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A happy life and Bipolar Disorder


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I realized the other day that I don't know of anyone with BPD [edit Bipolar Disorder, BD unofficially BP] who has not had trauma in their lives. It seems like everyone had a really horrible childhood involving some sort of abuse or neglect.

Even if some people had an okay childhood, there was some sort of factor later in life that was traumatic, like spousal abuse or something along those lines.

Has anyone in bipolarland had a marvelous childhood and a great life, but bipolar disorder STILL bit you in the backside?

Oh, and if the above sentence does NOT describe you, feel free to post your opinions on the subject.

Thanks,

Sam

[edit, just want to keep terms correct and avoid confusion. BPD is Borderline Personality Disorder.  a.m.]

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*Raises hand*

umm, NO.

My mom was depressive with several hospitalizations in the days before our modern SSRI's, when therapy was still pretty Freudian, which no doubt had some strong affect on me. But, no abuse or neglect. I have recently come to realize that I was probably depressed at the same time my mother was based on behaviors I now recognize in some readings.

I don't have any psychological trauma.  I firmly believe that my body/genes are the source of my bipolar.  My struggle has always been trying to carry on with a normal life while fighting the moods that came from out of nowhere. My genes set the stage, probably my mom's hospitalizations started tipping the scales, and a very stressful job and personal situation threw me over the bipolar fence after 43 years.

We know that their is a strong linkage between having bipolar disorder and having relatives with bipolar, depression and schizophrenia.  So, others in your family may have mental illness, diagnosed or undiagnosed that created bad domestic environments.

A.M.

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How exactly can you define trauma? I've had a lot of what I would *consider* fairly traumatic events, but my pdoc thinks I overreact. And perhaps some of the events I have brought on myself? (those later in life, not childhood) I was an extremely sensitive child, and even though there's no diagnosis for anything, my parents have problems of their own. Schizophrenia/MI on my dad's side. So yes, genetics as well. That's a difficult question.

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I also had a childhood free from trauma, but was another extremely sensitive child.  I later suffered some (quite a bit) of spousal abuse, but think my problem started before then and just went unrecognized for 30-some years.

Tommy

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Oh make NO mistake. I understand that BPD is inherited. My mother was dx'ed about the same time I was. And SHE thinks her mother was.

I was a sensitive child as well, but my childhood sucked.

I am not saying that a crappy childhood makes you bipolar. I guess I am saying that a crappy childhood increases the odds that your genetic bipolarness will develop.

Rabbit, if you think your childhood was traumatic, then I think it was. I overreacted a lot as a child to things that seem silly now. But it hurt like hell at the time.

Air Marshall, I guess it's a completely different topic, but I have noticed that many times there is a final stressor that puts us over the edge into full blown bipolarland, just like you described. I know there was for me.

Thanks for everyone's responses!

Sam

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Nope, sorry, terrible childhood, worse teen years, and struggles in adulthood (I'm 27). DXed at 7 and still fighting for my life 20 years later. 5 hospitalizations, 3 in the past year. Sent in my long form for SSDI today. I rule! lol

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I had a very decent childhood, my parents very caring though quite demanding.  so i could say the only drama/trauma in my life was caused by myself.  in definition i'm an adrenaline junky, so doing "stupid" and pretty crazy and amazing things made me quite famous around my home town.  My parents have no mental diagnosis, the only BPD's in my family are two 3rd cousins on my mothers side both of which i was close to at one time (very close knit family).

so i cannot fathom on how i came to be the way i am.  most BPD's i know personally had either a shitty childhood or went through something dra/traumatic later in life.

but if you know karyotypes, you could say the genes were good for most of my family, cept me.

I did however go through some stress whilst in mil service.  but looking back it didn't seem that it was "big" enough to be the cause/stressor.  trust me when i say i confuse alot of docs.  mine is deffinitely genetics playing tricks.

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I have noticed that many times there is a final stressor that puts us over the edge into full blown bipolarland, just like you described. I know there was for me.

Sam

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

For me too, big time!

Tommy

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I have had things happen that were traumatic. At least people think I'm nuts for going through such things. THEY think it's traumatic, but I just never know how to feel about it. I don't know what to think about it. Maybe I'm in denail??

