Define: Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Everyone has feelings of happiness and sadness once in a while. Feeling high and feeling low are part of life.

But for someone with bipolar disorder (sometimes called manic depression), these feelings can be extreme:

  • These ups and downs can be too much for a person to cope with.
  • They can interfere with daily life.
  • Sometimes they can even be dangerous.

The ups and downs

One day you may feel so depressed that you can’t get out of bed. Work may seem impossible.

On another day you may feel great and full of endless energy. You may feel like you’re getting a lot done. But other people might think that what you are doing is dangerous and out of control.

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. It can be hard for healthcare providers to diagnose. But it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Learning more about how to manage the condition can help.

There are 4 main types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder — In this type, you have had at least one episode of mania or mixed mood and often experience depression too. In between, your mood may be normal. Sometimes your mood swings happen when the seasons change.
  • Bipolar II Disorder — In this type, you have had at least one episode of depression and at least one period of hypomania. Hypomania is a milder form of mania. In between, your mood may be normal. Sometimes your mood swings happen when the seasons change.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder — This is a milder form of bipolar disorder. You may go back and forth between mild depression and a slightly elevated mood. But your mood swings are shorter and less severe. Many people with cyclothymic disorder go on to have a stronger type of bipolar disorder. This doesn’t happen to everyone, though.
  • Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified — This type of bipolar disorder is when you do not fit into the types mentioned above. The feelings of bipolar disorder vary from person to person.

Some people have what is called “rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.” This means they have had 4 or more periods of mania and/or depression in a year.

The information abve was taken directly from the following web site

Monday’s Child

copy-2-of-dsc07135.JPG Ok, I know, this isn’t picture of a child, but rather a picture of three sisters. One of them suffers from bipolar disorder. Debbie has exhibited multiple symptoms of bipolar disorder as a child and by the time she was twelve she had the habit of sneaking out of her house with older boys who drove, lying and causing strife in her family. She had the habit, by then, of spreading lies about her older sister and dividing sports teams, girl scouts, anything they were both a part of, as she attempted to turn fellow team mates against her sister whom she percieved as being a goody-two-shoes.

After running away with rock bands and skipping school in her teens, she was arrested for drugs and run through a couple of rehabs. She had an inborn paranoia that, to this day, convinces her that everyone is out to get her, and she is superior to them.

Unfortunately, this is not a success story for Debbie. During the rehab services as a teenager, she was found to be a borderline genius, as is the case many times with this disease, and she has fought the Lithium prescribed for many years. She sought and thrived on the “highs” her disability afforded her. It led to success in her self-owned business but has led to a lifetime of estrangements concerning personal relationships.

Debbie is the mother to four children by several different men and raised them in her loopy world, involving them in illegal and immoral endeavors. Surprisingly, they all love her but have had been arrested for vaious infractions, had babies out of wedlock and have been kicked out of school for violence, etc…

Today (3 years after this photo was taken), after suffering severe medical issues, Debbie (far right) is on full disability and trying to take her Lithium on a semi-regular bases at the age of 46. Her older sister (far left) and mother are nurturing her children through prison and through technical school. She still belittles her children daily.

Look how much life she has wasted. Thank goodness, her family members are there to support the kids and her as well.

Bipolar disorder is a hard road to go, but early diagnosis, medication and therapy are vital and can be very effective in controlling the symtoms of the disease.

If you know of a child who is living with a diagnosis and might be willing to be featured in this column, contact me…   

Share More …

ty-penington.jpg      I wanted to share a bit more with you on ADD… I forgot to mention Ty Pennington, handyman on TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He has suffered with attention deficit disorder since childhood. Back then, however, it was termed Minimal Brain Dysfunction.  His mother hid the diagnosis from Ty. “Imagine hearing that,” she said. “He already felt like a bad kid.” His mother, Yvonne, was a graduate student conducting research for a phsycology class when she stumbled on the attention-deficit moniker.

