Bipolar Disorder Community
The Eyes Have It
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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The Eyes Have It

I've noticed with pictures of my family members I can tell by the look in their eyes regardless of their facial expression which pictures were taken before they had Bipolar Disorder and after because there's just this look there of... I don't know I guess deadening sorrow.  I was wondering if anyone else noticed this with people they were around who have an inner conflict going on such as that and/or also thought that a person's eyes give away stuff like that or not.
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908737_tn?1242634311
My family can always tell by my eyes when I am having psychotic thoughts!
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Avatar_f_tn
I am just curious if you have known of your BP your whole life? Or do you have pics of yourself pre BP and do you notice the difference in yourself? I just read the question so I haven't gotten into looking at pictures of myself yet, but I definitely will. I love the topics you bring in to this forum to discuss!
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585414_tn?1288944902
When I was a child I looked at a photo of my great aunt that was taken at around the turn of the century. She was very depressed but had reason to be as she had severe arthritis. But this was many years before and she had a very sad expression on her face and my grandmother (who was near to an infant in the photo was smiling). I said "she was always this way" to people but they didn't know what I meant and I didn't quite know either. Now I know she probably had depression and given her ability to suddenly tell explicit off color stories for no reason (even in front of me as a child) and become emotive perhaps bipolar. Some of her family do. It does run through my family but the good part is now they are aware and a cousin is in treatment and when her children showed signs didn't panic but got them help as well. So its like anything else treatable that's genetic.
  As for myself in old photos I look markedly depressed, manic or psychotic and I don't anymore so it is very visible.
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505907_tn?1258372940
I've noticed in recent photos that I have crazy eyes. They just seem a little alarming - even to me - sort of...desperate.
I read a book sociopaths (The Sociopath Next Door) that stated that many people who have known one say "there's something about their eyes..." that creeps them out.
The bible says that the eyes are the window to the soul. Very poetic but I do think it captures some truth.
The only sociopath I know has these bright, shiny, blue eyes that seem to be reading you all the time.
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899491_tn?1243777227
I took a trip to Nevada to be with Nature.
My husband took pictures of me up in the mountains.
I had mixed episode at that time.
Even looking at the photos I knew there was something wrong.

Eyes are the window to the soul.

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Avatar_f_tn
Until seven years ago, I always looked away, to the left and up when having my picture taken solo or in groups.  Seven years ago, I did that and my daughter and her new husband commented on the fact I had my head in the clouds in all the pictures, ruining their album! From then on I look at the camera.  But my Dad had taught us as kids never to look directly in the camera.
After all that has gone on, I believe he must of thought this and it would especially hide my sisters eyes.  I have bp2 but my sister is just crazy or mad because of brilliance.
Good comment and observation, thank you...will keep my eyes open in the hundreds of family pictures I have of ancestors before my Dad's pictures.
Sincerely, zzzmykids
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585414_tn?1288944902
Actually I've noticed in general with people when they are manic their pupils widen. I don't know if there has been a study in that and why. Before recovery when I was psychotic, I avoided eye contact but those are the standard negative symptoms of schizoaffective. As to why people who are experiencing mania appear to have a difference in eye appearence if anyone finds a study I'd interested. When a person is depressed that's easier to tell as they look downwards and appear disconnected from life but in a way that is not psychotic. I would think mania would be the opposite. I know that when a person is manic they are physically speeded up as well. People lose weight and the like. That much is known.
  "Sociopath" is a complex term. That is not really much used in psychiatry. In general terms it means a person is destructive to society. That can come from a variety of reasons. It sounds more like you are afraid of your own lose of judgment when manic and I and many people experience that as well. I know in the past before recovery though when I was psychotic I was afraid to look at myself in the mirror and did not want them in my house. Now I have no problem with that. There are physical ways to track mania as well as mental, including generally feeling speeded up, an abnormal increase in appetite and libido. I don't know if eye appearence has ever been understood in this light but I'll try and find out if there are clinical studies on the topic. It is of interest...
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Avatar_f_tn
Wasn't there some kind of myth that if you stared straight at a camera it would steal your soul??  Just something floating about in my grey matter, lol.

I'm not so sure that eyes truly depict your inner feelings, I think the eyes are just as capable of lying as the face.  The only time you can catch the truth is when the photo is taken and the person is unaware and lost in thought at the time.

I've also heard people say that you can tell someone with a severe mental disability by their eyes but this is due to the medication they are on having a sedating effect.  We've all heard of the prozac smile - perhaps there is an "anti-psychotics look".

