There is always hope

There is always hope

How intervention helped a young woman manage her bipolar

Dr Anand Prakash Srivastava

Since childhood, Meeta* felt that she had no identity of her own. Everyone knew her as Mohit’s sister. It’s not that Mohit had achieved great success in school while Meeta lagged behind. Mohit was not only a champion in academics but also in sports, whereas Meeta had no equal in singing and music, although she excelled in studies. However, she was always bothered by the fact that her accomplishments couldn’t establish her own identity. She would say, “It’s fine to be recognised as Mohit’s sister at home and in society because Mohit is the elder brother, but I have also won medals in school.”

There was a four-year age gap between the two siblings. After completing schooling, Mohit pursued his B.Tech from IIT Delhi and is currently working as an IT professional in a firm in Japan.

Changes trickle in

After completing school, Meeta couldn’t decide what she wanted to do. Sometimes she insisted on pursuing commerce, and at other times she had a passion for becoming a CA. She enrolled in B.Com after coming to Delhi from Patiala. After a year, she realised that she should pursue a CA degree, and she spent one and a half years preparing for the CA exams. Then suddenly, she started feeling that it would be better if she pursued B.Com. Amidst all this confusion, she couldn’t decide what she ultimately wanted to do. In the midst of all this, she would sometimes feel extremely low and at other times she would be excessively enthusiastic.

Meeta’s hostel mates were a little surprised by the rapid changes in her behaviour. She  would have severe anger outburst within seconds and in an instant cool down with no traces of anger. Her irritability had also increased over the past two to three months. She would often appear lost. One night, in a fit of anger, she created a scene in the hostel. She started throwing things on the table. She would be very aggressive with anyone who came close to her.

Her friends felt that it was difficult to control Meeta, so they immediately informed her father. Then quickly, they spoke to a doctor over the phone, and he advised them to take her to a psychiatrist. Six seven friends decided to bring Meeta to Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health, Neuro, and Allied Sciences (VIMHANS) in New Delhi. She was advised to be admitted.

A bolt from the blue

Even as he recalls it, , Professor Vinay Kapoor can’t help getting emotional talking about his darling daughter. “Upon hearing the news of Meeta being in the hospital, I immediately left Patiala and came to Delhi. After arriving here, I wondered what was lacking. Both my wife Ronita and I have left no stone unturned in taking care of the upbringing and career of both our children. But looking at Meeta, it seems that we never even thought about their mental health.”

The doctor treating her explained to the worried parents why it was important to admit her.

After some essential tests, it was found that she was suffering from bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes changes in mood and fluctuations between depression and mania. The patient’s mental state keeps changing between two opposite conditions. After being affected by the disease, it becomes difficult to control behaviour many times. 

Learning to cope

Typically, this disease becomes evident around the age of 25, but symptoms can appear during adolescence or later as well. This disease affects both men and women equally. Moreover, if any member of the family has this disease, the likelihood of having bipolar disorder increases significantly. In addition, bipolar disorder can be caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain. Stress also plays a significant role in bipolar disorder.

According to experts,, the cycle of bipolar disorder can last for several days, weeks, or even months. In contrast to a normal state of mind, the changes in mental state during bipolar disorder are so intense that they severely affect a person’s ability to function. Bipolar disorder can manifest differently in different individuals.

In medical terms, the symptoms and signs vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are at a higher risk of mania or depression, while others are uncertain. They may face the risk of mania at times and the risk of depression at other times. Some people experience frequent mood swings, while others may only experience such episodes once or twice throughout their lifetime.

Bipolar disorder is a long-term condition. Therefore, the patient needs more love, care, and encouragement than medication. 

After a month of treatment when Meeta heads home, the contentment is evident on the faces of her parents.

*(All names have been changed on request and to maintain anonymity)