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Are people with bipolar better functioning?


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So I went to a bipolar support group. Most have jobs, been married, owned their own home, have cars ect. They seemed to be so high functioning than people with schizophrenia ect.  Can I ask what the problem is? Can someone explain it to me?

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In my experience you can have high functioning peeps with BP and very low functioning.  I am BP so dont really have insight into other MI's. 

I go to a DBSA group and we have a mix of very high functioning members and others who struggle so much its hard to come to the meeting regularly.

Hope that helps answer your question a bit any way.

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Everybody is different. People with schizophrenia can also be high functioning and those with Bipolar can struggle to function. How people cope with various MI is very individual and personal.

  I have Bipolar, am not married, do not work or own a house. I do own my own car though :)

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So I went to a bipolar support group. Most have jobs, been married, owned their own home, have cars ect. They seemed to be so high functioning than people with schizophrenia ect.  Can I ask what the problem is? Can someone explain it to me?

Hello, I was originally diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and then schizoaffective, bipolar. But I doubt I have bipolar sometimes. Anyway, I think it depends on the person. I know I can work full-time or part-time and am doing so at the moment and I am aware a lot of people with bipolar or depression are unable to. It really is an individual thing.

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I have bipolar disorder and would agree with everybody else who said it depends on the individual. When my depression was really bad, I dropped out of college twice and was hospitalized 6 times over the course of 3 years.  At that time, I couldn't work and depended on my parents financially. 

Medication really helped me and now I have a full time job and have been married for 9 years.  I still go through really bad times. But I think comparing your functioning to somebody else's can be hurtful to you.  If there are things you want to achieve, like education or relationships, try to work toward it in baby steps. And know that no matter how functional somebody looks on the outside, they could still be hurting terribly inside. I try to present myself to the world as if I'm very high functioning, but I have days where I lay on the floor and cry all day, or only eat icecream and chips for days at a time.

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A person with bipolar disorder who's holding down a job today, in a successful relationship, looking pretty functional, could easily have been unable to leave the house six months ago, and might, a year from now, be hospitalized. Bipolar is hard to predict, which is one of the things that makes it so exciting.

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I think a common theme with a lot of people with bipolar disorder is that we're masters of being able to hide quite a lot of things, until we hit an extreme at either end. The challenge with this is we often seem "just fine" to those around us, but are 'dying on the inside' so-to-speak.

There're also folk who remain in a "normal" mood the majority of the time and again, people around them can think they don't have a serious mental health issue because of this.

My wife is one of the few people who can spot my hypomania and even she didn't believe I was bipolar until she read more about type II. More people have been able to spot the severe depression, though.

So, it's like medication: you need to go to the support group as maintenance when you're well, and even more so for support when you're not :)

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A person with bipolar disorder who's holding down a job today, in a successful relationship, looking pretty functional, could easily have been unable to leave the house six months ago, and might, a year from now, be hospitalized. Bipolar is hard to predict, which is one of the things that makes it so exciting.

this. I have a tendency to go AWOL during mood episodes and so only function at jobs/tasks for which this is possible. 

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I am married, own a house and a car, have a bachelor's degree and have worked on and off. I excel at pretty much anything I set my mind to when I'm well. Otherwise, I haven't been able to work more than 2 years at a time, I can't take stress, I have crippling anxiety... I am very nearly a successful person, but I have bipolar disorder, so I am not that person, no matter how hard I think I am sometimes. It is a fucking tragedy, but there you go. Life is cruel. We might seem to be high functioning, but you need to look a little closer under the surface.

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I struggle with this issue too. I never feel well enough to really succeed at something I care about, but I can hold down part-time jobs. Still, end up in a manic episode and hospitalized, and then I have to creep out of depression for weeks or months until I feel well enough to do something again. Then I'm fine for maybe 2 years, give or take half a year, but it's hard to find a good job. I'm very disappointed with myself that I can't do more and be more consistent, e.g. have a real career. I have two university degrees, both bachelors, but I earned the first just as I was getting sick, and the second in between hospitalizations, before I was on these dulling meds full-time. I own a car, but I bought it in my last manic episode (though I did have most of the money - just have a small car loan now). Not married but in a long-term relationship. Not sure I appreciate my partner enough, to be honest. No house, we rent. Right now, brutally depressed, I can't do much of anything. I'm just waiting to see when the depression will break, contemplating antidepressants though that hasn't worked in the past. Life has been disappointing, to say the least. I struggle daily with feeling like a loser/failure. But when I'm doing better, aside from feeling kind of unfocused, I function well enough to get by.

