Free Paper #3: Research-Based Reflections On Fieldwork Research Paper Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Disorders, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Teacher, Friendship, Behavior, Emotions, Students

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/30

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This past month, there happened to be a fieldwork for employees, including those in the educational field. I have been an ACRS teaching assistant for a number of months, and I attended a certain fieldwork, centering on psychological research that are prevalent nowadays. It is in this fieldwork that I was able to meet a certain client who was experiencing Bipolar Disorder for six years now. He was a twelve-year-old boy, who happened to be so pessimistic about his view of the world, which for him was not a nice place to live in. For Teddy (not his real name), the world is something that is dark and gloomy, as he currently finds something that is negative in people, things, and experiences, and then shifts abruptly from being sad to being exceedingly excited, to being extremely depressed. The term bipolar disorder refers to a serious disease centering on the nervous system, in which “changes in brain function and an imbalance in brain chemicals causes bipolar disorder, which in turn causes inappropriate emotions, thoughts, and behavior” (Burgess, 2008, p.1). This essay focuses on the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, insisting that teachers in the education field should be more than willing to assist these patients while they attend school, since these disorders are not that easy to experience, for one who suffers from the disorder.
One clear example is the Bipolar Disorder I, such as the case of Teddy (one of my students), wherein there were times when he moved fairly quickly from shy, to fearful and anxious, and then panicked, before becoming angry, irritable, and avoidant. This change in emotions occurred one day during a reading-out-loud activity in the classroom. The teacher noticed that Teddy was not paying full attention to the classroom reading activity (leaning way back in his chair, looking around the room, etc) and called upon Teddy to read aloud. Teddy acted very uncomfortable, avoiding eye contact and squirming in his seat, and whispered to his teacher that he did not want to read aloud. When the teacher insisted that he do so, Teddy read so quietly that the class could barely hear him, and his voice and hands trembled while he read the paragraph. When he finished reading the paragraph, he was on the verge of tears and so anxious to the point that he was breathing very quickly and needed a verbal reminders to breathe deeply so he could catch his breath. After his breathing became normal again and the sadness passed, Teddy began to act out by talking out of turn and interrupting other students, and when asked by the teacher to please wait his turn, said very aggressively back to her “I don’t have to do what you tell me to do!” The teacher calmly responded to Teddy, “Yes you do, because I am your teacher and in this classroom, we treat each other with respect and listen to our each other.” Teddy seemed very irritated, rolling his eyes and huffing, “I don’t care! You can’t make me do anything!” There was this impulsivity on how he reacted to people, and for most of the time he was procrastinating while I talked to him, and became very upset when pushed to perform. These specific behavioral observations proved how children and adolescents, who experience Bipolar Disorder I, usually tended to behave in an abrupt, fluctuating manner or behavior when dealing with people. There is shifting of emotions that increases vulnerability of developing stress and anxiety, which may worsen if not treated.
The second example is Bipolar Disorder II, such as in the case of Ben (not his real name) who is 37 years old. Ben (another student of mine) had Bipolar II illness, and it was an illness that was frequently missed, since it led to hypo mania. Although Ben’s case was under the Bipolar Disorder, the type of Bipolar that Ben had was more dangerous, since it had a most painful effect on the patient. Like the other Bipolar Disorders, Ben’s type of disorder also led to an imbalance of the brain chemicals, although there was more vulnerability to depression, and a state of being trapped emotionally. This state of depression continued until his period of adolescence, wherein it affected his behavior and his way of life, making it more difficult to sleep at night or to wake up in the morning. On one occasion, I observed Ben interacting with a good friend of his. The friend asked Ben how he was feeling; instead of admitting to the friend that he was having a difficult day (as was very obvious by his tired eyes, blank facial expression, and dull, flat tone of voice), Ben replied “I’m okay,” and refused to answer his friend honestly, even when his friend insisted that he did not seem “okay” and asked him if he needed to talk. After his friend asked him three times, Ben snapped back at his friend, “Why don’t you just take the hint and get off my back!” Although his peer was trying