What Is Bipolar Disorder?

A sad looking man with his eyes closed holding a flower to his head

Mania And Depression

Many people may have undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder. It is important to be educated on the topic in case you or someone may have the illness. Bipolar means you are not in the “middle” in regards to your mood. For two weeks, you are feeling depressed while at other times when not depressed, you are manic. The only requirement for a Bipolar I diagnosis is mania, but it may be accompanied by depression.

What is depression? It includes: decreased interest in activities, low appetite, decreased sleep, psychomotor agitation or retardation, suicidal thoughts, apathy and guilt. What is mania? It includes: racing thoughts, irritability, uninterruptible speech, excessive energy, decreased need for sleep and grandiose thoughts.

Bipolar II is when you have depression and hypomania; hypomania is just a less intense version of mania. Generally, people with Bipolar I become nonfunctional and can no longer work if not medicated; their mania causes too much distraction to continue being productive. People with Bipolar II can still function but can greatly benefit from medication.

Is Bipolar dangerous? Yes it is! Who would want to shift moods from one extreme to another? On one side, a person is depressed and may commit suicide. On the other side, a person is manic and may get in trouble with the law. Bipolar needs to be treated, and thankfully, people do well on medications. Medications such as Lithium and Valproic Acid work great.

But it is always best to include psychotherapy in the treatment process, which includes talking to a psychiatrist or psychologist who can help you understand more about your personality and how to handle your illness. Overall, always seek professional help to be officially diagnosed with Bipolar. I believe every person who has Bipolar can have a successful life if treated!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Shoot For The Stars

A boy looking at a yellow wall that says "believe in yourself"

No Goal Is Above Your Horizon

Do you often find yourself struggling to have enough motivation to accomplish something? Motivation is something that needs to be developed. For some, it comes easier, for others it needs to be worked upon. But one thing is for sure: you must find a goal or two and constantly work towards achieving them. Every day, you must remind yourself why you want to accomplish that goal and work towards making progress.

One goal we should all shoot for is achieving a happy state of mind. Mental illness is very prevalent throughout the world and in particular, our society. Genes, epigenetics and stressors contribute to a decline in our mental health. Epigenetics is when some of our genes are silenced or turned on based on environmental triggers; this may result in depression, anxiety and even psychotic symptoms such as visual and auditory hallucinations; some even become paranoid or delusional (the husband who believes his wife is cheating on him, contrary to the evidence).

What do I mean by shooting for the stars? We often set shallow goals that don’t really bring us success or much happiness (i.e.: I will go to the gym once a week, I will not eat fast food twice a week, etc). I call these goals shallow because they don’t deliver “the stuff” that we’re looking for, and frankly, “the stuff” we deserve.

We need to become more motivated by increasing our goals and striving to achieve them. But it starts with you! You need to discover what you want to accomplish and set out to achieve it. Once you discover your goals, increase your motivation every day by reminding yourself how bitter sweet the end result will be.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Defeat Any Type Of Addiction With Self-Respect

An open container with needles, drugs, spoons and cigarettes

Addiction Ends When You Want It To

It’s no shock that we are currently experiencing multiple drug epidemics: methamphetamine and opioids. Some even suffer from Gambling Disorder. But what is driving humanity to becoming slaves to addiction? The answer is: lack of self-respect and control. We often seek a change in consciousness because we get bored with our reality.

We want something more exciting and enticing that will bring us stimulation. But that is where the problem lies; these addictions hijack our brain like a virus does to a computer, to the point that we must function under the virus until we feel motivated enough to undergo reprogramming.

Reprogramming is not always successful, truth be told. Sometimes the virus is so destructive that we end up losing the hardware. The solution is to increase your self-respect and avoid/prevent/or stop the process of addiction from taking place.

By self-respecting yourself and realizing how much you have to be thankful for (just the fact that you are living) should be enough! Resist the urge to seek a replacement for your current reality and instead find fulfillment in healthy activities that can bring you peace of mind and joy.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Stay On Track With Your Plan

Paper, markers and coffee on a table

A Plan Maps Out Your Future

We’re often tempted to give up on a set course of action. Either we don’t see the results, we get bored and inpatient or we get new ideas the deviate us from the original plan. The key is discipline. We have to remind ourselves that nothing comes easy. Achievement takes a lot of work and persistence and along this grueling path, comes a lot of sweat and tears. But it pays off in the end once we reach the destination.

You want to commit to your plan everyday; even on the days you feel sad and gloomy. When you get through those gloomy days, you will have more energy during the happy days, and this will inch you forward to whatever it is you want to achieve. Mental health also comes into play with staying on track with your plan.

