I know somebody that has this disorder and I am trying to understand what she is going through, so I was just wondering whether you are aware of the changes in your mood or if it is unexpected?
Wow, this question can have many answers to it. However, I will speak personally from my own experiences and hopefully it will help you.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder over twenty-one years ago now. At first when I would experience mood changes I wasn’t too aware of them until they landed me in the hospital. It has been my experience in speaking to other patients that has been the case with them, too. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It just happens until you learn a system on how to detect mood changes before they are out of control.
For me, detecting mood changes took a while for me to learn. My psychiatrist did work with me to help me learn the “triggers” and other “buttons” that would cause a mood change. I think the most important thing to do first is to try and get stable on a good medication regimen. Once a patient is stable medication-wise then I think the person can start learning his/her triggers and buttons.
Learning to detect a change in mood can also be a bit tricky. Sometimes, stress and anxiety over personal situations can cause different feelings and moods. For those of us with a mood disorder it can actually be confusing. I know it has been for me. One of the first things I did was keep a log. When I felt “odd” or “different” I would record how I felt. Was I feeling depressed? How long did it last? Was I going deeper? Did I need to contact my psychiatrist? Eventually, I learned to detect my changes right away and learned to tell if they were situational or actually chemical.
So, now, for example, I can tell when I am in a hypomanic state. Is it interfering with my daily life? Is the hypomania actually helping me to get things done? I usually leave hypomania alone unless it really gets out of control. However, I do not tolerate depression very well. I can tell right away when things are awry there. I sleep more. I stop eating. My thinking is very “off” and a lot of times I notice myself thinking very unhealthy thoughts. If the depression last more than a few days then I call my doctor. I have a history of going down fast and I try to prevent that before it actually happens.
Another thing to be aware of is psychosis. If you have a history of this do NOT mess with it. You need to call your psychiatrist right away and let him/her know about it. Psychosis can get out of control quickly and needs immediate treatment. Now, I do know of people living with it daily, but personally, it’s scary to me so I address it at the first sign of a voice, seeing things or hearing things. I like to stay in touch with reality.
So, can you be aware of your mood changes? I believe the answer is yes. It may take a while for you to learn to detect them, but once you do you will be better for it in the long run. And can they be unexpected? Yes they can. That’s called rapid cycling. I have been known to cycle from mania to depression in one day.
Taking care of ourselves is so important and I think this is one way that you can do that. By keeping track of your mood changes and taking care of yourself.