Being treated for bipolar-support please - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-10-2005, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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please please! This is a little difficult to write. any of you who "know' me probobly know of my struggles. so, now the therapist i have been seeing for about a month, along with my med-psyche (for Anxiety) have recognized my more recent behaviors as manic. I am still a bit upset & ambivilant over this decision. It is not that i dont believe it. just that my brain wants to constantly doubt, wonder, analyze, and continue to figure myself out and fix myself. Not only that, Im just hating the idea of putting more drugs into my body.
I dont know what else to do, tho, I've gotten too close to losing my marriage because of my irrationality at times and am hurting my family with my behavior.
I am having a hard time, yet if i allow myself to let go of worry about it i am fine, knowing i am taking a step in the right direction.... I guess :
if anyone has any advice, experience, please let me know. Support would be nice too.
~L
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Old 02-10-2005, 03:16 PM
 
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Lauraess:

It is SO normal to be unsure of your diagnosis--some BPers spend years fighting it before they give in to the treatment. The key is to at least give it a try--if you are not BP the meds are not going to do much to you (other than perhaps some unpleasant side-effects, although you may not experience any). If you ARE BP, though, and your pdoc is able to find the correct med(s), BOY what a difference it can make!

I spent two years after my diagnosis unmedicated (lost my health insurance and could no longer afford the drugs), and it was a really rough time. I understand what you mean about almost losing your marriage.

There is great support here on MDC, but you should definitely check out the bipolar support forums at About.com. The address is bipolar.about.com/mpboards.htm.

Keep us posted, and take care of yourself. Will be thinking of you!

Quote:
I am still a bit upset & ambivilant over this decision. It is not that i dont believe it. just that my brain wants to constantly doubt, wonder, analyze, and continue to figure myself out and fix myself.
That's BP for you--they are called obsessive thoughts, and lots of us have 'em.
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Old 02-10-2005, 03:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lauraess
please please! just that my brain wants to constantly doubt, wonder, analyze, and continue to figure myself out and fix myself. Not only that, Im just hating the idea of putting more drugs into my body. ~L
I was diagnosed 4 years ago and I still (just this morning) was thinking about how I really could do without meds, even after going off of them 2 months ago and crashing IMMEDIATELY. It took me 3 years to find treatment that actually works for any length of time, and even though I have I constantly hate being on the meds it really is better that the alternative ~ DH and I split for 6 months because I was in a CraZy state and he could do nothing to help me - we are strong and we worked it out and I rely on his support more than I have ever relied on anyone. If your dh is willing to help, I beg you to turn to him, try to be as honest as possible, have him read Kay Jamison's books, they are an easy educational read. You should also read as much as possible, It helps cement your diagnosis (in your mind) to read that others feel JUST LIKE YOU DO, and we do.

I've taken every single med that is usually prescribed to BiPolar patients, some worked alittle, some made me crazier....it takes time patience and determination (which kids and family were worth it for me)to find the right stuff for you. Right now I take Lithium 1200mg - Seroquel 500 mg ...the seroquel was the best thing that I EVER took, but I gained 25 pounds...so I started taking Lamictal in hopes to wean off seroquel. The seroQuel I also take for anxiety as well as lorazapram/ativin, I have BAD anxiety, I was on Xanax for years. In my opinion I think that peoples chemistry's change as well and that can lead to a good combo going sour down the road. Find a Pdoc that you can tust and be honest with. Make sure they check for things like you cholestoral, low cholestoral can cause anxiety and depression. There are allot of organic reasons for insanity/mental issues. Learn as much as you can, get good sleep EVERY NIGHT, eat regulary and well, EVERYDAY. A HUGE help for me was to keep a daily journal of how long I slept, what I ate and drank, what and how much meds I took and when I felt anxious, racey or depressed, and outside stressors that would cause anxiety or irritability. Please IM me if you want, I lend allot of books out so I dont know what I have, but Id be willing to send you some to start with. Keep us updated!
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Old 02-10-2005, 04:30 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry so much about the label- but if you are going to take meds, don't you want to take the right ones? Think of bipolar as having a hard time regulating your moods. You need to be more careful than most people to get good sleep, eat healthy, take care of your emotional needs. You may need to learn how to handle anger better, how to repair relationships when you damage them. If you find a mood stabilizer that helps you then your relationships will be so much stronger and you won't always feel like you aren't getting anywhere.

