Bipolar Disorder – The Practical Side

“I have two moods. One is Roy, rollicking Roy, the wild ride of a mood.  And Pam, sediment Pam, who stands on the shore and sobs…Sometimes the tide is in, sometimes it’s out,” (Carrie Fisher, AKA Princess Leia). 

Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia in Star Wars, lived with Bipolar Disorder as do between an estimated 1-4% of the general population. Bipolar Disorder is often presented as a scary or mysterious mental disorder. I have heard clients say that they do not share their diagnosis with others because they don’t want to feel judged. Other clients who disclose their diagnosis, often report seeing looks of terror in others eyes when describing their struggles with mania and depression.

While Bipolar can take time to diagnose and at times be difficult to manage, it is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. Understanding what Bipolar looks like and how best to treat it are essential for those diagnosed with it, as well as their loved ones.

Bipolar Disorder often runs in families—between 80-90% of individuals with Bipolar Disorder have a relative with Bipolar Disorder or depression (www.psychiatry.org). The average age of onset is 25 years old and most clinicians will not diagnose someone with Bipolar until they are at least 18 years old. Other similar disorders exist including Bipolar II and Cyclothymic Disorder. For someone to be diagnosed with Bipolar, they must have mania in addition to depression. In most simple terms, they will have intense periods of feeling both high and low.

Here are some symptoms of Bipolar Disorder (or what clinicians call Bipolar I):

–decreased need for sleep

–increased or faster speech

–racing thoughts, distractibility

–increased activity, increased risky behavior (spending sprees, reckless driving, having sex with multiple partners, etc.)

–intense sadness or despair; fatigue; loss of interest in pleasurable activities

–increased or decreased sleep/appetite

–thoughts of death and/or suicide

If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the symptoms listed above, we can help. Our trained and seasoned mental health clinicians are experienced in diagnosing and treating all types of mental disorders, including Bipolar Disorder. We can provide the support and tools you need to live your most peaceful and fulfilling life possible. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment. 


Yolanda Brailey