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Jim Miller Jim Miller
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Bipolar


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Have you ever walked upon the railing of an interstate overpass, and considered jumping into the traffic?  I have; and I was convinced that I wouldn’t be injured.    You see, I have bipolar mood disorder, and believing that I am invulnerable to harm is one of that mental illness’ traits.  If you want to know more about bipolar, read on.  


Bipolar Mood Disorder is one of the five major psychosis currently recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.  About four per cent of the world population suffers from bipolar mood disorder.  The occurrence of the mental illness is about evenly distributed among males and females, and among the different races and ethnic groups.   Most psychiatrists and psychologists believe that bipolar stems from a biochemical imbalance in the brain.



The disease is categorized as an affective, or mood, disorder.  The illness may be seen as a cycling between two poles---a positive one---or high one (mania), and a negative one---or low one (depression).  In between are periods of relative normalcy.  In reality, nearly everyone has this high/low cycle.  People with bipolar just exhibit it to a greater degree, and it interferes with their ability to live life.



Most people can identify with the depressive act of bipolar.  The feeling is something akin to the grief experienced by a personal loss, except that there is no triggering event.  It just is.  The flip side to the illness, mania, is harder for many to comprehend.   It is usually marked with periods of high energy coupled with an inability to sleep.  People in a manic state usually sleep for a period of around three hours a night and sometimes go for days with no sleep.  A racing of thoughts and rapid speech are also common---as is a tendency to be involved in reckless behavior---and overspending.  As mania progresses psychotic symptoms begin to appear.  These include delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations.



In some circles it is believed that people who have bipolar are more creative than normal.  Read the short listing below and see if you can see that pattern.  Note also that a higher percentage than usual had troubled lives, and also took their own lives.  It must be remembered that this is just a short listing.  For a more complete listing google---bipolar famous people.



The following is a short listing of famous people who are believed to have had bipolar disorder:  Ludwig van Beethoven (composer and pianist), Lord Byron (English poet and writer), Charles Dickens (author), Ernest Hemingway (author), John Keats (Romantic poet),  Abraham Lincoln (American president), Marilyn Monroe (American actress), Moses (Biblical figure), Isaac Newton (mathematician/physicist), Florence Nightengale (nurse), Edgar Allen Poe (poet and writer), Frank  Sinatra (American singer and actor), and Vincent van Gogh (artist).



Bipolar can be a terminal illness.  The oppression of the depressive phase is sometimes so severe that individuals take their own lives (suicide) to escape the unrelenting emotional pain.  During mania, individuals will do absolutely dangerous things and kill themselves by accident.



I have found that living with Bipolar is especially troubling, but medications make it bearable.  I believe that if it were not for modern medications, I would have had severe enough case that I would have been institutionalized, or dead.


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