A good state of mind where you are free from depression and anxiety is key to maintaining consistency in your life. Depression and anxiety need to be eliminated from your life before giving yourself the best chance at achieving success. Your plan may even be to eliminate depression and anxiety, and the key is to stay on track with that plan! Once you have freed yourself from mental obstacles, success will be right around the corner.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Free Yourself From Pain

Graffiti of a stressed African American man with hands on his face

Pain Causes Stagnation

Why is it that no matter how much we accomplish, we still are stabbed by pain? It’s like the air or water is polluted with a toxin that makes its way into our brain and degrades us into depression. Whatever the source is, all we can do is learn how to deal with the present situation and free ourselves from pain. But you may ask, how? The key is to turn your everyday events into a positive experience; this includes the way you view your job, friends, family, activities, home, car, income, etc. You want to view everything you have in a positive way. This way, you will train your mind to stay positive and in return, you will attract more positivity into your life. It’s easier said than done, but often times, we do not even make the effort to try. This is a way of life that I am suggesting, and until you are willing to apply it, the pain will continue.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Show More Love

Male and female hand coming together to form a heart sign

Love Trumps All

We live in a very competitive society, to the point that we have lost one important feature: love. We are so focused on getting ahead of one another, that we forget how to show love towards others; even towards our family! It is through love that we can get things done easier, garner more positive energy and move forward towards the destination we want to reach.

Love is contagious; the more we spread it, the more it comes back to us. Don’t let this fast-paced society turn you into a zombie; you are a God-loving spirit who needs to go back to his or her roots and utilize the strongest asset in your arsenal: love.

Via love, we will accomplish things more smoothly and our mental health will prosper in return. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, love is endless and does not judge. Speaking of judging, don’t let judgement cloud your heart.

Spread love like birds spread their wings and flap that positive energy at everyone coming your way. By showing more love, you will fly high!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Lower Your Expectations

Man next to the beach looking at the sky during sunset

Too Much Pressure Can Actually Backfire

We often want this or that and then go crazy when we don’t accomplish what we set out to accomplish. Why? It really doesn’t matter why. Often times, we are so focused on our expectations that it actually backfires. But does it really backfire?

I believe that we put so much emphasis on our expectations that it magnifies the results (or lack of results) much more than if we didn’t put so much emphasis on them. Rather, know in your heart and mind what you want to achieve, but let it naturally happen as well; don’t push it to the limit all the time.

And what happens when we don’t see results? We become sad. We become miserable. Our goal is to maintain a stable level of happiness in our lives, no matter the difficulties we are going through; consistency is key.

Sometimes we have to let life do the work for us. After all, we were not made machines with no feelings or emotions. In conclusion, know what you want to achieve but don’t put so much pressure while on the path of achieving it.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Mental Health Intros Begin With Honesty

Man walking with an umbrella on the street in front of an "honest" sign

Honesty Is The Heart Of A Therapeutic Relationship

Thank you for joining me! My name is Dr. Alexander Sinu, MD. I am a psychiatry resident in the New York City area and I created this website so that we can share meaningful experiences and advice about mental health. This is intended to be a therapeutic platform where we can come together and share our experiences and advice on how to manage mental health concerns, life stressors and ending mental health stigma. The stigma of mental health is slowly fading and my goal is to build a community that will help us lead happier and healthier lives. We are in this together!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. β€” Izaak Walton

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Free Yourself From Stress

Naked woman yelling and feeling stressed

Utilize Mindfulness To Alleviate Stress

We feel it everyday; it hits us from all directions. It stabs us in our chests, mind and soul. This 6-letter word is so agonizing that some people turn to substance abuse or even kill themselves. But stress can be utilized as a source of energy for improvement! But it needs to be tamed at the same time. Whenever feeling this negative energy, remind yourself “I do not need this at this moment” and instead, think of something positive, and preferably, jump into a pleasurable activity in that moment. Some find success with “mindfulness”; an activity involving closing your eyes and being nonjudgmental to all thoughts coming into your mind. Believe it or not, this relieves stress.

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Don’t Worry So Much

Man sitting on couch with hand on forehead worried and stressed

Worrying Increases Stress Levels

The first thing we do when we wake up is worry! Whether rich or poor, ugly or good-looking, happy or sad, we humans worry way too much. We need to remind ourselves that life was not created for us to suffer all the time. Yes it is true, that through suffering we become stronger, but a lot of times, we have automated the process, resulting in stress and even depression. Reminding ourselves before going to bed that “I will not worry when I wake up” will help you start your day on a fresher note.

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