I could use some support if anyone wants to message me.

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Everyone is different. Environment, concurrent disorders, level of personal supports... they all vary greatly, and they all affect our ability to be functional.

If your environment is one of high financial stress, obtaining medication is likely going to be an issue which will affect the bipolar individual's ability to function, not to mention access to therapy and the major/continual stress->episode effect. If your environment is erratic, again you may struggle with more episode triggers.

If you suffer from Bipolar Disorder and another illness, the two may interact with each other to reduce your functioning. For example, when depressed my social anxiety is such that I can barely leave the house. When I'm hypomanic all of that social anxiety disappears. So, for roughly eleven months out of the year I'm basically a house hermit. When in the very rare euthymic state, which is like extremely rare, I can work on my anxiety and make very small steps toward improving my functioning, but because it's so rare calling it an improvement is kind of silly, like "yay I can sit in a different seat on the bus now when I have to so long as I'm no more than the second person in line instead of the first person in line".

The type of Bipolar Disorder makes a difference as well. If you're rapid cycling and the best your mood stabilizer has done is bring your four episodes in a year down to two, well, it's going to be pretty hard to maintain function. If you tend to have extended, difficult-to-treat manias or depressions, again, it's going to be pretty hard to maintain function.

If you've got no personal supports, that is doctors, therapists, social workers if available, family or friends to help during the difficult times... you tend to fall through the cracks, you isolate easier when depressed, you don't have people to catch your episodes before you are even aware you're in one, and you risk losing functioning. If you have all your players on board, then hey - you tend to end up with better and faster treatment and may level out quickly enough before any major damage to your life/job can occur.

There's just so many variables that comparing yours or anyone else's functioning with this disorder is pretty much impossible.

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I also think this varies from person to person.

I am low functioning and require a lot of support but I think even in a lower functioning capacity things can be achieved. It took 10 years but I got my bachelors. Now I am on the last step of getting my masters. That took 3 years.

I do struggle with work. Unlike academia where they accommodate my situation warmly, I can't just not show up for a job or take long breaks from it with no notice. I can't leave early if I feel symptoms. They are paying me so I'm held up to a higher standard of functioning. This creates an impossible dilemma for me. I hope one day to be solidly stable enough to withstand the stress of employment but for now it's out of the question.

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People with BP can be functional even through most of manic episodes, and non-mixed mania seems to make people very likable, I suspect this makes is easier to live with it and function, though of course, it depends a lot on how the illness manifests.

I've met other BP patients, both very high functioning and those struggling a lot more with day-to-day life. I'm functioning, I have a PhD and work a stressful job in a competitive field and have good friends and had longterm relationships, but I don't think that would be possible if it weren't for the fact that my episodes are quite rare and I'm mostly symptom free for long stretches of time.

 

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I have schizophrenia and I'm too scared to leave the house. You guys run circles around me!

I don't have schizophrenia and I'm too scared to leave the house for eleven months out of the year. The other month I apparently scare people with my agitation. One need not be schizophrenic in order to be incapable of leaving the home. It's not really so easy to compare disorders as better or worse by label alone.

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I am not financially independent but I take college classes to help me get ready for some kind of job that I might take on somewhere down the line.  My major is social work.  I am taking two psych classes that I need this fall.  I am Schizoaffective and find that I have no patience for minimum wage work.  It's probably part of my illness.  I just don't have the motivation or the peace of mind to sustain long periods of effort.  

A long time I acquired a driver's license but since my last accident I haven't been able to get a new vehicle.  

I am pretty good at succeeding in college and am an honors student.  

To me functioning is different for everyone.  For me it is living with my fur babies in the townhouse my parents provided me with and taking college classes in hope of someday being functioning on a higher level.  I feel basically happy. 

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This isn't the suffering Olympics. We don't play that game here.  I think that all the posts here have proven that everyone's condition presents differently, and you can't make blanket statements that imply that all bipolar patients have it better off than those with schizophrenic spectrum disorders, or even vice versa.

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