Good luck, the label is a hard one to make peace with but it is just a word. We don't have very helpful ways to talk about brain chemistry, but it isn't something new, this is how you are, you have been dealing with this instability forever. Now maybe you can get more effective help. Good luck.

Maureen
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Old 02-10-2005, 05:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lauraess
please please! This is a little difficult to write. any of you who "know' me probobly know of my struggles. so, now the therapist i have been seeing for about a month, along with my med-psyche (for Anxiety) have recognized my more recent behaviors as manic. I am still a bit upset & ambivilant over this decision. It is not that i dont believe it. just that my brain wants to constantly doubt, wonder, analyze, and continue to figure myself out and fix myself. Not only that, Im just hating the idea of putting more drugs into my body.
I dont know what else to do, tho, I've gotten too close to losing my marriage because of my irrationality at times and am hurting my family with my behavior.
I am having a hard time, yet if i allow myself to let go of worry about it i am fine, knowing i am taking a step in the right direction.... I guess :
if anyone has any advice, experience, please let me know. Support would be nice too.
~L
I don't know what it's like to have one's awareness of this disease come from an external diagnosis. My father and brother are both also on the bipolar spectrum (brother's been hospitalized twice for mania), so for me it took admitting it to myself first, rather than hearing it from someone else, because I was smart enough and knew enough about the disorder that I knew exactly what a doctor would say if I went. But I still remember feeling exactly what you described above (bolded). And it was hell.

I remember sitting up in bed crying because I was terrified, TERRIFIED, that if I went to see a doctor, they would just tell me "it's all in your head."

How sick is that? It's maybe not all in my head, but I have an emotional/mental disorder. IT IS IN MY HEAD. But the disease was so in control at that point that it was manipulating everything I thought, even the positive potential of being diagnosed, into something horrible, something awful, just so the disease could continue to have complete control over my life.

It doesn't anymore.

I tell you this because, although no one has lived your life or experienced what it's like inside your head, millions of us have experienced something very similar. And most of us have survived, and even been better people for it.

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.

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Old 02-10-2005, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks so much for replying. I was feeling terribly alone. MDC is the only place i go that i have any connection. I have been checking out the links <Birthjunky> thankyou- i found those links recently from another post by you somewhere, where was it?

I figured the many many thoughts and analyzation was obsession. and "normal " huh?

Rowantree: I will let my dh know about the Kay jamison book. If you do have a copy, i'd love to check it out.
He is really a keeper,, a sweetheart. I drive him absolutley nuts and he continues to put up with me. It is very strange how things are coming out lately. I've always seen similarities between myself and his brother and even to the point of realizing he was "primed' for me/my behaviors by putting up with his brother.... well, his brother has always been bipolar and now more of this is making sense.

MsMoPls> I've been careful of what i eat, have been very aware of diet/nutrition for some time. I take supplements and chinese herbs. I exercise and have always(even when very young) benefited from it in a holistic way. The thing that gets me is being consistent. I've been trying to for a long time... I hope now, i will finally see just how important it really really can be for me. As for relationships,, well i suck at them. I have realized the defect, if you will, Yet continue to struggle so much there. My anger is another factor. If i could have the proverbial "change one thing about yourself" it would be my anger and exression of it.
This Is all so overwhelming. I feel like: "can i do this? Can i take It? do I want to even try? Im just feeling so tired of the struggle. Maybe the struggle has been getting here. -To a point where I see I have the choice to continue to hurt or take charge- as MsMoMpls put it.