She developed a token reward system and coerced the teachers into giving it a try. Ty responded to the tokens and was able to channel his energies. Yvonne said, “Ty’s manic energy wasn’t always an asset.” But, at age 11, he swapped his comic books for his friends’ help in building a three-story tree house. “I knew he’d grow up to be a carpenter or a Hollywood stuntman,” she said.

For more information go to

Check out this site written by a mother

AND Set. 14th – 20th is National AD/HD Awareness Week ….. Be an encourager to someone you know who has the diagnosis.

Friday Share

michael-phelps.jpgThis week we’ve been talking about ADD and Michael Phelps has recently become a poster “child” for ADD awareness. His mother, a lifelong educator and currently employed as a middle-school principal, shared some of the accomodations she made in addressing Michael’s “issues” as a youngster in an interviw for ADDitude magazine.

“At age seven, he hated getting his face wet,” says Debbie. “We flipped him over and taught him the backstroke.” He showed a lot of talent, and it wasn’t long before he was swimming on his front, side, “and every way in between.” But, in the classroom he floundered.

Teachers reported to Debbie that Michael simply couldn’t focus. At 9 yrs old, he was diagnosed with ADHD and placed under medications.

“That just hit my heart,” says Debbie. “It made me want to prove everyone wrong. I knew that, if I collaborated with Michael, he could achieve anything he set his mind to.”

Debbie also challenged the teachers whenever they complained of Michael’s lack of attention. “What are you doing to help him?” she would ask.

Michael, the most decorated olympian of all time, is studying sports marketing at the University of Michigan.

To read the complete interview, go to

Ways and Means

The following information is from

 Effective treatment of AD/HD in children and teens requires a comprehensive approach that professionals call multimodal. This means that the best outcomes are achieved when multiple interventions work together as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. The elements of a multimodal treatment approach include:

• Parent training
• Behavioral intervention strategies
• An appropriate educational program (IEP)
• Education regarding AD/HD
• Medication, when necessary

Common psychostimulant medications used in the treatment of AD/HD include methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Focalin), mixed salts of a single-entity amphetamine product (Adderall, Adderall XR), and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat). Strattera is neither a stimulant or antidepressant.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE: there are organic remedies that help some childrena and adults as well.

The wonderful thing about early detection is that, after years of various treatments, children reach the point of maturity to monitor the medications themselves or at least to a point of enlightening the parents. Nathan, whom I introduced on Monday – well, Wednesday due to Labor Day and electrical shortages caused by Hurricane Gustav – reached that level a couple of years ago, when he was in junior high. He likes the feeling of being “off” the medication but realizes he is able to study more effectively for tests with the medicine in his system. So, he takes medication solely for academic performance.

I say, “Whatever works!” but isn’t it a lot easier, dear parents, when our children can communicate with us what is going on in that head of theirs? 

Definition: Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD)

What is AD/HD?

We may all occasionally have difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or controlling impulsive behavior. But for some children and adults, the problem is so pervasive and persistent that it interferes with their daily lives at home, at school, at work, and in social settings.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is a neurobiological disorder. It is characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, inattention, and in some cases, hyperactivity. Although individuals with AD/HD can be very successful in life, without appropriate identification and treatment, AD/HD can have serious consequences. These consequences may include school failure, depression, conduct disorder, failed relationships, and substance abuse. Early identification and treatment are extremely important.

Until recent years, it was believed that children outgrew AD/HD in adolescence. This is because hyperactivity often diminishes during the teen years. However, it is now known that many symptoms continue into adulthood. If the disorder goes undiagnosed or untreated during adulthood, individuals may have trouble at work and in relationships, as well as emotional difficulties such as anxiety and depression.

This definition (above) is taken directly from

CHADD is a national non profit organization working to improve the lives of affected people through education, advocacy and support.

Attention Deficit Disorder is the older term for what is now coined Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder.

