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"Riding the Waves" - "TheWaveRiders.com™ Newsletter" ISSN 1708-038X
September 2008 ©TheWaveRiders.com™
"Creativity in Balance"

When you come to the edge of all the light you know,
and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown,
faith is knowing one of two things will happen:

There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.

Barbara J. Winter ( Author)

Scroll down to read this month's article

Welcome to the "Riding the Wave - The Wave Riders™ " Newsletter. http://www.thewaveriders.com

"Can someone Bipolar love?" ©.
by Indigo Irwin Kennedy
Based on Theories from the Book - The Wave Riders ®
Indigo Irwin Kennedy author of The Wave Riders self-help book fighting depression and bipolar mood swings

"Can someone Bipolar love?"

If you are Bipolar - does that sentence bother you?

I bet that if you are Bipolar it does, however understand that if you were not Bipolar are were living with someone that is constantly angry or depressed you might also wonder if they cared about your feelings - AT ALL.

On the other side of the pole in depression we can be so self-absorbed by what is wrong with us and our lives that we sometimes appear to be uncaring. It might be easy for a person living with us to wonder if we can love.

This is a real question that I stumbled on while searching the web on day - and it does bother me.

What really bothered me about this question is that this questions shows that there is still a great deal of misunderstanding when it comes to the term Bipolar instead of appreciating the Bipolar mind - fear and wrongful judgment are placed on the creative minds of those that do not deserve it.

Truly, unbalanced Bipolar people can be tough on their partners, friends and families - but not able to love?

This is really asking….Can a Bipolar person care about someone else?

It also means that this person may not be dealing with someone who is Bipolar, they may actually be dealing with someone who has been diagnosed as Bipolar when really they are much more than just Bipolar.

For example, a common error is to confuse a Bipolar person with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder which, according to Medterms.com, is much less known but much more common, especially in young women but found in men as well. The Borderline personality may also suffer Bipolar tendencies but is not just Bipolar, and that makes a huge difference in behavior.

Bipolar polar means "two poles" not "lack of feeling" in fact, a Bipolar person is usually suffering from "over-feeling" though often, self-absorbed.

There is a difference between a mind that feels extreme happiness and sadness to a mind that feels no love.

Bipolar people are fabulous at love. We love to be in love! It is exciting and can often send up on our "high ride" or what used to be called the "manic" state. We are not often good at staying in love. Not because we stop loving but because we see ourselves in the "mirror of someone else's eye" and we may not like what we see. We also need quiet time…more than most people do. We need this "space to be alone" to maintain balance and if we do not get it (as when we are in a relationship) this in itself can throw us off balance into cycles of mania and depression.

Let's look again at the words that set off the panic in most people's minds and what the words actually mean.

"bi" means in this case "two"
"polar" = having a pair of equal and opposite charges - in this case the poles of happy or sad.
"depression" = the down cycle = deep sadness

Now here is the word that sends FEAR into the hearts of those who still see Bipolar people as the homeless, rambling maniacs of the world.

Mania originally comes from the word "madness" and can mean "insanity" [Origin: 1350-1400; ME < L < Gk manía madness; akin to MAENAD, MIND ] Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

"mania" or "manic" - for most people with Bipolar "Disorder", this is the up cycle (usually happy but if the "up" period is overused the person can be angry & agitated)

Just because the word is used to describe the up cycle does not MEAN that everyone who is experiencing a period of mania is insane.

When searching Dictionary.com I found this simple explanation of "mania" that I like much better.

*1. Excessive excitement or enthusiasm; craze: The country has a mania for soccer.

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

And this is how MANY Bipolar people experience the "high wave".

We are not running down your new girlfriend with our car or talking to imaginary friends or banging on your office door screaming profanities.

We are simple this: 'super excited".

If it is anything else then often it is mixed in with something more. What is reported is often the extreme high end of mania. It is the rare few who go "too high" and end up hospitalized that you hear about - it is not the majority of us that are holding down jobs.

What you will usually see in a Bipolar person is this.

