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Old 01-27-2020, 06:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Bipolar: Tell me about it


I have been sober for quite a while, but like so many I have battled mental illnesses for most of my life. My history includes depression, anxiety, PTSD, and eating disorder. About one year ago I found a really good therapist who suggested I might have a bipolar disorder. She and my psychiatrist (and I) agreed on a bipolar II diagnosis, and I think it finally explains a lot.

I was on Wellbutrin & Buspar for a few years. They helped but the depression was resistant. Latuda was added and, after a breaking-in period, helped lift the darkness.

Now that I have an official diagnosis I understand myself a little better. My hypomania is more likely to be irritable and impatient. I recognize my energy surges. I am more aware of my fluctuations in mood and energy.

My purpose in posting is this: I would love to hear from other people who have bipolar. I am interested in your experiences and coping strategies. Is it strange that I am relieved to get this diagnosis? It just seems that I can address it now that I know the terms. Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have Bipolar II disorder along with PTSD, and the bipolar diagnosis explained a lot for me. Especially the extreme mood swings, the impulsiveness and substance abuse to self medicate. But, finally being stable on a good meds cocktail has been a huge help for me and has kept me out of the psych unit for a while now. If you have any questions about my personal experience with bipolar, please feel free to ask and I'll answer the best I can.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes0817 View Post
I have Bipolar II disorder along with PTSD, and the bipolar diagnosis explained a lot for me. Especially the extreme mood swings, the impulsiveness and substance abuse to self medicate. But, finally being stable on a good meds cocktail has been a huge help for me and has kept me out of the psych unit for a while now. If you have any questions about my personal experience with bipolar, please feel free to ask and I'll answer the best I can.
Wes
Wes,
Thanks for your reply. Our stories sound similar.
What is most troubling to me is my irritability and rage when I'm in a hypomanic state. It leaves me feeling exhausted and very embarrassed.
The moos fluctuations are tiring as well, yet there are periods when I feel quite normal.
I work a little, but it is exhausting. This week I worked for about three hours. I meet with Veterans, interview them about their needs, & gather the information that goes into a report that I write when I get home. I had to have a nap, then I slept for 10 hours that night. Being with people takes a lot of my energy. I do some other things--making lists, for example--that probably consume more of my energy.
I guess this is "baptism by fire," but I am becoming more self-aware as I observe myself. Thanks again for your input. It helps that I am not alone.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Rage can be a symptom of the hypomania state. So can irritability. One of the symptoms I had during hypomania is irresponsible spending. That one is actually fairly common. I like the statement you made that says "mood fluctuations are tiring". They are!!

I'm a 61 yo male that has suffered depression off and on my entire life. Mostly off and it was easily controlled by medication. I was diagnosed as being type II bipolar a year ago in January, and no medication seemed to work. I went into a downhill slide into severe depression. I had many of the common symptoms of BP II severe depression. I couldn't read books or magazines. (This one is fairly common). I was having occasional cognitive difficulties. (This one can become permanent). I was having significant memory loss. I was having significant sleep issues, often getting only 2 to 4 hours of sleep every night. That was with Ambien or any of the other sleep meds we tried.

Then during the last weekend of December, one week before scheduled ECT treatments, I came out of the depression. I was totally out of it. My psychiatrist has no idea why. Maybe the Lamictal kicked in. Maybe there was some sort of reaction between the Lamictal and Ritalin.

This stuff is horrible. Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor if you feel meds aren't working or something isn't going right. I always take in a list when I see my psychiatrist so I don't forget to talk about something.

There is a lot of information on the internet about BP. I like this article because it talks about how to not neglect other aspects of your healthcare and how to prevent premature death associated with bipolar.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0202103023.htm
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HeadEast View Post
Rage can be a symptom of the hypomania state. So can irritability. One of the symptoms I had during hypomania is irresponsible spending. That one is actually fairly common. I like the statement you made that says "mood fluctuations are tiring". They are!!

I'm a 61 yo male that has suffered depression off and on my entire life. Mostly off and it was easily controlled by medication. I was diagnosed as being type II bipolar a year ago in January, and no medication seemed to work. I went into a downhill slide into severe depression. I had many of the common symptoms of BP II severe depression. I couldn't read books or magazines. (This one is fairly common). I was having occasional cognitive difficulties. (This one can become permanent). I was having significant memory loss. I was having significant sleep issues, often getting only 2 to 4 hours of sleep every night. That was with Ambien or any of the other sleep meds we tried.

Then during the last weekend of December, one week before scheduled ECT treatments, I came out of the depression. I was totally out of it. My psychiatrist has no idea why. Maybe the Lamictal kicked in. Maybe there was some sort of reaction between the Lamictal and Ritalin.

This stuff is horrible. Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor if you feel meds aren't working or something isn't going right. I always take in a list when I see my psychiatrist so I don't forget to talk about something.

There is a lot of information on the internet about BP. I like this article because it talks about how to not neglect other aspects of your healthcare and how to prevent premature death associated with bipolar.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0202103023.htm
HeadEast,
Thanks for your reply. The link to the article was enlightening, if disturbing. I can attest to the heightened sympathetic nervous system.
I also was treated for unipolar depression off/on for most of my life until a very good therapist suggested taking a look at bipolar. She and my psychiatrist, to their credit, were willing to take a look at it.
Irritability is kind of my trademark. People have always remarked on my intermittent moods--"Sometimes I just don't know who you are."--and I can recall heightened emotions, even euphoria. I have overspent in my life, but for some reason--old age maybe, since I also am 61--I have been very much in control of my money. That's good since I do not have too much!
I was initially treated with Buspar & Wellbutrin, but that was when I was dx with depression and anxiety. The depression was unrelenting, and my doctor finally added Latuda. It made a world of difference, although my early response was hypomania. We have adjusted the dose as well as that of Wellbutrin. Apparently, during bipolar cases when irritability persists, the anti-depressant has to be reduced. I still have episodes, though.
Thanks again for reaching out. It has been helpful.
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Old 02-18-2020, 02:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Manic Depression

Good discussion.
I was diagnosed 40 years ago with Manic Depression. Seems the didn't call it bipolar or divide it in two.
I was in hospital at the time having had my second acute manic episode. I was put on Lithium which i have been taking ever since. Unfortunately over the years I have also felt the need to self - medicate and a couple of times to stop taking the Lithium with predictable results (hospitalisation).
It wasn't until 15 years ago that I was diagnosed (by myself) as alcoholic.
I walked into an AA meeting and got with the programme. Wish I'd done that sooner but one has to have a desire to stop drinking. It works.
I will keep taking the Lithium until it starts to damage my kidneys. Then I'll have to find an alternative.
We have a chemical imbalance in our brains on top of that i poured another mental illness: alcoholism.
I need to take my "medicine" for both.
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