I feel so good that I found this thread. Today I was wondering if there were any other Bipolar Mama’s here in the forum, and TADA here you all are. So many of your posts have brought up issues I have dealt with since I was diagnosed 10 years ago.
Threw my journey of depression/bipolar I decided it’s been more of a blessing than a curse. I like the way I think, how my brain comes to ideas on a different path than others. It hasn’t come without it’s sorrow though. Threw high school I was labeled “lazy” and threw elementary they thought I was learning disabled. I am neither. I scored very high on my SATS and I have a high IQ. It took until just a few years ago for me not to believe that I am stupid. I was always afraid to share my point of view for fear of being laughed at.
I have created a world for me. I know to some it may show as being selfish. But to keep my sanity I have to live “my life” and I had to create a system where I was being taking care of so that I can properly care for my child. Things like I can’t wear a watch. It makes me nervous, and I keep thinking I can do this faster, like I am in an imaginary race. I make sure I am on time for appointments, and picking my daughter up and dropping her to school, but I can’t wear a watch. I have to keep my life organized. I have a strong need to know where everything is. Not that everything in my house is neat, I have messes too, but I keep certain things in certain places every time. If not when I go to get scissors for a task and don’t find them there, I will look for them, but find something else then start another task ignoring the fact that I needed scissors in the first place. Then I remember the scissors look for them again, and start yet another task. In the end, there might be several undone tasks all over the place. lol. With nothing getting done.
I have little things that make me happy, so I make sure I do those things for myself. (These are all personal traits for me, some might make you laugh). When my hair looks good, my whole world seems different. I get a high from it. Which is slightly funny since I am pretty no nonsense and go without makeup and can get ready for my day in 10 minutes. So since this makes me feel more together I get my hair done 4 times a year by somebody who I LOVE but costs more than I like to spend. I can maintain it over the 3 months, and I feel good.
Essential oils have been a HUGE part of my life for a long time now. I carry them with me in my purse for a little pick me up. Grapefruit and lime put me into just a good mood. I start my day with those.
Before I run away with my thoughts I wanted to comment on some of the posts.
Originally Posted by Arwyn
There is hope.
Meds aren't the complete answer. You have to take charge, you have to be determined to take back your life, you have to make the changes, get the regular sleep, nurture your body and your spirit and your soul, and yes, you may have to take the meds. For many of us, the rest of it won't work without them. I've seen my brother, my amazing, wonderful, intelligent, athiest brother, go off his meds and within two months be trying to tell us how he could prove the existence of God using the number 3. If meds are what it takes, you deserve the meds! You deserve a good life. You deserve sanity and health.
I really agreed with everything stated above. Meds aren’t the complete answer, there is so much hard work added with medication that can help. I happen to be a person who takes meds off and on (with the help of my Doctor). I dated somebody whom without his meds could do serious damage to himself and others, so for him going off meds is just not a option.
Originally Posted by lotusdebi
Pregnancy was absolute hell for me. I lost my mind. I was psychotic much of the time. I was suicidal. I was sometimes a danger to others. More than once, I considered having an abortion just so I could get back to my usual mood swings, instead of the constant psychosis. About halfway through my pregnancy, I set fire to the living room. Pregnancy is not good for me. Believe me, those experiences have seriously affected my plans for future children. I'm not saying I won't have more kids, but I may put my son in daycare if I do get pregnant again. At the very least, I'll have a friend stay with me to babysit me and my son.
I found comfort in this post, (not your situation) because I felt like this too. Being pregnant was really hard on my mental health. It felt like a black hole I couldn’t dig out of. But it was also very off and on. Black hole week-high on life week-black hole month-high again. I really thought I was going crazy. Thinking sometimes that it had nothing to do with being bipolar, but that I was seriously going off the deep end in my head. Fear of never coming back.
