Bipolars get a double depression whammy. Yay and how lucky are we. Not. Those who suffer from Manic Depression get to experience a whole new take on Major Depression… and a dazzling array of treatment options.
Treatments that are primarily brain damaging, have serious side effects (especially with long-term use) and can even cause death.
But when severe depression is on the table and a person is unable to get well on their own, most likely also having suicidal thoughts – it is time to seek help. I say help, but what I really mean is ‘treatment’.
Sitting around and talking about your childhood or bad marriage most likely isn’t going to affect your physical suffering. And that suffering has gotten so bad you need to try and affect it.Bipolar 2 Disorder is More Similar to Major Depressive Disorder Than Bipolar. Click To Tweet
Neither will endlessly analyzing why George Bush was ever elected president, what is the most pressing problem in the world and how to solve it and why do some people seem to have little to no conscience. Been there, done that and can assure you it is not overly-helpful.
Depression is an illness. Not a philosophical state of being.
Anything to feel better is how the person is usually thinking at this time. I’ve been there, many times, I know that which I am referring to. Notice I did not write “I’ll do anything to feel better is how”… in the first sentence of this paragraph.
At this time the ‘I’, the ‘you’, the ‘person inside of you’ is not thinking clearly and really has no impetus to do anything. No motivation, energy or any confidence that anything they do is going to matter anyways. So why even try?
You feel stuck. And it is not ‘all in your head’. Your body is sick and the expression is primarily mood-related, you feel ‘bad’. But MANY physical illesses can cause depression.
Bipolar 2 Disorder is More Similar to Major Depressive Disorder than BP-1
That’s where the ‘double whammy’ fun comes in. A major depressive episode of Manic Depression (now called Bipolar 1 Disoder) is similar in many respects to a major depressive episode anyone can experience in their lifetime – bipolar or not. It has similar characteristics but is different at the same time.
Related post: The Story of the Bipolar Spectrum.
Those with BP-1 have a possibility – let’s call it a biological tendency they cannot control – to switch into a high state with treatment of their depression. Their doctors want them to get better and feel better… just not too good and let’s not become manic, ok?
I am not including those who have been diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder here and for very good reason. Their illness is very different from Manic Depression. They do not have mania and primarily experience depressive states. BP-2 is much more similar to a diagnosis of ‘Major Depressive Disorder’ than it is to BP-1.
Related post: Comparing Bipolar 2 Disorder to Breast Cancer
With a person who has been diagnosed BP-2 and in a severe depressed state the doctor or doctors can focus on trying to ‘lift them out of the depression’ as one common saying goes. They can try antidepressants without major mood stabilizers having to be prescribed to prevent a manic switch.
Hopefully the lowest dose possible of any drug is first attempted then an increase if necessary rather than creating a physical state the body may have to rebel against and cause more crisis… from the side effects of large doses of meds.
That is the nightmare that Bipolar 1 Disoder patients have to live. At times anyways. Having to take awful meds to treat an awful problem and then live through it and get on with their lives. And hopefully get to get off those meds. As if you stay on them, they may trigger more illness issues.
It’s the double whammy effect that is unique to those who have to live with Manic Depression. And one of many reasons why we need better treatments for depression than brain disabling, toxic psychotropic medications. To treat and help to feel better anyone who suffers a major depressive episode, not just bipolar folks.
Don’t even get me started on ECT – that’s up next.
The image is from this Wikispaces page: Bipolar Signs and Symptoms.