Arwyn: My understanding has come from myself actually- They told me what they saw and Im labeling it. I said to the therapist after he said he is "seeing" mania in what i describe: "you mean, like bipolar?" He said yes.
They started me on depakote. Im already on 150mg. effexor for depression and anxiety. I think i have been not able to really say what happens for me a lot of the time. I'm remebering a time when i flipped on my very close friend out of insecurity issues and later was told by someone who witnessed this that i "went for the jugular" -- I thought that was stemming from my very disfunctional and violent upbringing. I've always viewed my issues as behavoiral and conditioning. Can being so extreme in behavior such as that be BP?--- or am I really a big mess both conditionally and organically?
I feel a lot of hopelessness now. I am understanding why so many get suicidal. I've had a lot of thoughts about it, but not the will to go so far.
Okay, so how do you raise two kids like this? I hate being a whacked mom.
I hope it will get better as we continue working on the meds and all, but right now I have a lot of pain in seeing myself be so volatile and emotional. My mom is/was always up and down. She was never diagnosed, but i always thought it was BP. I've wanted for so long to escape my past, be different... but it continues to haunt me. I cant seem to love it,,, you know, like embrace it. I guess maybe i need a book on that.
Again, thanks
Please stay with me. I need support. really.
~L
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Old 02-11-2005, 04:13 AM
 
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wanted to ad that acupuncture helpe me a ton, with chinese herbs
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Old 02-11-2005, 08:33 PM
 
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My son's father was diagnosed with bipolar disorder while I was pregnant. We had only been married 6 months and I recognized something was really wrong with him. He had an episode where he was violent and had an involuntary hospitalization. He didn't accept the diagnosis, didn't remember being violent, and wouldn't take meds. He has never met our son who is now 16.

Bipolar disorder runs in families. My son was diagnosed when he was 11 and has responded well to medication. He always remembers his night dose (the most important) but forgets his day dose. We can tell when he does because he has flight of ideas, is loud and violates personal space. He has always had more problems with mania than depression.

He understands he has to take his medications and can never drink alcohol. I just drove him home from Subway and he was talking about being afraid that sometime he might loose it and hurt someone. Sometimes he says mean things to me and feels bad later. I don't let it hurt me but I talk to him about how others might respond.

He has known several other people with bipolar disorder from work and doesn't want to be like them. I explained to him that he is less likely to physically hurt others because he accepts his diagnosis, takes his meds, has never been hurt, and has never hurt anything or any one. I explained that males that hurt people often start hurting animals as a child and it gets worse. He is 6'1" and could easily hurt just about anyone.

He has seen psychiatrists for meds but hasn't had therapy. He was my third child and I was using gentle but effective parenting for years before he was born. I think that fact alone has made a huge difference in the person he has become. We homeschool and he works about 30 hours a week at Subway. He likes the paychecks and really enjoys his job. I pick him up and he says "I love my job." He has begged me to not send him to school. He couldn't get up that early and would hate everything about it.

If you have bipolar disorder you will probably feel guilty if your children also have bipolar disorder. It's important to recognize it early and find good doctors. His two older brothers are great with and to him. One of his brothers is a nurse and did several papers in nursing school on bipolar disorder. It's sad that the only thing he got from his dad is bipolar disorder but we don't focus on that. That's life and you just do the best you can with what you got.

: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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Old 02-11-2005, 08:57 PM
 
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It is a hard diagnosis to cope with. My dh was labeled bipolar 8 years ago, it took him years and years to make peace with it, and I think he still struggles with the label some days. Dh hated that he now had a label that wouldn't come off and hated the idea of taking meds every day for forever. But he needed the help that the meds provided.

You are correct that the bipolar can be an issue with anger, over reacting in other situations and feeling out of control of your emotions. My dh used to really loose it at times. Being bipolar means having your emotions turbo charged a lot of the time, the highs are higher and the lows are lower. I highly recommend continuing therapy. I think that is the single most helpful thing my dh has done. He has had a couple of different therapists who have helped him at different times in his life. Being bipolar presents challenges that having a good therapist to help you work through is critical.

My dh did drug therapy for a number of years and they were totally necessary for him at that time. Over time, his symptoms and personal issues changed, his medications changed, and he eventually switched to a program of vitamins and amino acids. I guess I just wanted to let you know that being bipolar is an organic state- you grow, you change and the diagnosis won't stop that.