My BIG mistake during this time, was not sharing this with anybody. I thought that my feelings during this time had more to do with my situation (being single, leaving dd’s Dad during my pregnancy) than it had to do with my mental health. Reaching out for help was something I was never afraid to do, but not during my pregnancy, and it was worse after I had her. I kept it all in a tight ball inside until I started having very serious panic attacks when ever I would leave my home. I started therapy again. My therapist attached PTSD to my situation and my trigger for the panic attacks was my daughters first birthday. When I started to do research on bipolar and pregnancy I found so much information that could have helped, I wish I would have been in tune with myself during that time. I have questioned if I should plan another pregnancy in my future, but I would love to be pregnant again.
Originally Posted by candiland
Do you guys have the issue of no one believing that you're bipolar, or that bipolar actually exists?
Do you guys deal with this? I hate the scrutiny... I can almost feel one of my best friends think to herself, "Hmm, everyone gets in bad moods, get over yourself."
YEP! I have dealt with this from friends and family at times. I have a friend who is a therapist who said to me once she just didn’t “buy” my diagnosis of bipolar. The person that I am I rarely show my demons while in public or being social. I used to believe this was me creating a fake profile of myself, but I have come to terms with it’s a protection for me. I get very jazzed to be social (with friends, not in public). I shine at these times, I am rarely depressed, maybe a little manic, so to most finding out that I am bipolar would seem wrong. So I share the information with some, most I don’t. Not out of fear, but out of not wanting to have a long drawn out discussion about it.
When I was diagnosed I was living in a house with 5 of my friends. When I went for help and was told I am bipolar they were all relieved. Because they had been watching me for months (a couple of them I lived with for 2 years) and they had seen my mood swings.
Originally Posted by rowantree
Do you guys listen to your dr? do you do as you please? I never have listened to my drs, I fly off and on meds as i see fit...but I really like this dr and I trust her, but I am dull - Im not me, and I miss me, IM FUN and I stay up PAST 7:30 and I LIKE SEX and I wake up at 6 feeling good, I have things to talk about to people. and I havent felt any of those things in a long time, Im tired and dull, I have nothing interesting to say. I WANT ME BACK. so what do I do?
When I was first diagnosed I was put on depecote. I stayed on it for over a year, and watched as I slowly felt like a different person, and I hated this new person. After serious thought on the matter, I weaned myself off of the drugs. Alerted my family, and a couple of close friends that I had stopped my medication and that if they became worried about my behavior at anytime to PLEASE tell me. I started to journal more seriously and watch myself. At this time I was beginning to use cognitive behavior without knowing that was what I was doing. Later when I started therapy again, my therapist asked me how I was dealing with my moods and thoughts. When I told her what I did, she said “Oh so you use cognitive behavior therapy, and I said “What’s that?”. lol.
It’s not easy, and I don’t like recommending it to other people because I don’t know how they are off of medication. I would hate to recommend something that has helped me so much, yet could hurt another persons well being. But when I was on depecote I was different, I didn’t have energy, I didn’t feel my buzz for being creative, I didn’t want to be with other people. All these issues added up made me a different person, and I wanted me back.
I lived about 6 years med free using methods of cognitive behavior, but in the Summer of 2004 I started 150 mg of Effexor a day. With this medication I feel like me, and I feel much more stable.
Sometimes it isn’t a case of “no medication” but the “right” medication. Which can take years, but in the end, finding something that works personally for you, is a Godsend.
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
There is no test. There are tests which might give a clinician more information to confirm their suspicion but it really isn't as "scientific" as we would all like. Honestly there are a number of symptoms which occur together which suggest bipolar and for most psychiatrists, they believe that if they prescribe a mood stablizer (lithium, depokote, etc.) and it helps- then it is bipolar disorder. Wish we had something clearer.
You can have a brain scan done. Which if your insurance doesn’t approve of can cost several thousand dollars. In some cities there are clinical trials that use brain scans so if you are lucky to live in an area where medical research is done you could have a brain scan for free if you are in the study. I live in Pittsburgh and they have many trials going on all the time. I have yet to fit the criteria for any, but maybe someday. If you live near Chicago you can contact the DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance), they are always doing studies. So you could learn more about yourself, AND in the process be helping with future information on bipolar.
I didn’t plan on writing so much. Just so excited to find this thread. Feeling very blessed to have found everybody here.