Biopolar Moods Disorder
He burst into my office high as a kite, stood in front of my desk and said, “Before I sit down I want you to know that I am no ordinary person, I am a king!”
I simply said, “Have a seat your excellency.”
He burst out into an infectious smile followed by an equally mirthful loud laugh. Turning to his three brothers who looked like professional bouncers he then joyously announced, “You see I have been trying to tell you all this time that I am a king and you wouldn’t listen. Now the doctor has confirmed it.” And with that he happily took his seat so did his brothers but they were on guard.
During our brief interaction over the next hour, it transpired that Kim (not his real name) had experienced episodes of extreme highs (mania) alternating with extreme lows (depression).
He explained that the highs (mania) consisted of him feeling invincible and extremely happy because he felt like he was endowed with a limitless infusion of energy. As a result his brain was in overdrive churning out many grand ideas to make himself very rich and change the world. He would feel so energized that he needed very little or no sleep most days neither did he see the need to stop to eat or drink.
His thoughts were being processed so fast that he would literally get upset with everybody because they did not seem to understand what he was talking about. At the height of the episodes he would find himself entertaining grandiose thoughts of himself thus the declaration to me that he was a king. He could remain in this state for three to seven days then without any warning his deposition would suddenly change to the lows (depression).
Kim did not like the depressive phase of the illness because it made him very despondent. The energy would disappear as though it has been sucked out by a gigantic vacuum cleaner leaving him fatigued, lethargic and unable to even leave his bedroom for days on end. His brain would feel as though somebody had pulled the hand brake of his thought processes. Thinking would be laborious and painfully slow.
He would have difficulties in concentration and recalling things would be a huge struggle. His appetite would disappear though at other times he would eat incessantly. His mood would spiral down to being very sad and tearful and feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness would overwhelm him. Kim would often feel so despondent that he would find himself entertaining thoughts that dying may be better than going through the pain and anguish of depression.
Kim is doing well today. He holds a responsible job and is coping quite nicely with his young family of four; wife, two children and himself.
He has good family support from his three brothers, parents and a very understanding wife. He has regular sessions with a counseling psychologist. He faithfully takes his medications which are a combination of antimanics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers.