.

Don’t minimize

Don’t tell me to “snap out of it” or “get off my ass.”  Don’t give me platitudes like “this too shall pass” or “cheer up.”  Don’t tell me Not to Bipolar People“tomorrow will be better” or “everyone has a bad day sometimes.”  My disease, my experience is as bad as it is.  You can’t make it go away by acting cheerful or sympathetic.

Don’t try to shame me into being better

Don’t tell me that I am a real downer or that I am “dragging you down.”  Don’t tell me all about my bad behavior and how being around me is so painful – like “walking on eggshells.”  Don’t tell me about life not being fun…I already know.  If you don’t like it, it would be better if you just leave.

Don’t blame every disagreement on my disease

Don’t say anything about bipolar “shit” in the middle of an argument.  Just because I am angry doesn’t mean I am off my meds.  It doesn’t mean I am crazy.  Using my illness to win an argument is just plain wrong.  I have a right to be angry sometimes, and sometimes I am.

These are just a few things you should not do.  We have a lot of rules – some of which change just like us.

Happy Day!

Melissa Lind

Aromatherapy as Treatment of Depression

We are all affected by sights, sounds, and smells.

That is why aromatherapy is effective for so many different things that we may experience in our lives. It includes physical illnesses as well as mental setbacks, such as depression. In fact, aromatherapy is highly effective in easing the symptoms of depression.

LavenderLavender is one of the most effective scents for the treatment of depression. This scent increases the instance of waves in the back of the head, which promotes relaxation. Jasmine is also another well-known scent, as it increases the example of waves in the front of the head.

However, the waves increased in the back of the head with lavender are alpha waves — for relaxation — while the waves increased in the front of the head are beta waves — for alertness.

Aside from lavender and jasmine, other scents are also useful for various aspects of depression symptoms. These include clary sage (insomnia), basil (fatigue), rose (nervous system), and sandalwood (tension). Other prominent scents that may ease symptoms of depression include chamomile, patchouli, bergamot, rosemary, and geranium.

Essential OilWhile you can use candles for aromatherapy, the ideal method is to use essential oils of the herb scent that you require. Essential oils can be used as diffusers, in baths, massages, or even as perfume or body splashes.

Again, when using scents for aromatherapy, the oils are more effective than candles. These oils can be purchased from health food stores and online sources. In many cases, you will receive a small break on the cost when ordering larger quantities.

While aromatherapy will ease symptoms of depression, it should not replace therapy that is needed to treat depression, and it may not even replace medications used for treatment of depression.

Be sure to discuss treatment options with your doctor.

When aromatherapy is used as treatment of depression, oils are more effective than candles

Zoloft for a Treatment of Depression

Is it safe to use Zoloft for a treatment of depression?

Zoloft is a common antidepressant that doctors prescribe for the treatment of depression and depression symptoms. Zoloft is a very gentle antidepressant but has a powerful effect as well.

Depression and ZoloftZoloft can start working in as little as a week, although it could take up to three weeks to feel the symptoms of depression easing. Zoloft is safe to take for an extended period; however, one should never stop taking Zoloft “cold turkey.”

It isn’t addictive, in the truest sense of the word, but Zoloft is an SSRI, which means that it is forcing a change in the brain chemistry. Because of this, your doctor will most likely “wean” your body off of Zoloft slowly by reducing the dosages, and allowing your brain to do more of the work without help from the medication.

Zoloft is not just prescribed for the treatment of depression. Research has also found that it is a suitable medication for the treatment of panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

There are side effects associated with the use of Zoloft. These include impotence and/or changes in sex drive and libido, upset stomach, drowsiness, anxiety, irritability, urination problems, appetite changes, headaches, constipation or diarrhea, blurred vision, nightmares, insomnia, hair loss, dry mouth, sweating, muscle spasms, slowed speech, irregular heartbeat, and tremors.

Symtoms of DepressionBefore taking Zoloft, your doctor needs to know if you have a history of mania, suicidal thoughts, high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, seizures, enlarged prostate, urination problems, thyroid problems, or glaucoma.

Despite the potential side effects, most people don’t have any trouble with Zoloft, and it is one of the most-prescribed drugs for the treatment of depression. It is also considered one of the safest drugs for depression treatment. If you suffer from depression, you should definitely discuss Zoloft with your physician.

Zoloft for depression treatment despite potential side effects

Anxiety and Sleep

Hard to live with anxiety without a healthy sleep pattern

Among the many things that can cause insomnia, anxiety is the number one culprit. No matter how tired your mind and body may feel, when the house gets quiet, and you get still, your mind will go into overdrive — with worry — if you are suffering from anxiety.

This scenario happens because there is nothing else to occupy our minds. During the day, we have tasks and activities that keep our minds engaged and away from the worry in many cases. Anxiety and SleepBut at night, when all gets quiet, our minds are free to focus on other worries.

Your first instinct may be to ask your doctor for sleeping pills, and there are many good sleeping pills available on the market that are mild enough to help you sleep, but gentle enough that you don’t feel drugged the next morning. The newer sleeping pills are even nonaddictive, making them great to use for temporary insomnia or long-term insomnia.

However, there are a couple of things that you can try before you turn to chemical help as well. Taking a hot bath before bedtime helps many people. Beware, however, that for some people, taking a hot bath only serves further to energize the mind and body. As with other things in life, this has a different effect on different people.

You can learn some deep breathing exercises that you can practice when you lie down in bed at night. With deep breathing exercises, your mind will be focused on the breathing, and not have any room to focus on worries. The breathing will make it easier to fall asleep.

You should also have a regular bedtime and a regular wake up time. Try not to stay up past the bedtime that you have set for yourself, and don’t sleep past your usual wake up time. If you do, this will put your body on a schedule, and even if your mind is worried, your body has a better chance of taking over and stick to its plan.

Finally, make some gentle noise. Turn the fan on. It doesn’t have to be blowing on you — it is a soft noise from the fan that you need. When you lay down, focus your attention on the hum of the fan. You can also try “boring” yourself to sleep with a book. The book should be boring. The process of reading will occupy your mind, but the boring book will have your eyes closing before you know it.

Deep breathing exercises can help you to fall asleep.

A healthy sleep pattern can help against anxiety attacks

Getting Out of Depression

Some tips to get you out of depression

Major depression is the third most common mental disorder in the US.  Nearly 7 percent of the US population is affected in any one year.  Incidentally, if you are keeping track, the two most common mental disorders are Anxiety disorders and Phobia disorders, including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Major Depression, also called Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) has an average onset of 32 years of age and is more common in women than in men.  It is also called “unipolar depression” by those who are familiar with Bipolar disorder.  It may include a subset of depressive disorders such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which affects people yearly – usually in the winter and Dysthymic Disorder, which is a less severe form of depression.

In order to be diagnosed with Major Depression, a person must meet the DSM criteria including at least five of the following for at least two weeks:
•    Depressed mood most of the day
•    Diminished interest in all or most activities
•    Significant, unintentional weight loss or gain
•    Insomnia or sleeping too much
•    Agitation or psychomotor retardation (slow movement) noticeable by others
•    Fatigue
•    Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
•    Diminished ability to think or indecisiveness
•    Suicidal thoughts

In some cases, depression can be relieved by changes in lifestyle or with psychotherapy, but in severe cases – medication may be warranted.  We are fortunate today in that there are a number of effective medications that have fewer side effects than previous treatments, and the category continues to evolve.

Even with medication – that may not begin working for at least several weeks – some lifestyle changes, and habits may help a person “emerge” from their depression and manage symptoms in the future.

Major DepressionLifestyle changes are difficult, particularly when depressed, but the effort it takes to “soldier through” is worth it in the end.  These tips for helping with depression are not easy – especially when you do not have any energy and don’t feel like getting up, but even though they may not provide a cure – they almost always provide some help.

