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What's your bipolar paradigm?


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#1 alex55

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 11:23 PM

I tend to think of bipolar mood and energy separately, as if they are independent symptoms. My mood can be depressed while my energy can range from zero up to nearly manic. My main BD experience is mixed, which probably explains the perception of two independent symptoms.

I'm curious, what paradigms or models do others use for self-description? And, yeh, does anyone else understand what I'm talking about?


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#2 Jackie Dolphy

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 04:25 AM

I mainly get mixed states, usually dysphoric hypomania and agitated depression (ranging from moderate to severe) - occasionally I will get a "pure" hypomania or mania (though still with elements of anxiety and irritability). And once in a blue moon I will get an extreme dysphoric mania - which is hell on earth; as if I've snorted the world's supply of crystal meth and been forced to watch reruns of the Donny and Marie Show.

I personally don't tend to separate mood and energy - for me bipolar is an overall emotional/cognitive/experiential package. The way this condition can so brilliantly, seductively and subtly alter personal qualities such as temperament, sensibility, identity, and political/spiritual values highlights the profound subjectivity of all experience - sometimes, quite frighteningly.

I'm still coming out of a severe and protracted depression; the worst in years. A severe depression can thoroughly erase your sense of who and what you are - and as I've crawled out of the pit I've had these endless dialogues, debates and soliloquies in my head as I reinscribe the parameters and substance of my identity. And I cringe - it has the same tedious, self-obsessed quality as when teenagers ruminate and pontificate. Been there before, it'll pass!

That's one reason I don't see bipolar in terms of mood and energy: usually with me, the transient nature of the cycles darken, distort, or inflate awareness - but my identity and beliefs remain stable. The profound (especially combinational) extremes of the scale, however, do much more: they radically re-engineer the psyche - albeit temporarily.

But then, how do we apprehend the personality of those who are chronically dysphoric? Or chronically manic? What is the "real" them. How do you separate temperament and character from mood, knowing the profound effect mood has on character? Knowing that your political and spiritual beliefs are not as righteous and objectively-realised as you think, but are merely an artefact of temperament and self-interest - which extreme states generated by mental illness, love, or drugs could change.

These are the questions bipolar throws up for me.

Edited by Jackie Dolphy, 16 August 2007 - 04:28 AM.


#3 resonance

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 10:02 AM

Here are my thoughts:

http://empiricalinsa...ors-of-suckage/

Basically, yeah, there's reason to believe that there are multiple systems cycling, not just one.

#4 alex55

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 10:09 AM

I mainly get mixed states, usually dysphoric hypomania and agitated depression (ranging from moderate to severe) - occasionally I will get a "pure" hypomania or mania (though still with elements of anxiety and irritability). And once in a blue moon I will get an extreme dysphoric mania - which is hell on earth; as if I've snorted the world's supply of crystal meth and been forced to watch reruns of the Donny and Marie Show.

That sounds awfully familiar!

I personally don't tend to separate mood and energy - for me bipolar is an overall emotional/cognitive/experiential package. The way this condition can so brilliantly, seductively and subtly alter personal qualities such as temperament, sensibility, identity, and political/spiritual values highlights the profound subjectivity of all experience - sometimes, quite frighteningly.

Very true. My cognition is almost always hosed when I go hypo because there's almost always some dysthymia or depression happening as well. It sucks. I tend to look at it as cause and effect more so than going hand and hand.

Interstingly, ask me a theoretical/philosophical question and my answer will vary depending on mood state. Ask me the same question when I am balanced, I'll probably answer two or more ways because the mood state perspectives are there even if my mood is normal. It's an interesting gift, if you think about it - autmatically seeing different perspectives. This isn't to say that I don't have constant beliefs, just that the fringes are up for grabs.

But then, how do we apprehend the personality of those who are chronically dysphoric? Or chronically manic? What is the "real" them. How do you separate temperament and character from mood, knowing the profound effect mood has on character? Knowing that your political and spiritual beliefs are not as righteous and objectively-realised as you think, but are merely an artefact of temperament and self-interest - which extreme states generated by mental illness, love, or drugs could change.

These are the questions bipolar throws up for me.

We bipolars get to understand in a way very few do that many/most of the attributes of a person actually are maleable, and the person who chooses not to change and grow and adapt is making a choice not to do so. Heh, unless they have an MI that truly makes that not possible, a condition which I tend to believe is very rare.

I think my perspective on this has to do with the label 'bipolar'. I don't find the label at all descriptive. I also see your point about the whole package, but still see energy and mood running their own independent course. (Not saying that I'm right! I know this is a little out there.)
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#5 Loon-A-TiK

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 10:43 AM

i always just believed that my energy being up and moods down, or the other way around, meant that i was having more or less a mixed episode. while not all energy is manic energy, i'm so used to that type that it is hard for me to differentiate anymore.

i like everyone else's responses though. they're more insightful and helpful than mine.
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#6 Guest_DeeMarieT_*

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 11:05 AM

I get into mixed states but I feel those a medication induced. I am coming off of a serious depressive episode, taking 600mg of Seroquel for sleep and antidepressive effects, along with 200mg Lamictal, 400mg Topamax and 100mg Wellbutrin. I should be sleeping for a week, but I sleep less then eight hours, with horrendous nightmares that wake me several times during the night. Probably, a mixed state induced one of the many meds in my cocktail.





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