1. We can do too much and spend too much and talk too fast when we are "up".
2. We are vulnerable to addictions because it is an attempt to stay on the "high energy".
3. We are creative and wonderful to be around - most of the time.
4. We can fall into a deep and debilitating depression.
5. If we try and fail too many times we might give up, stay flat and not dare the high again.
6. When "over worked", "out of balance" we can become angry.
7. We can multi-task and problem solve at an incredible rate.
8. We are your lawyer, your doctor, your major, your author, your artist, your mother/father/child/sister/lover. We are there, mostly hidden.
9. Unless you live with us - you will not know us as having pain because we are usually fun-loving around others…not always at home. This is because the "other" side of the adrenaline high has to eventually show itself - so that happens when we can no longer hold up the "high".

For example, this state of being super-excited is supercharged and hard on the body and mind - we don't even stop long enough to breathe deeply…just little gasps between sentences and thoughts.

If we try to stay "super-excited" for a long period our body and mind will suffer exhaustion and at this point "super-excited" can become "angry" or "negatively charged"

This is what I consider to be someone with Bipolar tendencies that is "out of balance".

A person with Bipolar tendencies that is "in balance" may still ride smaller waves of higher and lower energy but does not "super-charge". I believe that Bipolar is NOT just two poles!
I believe that Bipolar is actually multi-levelled and that many people have lesser waves and so do not show problems in their lifestyles and I believe that the majority of people diagnosed as Bipolar can learn to level out the waves enough that they do not create problems in their lives.

Balanced Wave Riders still receive all the talents of the creative person…with none of the ramblings of the overachieving burnout maniac.

Being "up on the high wave" means different things. For some, it is simply solving a puzzle at work that sends you on a slightly elevated "good mood'. For some the pulse quickens a little more than normal, the rate of speech increases and they 'start doing" - everything and anything.

It has been reported in medical journals that for the EXTREME high waves - this can mean hallucinations and paranoia…think of this stage as an overdose of adrenaline that the brain cannot deal with. But don't jump to the conclusion that ALL Bipolar people are like this as soon as you hear the word "Bipolar" or manic depression (which is what Bipolar used to be called but came with too much stigma- still does)

I believe this to be the EXTREME case that is the main focus, the one documented - because it is the one that creates problems for others and often ends up in the hospital - and I believe that at this point they are no longer just Bipolar - at this level they have reached such a height with their adrenaline in their minds and body that the mind can no longer handle or interpret what it is experiencing and it crosses over into something beyond "normal Bipolar' into "near Schizophrenia ".

Unfortunately, still too often the stigma of being Bipolar interferes with our being accepted into other peoples lives. The balanced Bipolar person is a person who can help your company exceed. The balance Bipolar person does not have anger and if fascinated with the world and how it works. The balanced Bipolar person does not go into deep depression. Does this mean they are no longer Bipolar? No. They are still Bipolar and if they are out of balance they can ride the unproductive waves again and fall back into depression. Millions of people are Bipolar…perhaps it is simply the end result of "having to multitask" our way through life.

"Can someone Bipolar love?"

Yes, we can love, deeply and passionately - we just often don't know how to keep love.

What we have trouble with is staying in a relationship, because we often need extra "space" to think and to keep our emotions in check - in a relationship that is insecure that does not allow this space we will begin to tilt the scales of balance.

We also "absorb" the negative emotions, meaning that we observe them, often subconsciously enough to "pick them up" as ours. We often need the quiet time to realize that these are not our feelings and to release them. For example, another person's bad day might feel like "our fault", "we have done something wrong" and this does not feel good. It makes us want to stay away from people sometimes. If we don't have quiet time to release these feeling - we can "spew" them out in anger and not know where the anger came from.

A borderline personality would be much more prone to "not care" or not be able to control their actions enough to think about how others might feel. The Borderline personality acts as is without thought and would be the likely one to push into your work place, banging on your door calling you names for example - rather than pull back.

I feel disappointed that so many people still do not understand the Bipolar mind and often mistake Bipolar tendencies with much more invasive illnesses. I admit that someone who moods vary from high to low (sometimes rarely seeing the mid-wave) can be very difficult to live with and often we prefer solitude. I realized what bothered me about this question was the misinformed judgment that the question represented. Bipolar Disorder

Let's look at the guideline differences - (not an exact science - my loose interpretation).
I have backed up my writings with some quotes and links for further study at the end of this newsletter.

  • Borderline Personality = pervasive instability in moods = nasty interruptions at work
  • Schizophrenia abnormalities in the perception of reality = living on the streets
  • Bipolar Disorder abnormally elevated and/or depressed elevated mood, = sometime too happy and sometimes too sad.

