Mood Disorders And The Choices We Make

The central point of everything I bitch and harp about in regards to mood disorder management is education. The afflicted and their closest loved ones need to understand every facet of the mood disorder if they want to effectively counter it. It’s a simple matter of understanding the enemy to engage and win the battle. Understanding the way a mood disorder warps and twists a person’s perception gives them much greater leverage in not jumping on the unwell thought process and rocketing into insanity.

Near that central point is a choice; an often simple choice that we make incorrectly because our brains are fucked up at the moment. A choice we normally would have never made if our brains were in balance. We can prevent a lot of chaos and misery for us and our loved ones by changing the way we make our decisions while unwell. But first, we have to understand when we are unwell!

1. Work on developing your understanding of your triggers and the way you feel while you are unwell. You likely have symptoms while manic or depressive that you have at no other time. In my case, I have pressured speech, racing thoughts, hypersexuality, arrogance, and I can’t sleep more than 4 hours at a time but am never tired. Depression is easy to spot in my own apathy, general annoyance at everything slightly inconvenient, and a desire to sleep too much. I only have these qualities when I’m unwell- never any other time.

2. Utilize loved ones to help identify your unwellness. If you have kids, relatives, or a spouse that gives a shit they can help you identify when you’re getting unwell. You can tell younger kids “just tell me if I start acting really weird”. They don’t need to be inundated in details but they know when mom or dad is being irrational or volatile. I feel it’s a good idea to help older kids understand what’s going on so they don’t learn to fear and resent mental illness.

3. Make better choices before taking action. Are you manic? Does the sound of laughing children piss you off? Can you just not stand the sound of your spouse’s voice? Are you depressed? Can you not see any hope for tomorrow? Is every day going to be shit for the rest of your existence?

Those questions are the kind of warped thoughts we all struggle with. It is your choice on how you respond to those children, your spouse, and the hopelessness. Every fiber of your being may be urging you to scream, yell, or worse; but you have to fight that urge. You have to remember that you have a mood disorder and will have disproportionate responses to about everything while you are unwell. And you have to choose to look forward to tomorrow or remove yourself from your manic stressors.

It is not the world’s responsibility to give two shits about managing your triggers. A lot of people don’t understand and don’t want to understand. That means YOU have to be the one to manage YOURSELF.

That’s not an impossible goal even though it may seem like it. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard “Easier said than done”. Well, no shit. Everything is easier said than done. But you fucking do it anyways because it’s your family, your life, your well being, and your future. And you CAN do it.

Yes, you will inevitably make stupid mistakes. We all do. It gets much easier the more you do it and when you start finding meds that reduce the impact of the unwell swings.

Making better choices can be as simple as removing yourself from a situation that is threatening to spin you out or asking for input from someone you trust. I do both regularly if I don’t trust the defective pile of shit my brain can sometimes be.

You must understand that you are not your Disorder. You may be a terrible person while you are unwell but that does not mean you would make those same choices if you were well. Therefore, you want to get back to making the kinds of decisions you would make while you were well. A mood disorder is just one part of you that can be overwhelming and dominating if untreated, but you do not have to give in to what it will make you think and feel. You can fight it and fight for wellness.

That is a choice.


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6 Responses to Mood Disorders And The Choices We Make

  1. smitty says:

    I know everyone who suffers from bipolar is different. Is it possible or someone to be in constant themselves thinking how worthless they are & to feel tension with themselves all the Time? Is it possible for them to misconstrue there own self hatred onto others views of them even though that may not be the case at all for the people that love them? Even going through the cycles are they even able to recognize the difference between being in love with someone or are they always second guessing their feelings? Sorry questions!


    • Dennis says:


      1. It is possible to be in constant turmoil with oneself. Well periods can be few and far between. Prior to meds, I don’t think mine were more than maybe a week a year. Otherwise it was just depression and periodic hypomania. Meds really helped push those things back for me.

      2. Absolutely. Depression plays with your perceptions and you can wind up convincing yourself people think worse of us than they do. Have you heard the saying “You are your own worst critic (or enemy)”? Imagine that and amplified by the unwellness. You can easily fall into the pattern of thinking that no one could think well of you.

      3. The Bipolar needs to learn how to identify what their real emotions are. What a person experiences during their “normal” or “well” times are what is closest to their real emotions. They may feel that during depressive or escalated periods but you can’t trust what you feel then. You can trust what you feel while you’re “well” because the Disorder isn’t affecting your mind at the moment. I always second guess my feelings unless I’m in a well mental state because that’s just a good idea for Bipolars.

      But those feelings and thoughts can easily get warped once the person swings into unwellness.

      • smitty says:

        Ok, thanks! I heard someone say that they really don’t like to label things/ relationships because they aren’t really sure what love feels like because they’ve been in relationships were they said they loved the other person, but they really didn’t feel it. They said they feel constant tension with themselves & are always at war inside their own head.

        • Dennis says:

          I can see why a person would take that approach. I’ve spent years trying to figure out the differences between my moods, the shifts, and my emotions. I speak with clarity about my emotional states because I’ve thought about it and researched it- a lot. Someone that hasn’t researched it or really thought about may not be able to organize their emotions and thoughts in similar ways to how I express it. That’s why I talk about it a fair amount.

          Can definitely relate to the tension with oneself and the war in one’s head. Mood disorders can skew a person’s perception of love and their emotions towards another pretty easily. I know when I was diagnosed, I decided to stay single until I got things figured out and somewhat fixed in my own head. I was single for about 3-4 years as a result.

  2. susan says:

    what does a person do when your physical difficulties affect you mental state and to be honest seeing another dr. would be intolerable..???

    • Dennis says:

      Start reading, Susan. Read everything you can on stress management and try any non-medical way you can think of to reduce your stress. Meditation is a popular choice for many. But just start reading on those subjects and trying things until you find something that can give you some peace of mind without any additional doctors being involved.

      Or; if it’s relatively minor stuff- your general practitioner may be willing to work with you on it. I know they regularly handle things like depression and anxiety without referring the person out. In your case, given your challenges, that may be a better route anyway since your doctor knows your meds and is already familiar with you.

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