I hope I've been helpful, I think i'm rambling now.

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much otmama and "forever". I am still trying to accept it. I accepted that there is a great possiblilty that i am truly bp and that i need help no matter what is really the diagnosis. I am trying the meds to see what happens. I've been increasingly more aware of how im feeling and how im behaving and coping. Yesterday, for some reason I was just really getting low till i went to pick up my son from school and could barely get out of the car. I just did not want to socialize with anyone. I was very irritable and kept obsessing about bp and myself. Today, I did some good things for myself (yoga, balancing my morning with play with dd and work) and just tried to get on with it. It was a good day. I keep thinking... okay, so if i was bp would i have this control? or does the control slip away just as easy with bp? so, im still confused, still ambivilant.
I want to really keep getting info and taking charge of my life more. I am detirmined to look at this like a blessing in disguise. What else?---- let it get me down? Cant do that. either im living or im not. right?
~L
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lauraess
It was a good day. I keep thinking... okay, so if i was bp would i have this control? or does the control slip away just as easy with bp? so, im still confused, still ambivilant.
I just wanted to respond to this. One of the things I have struggled with over the years (with the help of my therapist) has been second guessing myself, doubting myself, thinking, "is this the disease? would I feel like this without the bipolar? is this the beginning of mania, or can I really just feel happy?" and so on.

Those are completely normal abnormal thoughts, if you know what I mean! The sicker I've been, the more I've thought that way. What my therapist has helped me learn is that it doesn't matter. Just let it go. Just be in this moment, in this now, and don't take yourself to some other place wondering where this now came from, or you'll miss it, and that's hardly living.

One of the most amazing gifts my therapist has given me is the space in which to metathink - that is, to think about my thought patterns, and where they come from and what they mean. I mean, I was doing it constantly before, and I wasn't really living, and now I have that set time, that set place, where I can think those thoughts and make the changes to the patterns that I need to, and I don't have to do it the rest of the week. I can just live. I don't think I will ever be able to thank him - or myself - enough for that gift. Of course, it was a gift born from months and years of hard work and sweat and curses and tears, but I still think of it as a gift - from him, from the universe, and from myself, to myself.

Just something to think about. No pun intended.

I also wanted to second two things PPs have said: one, keep seeing your therapist! (And if you don't like the one you have, keep trying. Finding a good one is so worth it.) And two, you are an organic, living, breathing, ever changing being - and your bipolar-ness is just a part of you, so it too is organic, ever changing. What works now may not be the same in the future - in fact, it probably won't be. Make of it what you will, but I find it helpful to keep that in mind. No pun intended.

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Old 02-12-2005, 04:46 PM
 
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Moved to new Mental Health forum...

anna kiss partner to jon radical mama to aleks (8/02) and bastian (5/05)
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Old 02-14-2005, 02:06 AM
 
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lotusdebi
from another woman with bipolar disorder.

I'm currently symptom-free, and have been since my son was born. I believe it's because I'm breastfeeding, and my dopamine, estrogen, and testosterone levels are down.
curious if your still on meds. My situation was actually brought on my second pregnancy, curious.
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Im glad for you lotusdebi, that you are getting a nice reprieve from symptoms right now. I believe nursing can help depending on your make-up. for me, I experienced lots of depression and self-hatred after first born. I attributed it at the time to sleep-deprivation and major perfectionism and the highly dysfunctional upbringing i received. Later, I could honestly say i had been dealing with ppd. With my second chld the symptoms kicked in right away. I went on Paxil and relief was within a week or so. mind you, this is all with only the diagnosis of anxiety and ppd. Nursing helped at times- I could relax with oxytocin's help. Nursing also helped me feel worthwhile.
This is where it gets confusing. The pressures of full-time mothering definately take their toll on me. I've learned to take care of myself a little more, but still experience times when im totally overwhelmed and losing it. I am not sure why that progressed into manic episodes. Im not even sure what i have is mania. The therapist and psych think it is yet i wonder... Is it just a new bad coping attempt? I will get racey in my thoughts, my breathing, my talking. I pace and want out. this is what they say is my mania. Im seeing as i look back and learn more about this disorder where my Mania could have shown itself in the past. Yet, im also learning i guess that the bipolar could have only recently come about.
hoping someone can relate, any suggestions or advice very welcome.
Happpy Valentines day