I have an obsession with eyes, I draw them, paint them, photograph them.  I think eyes are beautiful and yes, if caught unawares they tell a life story.
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585414_tn?1288944902
Well avoiding eye contact is common when a person is experiencing schizophrenia. That has been known for a long time. I know because for myself and other people eye contact improved after medication did (and that was standard medications such as atypical antipsychotics). Psychiatrists always monitor eye contact. I couldn't find any information on bipolar and eye appearence online but the topic interests me so I'll ask my provider. As for the appearence of eyes in artwork I've had that in my collages but most probably it is because the Clonidine I take dilates my pupils so what I create reflects subconsciously what is going on. If you look at Magritte he always used the appearence of eyes in his artwork. Interviews probably explain why.
  Its easy for a person to put on a fake smile but its harder for them to change the way their eye appearence looks. Certainly simple things such as blinking can easily determine nervousness. That much is known as well outside of people who have any psychiatric disability. If you look at a political debate the person blinking the most is the most nervous despite any other outwards appearence and often the one who loses. Interesting topic.
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Avatar_f_tn
yes, bulldozer.  But my father is a journalist and a photographer and historian, oh you know the deal...anyway....lol, lose my soul was from the people indigenous to  small places like the indians of north america, jungles, hawaiins, etc.  Dad was just looking for what I think was on purpose a more interesting picture and...if the eyes are the windows to the soul, then he is still protecting my sister.
zzzmykids
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505907_tn?1258372940
  Hmmm...I' don't know what you're getting at. No, I actually think my eyes widen and I look startled in photos and it is not about a lack of judgement. I'm very sensitive to light so maybe it's the flash? The sociopath I know is a charasmatic one and he looks glib and happy but in his eyes I see this rapid vibration, if you will, like he's taking stock and playing a part. Like he can't relax and be himself - he's always looking for what his next cue is.
   zzz, I have a sister who is far more unbalanced than I (you have to take my word for it lol). As a child she was the most gifted of any of us - heck, she was even amazing at MATH! But when she hit puberty her strange symptoms seemed to accelerate. I have always joked that in my family the more intellectual you are the more likely you are to be living on a school bus with 5 big dogs! Once again, her green eyes just glisten - not in an eveil way - just crazy.
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585414_tn?1288944902
I understand that some people can be distressing and in need of help. I just wouldn't call them crazy as it seems like we are putting ourselves down. Of course all of us here who have been in treatment for years find it difficult when there are others who might benefit from it and don't seek help of any kind. Its hard to approach people especially when we've been diagnosed ourselves regardless of recovery.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I wasn't referring to the pictures your father took of you.  I was just saying what I personally feel and not referencing back to any other posts :-)  Thanks for clearing up the "stealing souls" bit, I knew I wasn't imagining it, lol.  It's funny how we have titbits of information in our heads (well I have) with no beginning and no end and no reference point.  
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899491_tn?1243777227
"Eyes so transparent that through them the soul is seen”
Theophile Gautier

When I talk to people I look at their eyes.
It's funny how the eyes "talk" to you.
I remember one teacher being so engaging by looking at her eyes....few months later they appeared like they were disengaged. Like putting up a barrier....when your not feeling well inside...you put up a wall so no one can see. Teacher burn out?

Being bp you know what that's all about!
You see it.

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Avatar_m_tn
Well... teachers always used to complain about how I looked like I was in another world as a child but that's probably because I have Autism.  Now when I ask people how I look they say my eyes look tired or sad.  Either that or they mistake me for being stoned when I have only used small amounts of the stuff two or three times in my whole life and that was a long time ago.  I wish sleep made spiritual exhaustion go away, and pills don't seem to touch it.  I guess some things can't be undone.
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P.S. In the photo I'm using as my display picture in this forum right now, my fiancee says she hates it because it looks like something is seriously wrong just by the look in my eyes.  It was taken right before I got on medication.
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899491_tn?1243777227
Photo looks great!
Don't change it!

Your quite creative....never thought using water cooler cups.....
Just be You.

"Nature made us individuals, as she did the flowers and the pebbles; but we are afraid to be peculiar, and so our society resembles a bag of marbles, or a string of mold candles.  Why should we all dress after the same fashion?  The frost never paints my windows twice alike."  ~Lydia Maria Child






