Bipolar Disorder: Can we cure Manic Depression? Bipolar Depression Treatment

Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression differs from other forms of depression. In contrast to other forms of depression, there seems to be consensus in the medical world that bipolar depression is in the first place a disease, a biological condition that needs to be treated with medication, often with Lithium. Lithium contributes largely to stabilizing the disease, but has unfortunately lots of limitations. So the question remains: can psychotherapy cure bipolar depression?

Listen to someone who is diagnosed with Bipolar Depression. She wrote me this mail and asked me to share it with you through my blog:

“I am bipolar. This disease is from childhood. The story begins few hundred years ago. Once upon a time lived Mr. Andersen from Sweden. Every intelligent person knows, that there have been Swedish and Russians wars. Mr. Sigurd Andersen was solder. He was going to Russia with Swedish army trough Lithuania territory. And he met very beautiful Lithuanian woman. Fell in love and ran away from Swedish army. And he changed his name to Sigurdas A. (my grandfather is Sigurdas A.). He had bipolar. So, my disease came from those times.

Everyone knows writer Hans Christian Andersen…

I am not sure, but I believe, that writer Andersen was my relative. If you check at wikipedia.com, you will find out, that writer Hans Christian Andersen had bipolar too. So, I am sure, that this disease coming from genes. And a person lives with bipolar from the birth.

I am one of them. Doctors says, that only 1% of population have it. So, it’s very uncommon disease. And for psychiatrists it’s like a mysterious disease. Every bipolar patient has different symptoms. I can tell my own story.

All my life I was or even I am a girl with very good fantasies. I remember all my 25 years like one week. I can tell every day, what had happened during my life. Really, how looked and what did my mummy at 5th of May of 1992, or whatever date somebody could ask me, I have a genius memory. I never ever spend time on studies or to learn poems, just read it before lessons and everything stayed in my mind. I have no problems with historical dates and so on. Even it’s hard for me to read romance books, because I remember what is written in some pages.

Ok, let’s talk about how I live with bipolar and how I finished my relationship with depressions and antidepressant pills. First time I went to a psychiatrist 3,5 years ago. I lived in Portugal, in Lisbon. My friends were famous musicians. There were a lot of parties, a lot of new people, “pink opportunities” and famous easy life. Just my head blow up. It was too much everything. And I got mad…I got crazy, making crazy things, talking a lot and talking nonsense, I began to be friend of everybody and I didn’t care with whom I was talking about my personal life. It was everything too much… And my new friends, who are my friends still now, called my parents in my country and told them, that I got really crazy… My parents came to Lisbon. They got very afraid of me. They didn’t recognize me… It was really sad view… And on June I came back with them to my homeland. We went to doctor… I was so angry…I told them, that I am normal and I don’t need psychiatrists help. Actually I didn’t understand, that I was really sick. And I am sick not physical disease…that I am sick psychiatrist stuff.

