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I put together this web site to help people who are living or supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder. Why did I do it? Here's a bit about my life story that will help you understand why bipolar disorder has become so important to me.
My mother has had bipolar disorder her entire life. While I was growing up, I remember her having a number of episodes. Each time, my father, brother and I would just pretend everything was okay. We would just let the disorder "fix itself" temporarily each time, or we would leave it up to mom to get help. That was a big mistake, but it wasn't the only one we made. Eventually all of those mistakes caught up with us.
In May of 2003, I noticed that my mom seemed angry a lot of the time. She wasn't sleeping and she was spending a lot of time by herself. When I talked to her, I also began seeing signs of paranoia.
For example, once I asked her "How's the lawn doing?" and she immediately thought the lawn was a mess and needed to be completely redone. But I had just been trying to make conversation with her. I saw these signs, but didn't do anything about them, nor did my father or brother.
In November, she was worse. She had gone to my brother's house and they got into a heated conflict. From there, everything started racing downhill. As time passed, things moved from worse to terrible. Still, all of us sat back and did nothing. We just assumed things would work out on their own like they always had in the past.
By the time December rolled around, my mother was not eating, sleeping, or coming out of her room. Things were so bad that my father even had to start sleeping on the couch. At this point, my mother was in a full blown bipolar episode.
We still didn't do face the fact that we had to do something . . . yet. Like ostriches, we were sticking our heads in the sand.
In January of 2004, I realized that someone had to intervene because my mom needed to go to the hospital. She was already yelling at me three times a day and saying things like "I don't want you to be my son anymore!" so I figured I'd try to persuade her to get help.
When I told her she needed to go to the hospital, she refused. She even lied and told me that her support network didn't think she needed to go to the hospital. I tried first to argue with her, and then tried reasoning with her, but neither approach got me anywhere.
After two hours of trying, I decided to try something else. This approach worked, and she agreed to go to the hospital. Then, my father and I realized that we had no idea which hospital she should go to. We didn't even know the name or the phone number of her doctor. After searching everywhere, we luckily found her doctor's business card and were able to contact him.
After my parents left for the hospital, I stayed behind and thought about what had happened. As I was trying to recuperate from the emotional and physical exhaustion of trying to deal with my mom, I realized how ridiculous it was that I didn't even know the name of my mom's doctor. It was ridiculous that we didn't know more about her problem, especially since my brother and I had been dealing with it our entire lives.
We didn't even know the correct terminology for her problem! We'd been calling it manic depression, and I didn't even discover that the term was out-dated until I started conducting research. Can you imagine that? We've been dealing with this problem for years and we didn't know what to call it!
At that point, I decided it was time to stop pretending that my mom's problem could fix itself and it was time to start learning how to help her. I literally took off from work for six full months to devote all of my time, energy and money to learning everything I could about bipolar disorder. I talked to dozens of people in medical fields, read almost every book available, attended support groups regularly and did everything else I could think of to find answers.
During my research, I learned that there simply weren't any books available to help individuals, like myself, who are trying to support people who have bipolar disorder. I also realized that very few of the books available on bipolar disorder covered any of the topics that both survivors and supporters desperately need, such as information on reducing debt, restoring credit, finding doctors, buying homes, dealing with stress, etc.
As I continued learning more about the disorder, I began building this website so that it would provide usable information for anyone who is trying to deal with bipolar disorder. This site will provide practical, common sense solutions for some of the real life situations you will face while coping with bipolar.
My goal with this site is not just to inform you, but also to prevent you from making the same mistakes that my family made. It took me almost thirty years to realize that my mother couldn't manage this disorder alone. It cost us thousands of dollars because we simply didn't know what we were doing. I don't want to see anyone else go through what we went through, especially not when simply having a plan to deal with the disorder can prevent it.
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The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
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