But given that bipolar depression is difficult to diagnose, and therefore difficult to treat, it can be exceptionally distressing—especially since it can be even more debilitating than mania, lasting longer and occurring more frequently.
Minor decisions, such as what to eat for breakfast, can seem overwhelming. Self-doubt can morph into an obsession. And Who needs sleep? becomes Can’t I just get some more sleep?
This mood state has been described by many as a severe, emotional and physical drain on everyday living. Such a profound energy shift can present as not being able to get dressed in the morning, put on makeup or even brushing one’s teeth. For those able to function at a job during the day, the exhaustion can find many people taking to their beds all weekend.
Research has shown that depression can actually change your ability to think.
“It can impair your attention and memory, as well as your information processing and decision-making skills,” writes clinical psychologist James Cartreine, an instructor at Harvard Medical School. “It can also lower your cognitive flexibility (the ability to adapt your goals and strategies to changing situations) and executive functioning (the ability to take all the steps to get something done).”
Author and bpHope columnist Dave Mowry, who has dealt with the devastating effects of long bouts of bipolar depression, turns to humor to help him cope: “I didn’t realize how eco-friendly I am thanks to my severe depressive episodes. And not just because I’m not taking showers. When I am depressed, I wear the same clothes day after day. Sometimes I sleep in my clothes because it is easier than taking them off and putting them back on. Smart, right?” Read more >>
April 19, 2019, Boston, MA—Incremental physical activity, even at light intensity, is associated with larger brain volume and healthy brain aging, according to new research from Boston University School of Medicine.
While specific activity levels optimal for dementia prevention remain unclear, active individuals have lower metabolic and vascular risk factors, which may explain their propensity for healthy brain aging.
“Every additional hour of light intensity physical activity was associated with higher brain volumes, even among individuals not meeting current Physical Activity Guidelines,” says researcher Nicole Spartano, PhD.
Those guidelines are established by the national Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Read more >>
Overspending is part of manic AND depressive mood episodes––which is why you should put safeguards in place to protect your finances when things head south.
By Lisa Acuña
I have a very love-hate relationship with money. It’s beguiling and complicating, and as hard as I try, sometimes I’m just not good with it. It seems like as soon as I get my credit card balance paid off I end up charging something (either essential or not really essential) and I’m right back where I started. This can be incredibly draining and counter-productive. It can also lead to a viscous cycle of earn-spend-earn-spend. Somehow, at the age of 42, I need to learn to be better with money if I ever want to retire. Read more >>
July 11, 2019 • Volume 12, Issue 28Subscribe to Hope & Harmony Headlines Pay Attention to Sleep Disruptions For three out of every four people with bipolar, it is said, sleep troubles are the most common warning sign that mania is on its way. We might not even miss the need for some...
September 5, 2019 • Volume 12, Issue 36Subscribe to Hope & Harmony Headlines Planning For Your Next Bipolar Depression We like certain things in our lives to be reliable—like our cars, for instance. The depression that follows a manic episode? Absolutely, positively not. But there it is, showing up on cue, disappointingly dependable....
July 25, 2019 • Volume 12, Issue 30Subscribe to Hope & Harmony Headlines Taking On Abandonment Issues Do you judge yourself? Do you stay focused on your mind and disregard the feelings in your body? Do you seek comfort in addictive behavior, or make other people responsible for what you’re going through? All...
September 12, 2019 • Volume 12, Issue 37Subscribe to Hope & Harmony Headlines Controlling Impulsive Behaviors Spontaneity is one thing. Impulsivity—a hallmark of bipolar—is another. “Impulsivity is seldom a good thing,” says Ann C. Holm, MS, a professional certified coach. “It is one of the variables that lead people toward high-risk behavior. It...