What is wrong with me?
Bipolar is characterized by severe mood swings. Some people only have a few drastic mood swings in their lifetime and other people have mood swings daily. Bipolar type 1 have more struggles with the mania side of things while Bipolar type 2 struggles more with depression and hypomania instead of full blown mania.
If you have been diagnosed with bipolar, I am sure that you have done some research about it, its symptoms, causes, and manifestations. If you have not been diagnosed with bipolar or any other form of mental illness you may be wondering if you have bipolar or not. Lets take a quick look at some of the other things that could make you wonder if you have bipolar based on your symptoms of depression and anxiety.
First off, depression can be an illness all by itself and manifest itself in many ways. You might feel sad, hopeless, have mild mood swings, lack of energy and motivation and brain fog. These things can all be because of a simple case of depression. Talk to your doctor and find out if a simple antidepressant could help you feel better. There is no reason to not deal with this, do not be afraid or ashamed of your depression. Be willing to talk about it and find a way to get better.
Borderline personality disorder is a disorder where you tend to make impulsive decisions and have unstable moods. This disorder is can have symptoms that are very similar to bipolar such as nervousness, mood swings, depression, anxiety, appetite problems, and aggressiveness. Don't diagnose yourself however, go see a professional and get them to take a look at your symptoms. Remember, that no matter what your diagnosis is, you can find help. There is always a solution to help make your life a little more bearable.
A few other common causes of depression are:
Alcoholism, Acute stress disorder, Menopause, Nicotine disorders, Bruxism, Opiate use, Dysthymia, PMS, Thyroid dysfunction, and many more.
As I mentioned earlier, it is not a good idea to self diagnose, this is just meant to help give you some ideas to talk to your doctor about. Over 22 percent of American's have some mental illness diagnosis. Mental illness is not shameful. Think of it as like any other illness you could have such as heart disease. Now heart disease can cause symptoms, but if you treat it with exercise, medication, and proper diet you can live your life like everyone around you. The same is true with mental illness, there are some things that you can do to help you live like you don't have a mental illness.
What to do to help you feel better:
Exercise daily - Even if it is just a walk down the block, be sure to get outside and move around for 30 minutes most days of the week. Exercise helps release endorphin's and feel-good hormones that will help battle your depression. Find things that you enjoy doing such as swimming, running, bicycling, playing tennis or golf to help make it easier to get out of the house and spend time doing it. I know it is hard to want to do anything when you are feeling depressed, but make a choice, go against what you are feeling and do it anyways. Your body and brain will thank you.
Eat good food - No, I didn't say food that tastes good, but actually good-for-you food. Avoid sugars that cause your blood sugar to crash and make you feel more depressed and moody. Focus on vegetables, low fat proteins, fruits, whole grains, and healthy oils. You will feel so much better if you go off of sugar and eat healthier foods. Don't worry if you mess up once in a while, its OK, just make sure you don't make a habit of it.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol - Both of these drinks that make you feel good when you drink them cause the opposite effect when you come down from them. They can both cause your blood sugar to crash and make you more irritable.
Manage the stress in your life - Do not let the stress-fullness of life come and overwhelm you time and time again. I know that there are times when you just cannot help but feel stressed, but you can do something about chronic stress. Learn to know yourself and what things help you feel less stressed. For some people it is going for a run, doing martial arts, or dancing. For other people it might be going someplace quiet and spending time with the creator. Whatever it is that helps you, do it and do it often.
Most importantly, give yourself some room. Allow yourself time to recover, this is not a sprint, its a marathon.