The Newly Diagnosed Manic-Depressive (Bipolar)
DISCLAMER: This article is not designed for, nor is it appropriate to self-diagnose.
Change and Empowerment
It was in 2000. The year of the Sydney Olympics. The year that many foresaw as being a technology apocalypse due to the Y2K “bug”. The year that I finally recognised I desperately needed professional help to deal with what was a lifetime of mental instability.
It was the year I was diagnosed as being manic-depressive. While the majority may refer to manic-depression as bipolar, for me I’m much more comfortable with the former. In my thinking it describes me almost perfectly - periods of mania, during which I would become almost uncontrollably outrageous, periods of depression of varying levels, and the almost heaven-sent periods in between when I was wonderfully calm.
What led to that diagnosis? I’m really not up to writing about that here and now.
-If you’re interested, though, then you can download my book - free-of-charge - here (http://www.wells.com.au/writing/build-a-bridge/). -
But at 42 years of age and having carried mental illness for the vast majority of my life, it was a
diagnosis that helped me understand, manage and grow. The diagnosis, though, delivered by one of Sydney’s leading psychiatrists, made so much sense. I felt relieved and, after meeting with the psychiatrist several more times over the following months, better equipped to manage my mental
Admittedly, achieving what I would consider to be a decent level of management has taken a solid 20 years and a massive lifestyle change. But the progress made during those two decades has been steady and strong. Progress that I doubt would have been made without the diagnosis.
With the diagnosis came antidepressant medication and, while I definitely didn’t enjoy being on that medication, afforded me the critical opportunity to reflect and consider a path forward. That opportunity saw me establish a foundation upon which to build healthier life management strategies. These are essentially a set of rules and guidelines to which I try to adhere every day of my life - and they work. They really do.
One of the major revelations during the six or so months I was working with the psychiatrist was the concept of self-talk. Gaining an understanding of how negative self-talk could be a major influencer in taking me from a good mood right down into the most self-destructive of depressive episodes.
That revelation eventually led me to developing a series of physical and mental exercises that helps me recognise when I’m falling into negative self-talking, and actually switch my thought processes almost immediately onto something more positive.
Without the initial diagnosis and sessions with the psychiatrist? I feel absolutely positive that my life would be so much worse than it was even leading up to 2000.
Yes, I still carry my mental health challenges. I still experience manic and depressive episodes. But that diagnosis, that confirmation and understanding was a massive life-changing experience. I look back upon it as rebirth - a point in time when I was able to bring about change and empowerment.
Author: Keir Wells
Finding accurate information on the internet does not have to be hard. Here are some tips.
Look up questions that require an objective viewpoint. You will yield more accurate information by asking questions like ‘What is bipolar?’ and, ‘What are the the symptoms of bipolar?’
Use Google Scholar. This is a search engine that has all of the academic information for whatever question you ask. There will not be any opinion-based articles here. The articles are often lengthy and wordy but have great information.
Cross referencing means to look up multiple website/articles, and only rely on the information that is common among those pages. The more websites you check, the more accurate the information is.
Unless you are looking for opinions and lived experience stories, try to avoid blog sites and sites that are based off of opinion.
Look for peer reviewed articles or journals. A peer reviewed article basically means that other professionals in the same field have given it credibility by agreeing that it is of a professional and academic standard.
On YouTube, look for videos of interviews from professionals. Any person can create a video full of stigma and upload it. anyone can create a website full of stigmatised information. There should be clues in the title or description.
Research the leading psychologists, professors, psychiatrists in the field of your diagnosis. Look specifically for articles and books where those significant people have contributed to.
If you find an article that you enjoyed, understood, or related to, check the reference list for further research.