Doctor gave me pills – respolept. Ok, I would use it… And after 3-4 weeks I began to be very slowly, very calm, I began to be in silence, I began to be shamed of everything what I had told being sick, what I did, of course, I borrowed a lot of money at maniac time, I told fantasies and I believed, that it’s really true, what I was saying. Also, I talked with everybody….people began to ignore me, and I couldn’t understand, why my friends are ignoring me. And after about one month using pills (“respolept”) I began to be very slowly, very shamed, I wanted just to hide myself of society and that’s really what I began to do. Actually I was very fin during maniac time. And after 2-3 months I was +30kg… From 58kg to 88kg…You have no idea, how I was unhappy, I just closed myself at my body and my home, didn’t answer to phone calls and a lot of friends just forgot me… At first I just believed, that I have friends, but I was wrong… Or maybe I had just 2. And I was so happy having them. At first, I was sure, that I am very strong in psychiatrist way and I was against antidepressant pills, but on October I went to doctor and prayed for that “magic pills”. I began to use it. During few months I lost 8kg and began to talk… That was a lot, cause I didn’t talk for a long time at all. You know, it was really very hard period, but also and very good period for understand, what is my family for me, what is life, who are really true friends, how is hard to be not pretty and when nobody wants to communicate with you. It was very hard 8 or 9 months at my life… But Spring time came, I was 62 kg already, I began partying again, friends came back…and everything begins at once again. Again Spring time, again I was happy because of living, again I began to communicate with people, again I didn’t care of everything and again the same…again maniac period. Just I couldn’t understood it. I used zeldox after respolept. And I drank alcohol with medicine.. And I lost my mind again. Again the same story. Maniac period for 1,5month and again depression from autumn. Again tears, again disappointed of myself, again wanted to disappear from shame and from everything… Again antidepressant pills. But it’s just magic pills. You never ever be happy with it. Ok, I agree, you can have like nice beginning of your health life with help of this pills, but you will never be happy for real. Cause it’s just magic pills. It’s just like pink glasses on your eyes. You can’t understand the real situation. You don’t care about friends, family, studies… You are just happy. And why? You don’t care, how to earn money, how to survive, how to work, how to be true friend, how to live responsibility life of your own… But I was weak and I took it again…Again all autumn I was depressed and again on Spring time I was high of maniac period. But I finished university. I couldn’t believe that I did it… I moved from parents home to people, who I knew just 3weeks, home…Without job, without any money…. Again made big shamed nonsense…and when I “woke up” of all of my maniac period – again depression…And that autumn I met you, Paul, my third depression autumn. That day, when we went to opera “Madam Butterfly”, was my first day, when I began seroxat (antidepressant pills) to use again… And it was my big big mistake…It didn’t help to myself anymore… It was just psychological stuff. I wanted to believe, that it would help, but it didn’t. I was really lazy to work with myself, I thought – hmm, just one pill at evening and few weeks – and I will smiling again. I was so naïve… It didn’t work with myself. At thanks God! One and half month of using pills, but still nothing. Also, I didn’t trust myself, I didn’t have work, I didn’t have money, I was 24 years old woman without any opportunities to integrate myself to society with bipolar. A lot of bad rumors about me and so on. I hated myself because of disease. What was that last point, when I understood, that I am only one my own friend. That without loving myself I won’t find out the way of my own “labyrinth” which I create by myself to myself J I began to read a lot of psychological books, I began to believe in God, to pray every evening. I went to my doctor and told to her – that’s it, from now – no more antidepressant pills at my life… Whatever happens, just no more magic pills. First 3- 4 moths was really very hard. I met just few my true friends. I began to trust my family, my mummy and daddy, I began to trust myself. I again lost weight, I found a job. And the main point is, that I began to trust to myself. I understood, that I have three best friends – me, myself and I. I began to believe in life. After all autumn and winter time sitting at home, working (my job is from home by internet and cell phone) and everyday I had some small tasks for myself. And here, my birthday comes – 25th of April. I invited few friends and it was nice small birthday party. I was very happy seeing friends at my place. I understood, how important is to love myself. And I began to go out to the city. And I began to get invitations to birthday parties, to some concerts and so on. I felt, that people began to love me again. And I met my Love. I didn’t believe in it for many years. And now we are living together and we are very happy.

One more thing, I spent about 2 month at hospital with bipolar this year. Doctor and psychologist told me, that they never ever met person like me, who is so in love with her own disease (what I mean with “I am in love with my disease is, that I will live with it all my life and I am looking to my disease like my child, that all my life i must take of it) and asked me, what is the secret of that – I told, that I just love my disease. I told them that because of it, I have perfect memory, I can make arts and I can write business plan with financial analysis. I can play the piano and I never ever had lessons of it, I can paint, I can write financial analysis. I can do many different things and everything with quite good results and I am sure it’s because of bipolar.

I began to value my friends, I began to love a man, I began to love myself, I began to help to people, I began to be a person. Person with values, with target of life, at last I know what I want from my life.”

***

After reading her mail, I asked her: “HOW exactly you made this inner change. What exactly did you do to start looking different at yourself? What was the first real difference that made the difference to you?”

She answered: “The biggest change began then, when I understood, that people do not like sad people. They are bored and they dont want sad people in their company. I understood that I would lose everyone, and I also wanted to live normal good life.”

***

My friend made a choice:

  1. She decided to accept her reality. She has a biological constraint that needs special care and attention.
  2. She decided to accept other people’s reality: People want to be close to positive and happy people. If she wants their love, she needs to be loving and open.
  3. She decided to observe her talents (once we accept our limitations, we have new free energy to focus on our strength, this happens only after we stop fighting the impossible)
  4. She decided to set a goal
  5. She decided to take action and work on herself towards her goal

I want to thank her for sharing her story. It is true that bipolar depression, sometimes named manic depression, is a condition with a biological origin. But that does not mean we cannot learn to live with this handicap. Therapy of self help means in this case to learn to accept this limitation, while focusing on your talents and strengths. This will allow you to live a happy life. Therapy or Self-help can help those patients in discovering their strengths and finding out what to accept. Many patients with bipolar disorder need to take medication under medical guidance. But I believe that following my friends’ 5 steps will make life much nicer and pleasant, with or without additional medication.

(I decided not to correct nor polish the English letter of a non-native speaker. Perfectionism seldom makes one a happier person.)

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