Monday’s Child

nathan.JPGNathan has ADD – Attention-Deficit Disorder. He is a complex and incredibly smart boy with amazing love for the outdoors and is an outdoor survival rock-hard enthusiast – a walking dictionary on what is poisonous and what is ok to eat in the wild, how to capture and prepare any number of animals and birds for consumption, basically, anything having to do with the outdoors interests Nathan.

School, however, is another issue altogether. His ADD has been a great source of stress to him in his young life. It is, after all, a learning disability. Sometimes, we forget that. We simplify the condition into a behavior issue that needs to be controlled. We forget that it attempts to control the life of the sufferer, and by all practical accounts, is a huge learning disability.

My observation, though, is that although medication helps a great deal, kids who suffer are still made to feel they are “bad”, and that, somehow, they are inept as scholars. What a disservice we do to our children.

Nathan is now 16 yrs old and, although school continues to be a challenge, he has achieved success in areas that are unique to his skills. This past summer he completed an Outward Bound two week trip in the mountains of Montanna. Now, how many kids can claim that?

Hoorah for kids with ADD and their parents. Because these kids SEEM neurotypical it is very frustrating for them to continue in the academic world.

Friday Share

colinfarrellson470.jpgFarrell’s Son Has Special Needs

Irish actor Colin Farrell has spoken for the first time about the difficulties he faces raising a son with special needs. The heartthrob says his 4-year-old son James suffers from a rare form of cerebral palsy known as Angelman Syndrome, which affects his speech and motor skills. But the star is determined to make sure his son grows up happy and healthy.

He says, “I think it’s like any parent. What I want to do for my son is just to make sure that he has the opportunity to reach his individual potential. And that he’s happy as can be. “And I’ll do whatever I can do, stay in his way, get out of his way, to see that that’s realized. That’s what it’s all about.”

Here’s a blog worth noting …

Treasure your children and have a blessed weekend … jeannie

Ways and Means – Help for Cerebral Palsy

As with so many disabilities, cerebral palsy often accompanies other, sometimes life-threatening medical conditions.  One of the most diverse conditions, CP kids vary on the range of afflictions and abilities.

Georgia, who was featured in Monday’s post, was only 2.3 pounds at birth. She was born with a Grade 4 Intraventricular Brain Hemorrhage, Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema, Pneumothorax and Retinopathy. After a touch-and-go childhood, complicated by her parents’ divorce and resulting homelessness (her mother and she lived in a car), Georgia managed to thrive.

Her mother tells of the time when they threw away the walker because it was so cumbersome and hard to handle. “The doctor told me it wouldn’t hurt her to walk without it, so we tossed it out.”

There are many wonderful products out there to ease the lives of CP sufferers.  Here is a great site. I will share some great blogs on Friday’s post and another famous person who has a son with CP.

Define: Cerebral Palsy

What is the Definition of Cerebral Palsy? Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movements and muscle coordination.  It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development, or during infancy.  It can also occur before, during or shortly following birth.“Cerebral” refers to the brain and “Palsy” to a disorder of movement or posture.  If someone has cerebral palsy it means that because of an injury to their brain (cerebral) they are not able to use some of the muscles in their body in the normal way (palsy).  Children with cerebral palsy may not be able to walk, talk, eat or play in the same ways as most other children.Cerebral palsy is neither progressive nor communicable.  It is also not “curable” in the accepted sense, although education, therapy and applied technology can help persons with cerebral palsy lead productive lives.  It is important to know that cerebral palsy is not a disease or illness.  It isn’t contagious and it doesn’t get worse.  Children who have cerebral palsy will have it all their lives.Cerebral palsy is characterized by an inability to fully control motor function, particularly muscle control and coordination.  Depending on which areas of the brain have been damaged, one or more of the following may occur:

  • muscle tightness or spasm
  • involuntary movement
  • disturbance in gait and mobility
  • abnormal sensation and perception
  • impairment of sight, hearing or speech
  • seizures

The above information was taken directly from the following website: