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Extreme mood swings associated with bipolar disorder require help from professional
LAST MONTH, a
The truth is that bipolar disorder is more common than many people realize, and there are many families touched by it in some form--whether they've realized it or not.
My first specific awareness that someone in my extended family had long been struggling with bipolar disorder happened in the midst of my first big yard sale. The bizarre way in which those things so trivial can be paired with those things so grave was not lost on me. I had 15 strangers in my front yard, pillaging through a sea of my personal belongings when I got the frantic phone call from a sibling.
"He is just not himself," she said of our family member.
As my neighbors bartered over a lightly used double stroller, I was on the phone listening to a textbook list of symptoms: excessive spending, rapidity of speech, an extremely elevated mood, insomnia without being tired, agitation, some pacing.
It was one of those moments when you suddenly make sense of something that has been right in front
Even as I sold my favorite Barbie for a buck-fifty, pieces of a tumultuous past relationship began to fall into place.
In this situation, I was "just a family member." The diagnostic and treatment plan was in the hands of the mental health professionals my family member sought out, and I could not spare our family the hardship of several misdiagnoses and attempts to find the right treatment.
It would take many months before we would manage to get the appropriate diagnosis and medication that would bring our loved one back to himself.
In that time, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about being a family member dealing with bipolar disorder.