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Essay: Bipolar Disorder

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  • Subject area(s): Psychology essays
  • Reading time: 5 minutes
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  • Published: 8 February 2019*
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  • Words: 1,213 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 5 (approx)

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Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder/manic depression, is a serious mental illness. This disorder leads to risky behavior that can damage relationships, careers, and even cause suicidal tendencies if it is not treated. Bipolar disorder is characterized by aggressive diversity in moods that range from manic to depression that can be anywhere from fews weeks to many of months. With that being said, more than 3 million people each year are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in the United states alone. Treatment for Bipolar varies on patient to patient. Typically, treatment encompasses a menger of at least one mood-stabilizing drug and/or an antipsychotic, in addition to psychotherapy around once a week or so. The most widely used medicaton for the treatment of bipolar disorder include lithium carbonate. Lithium can be exceptly effective in lessening mania. Lithium also may prevent recurrence of depression therefore, it is often given in conjunction with other medicines known to have greater value for depression symptoms, sometimes including antidepressants(webmd).
Early life
Kay started the book off around the age of second grade when she witnessed a catastrophic plane crash at the air force base that her family was living at the time. She explained how traumatizing that was for her as she watched all the mothers at the base trying to reassure their children that the poleit was not in fact their father. Later in the chapter she expresses how her father showed signs of manic-depression. His energy levels were very unperdicable. He becomes hostile and uncommunicative, leading to sudden outbrusts of anger and screaming. Kay later moves to California with her family. Kays slowly finds herself in the middle of a privileged culture due to less discipline kids her age and fewer rigid standards of place within social boundaries. Throughout the the early part of the book, Kay Jamison pieces together that these connections tested as her actions in conducting herself during mild mania, and the mixed states of bipolar disorder put her apart from the friend groups within which was how she was raised.
Early signs and college years
By the age of 16, she begins to notice that her mood swings are debilitating her friends and at 17 she has her first manic episode. When her mania comes to a sudden halt, she becomes enveloped by the darkness of a deep depression right before graudating high school. After a while she begins to realize that UCLA was a good fit for her, though her illness worsens. During one of her manic episodes, Kay was reminded of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and is overcome with a “need” to have it. She qucikly then rushed to the bookstore and buys not only Tennyson, but about a dozen or so books that are all related to it in some way or another. When she calms down a little later and snaps back to reality she then shortly realizes she cannot afford that kind of reckless spending, for she was a broke college student. Later in the book Kay decides to buy a horse instead of going to a psychiatrist in one of her manic stages and once again reggerts the purchase after coming off the episode .
Kay starts taking Lithium after a horrifying one evening while glancing at the sunset. Her psychiatrist informs her she is manic-depressive and prescribes lithium. Beginning to stabilize, she quickly forms a healthy relationship with her psychiatrist and will later go on to credits him with saving her life on several different occasions. Kay’s struggle with lithium came about year after she started taking it. She begins to justify not taking lithium for personal reasons like whenever she having a good day. In fact, the times when she really needed her medication most were the times in which her mind told her she needs it least. In hindsight, she further attributes her dosage level to her refusal to take lithium in her later years. Dosage levels in lithium’s early years were much higher than later years; later finding out that the dosage level she took for the first ten years of her treatment was neighboring toxic levels. For example, subtle changes in hormones, diet, and exercise sent her into violent fits of nausea in which would sometimes sleep curled up on her bathroom floor. Thinking she was the “exception” from all medication Kay stops taking her Lithium regular and in a short amount of time she finds herself obsessed with death and dying. As she continued to resist hospitalization her dark thoughts skyrocketed to a point of her coming to the clucion to end her own life. Determined to have a successful suicide, she overdoses on her lithium. Luckily, her older brother calls her and notices her speech was off putting, and alerts her psychiatrist admittedly. Kay’s suicide attempt was not carried through fully and she only suffered being in coma for a few days. After several years of lithium does her mood begin to level out.
Kay’s reflection
Kay poses the hypothetical question at the end of this book she which she ask herself whether or not she ever would choose to have manic-depressive illness if somehow she was given the option. She finds herself questioning that if lithium was not vastly accessible to her and if she did not react highly to it, she would choose ever to take the drug. She speaks how she never again wants to experience the horrible challenges of the illness that affected her both mental and physical nearly everyday of her life. However she does consider the upsides to her illness; her peaks of awareness and intensity of awareness during her manic episodes raised her to all new heights of consciousness. With that being said, she would, strangely enough, choose to have Bipolar disorder. She expresses that due to her Bipolar disorder, she experienced everything with greater intensity than regular people do. Thus, she cannot imagine ever becoming used to her world any other way.
My reflection
I have seen people speak up about their mental disorders before on social media and sites such as youtube, but nothing such as this. Kay goes into so much painful details first hand to her everyday life for the world to see. This was so compelling to me for reasons that I am not fully capable to understand myself truthfully. Reading her struggles throughout college and young adulthood really enhances my true grasps of Bipolar disorder. Kinda random, but the thing that stuck out the most to me in this book is when she bought out all the snake bite kits at her pharmacy. I think the reason why that stood out to me is because how Bizarre that is and how insane that had to be to anyone seeing this women carry out bags of snake bite kits. Most of them probably thinking she was strange but none of them really knowing the extent of her impulsive. After reading the wonderfully informative autobiography it compels to want to speak up and even write a book about my mental disorders so I can shed some personal light on extreme case of ADHD inattentive type and Generalized Anxiety Disorder so psychologist can get pages and pages of first hand experiences.

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