An Introduction to Bipolar Disorder

Thoughts on Depression
21st May 2017
27th May 2017

An Introduction to Bipolar Disorder

On to my first post for this week

John and Mary (not their real names) are well known to me. They have been married for 15 years (as I learnt on that day) and have three children. They are by all standards what you
would call a happy couple. When Mary came to see me that Monday about a month ago her face was disfigured and she could not stop crying.
Our conversation……………………………….
Mary: I can't stand this man anymore
Me: Tell me more about this man…
Mary: Its John… (Silence…then she starts crying)
Me: (Silence….as I wait for her to cry. It takes about 5 minutes and she goes silent)… (She looks up and I signal her to continue…)
Mary: Do you see all these scratch marks on my face and neck? And the blood clot on my cheek?
Me: Yes, I can see them….
Mary: Can you imagine this was done by the man who calls himself my husband and the father of my children? (She cries some more….as I remain silent). I now move closer to her while still giving her, her space. I let her cry, and let her be.
Me: Tell me more about it…
Mary: This happened yesterday. (I nod to encourage her to continue). On the said day I was to have a coffee date with Mary, however, this did not happen as she went out for a date with
John. He beat her on their way back from the date.

For the next 1hour Mary takes me through her 15year journey in marriage. The number of times she’s thought of quitting marriage are uncountable, but John has always had a way of
making up to her. Once when she threatened to leave, he threatened to kill their children and commit suicide, out of fear, she stuck. She claims he’s the most caring, loving and romantic partner when he is in a good mood. He is the beast when he’s in a bad mood. The problem is, his moods are quite unpredictable Does the story of Mary and John sound familiar?
My assessment….John could be having Bipolar disorder. I ask Mary to take John to a psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to- day tasks. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of unusually intense emotion, changes in sleep patterns and activity levels, and unusual behaviors. These distinct periods are called “mood episodes.” Mood episodes are drastically different from the moods and behaviors that are typical for the person. Extreme changes in energy, activity, and sleep go along with mood episodes.

Sometimes a mood episode includes symptoms of both manic and depressive symptoms. This is called an episode with mixed features. People experiencing an episode with mixed features
may feel very sad, empty, or hopeless, while at the same time feeling extremely energized. Bipolar disorder can be present even when mood swings are less extreme. Some bipolar disorder symptoms are similar to other illnesses, which can make it hard for a doctor to make a diagnosis. In addition, many people have bipolar disorder along with another illness such as anxiety disorder, substance abuse, or an eating disorder. People with bipolar disorder are also at higher risk for thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses.

Lets engage….
"Wacha niKwambie Uzima."
May 2017 – Afya nzuri, maisha nzuri.
Focus on physical and mental wellness.
© Lucy Ngari, Counseling Psychologist
May 2017.
This article is to be used as an information guide for indepth information and professional advice please seek the services of a registered mental health expert.

Kwambie Nyambane
Kwambie Nyambane
Kwambie Nyambane is a Sales Force Effectiveness Manager in a leading bank in Kenya 'by day', a passionate inspirational blogger 'by night'; and a wellness enthusiast championing healthy lifestyle choices. The founder and lead writer of this blog is a Bsc. Food Science and Post -Harvest Technology graduate of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya, holds an MBA in Marketing from the University of Nairobi and is currently pursuing a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Nairobi. Kwambie is a member of Bloggers Association of Kenya. She believes in taking life with a big spoon, seeing the cup always as half full, and enjoying the scenery in this journey called life. Kwambie is daughter to Lilly Moraa and James Nyambane, mother to one beloved son nicknamed "The Champ"; sister to Marci and beloved auntie to the A & Z girls. She and her family make Nairobi City, Kenya their home. This blog is dedicated to her parents Moraa and Nyambane for their awesome inspiration in her formative years, for being her pillar of strength through life, her siblings Marci and Joash, and to her son "The Champ" and her nieces who represent the generation that came after her. May the nuggets contained in this blog serve many generations, the world over to come.

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