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Avatar_m_tn
It wasn't the water cooler cups that she had a problem with, it was just my eyes she thought looked like something was really going wrong with me.  I liked it anyway regardless. ;)
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505907_tn?1258372940
  Do you have any idea how funny that sounds? You've got two paper cups shoved up your nose and your fiance hates the pic because your EYES look creepy? You stick with that girl. She's a keeper.
  And I like that intensity in your eyes. Maybe it just feels like home.
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657283_tn?1241612422
I went with the family for some photos.  After 20 shots the only one we could use was the first.  All the rest I looked too sad and I was not even having an episode.  Just a habit.  Yet there are occasional photos when I look really happy.  Often not with the kids who I adore but leave me buggered.
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Avatar_m_tn
Now that I think about it I remember something called the "1,000 yard stare" that soldiers get when they've been in combat for a while where it looks like the life has just been drained out of them in a major way.  I find it interesting that stress from something like that or major trauma or from a mental illness can cause the eyes to look different.
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539549_tn?1315985262
my mom always commented on my eyes and how big they got when I manic the pupils get huge...
I sometimes notice how they look diffrent when im depressed too
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Avatar_f_tn
I found a picture of myself from my most devastating manic episode a couple of years ago. I remember taking the picture (yes it was a self portrait, probably w/ a phone!) but it is interesting to look at my eyes. Yes, you are correct it is all in the eyes, I look very distressed, and had anyone listened to my cries for help, I should have and definitely would have been hospitalized straight away. As I think of myself and how I was at that moment, I had insomnia, should not have been taking care of my child, driving, or living in regular society.  I have dark circles under my eyes, yet they are wide and look hollow. How no one knew (including myself) that I needed help I do not know............................ My god, I don't ever want to go back there again. Thanks to all of you on this forum for helping me realize all of this so I can come to terms w/ it and talk to my therapist about it and move on and hopefully live a good life again.
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Avatar_m_tn
When I was 15 and first started going through what I believe was a manic phase, I tried to reach out for help as I was suddenly acting unlike myself and brought up how I'd been hallucinating off and on my entire life and all that and people told me to get my head out of my *** and thought I was seeking attention.  It gave me a really bad complex because I thought everything that was happening was normal but I was suffering more and more every day.  It wasn't until seven years later I met someone who had Bipolar Disorder and described some of my symptoms and he pointed me out to the proper help.
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Avatar_f_tn
I know what you mean. I too met someone, although when I told her that I had some of the same symptoms, she shot me down as well, she said "well I have really bad bipolar w/ psychotic episodes, hallucinations and many other things, I'm sure you don't have that". Like it's a competition as to who has it worse.(?) I have had a hard time w/ people seeing my inner turmoil because of my outer appearance, and the way I have been able to hide my inner turmoil. I try to trust someone w/ my "dark secret" and they tell me that I'm not bipolar, that they know someone who is bipolar. I think to myself...are you fu**in blind man? That is how I have come to this point in my life where I am doing it myself, no one will help me, just me. That's fine, I know that now, and I realize that I don't want go back, I can and will do it.
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Avatar_f_tn
I could have written that myself!  I have found that with some folk they think it's a competition.  Comments like "well my friend works and she's got BP so why can't you" or "Well you don't have psychotic episodes" and "You seem ok to me".  Inside my head I'm thinking, I wish!

It seems very very few people can grasp how good we can cover up and how good we are at hiding away without it being obvious.  Isn't it strange how I would rather people think I'm a useless friend because I'm always cancelling than actually tell them the truth - I'm feeling **** and can't get out of bed, or I'm just not in the mood to talk to anyone.

The truth is we learn coping mechanisms from a young age in order to be accepted within our peer groups.  Mine started in school, it was ok as a teen because I was just seen as rebellious and high spirited but as a young adult and adult I couldn't hide behind that and had to find other ways to cope.

Sorry gone off topic.

My pupils go pinprick when I'm on a "high" high.  When I'm angry/irritable the irises go very very dark.
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Avatar_f_tn
I've noticed when i've looked in the mirror at times when i've felt really high my pupils have been really dilated and my eyes seem different more sparkly perhaps. My expressions can be odd at times too. Like for a long time when very unwell with psychosis i had no variation in my expression. I held my mouth in a funny way too. Got so used to it and didn't know i was doing it so since getting better i have to always keep bringing it into awareness so i can relax the muscles surrounding my mouth and just be natural... ????
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Avatar_f_tn
Dear LetaB, I would have to take a challenge with you.  My sister is the craziest, no psychotrops just pain and other meds because she isn't crazy, right.  About the pictures, I mean, Dad would  make us to pose so we weren't looking posed.  My brother the most damages done to him as a kid, went to yale on a full ride scholarship through his doctorate and in the eight grade he did all his math equations backwards, he is not crazy, just sweet, a good dad and husband and big brother but his eyes and mine have golden/green circles around the pupils.  Bulldozer, I am right with you. Even my husband when I am having an energy, nonstressed patch thinks I could volunteer again or work if I wanted...but he knows better than to press the issue and heeee can see the changes in my eyes before I do. I didn't realize how funny I look when giving a speech, teaching, etc.  I found out through doing a commercial, my mouth gets really funny looking like I glued the sides to my teeth and someone gave me peanut butter to eat while talking.  No wonder it has been three years since I was invited to speak at a woman's retreat, hmmmm. zzzmykids
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