Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depression is a mental illness that affects thousands. It consists of extreme mood swings that alternate between depressed episodes to periods of elation. In its most raw form, bipolar disorder can harbor suicidal tendencies coupled with impulsive behavior of recklessness. It’s hard to live with someone who suffers from manic depression, especially in Pakistan. You won’t know what to do at times in such a stifling society when things get really bad.
Here are a few signs that may help you identify if someone is showing manic depressive tendencies:
1. Mood swings will be very apparent.
They will alternate between depression and mania.
2. They’ll spend days in severe depression.
They’d alienate themselves and spend days locked away in their room.
3. The manic phase is a reckless period of feeling overly-elated.
They’ll engage in destructive behavior like spending sprees and substance abuse.
4. Their work life will be affected.
Their fits of depression/mania would be far too much for them to cope with in the professional realm. They’d take a few days off of work in both phases – too depressed to leave their bedroom when they’d feel low, and too exhilarated by all the substance abuse and spending sprees when they’d feel high.
5. They’ll hide their true form with others around them.
They’ll never reveal how they really feel. Their true form is confined to the four walls of the house.
6. Very few therapists are trustworthy here.
You can’t take them to therapy, because most therapists here advocate medicine over remedy. You don’t want the one you love being injected and numbed by chemicals.
7. Depressive antics might include acting out and being violent.
Violence and anger have both become the norm at home. Things will break.
8. They’ll think about committing suicide.
They won’t just think about it, they’d often try to commit suicide when they’re going through depression. They won’t know their limits, and verbal abuse and lashing out to your friends will happen. Boundaries and all forms of right and wrong are torn down by the bipolar disorder.
9. Over time your personal life will be affected.
Taking care of them as a toll on you, and there will be moments where you cannot feel like you can do it anymore.
10. You might not feel like you can share your problems with your friends.
The stress of being at home is far too much and you want an escape, but you feel like you cannot be honest because society is as such.
11. Family members will dismiss the illness as normal and discourage treatment.
Elders won’t really understand the concept and will in turn encourage the behavior as something that’s just a phase.
12. You don’t trust local doctors to take them there but you have to find some help.
Most times you have no choice.
13. Empty sleeping pill bottles would be scattered around their bedside table.
Substance abuse is one of the symptoms of when they’re in their moods.
14. Your outlet becomes your work and your friends.
And when things aren’t positive on both those ends, it can feel suffocating. You’ll become emotionally exhausted and you’ll start to want someone to reach out to you and be your emotional support.
15. Home isn’t home anymore.
It’s a place where you cannot be yourself. You’re taking care of that person but it’s intolerable at times and you’ve been stripped of your sanctuary.
If you see signs of someone close to show showing these tendencies, or if your life is like this, you may need to get in touch with therapists or psychologists who can evaluate how their mental health is to prescribe further treatment.
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