to reach out to him and lessen his feeling of isolation and offer support, Ben seemed unable to connect with his friend, and did not even make eye contact while his friend addressed him. After this exchange, I asked Ben why he did not share with his friend about how he was feeling. Ben responded, “Because it wouldn’t make a difference, I’ll still feel this way, and he would have just thought I was crazy if I told him everything going on inside my head.” Worsened by the fact that Ben felt hopeless with his peers, his life led to tragedy when he conducted suicide and ended his life, after a stressor led him to believe there was nothing more to hope for. Lithium remained to be useless in the story of Ben. Similar to the case of Teddy, he was extremely irritable and abruptly changed his emotions and behavior. Ben’s responses to attempts by others to express concern or care for him were treated like annoyances and not welcome as friends reaching out to offer support. Unlike Teddy, however, Ben’s case was more tragic, and his challenges were more painful. Thus, it appears that Bipolar Disorder tend to worsen as time went by; as the patient advances in age, so does the disorder advances, making it worse than it was in the ages of childhood.
One of the first noticeable symptoms of bipolar disorder is an episode of major depression. Because a bipolar diagnosis requires a history of both major depression and a manic or hypomanic episode, when a person with bipolar disorder is first seeking help for a major depressive episode, it is common for them to be misdiagnosed with having major depression (Bowden, 2001) because they have not yet shown signs of mania or hypomania. One student of mine, Karla, was a fourteen year old girl who was receiving services after having two major depressive episodes without any previous symptoms of mania. Karla showed symptoms of bipolar depression, including labile emotions, sleeping a great deal, and even moving more slowly than normal, which are all signs of bipolar depression that are slightly different from those usually associated with major depression (Bowden, 2001). Karla arrived at class one day very tired, having trouble keeping her eyes open. The class was having a group discussion about coping skills, and Karla seemed dazed while the students and other teacher were talking. Karla got up to use the bathroom and moved much more slowly than normal in getting up from her chair and leaving the room, and took a long time to return. When she returned, the teacher called on Karla and asked her, “What is one thing that you’ve found to be helpful when you’re feeling sad?” When called on, Karla had a difficult time forming a sentence on the topic and suddenly became tearful, replying “Um I don’t know. I go to bed, I guess.” She spoke very slowly and it seemed difficult for her to get her words out. The teacher responded very comfortingly, “Although sleeping a lot is a common sign of depression, sometimes sleeping can help us get through those really difficult, overwhelming moments of sadness. Depression can be very tiring.” As the teacher said this, Karla began to laugh and then got embarrassed and said to the group, “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I’m laughing right now.” Karla’s behavior deviated from normal behavior in both her motor skills, which seemed slower than normal (talking and moving more slowly than normal), and her emotional regulation - she went from crying to laughing (which was not an appropriate response to the situation) in only a few minutes, and could not understand or explain why. While Karla was showing symptoms of bipolar depression, she was not showing any symptoms of mania or hypomania, which made it difficult for her doctor to correctly diagnose her. She was diagnosed after she had her first manic episode two weeks later.
In the field of teaching, it is always vital to consider the physical, mental, and emotional condition of the student, especially since these disorders are not that easy to experience. For the patients of mental and mood disorders, there are certain experiences that they see, hear, or feel that have significant effects on their behavior and the manner in which the see the world. Thus, learning may be difficult for them, as they are constantly bothered by an imbalance of brain chemicals, which bear significant effects on their behavior and the way they react and interact with their surroundings. They appear to be constantly bothered by the events that take place, making them retract from the acquisition of new knowledge. In the field of education, teachers should seriously assist the abnormal children, for them to learn that the world is much more beautiful place, in spite of the peril brought by the disorder.


Bowden, C. L. (2001). “Strategies to reduce misdiagnosis of bipolar depression.” Psychiatric Services, 52(1), 51-55.
Burgess, W. (2008). The bipolar handbook for children, teens, and families: real-life questions with up-to-date answers. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Daniel, M. (2010). Schizoaffective disorder simplified. Essex, UK: Chipmunkapublishing.

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