Hi, thanks for coming to my little space on the internet! If you’re new here HI HI! I’m Enn, and I live with Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety. If you want to educate yourself surrounding Bipolar Disorder before you proceed further here are a few posts I recommend:
In this post, I’m sharing some differences between a bipolar brain and a “healthy” brain.
Healthy in this case is referring to a brain without bipolar disorder or any other mental illness.
Bipolar disorder affects lives in more ways than I could even write about. My entire life is centred around the disorder. I work at home because working out of the home took everything out of me and basically left me a ghost. So I went on a rampage wanting to know what is the difference. Why is my brain like this, as is every person living with this disorder?
Cycling through moods – mania and depression – has a clear impact on cognitive function.
Cognitive function refers to things like problem-solving skills, learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering, attention and more. It’s not difficult to imagine how difficult it is to function through life with less cognitive function. This affects me in so many ways. It is frustrating and leaves me slightly hopeless sometimes. What I find peace in is remembering that Bipolar Disorder is exactly that. A disorder. It is an illness that affects the brain. It isn’t something that I can control, nor can any other person suffering from Bipolar Disorder.
A few significant findings in a bipolar brain:
- people respond differently to stimuli depending on what mood they are in.
- The visual cortex is less active during a hypomanic episode.
- Reduced grey matter in the brain. (Associated with inhibition and emotion)
- smaller or shrunken hippocampus (responsible for processing long-term memories)
- Noradrenaline is affected. This increases reaction time and affects the ability to concentrate.
- change in the number of neurotransmitters
How bipolar disorder can affect someone’s life:
- Bipolar disorder greatly affects the central nervous system. Some of the associated effects of this are irritability, aggressiveness, hopelessness, feelings of guilt, severe sadness and much more.
- During a depressive episode, there can be severe concentration difficulties.
- Bipolar disorder can affect the cardiovascular system of the body. It does this with heart palpitations and increased heart rate.
- High blood pressure
- Changes in libido
- Depressive episodes can lead to severe aches and pains in the body.
How to support someone with bipolar disorder:
- Learn about the disorder. Have a clear understanding of what your loved one is handling.
- Advocate for the person to get help if they haven’t already.
- Communicate openly and free of judgement.
- Show patience.
- Accept your loved one’s limits.
- Play an active role in their treatment plan.
Some resources related to bipolar disorder:
Mayo Clinic – Bipolar Disorder
If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out. Treatment is possible and life is worth fighting for.
Love Always, Enn