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Physical Problems and Bipolar Disorder

Posted May 12 2009 6:16pm

Hey, y’all –

I got some bad news this week.  I went for some routine blood work, and they said I have a thyroid that is simply not working, and now I have to go on medication for it.  Great, another pill on top of all the pills I’m already taking for my bipolar medication — just what I wanted to hear, right?

The good news is, my doctor said that the thyroid condition could be part of the cause of the bipolar mood swings and other symptoms of the disorder, so by fixing the thyroid problem, it could improve my bipolar disorder.  Hmm… so this could be a blessing in disguise, eh?  Hey, I know there’s been controversy surrounding thyroid problems and bipolar disorder, but who am I to argue with my doctor?

The other bad news is that she thinks I may have diabetes.  Now, this could really be some fun! (being very sarcastic here).  Now, I keep to a strict diet because of my bipolar disorder, so I really don’t know how this could’ve happened.  It doesn’t even run in my family or anything.

But they say that you can develop diabetes if you have bipolar disorder because of certain medications you’re on if you take them for a long time, and some of mine I’ve been on for quite some time. 

So now I have to take a glucose tolerance test to see if I have diabetes or not.

I guess I’ll just have to go with the flow and keep my positive attitude going.  It’s out of my hands anyway, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, and deal with it then.  If I have to go on more medication, so be it.  But I will continue to take care of my bipolar disorder and then, if I have to, I’ll take care of the diabetes, too, because my main goal is to stay stable at ALL costs.

Anyway, this all brings me to today’s subject:  Physical problems and bipolar disorder.

Fact is, we all have to deal with them, from the common flu to the problems I just described.

We are only human, and to think that we won’t have physical problems to deal with is just not reality.  We don’t just have bipolar disorder, but we have bodies that go through physical things just like anyone else, disorder or not.

I mean,we get tired, stressed, anxious, some of us get insomnia, some of us don’t eat right or exercise, and some of don’t take care of ourselves the way we should.  All these things can lead to physical problems.

There are associated physical problems with bipolar disorder that are common, such as: headaches, body aches, stomach aches, and even back problems.  Surprised to hear that?  It’s not all in your head!

I myself suffer from migraines, but have had them for over 30 years, and they are managed by medication.  One of my bipolar medications also helps to manage my migraines (or is it the other way around? I forget).

With my strict diet, if I eat anything fatty, I get sick.  Like last night, I just couldn’t resist this great looking pizza my husband brought home for dinner, but boy did I pay for it!  Heartburn, indigestion, etc.!  And boy, you should see me if I dare try to eat red meat again.  My body just isn’t used to it.

And for people who exercise regularly, try to stop for a little while and watch what happens — you’ll start to feel those body aches and it might even feed into your bipolar disorder, making you feel tired and sluggish again, which could make you feel down, which could make you depressed, which can… well, you know the cycle.

It’s not just physical problems like diabetes that can come from bipolar disorder.  It’s the daily physical problems that we have to deal with just being  people. 

If we get a cold, for example, we get tired, achy, we’re stuck on the couch with our tissues and hot tea, we don’t feel much like eating, just like anyone else.  But we have the added responsibility of still taking care of our bipolar disorder as well.

If we want to take any cold medicine, we have to check with the pharmacist to make sure it won’t interfere with any of our bipolar medications.  Then we also have to watch our moods as well.

The point is, physical problems are going to come.  We have to learn to deal with them, not just as part of our bipolar disorder, but as part of our lives.

Wishing you peace and stability,

Remember God loves you and so do I,


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