  1. Get up and move – this is the hardest for most people to do.  It may take a tremendous amount of efforts but even simply getting off the couch or out of bed and walking around the house will help.  Getting up and moving around will increase your blood flow and heart rate will help increase blood flow to your brain and may convince your body that “hibernation” is over.
  2. Get dressed – you may have been wearing the same clothes for many days.  Changing into a “daytime” outfit can help regulate your time clock and may help you feel like you can accomplish something.  If you wear makeup or fix your hair, do so – and by all means, take a shower.
  3. Get out in the sun – don’t stay long enough to get a sunburn but studies have shown that bright light helps your brain wake up.  It resets your internal clock by adjusting your melatonin levels (a hormone responsible for inducing sleep).  It also triggers a “springtime” effect – that again tells your brain and body that winter is over, and it is time to come out of hibernation.
  4. Talk to a friend – making a phone call may not be tops on your mind, but even a wordless chat can help you feel like someone else is aware of your existence.
  5. Watch something enjoyable – even if you don’t want to enjoy anything, do something that would normally make you happy.  Just a little bit of happiness peeking through can go a long way.
  6. Go to bed and get out of bed at normal hours – sleep patterns are often destroyed by depression.  Reestablishing those normal patterns will help reset your internal clock to a natural level.
  7. Don’t take naps – again with both the normal sleeping hours and with the “getting up.”  Reinforcing physiologic habits will help establish normal brain functioning.
  8. Eat healthily – you may want to eat everything, nothing, or only certain foods.  Likely, no matter how much or how little you are eating, you are deficient in some of the necessary vitamins and nutrients – so eating a healthy diet and taking a multivitamin mineral supplement is a good idea.  B vitamins are especially helpful to restore nerve cell functioning, C and E are useful for combating inflammation that can cause sluggishness, D vitamins are useful to aid in the “sunlight” phenomenon discussed before, Calcium and Magnesium are good for the brain cells which are malfunctioning.

Most people who are depressed will find a lot of these activities difficult – and you may only be able to do one or two a day.  None of this is meant to be insulting, but there is science behind all of it – and others have been through it before.
With the help from the medication and the lifestyle adjustments – you will feel like you are coming out of the fog – and be able to do all of them – or sometimes, choose not to.  Choosing not to do something is different than feeling like you are unable to do something – and you want to have control of your life.

– Melissa Lind

Depression and Sleep

Sleep pattern change can be a symptom of depression.

When depression sets in, one of the symptoms of that depression is a change in your sleep pattern.

You may discover that you are suffering from insomnia, which means that you aren’t sleeping well, if at all. Your sleep pattern may be altered in the other direction, however, and you may discover that you are sleeping entirely too much. Seldom will someone who is suffering from depression maintain their normal sleeping pattern throughout that depression.

Depressed Old ManIf insomnia is a problem, your doctor may be able to help with a sleeping pill. You could also try an over-the-counter sleeping aid, or some deep breathing exercises. There are numerous methods that one can use to get themselves to sleep.

If the alternate sleep pattern exists, however, and you are sleeping too much, there is nothing that your doctor can give you to change that. This is something that you have to change yourself. Although, if you are taking an antidepressant, this will offer some help with sleeping too much.

Again, you have to help yourself as well. Set a regular time to go to bed, and regular time to wake up each day. You have to stick with that schedule. It may seem hard, but when the alarm goes off, make you get out of bed.

Once you are out of bed, get dressed and get moving. Energy creates more energy. Take a walk outdoors or on your treadmill. Give the house a run through and straighten things up. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you get your body moving. With this stimulation, you won’t be as tempted to crawl back into the bed.

Avoid napping if at all possible during the day – including napping on the couch or in your favorite chair. Keeping your eyes open and your mind busy will help you sleep better at night.

Be sure to discuss changes in your sleeping pattern with your doctor. He or she will have more advice that is specific to your situation and help you to correct your sleeping pattern.

A normal sleep will help you from getting depressed.