~L
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Old 02-14-2005, 01:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lauraess
Im not even sure what i have is mania. The therapist and psych think it is yet i wonder... Is it just a new bad coping attempt? I will get racey in my thoughts, my breathing, my talking. I pace and want out. this is what they say is my mania. Im seeing as i look back and learn more about this disorder where my Mania could have shown itself in the past. Yet, im also learning i guess that the bipolar could have only recently come about.
hoping someone can relate, any suggestions or advice very welcome.
Happpy Valentines day

~L

i totally didnt believe my therapist the first couple (6) MONTHS. I even made it up in my head that he said I MIGHT be bipolar when in fact he said I WAS bipolar. He found that level of denial very humorous. Usually therapists and Psychs have experience with this stuff. My onset was during my 2nd pregnancy, I had NO PRIOR SYMPTOMS. I would trust your doc's, or find docs you CAN trust. PM me if you want...
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Old 02-14-2005, 01:57 PM
 
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Old 02-15-2005, 02:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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LOTUSDEBI: Please dont be sorry for "derailing into my own stuff" .
I think it is crucial for us who need the the support of others who understand, and being a parent on top of it.... well, gosh- Please everyone- let it all hang out. We need each other.
I have never been so freaked in my life to hear this diagnosis for myself. I only can say that now, days later, after opening up a bit and getting a perspective. I think thats pretty wild. I always have managed to not be "freaked" by much. But this.... i dont know...
~L
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Old 02-15-2005, 03:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lotusdebi
I always knew that I might not be able to stay-at-home because that could be worse for my son than putting him in daycare. I wanted to homeschool, but realized that might not happen either. I kept a lot of options open.
I still don't know what the future holds (obviously), and what I'll be able to handle if/when my mood swings return. The lack of control is scary. But, I'll figure it out, one way or another...
I did homeschool my 2 girls for a bit and I always was left feeling so guilty that I made them stay with me..i also overloaded myself and that wasnt good for anyone. Im on all sorts of drugs and I wish I wasnt, when ever Im stablized I feel like I can handle life without meds. Im such a holistic person, but ive tried everything else. i hate the stigma from friends that dont get it.they dont see me losing it ..I put on a good front, so they dont see it, but they judge me for taking perscriptions.
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Old 02-15-2005, 09:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rowantree
I put on a good front, so they dont see it, but they judge me for taking perscriptions.
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Old 02-15-2005, 09:17 PM
 
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Another bipolar momma here!

I've had problems "controlling" my emotions for a long time, ever since I could remember. I was raised in a very crazy family who were always freaking out and stuff. Until I met my now-dh, I never thought that freaking out was abnormal! He convinced me that normal people did not act the way I acted.

I have a theory. If generations of people in the same family were verbally and/or physically abusive, it definitely would have changed the chemical makeup in their children's brains. It's a fact that children's brains are like sponges... nothing is "hardwired" yet. Even slight trauma has the potential to reform the neural pathways of the brain. So of course, if one is exposed to years of trauma while the neural pathways are forming, those pathways will become permanently hardwired into that freak-out mode. So if it takes ten years to totally screw a kid up, it'll take several times as long to change the brain back to "normal" through things like behavior modification and therapy.

Sure, ppl can be and are genetically PREDISPOSED to mental illness. But I'm certain that in MANY, many cases, a child is predisposed and then their condition is greatly exacerbated by early trauma(s).

So, because we are very poor , I am self-diagnosed and self-treating. I've seen several professionals when I was able to afford it and they confirmed what I've known for seven or so years now. I finally saw a shrink and he gave me free samples of typical bipolar meds. - they screwed me up so badly... I tried this one drug out and I was in bed, vomiting, thoughts racing but body unable to move, for two full days. Another knocked me out five minutes after I took it and I woke up 17 hours later in the same exact position I fell asleep in. The weaker meds. made me feel more unhappy because I had even less energy (I have an energy problem to begin with!) to do anything! So I actually felt more depressed on those meds.

I have noticed a slight improvement in these past few years. Slight, slight, slight but definitely visible. When I'm having a "down" cycle, and I can barely function or move, I know to remove myself from all situations and responsibilities until it passes. (Luckily my dh understands my disease very well.) Unfortunately, those very fun "up" cycles are becoming less and less frequent, so I more or less have an "up" day here or there but I feel kinda blah and depressed most of the time, when I'm "normal". Not "depressed", as in locked in my room feeling suicidal.... just "depressed" in the sense that the life I created is nothing that I wanted or imagined... kind of like a midlife crisis, even tho I'm only in my 20's :LOL

However, the upside is I'm intensely intuitive. I can "read" people very well; within minutes of sitting down with someone, I have a sense of their deepest fears and desires. I'm also very, very forward-thinking... I frequently have very out-there thoughts and ideas that I assume are total BS, then I look into it and there are actually books written about it and research being done, that kind of thing.

So, anyway, yeah, it's very hard because sometimes I feel like I'm really screwing my kids up. I feel "down" a lot, and I'm afraid they will grow up with these horrible memories of this totally unhappy, stressed-out mom. Everyone I know who ISN'T bipolar claim that they have the same kinds of bad days and good days that I have... I'm not (Type I, maybe? Can't remember the numbers) Bipolar, in that I go for days without sleeping and go on extreme shopping sprees than I'm trying to kill myself a week later. I guess I'm Type II, which isn't as severe.
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Old 02-15-2005, 10:12 PM
 
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I guess I'm Type II, which isn't as severe.
Actually, type 2 is only "less severe" in the manias - that is, there is never true psychosis, never a complete loss of touch with reality. The depressions, however, are severe clinical depressions. Someone who never loses touch with reality and can generally function through their depressions is more likely to be cyclothymic - the "easier" end of the bipolar spectrum.

And while I agree with you that certain habits or happenstances of early life can dramatically affect the manifestation of the disease, but I also would caution against judging someone's history based on the way their disease manifests.

(*A note about terminology; I use the word "disease" when talking about this subject because I'm comfortable with it, due to my medical upbringing. However, if you're not, please substitute "disorder," "tendency of being," "gift," "challenge," or whatever word or phrase speaks to you. Words are powerful - use that power for your own good.*)

ETA: Hey! My 100th post! Woohoo!
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all! so, tonite i visited my therapist again. He helped me to understand that he see's my condition as being more of a real problem with making sense of the many thoughts that start tripping me up when my brain starts thinking too fast. That would be my major overwhelmed state i often get into ... where i end up feeling it's just no use to try.
Im beginning to trust a little more about the illness-- that which he is describing as a chemical imbalance that needs meds. I took the dose at double which i was told to do days ago and faltered there unsure. Hoping the tiredness does go away as it's supposed to... Im usually yawning like crazy mid-day now.
well, to bed really soon. let me just check out a few more forums!
~L
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:56 PM
 
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Another bipolor mom here... Bipolar II, diagnosed ten years ago. Meds have been really helpful in stabilizing my moods, but I have to tell you without the 4 years of cognitive therapy I would not know just what to do with these stable moods and wouldn't be able to manage my episodes half as well. I have, like most bp folk, been off my meds at times, may work well, might crash and burn, all depends on what goes on in life at the time. Overall not a great idea, but sometimes it's hard to decipher the manic or depressive ways of thinking. (that's where the therapy realllllllllllllllllllly helps,lol )

A pp mentioned that you do keep growing and changing despite this disorder... yes...
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Old 02-23-2005, 01:48 AM
 
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I was diagnosed with Bipolar I 15 years ago...on and off meds all of this time. What meds do some of you take...Depakote is no longer doing as well for me and when I add an antidepressant, I get very nauseated and usually vomit or I start to get symptoms of liver tox (side effect of depakote). I'm looking into lamictal. I refuse Zyprexa or anything in that family...number one I WILL not deal with a 30lbs weight gain and the risk of diabetes which runs in my family anyway. I need something that won't make me drowsy, foggy, absent minded...I've heard good things about lamictal...and I've read bad things too (i.e. the dreaded rash). My symptoms have changed over the years, that's for sure.

Also did those who've had children get off of the meds? I was in a period of my life where I thought I didn't need the meds (three years) and I did so well I thought the Pdocs were wrong about my diagnosis...until my youngest was born and it's been same old, same old ever since.

Any input would be appreciated.
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Old 02-23-2005, 02:49 AM
 
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I was diagnosed with Bipolar I 15 years ago...on and off meds all of this time. What meds do some of you take...\........ I'm looking into lamictal. ......... I WILL not deal with a 30lbs weight gain and the risk of diabetes which runs in my family anyway. .......I've heard good things about lamictal...and I've read bad things too (i.e. the dreaded rash).
Im starting on Lamictal. As long as you up your dose slowly the rash is less likely. My pdoc said it would take 6 months to know if it works for me. I take seroquel as an immediate help ... but for the weight gain and drowsiness Id love seroquel (hehehe). Ill let you know how it (lamictal) goes.
jes
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Old 02-23-2005, 07:09 PM
 
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Also did those who've had children get off of the meds? I was in a period of my life where I thought I didn't need the meds (three years) and I did so well I thought the Pdocs were wrong about my diagnosis...until my youngest was born and it's been same old, same old ever since.
I'm in a period of relative stability right now (probably the first in my adult life ), with lots of support and non-medicinal therapies going, and DP just got a good job, so I'm getting off the depakote - my only psy-med - SUPER slowly in preparation for babymaking. My primary goal is to be off for at least one menstrual cycle prepregnancy, throughout pregnancy, and for the duration of breastfeeding - so a minimum of three years. My MINIMUM goal is to be off prepreg and for the first 10 weeks gestation (first trimester). After that, the longer I can be off, the better, but baby can't be healthy when mama isn't, so I think I have a pretty realistic additude of "work for the best, prepare for the worst."

I think we have a pretty good representation here of how pregnancy affects BP - from "first sane period" to "worst ever." I, of course, have no idea where on that spectrum I'll fall - although of course I have a preference. It's interesting to hear the stories of how pregnancy and brestfeeding affected others, but it's hard, sometimes, not to go from "this is how it affected that person" to "that's how it will be for me" - both the good and the bad (one thing we BPs tend to be good at is taking things to their extremes! ).

Aaaanyway. I, too, would be interested to hear whether other people got off meds for pregnancy and what influenced their decision about that.

How've you been doing the past few days, lauraess?
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Old 02-24-2005, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Aarwyn, Hey! Im loving reading about your preparations. I sooo admire you as i am a terrible planner. I used to try, but failed too many times and in light of my major perfectionism i went to the other extreme. now im trying to find a balance. hope that makes sense!
Anyway, these last several days have been ok. Im not experiencing quite so much mania and am learning more about how my brain may be imbalanced and how it has coped. Im trying to see the patterns that show bipolar as opposed to simply " one dysfunctional adult child that never finished her 4th step"(like that's simple :LOL )
Im trying to be a mom ever growing and changing and yet still stumbling on daily life. I have too many books, too much laundry, too many bills, too many messes, and just not enough time or energy. It's nice to think that if my meds get leveled out to a point where i am more stable i will make some progress, but dont want to get my hopes up.
Thanks for asking how i am. It sure feels nice to think someone cares.
~l
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Old 02-25-2005, 02:55 AM
 
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second guessing myself, doubting myself, thinking, "is this the disease? would I feel like this without the bipolar? is this the beginning of mania, or can I really just feel happy?" and so on.
I do this often. I can't tell if I'm really just that happy over a situation or if it's a manic episode creeping up.