Okay - it is definitely not this clear cut of a division. Both Borderline Personality and Schizophrenia can also be Bipolar.

The Bipolar person could AT THE HIGHER levels have some troubles with the perception of reality and also act in a disruptive manner.

Too many people hear the words Bipolar and think THE HIGHER levels - where many of us are normal members of the community and business world.

We are creative people. That creativity does not just show up in the "art world" in artists, writers and musicians. Bipolar swings of mood show up in massive numbers in the entrepreneurial spirited business man or women. Bipolar hits both men and women almost equally.
Borderline Personality is largely found with young women.

Bipolar personality is credited with some of the greatest works, discoveries and solutions in the world. Borderline Personality and Schizophrenia are mainly nonproductive as they cannot perform in any environment.

Can someone Bipolar love?

Yes, we can love and we can feel pain and we can cry and we can get angry and we can feel compassion.

If you are living with a Bipolar partner or family member - we will cover this in the October newsletter but for now remember that it is not right for us to make others around us suffer for our "out of balance" life patterns. It is up to us to make sure that we are balanced to the best of our abilities. Bipolar is not an excuse for anger or violence in any form.

A diagnosis of Bipolar does not give a license to make others miserable. There are things that can be done to improve balance and that is the responsibility of the Bipolar person to seek ways of balancing.

We are lucky if we have a partner willing to help - too often I hear men and women using Bipolar as their excuse for anger or bad treatment of others and sometimes the loves that love a Bipolar spouse want to "excuse them" because they cannot help it. If you partner is constantly angry and/or abusive....there may be much more than Bipolar "disorder" going on. If your partner is paranoid and obsessively jealous ... there may be much more going on.

Don't mistake, what may be a need for counseling on "other issues" as symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and violence.

For example: your espouse may have suffered trauma as a child and the jealously and anger may stem from that.

Brain injuries and even blood sugar out of balance can also create violent/angry behavior.

My main point is that most people who are Bipolar as so in such a subtle way that they do not even notice it and it is not a problem for them. It is when they get out of balance that the up and down waves reach a higher and lower level and it starts to create a problem for them. This is where we start to record the person as "being bipolar".

To me Bipolar is much more of an internal struggle than some of the other ailments that we might encounter.

Bipolar "Disorder" is so internal that we, ourselves, must often be the main instruments for our self-improvement.

We cannot lie on the couch and expect that our loved ones will fix us. Nor is it right to yell at our families making them feel like they are walking on egg shells. If we can balance - those tendencies do not have to be in our lives and the do not have to surround our loved ones in insecurity not knowing where the next explosion of angry words will occur.

If you are in depression now. I am not saying that this is not hard. You are right - it is really hard to try to pull yourself out - but you must. No one else will do that for you and your depression will not help fix anything. Prevention is the key. All you can do now is the little bits that you can. Take a walk, take a shower....little bits until you finally come back to mid-level and are able to make some lifestyle changes - but don't take it out on your loved ones.

See October's newsletter for more on "Living with a Bipolar Husband, Wife, Family member or Friend" for more inside the mind views on how to deal with certain situations.

Take care

Remember, I am accepting stories for future book and examples. If you are in a situation that you think the world should know about please send me your story. Your name can be kept confidential and is not necessary.

References for this article:

Borderline Personality

"While less well known than schizophrenia or Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), BPD is more common, affecting 2% of adults, mostly young women."

A serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual's sense of self-identity.
Originally thought to be at the "borderline" of psychosis, people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) suffer from a disorder of emotion regulation.


…characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. It most commonly manifests as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions or disorganized speech and thinking in the context of significant social or occupational dysfunction…

Bipolar Disorder

… is not a single disorder, but a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated mood, clinically referred to as mania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes or symptoms, or mixed episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. These episodes are normally separated by periods of normal mood, but in some patients, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, known as rapid cycling.

* Mania definition on Dictionary.com

American Psychological Association (APA):
mania. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved August 31, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mania
Chicago Manual Style (CMS):
mania. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mania (accessed: August 31, 2008).
Modern Language Association (MLA):
"mania." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 31 Aug. 2008. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mania>.

Look for more articles coming in The Wave Riders newsletters.



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