Does it REALLY effect me till this day when I have no emotion(maybe denial?) towards what happened? I don't know, it boggles my mind to think into it.

Perhaps I'm just minimizing things. I have a foggy sense of how trauma is gauged.

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Another vote for trauma in childhood here.  Tdoc concluded it to be the root of my anxiety disorder and I have to agree.

As far as the bipolar goes, I tend to believe it stems from biology, bad genes.

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Depressed from as far back as I can remember. To answer your Q:

1) Crappy environmental childhood here. Depressed (later alcholic) mother; sadistic (later alcholic) older sister who beat me up on an almost daily basis; happily oblivious, largely absent, and martyr father. 'Nuf said.

2) Crappy genetics, as well. Mental illness going back for generations on both sides of the family. Strongly suspect bipolar for those I've heard about the most (the ones locked up in mental hospitals for decades, both in US and in Scandinavia).

Also believe my elderly mother is undiagnosed BPII. Sister? Who knows? Pathological Jerk...is that a diagnosis?

So...Nuture or Nature. In my case I think it's safe to say it's a combo.

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Thanks for the insightful threads.  I think that it is a combination of generational bondage and childhood events.  I had (have) an abusive father and distant family.  But there are also obvious problems going back generations.  (My great grandma is still alive, thankfully.)  No one will admit to any problems, but they're there, and trained or experienced eyes can read between the lines.  I guess it all boils down to me being a sensitive child in the midst of all that family mess.  Oh, when you get family mess up in your face, it's not a pretty picture for anybody!

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I had a great childhood, was given everything I ever needed/wanted, had great parents, etc.  And despite all of that, I've always been this way.  My mom says there was always something different about me and she noticed it from birth.  I'm the youngest of 4 kids.

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and yet another blow to MI's, our genes make us crazy. 

but it is up to us to defeat that which was given to us unwanted.

and i'll add this for thought

people with a mental illness usually tend to have something (creativity, empathy, etc) that normal people can't compete with. as i've said in the past, many of the great influential people of the past had some sort of mental illness.

so does that mean that us crazies have more of an influence on the world?

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No way really????

I knew about all of the creative stuff, and I absolutely without a doubt do not have a creative CELL in my body. So I've always felt like a defective bipolar person. But empathy? I've got that in spades! And intuition even!!!

Yay! That's the best news I've had all day!

Thanks!

Sam

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Guest Guestifarian

My BP started when I was quite young, and I think my childhood and adolescence was fairly unhappy.  I made a better life in my late teens, early twenties, then it sort of slumped.  It wasn't too bad, but that's when I was diagnosed.  There is some abuse in my past, not much love, but i have it better than some.  Every day my life gets better, and i'm as happy as i was in my late teens/early twenties.  Probably even happier.  I think the past has had some negative impact on me, but if i let it define my future then i feel as if i've already lost.

i was watching tv, and some psychologist did a study on happiness.  he said people have a baseline happiness level that they never really stray from, whether they win the lottery or lose their legs in an accident.  The fact that i'm getting happier makes me think that somehow i'm winning. 

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and i'll add this for thought

people with a mental illness usually tend to have something (creativity, empathy, etc) that normal people can't compete with.

A blessing and a curse, especially cursed when trying to get the MI beast properly dx'ed and rx'ed.

I have qualities that I consider gifts, and others have observed as such, but they are in the psychic, yes, psychic realm--as opposed to psychotic--and it would be cool if I had a switch where I could turn them ON and OFF. But, my empathic abilities and powers of perception are on 24/7, and I'm not saying I'm accurate in all cases, but more than not, and enough to say that my 3rd eye's inability to even <blink>, much less close for rest is a huge part of my onging anguish.

6th sense stuff, "dead and stupid people", which are much easier to deal with their incoming psychic debris than those that fall into the darker categories of the human element.

Also, severe childhood trauma. MDD at early age, very traumatic death of loved one at 5 years ago, I think may be a mitigating factor in emerging BP2.  ;)

All I know is often I do wish someone would hit me in the head with a brick, just to turn off all the "incoming..."

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