Bipolar depression is characterised by symptoms of morbid sadness, low self-esteem and decreased energy. It may interfere with work, sleep, eating and the ability to enjoy once pleasurable activities. At its worst it makes the person with bipolar believe they are worthless, this can lead to suicidal thoughts.
About 90% of people with bipolar experience depression at some time. People with bipolar disorder are 60 times more likely to die from suicide than people who don’t have the illness. Thinking about death is almost universal in depression. At present we are not able to provide a cure for bipolar disorder, but we can provide for the first time, opportunities for stabilisation, for when the condition is well managed, there is hope of leading a happy and fulfilling life.
Probably the most important psychological milestone in managing a BiPolar condition successfully is the ability to conquer your own denial.
It is easy to see why people shy away from accepting a BiPolar diagnosis. The stigma attached to mental illness, despite all the advances in social understanding in the last two decades, is still very great. Who wants to admit – to themselves or to other people – that they are mentally ill?
But denial that you are ill at this stage leads to a cycle of crisis and re-diagnosis that, if not confronted, can last decades. The whole philosophy behind the self- management movement championed by the bipolar organisation, Somerset is based on the conquest of denial. Acceptance of the condition leads to insight. Insight leads to action.
Successful action – obtaining the right treatment and social support – leads to higher self-esteem and a level of control over your life.
U can’t take the action needed to head off the illness if you still deny it exists. As Steven Fry says, “Nowadays I recover from an episode more quickly than I used to because I’ve learnt that I can’t will it away