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Friday, March 12, 2010

more on being bi

"I have lost friends, some by death...others by sheer inability to cross the street."
— Virginia Woolf
there is something so humbling about a chemical imbalance. after all, if sober, even with medication, there are some waves of emotion that follow those brain chemical dumps that are unmistakably powerful. sometimes one feels quaky for no reason. sometimes one can't sleep, even when there is no apparent reason for it. and one learns that without self-medication, the challenges maneuvering these potential emotional minefields can be huge.

and the carousel of brain chemicals doesn't go away with sobriety or with medication. it becomes manageable- sometimes more than others- and continues to challenge. it's not being crazy, it's more being flooded with impulse. feelings, thoughts, ideas, questions, more questions, and very often a debilitating depression.

i took another class for my counseling certification on bi-polar disorder. it was bittersweet as most of the persons in the class had some very personal and often difficult experiences with bi-polar disorder among their families and friends. the class is titled "understanding and treating bi-polar disorder". of course i am not able to diagnose, but i am capable of recognizing it in many instances. treating chemically is not my purvue, but treating it in the context of substance use is something i deal with regularly. and something i have much personal experience around.

it's well documented that over 1/2 of people who have substance use issues have mental health issues as well. the largest pool of that number have bi-polar disorder. and it's said that 60 percent of people with bi-polar disorder have substance abuse/ alcohol abuse issues. one of the most amazing things to me is the general lack of dual diagnosis treatment options in lieu of these figures. it somehow seems neglectful.

some not-so-fun facts about this disorder are that only a fraction of those with bipolar ever receive treatment because of
1) associated stigma
2) its misdiagnosis
3) tendency to deny that anything is wrong
4) self-medicating
5) identifying it as a physical, behavioral, or psychological issue and NOT biochemical.
6) although is can profoundly affect relationships for families and friends, it taks an average of 10 years to seek treatment.
7) Bipolar disorder affects 1.5 % of the population worldwide regardless of race, gender ethnicity, or socioeconomic factors.

peace can be so elusive at times.

recovery is a process in which an individual actively pursues mental wellness in the context of a neurobiological disorder.

today's sound choice is lady gaga with beyonce doing "telephone"

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1 comment:

Java said...

That sounds like a very difficult situation to deal with. It's so hard! Life with a biochemical disorder is very hard. I know that feeling, when the chemicals flood the brain, bringing about feelings of hopelessness, depression, etc. It sucks! I don't have the bi-polar thing, just depression. Bi-polar sounds even tougher. Good luck, Rod. Good luck helping others, and good luck with yourself.


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