I found our recent discussion on irritability to be very interesting, and I appreciate everyone's input. Marja brought up a topic that I'd like to pursue further. I think that one of the greatest problems in being diagnosed as a BIP (bipolar person) is if we start believing that every symptom we have and every behavior pattern we engage in is biochemical in nature.
There is truly no proof--as far as I know--that this is true. And I, for one, didn't experience most of the symptoms until I began taking medication.
Also, having read dozens of bipolar blogs in the last 18 months, I see patterns in people's behavior, and their responses to situations that might cause bipolar symptoms, but clearly are a result of negative thought patterns, low self-esteem, and an inability to share their feelings in an honest and open way.
What I don't see is a lot of introspection, and problem-solving. I don't read about people who are saying, "I keep detailed mood charts and I have learned that periods of irritability always follow hypomanias. Or "I get angry because I'm unable to tell people they've hurt my feelings, but I've been working on it." Or "I have difficulties with people because I don't feel good about myself...and I've working with my therapist or counselor on self-esteem issues."
And yet, if people would reread their posts, they would even see patterns in the behavior they've recounted. Personally, I think the best thing in the world for BIPS would be to assume more responsibility for their behavior, and stop blaming everything on their biochemistry.
What do you think?