I was diagnosed about 10 years ago. I'd been in treatment before that. They kept just trying to treat me for depression & couldn't figure out why the meds weren't working. Then they tried meds for bi-polar & I saw a huge difference. I've tried a ton of meds out there, probably more things than not. It's tricky to find the right combo & also have had meds that worked for years, suddenly stop working. I also found that I'm okay while pg but need to go back on the meds asap, though often times the old medication combo doesn't work anymore. I tend to have odd reactions, bizarre side effects & usually either need much higher or lower doses than most.

Over the past year I've accepted that I do need to be on medication & will be for a while, if not forever. I do see a difference if I skip a pill. For me it's mainly just that I don't need to sleep. I remember joking with my dr that it was at least helpful when my children were newborns.

I see both a therapist & a psychatrist to handle the medication. I currently take Welbutrin, Trileptal, & Xanax XR (the new long acting one that you just take once a day). I saw that someone a few posts back mentioned Zyprexa & I have to agree that it is definately not for me. I'm sure it helps some but I thought it was awful. I'm also allergic to the SSRI's (bad rash, ER visits, even a few 911 calls due to allergic reactions) so that makes finding medication I can take interesting. Thankfully these seem to work.

I think it's just hard to get past the initial accepting this as a possible diagnosis. I wish you all well.

P.S. I have no clue if I'm considered type 1 or 2, could someone explain the difference?

Stephanie, mom to 3 big girls ('94, '99 & '02) and to my little guy (12/30/09) intact & CD'ed!
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Old 02-25-2005, 01:53 PM
 
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P.S. I have no clue if I'm considered type 1 or 2, could someone explain the difference?
Like all psychiatric diagnoses (and many physical ones...), there's not a "cut and dry" line between the two; more like a pattern recognition attempt: "well, these two seems to have some of the same symptoms, and they're not quite the same as this one over here, so let's call it Y instead of X." For that matter, that's really how a general bipolar diagnosis is made. There are obviously some serious chemical differences, and some genetic component(s), but we have no physical test for any of thsoe yet.

Anyway, that said, Bipolar Type I is the "classic" bipolar, complete with super highs and super lows - that is, there's been a diagnosis of both psychosis (or hypermania) and clinical depression (although there are some BPs who have psychosis and only subclinical depression or dysthymia but there's not a separate diagnosis for them, so they usually get lumped in with Type I as well). Type II has full clinical depressions but only ("only" - hah!) what's refered to as "hypomanias" - still a mania, but not a "full-blown" one. That is, some, but not all, of the criteria are met for a full mania (usually that the hypomanic person never fully loses touch with reality, or, their manias don't have quite as much negative impact on their life; that is, they didn't catch STDs from unprotected sex or lose their house because they couldn't stop buying shoes. I'm being somewhat facetious, but both of those actually happen, and when/if they do, it's not funny anymore).

So, I have a diagnosis of Bipolar Type II (disregarding the subcategories or comorbidity of rapid cycling and mixed states for the moment) because I have a history of severe depressions and hypomanias; I've met several of the criteria for a manic episode, but I've never quite been taken to an extreme with my manias that either required hospitalization or had a severe negative impact on my life. My brother, on the other hand, has a diagnosis of (quite classic) Bipolar Type I where he's had both clinical depressions and full blown manias which required hospitalization.

Another way of looking at the difference is this; my biggest danger, as it were, comes from the despressive end of the spectrum, whereas my brother, although he does have to watch out for depressions, is at much more risk from the manic end.

And, of course, a lot of clinicians don't bother to differenciate past a diagnosis of "Bipolar, Unspecified." And there's some usefulness to that way of thinking, also.

Does any of that make sense? (There are places, btw, where you can get the "clinical" descriptions and standard definitions, including a list of what does and doesn't qualify as a hyper/hypo mania, but this is from my own, unfortunately extensive, knowledge of the disease from someone who has been diagnosed variously as cyclothymic or BPII, has an MD mother who, understandably, has a bit of a subspecialty in the BP spectrum, and a BPII father, and a BPI brother.)
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