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Old 04-12-2005, 08:53 PM   #1
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Colefort HB User
Duration of an episode/med question

My girlfriend is back on her medication, and things have been great for the past month up until this past week. She has had the longest episode of irritability/depression that she has had since I have known her. She has finally talked to me a little about her feelings during this period which makes me feel good, but this extended time without really interacting much is making more insecure about our relationship by the day. I keep telling myself that things will be better tomorrow, but tomorrow isn't coming as soon as it used to. In addition, tomorrow has seemed to come a couple times, but left very quickly. Any input would be helpful.

A couple questions:

How long do hypomanic/depressive episodes usually last?

If you quit your medication for a period of time, can it make the med less effective when you go back on it?

 
Old 04-12-2005, 09:31 PM   #2
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Re: Duration of an episode/med question

The episodes can last from few days to few months. From what I have read usually 2-4 weeks. If shes stop taking her medw, it will probably take a few days to few weeks before they will become fully effective again.

 
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Old 04-12-2005, 09:33 PM   #3
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analog2000 HB User
Re: Duration of an episode/med question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colefort
How long do hypomanic/depressive episodes usually last?

If you quit your medication for a period of time, can it make the med less effective when you go back on it?
1) That really depends on the person. It could be anywhere from a few days to a few months, or longer. And there really isn't any way to know in advance. It is the most frustrating illness!

2) Yes, this process is sometimes called "kindling." The basic premise is that your brain becomes more and more sensitized to the effects of bipolar the longer it is un-treated. It is quite a bit more complicated than that, and you can look up more info.

I hope things start to turn around for you and your girlfriend. Good luck.

 
Old 04-13-2005, 05:26 AM   #4
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Re: Duration of an episode/med question

Hi Colefort

I'd agree with everything the last two posts have said. I've also had probs with meds being less effective. I've spent a lot of time trying different types of complementary therapies and have found some things to be really useful. There is a book available called OPTIMUM NUTRITION FOR THE MIN by a guy called Patrick Holford - masses of information about foods to eat that help stave of irritability (for example, you need to keep your blood sugar levels constant - you'd be amazed how much sugar we eat that we're not even aware of). I'm assuming you guys are in the States - I'm in the UK so I don't know if you can get all of this stuff, but these are some of the things that have helped me: Bach Flower Remedies (excellent for different moods), B Vitamin supplements (v good for irritability), a homeopathic remedy called Agnus Castus - v good for irritability as well.
It's a long process as you have to just try things and see if they work and it can be expensive - hopefully something will help! Just want you to know that your girlfriend is really lucky to have you there for her, but make sure you look after yourself as well - it's okay to say you need a break and take yourself off for the afternoon.
Hope things get better for you

Picali xx

 
Old 04-14-2005, 07:57 AM   #5
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Re: Duration of an episode/med question

Hi Colefort!!

I somehow missed your post before. I'm glad you're still hanging in there with your girlfriend, I just hope you're remembering to take care of yourself, and not get too caught up in someone else's issues....yes, here comes the co-dependency speech again!

I know you really love your girlfriend, and as I've told you before, I think you're such a sweetie-pie. It's just so easy when you have a loved one who is coping with such a complicated issue to let that take over your relationship, and even you.

I don't know how many of the other threads you've read about this subject. It's just something to be aware of. You don't want to start making excuses for her and her behavior so that she always has a reason to NOT be there for you, and you are always the one who is revolving your whole world around her. She isn't automatically more important than you and your needs because she's sick. I just hope you are keeping your own healthy interests in your life, outside of your girlfriend. And there may even be times, when you need to step back and let her cope with her stuff by herself, you can't do it for her.

I know you probably already get all that stuff, I just wanted to throw it in there. And you know that the different experiences people have with this disease vary widely depending on the person, their extent of illness, their maturity, their ability to find the right med and stay on it, and their relationship with their doctor, among other things.

I don't remember how old you are, but I know one of the most important lessons I have learned in my life, is to just live MY life. When I think about all the times that I tried to please others, and be self-less and help a boyfriend in my younger years, I only wish I had known then what I know now.

Life is so short. Just make sure you are living your life. You are not sick. You can go out and have experiences and have fun when your girlfriend want's to be left alone, and it's ok. Let her deal with this illness. And just be there for her when she's ready.

Ok, speech over.

Good luck, sweetie. Take care!!

sincerely,

~~heather~~

 
Old 04-14-2005, 06:49 PM   #6
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Colefort HB User
Re: Duration of an episode/med question

Thanks all for the responses,

I know things vary from person to person, it is just so weird when something that would only last for four days max is now lasting for two weeks. I'm pretty sure she has been back on her medication full force for about a month or two, so I am guessing maybe she needs to try something new.

I hear what you all are saying about protecting myself. I think this time I needed to hear it more than ever. It has really made me reflect on the past 11 days. My life, my energy, and our relationship has been completely taken over by what is going on right now. Its like she still loves me, but can't really be there for me at all. And because I am so focused on her problems, I am not there for myself either, if that makes any sense. The few times we have gone out, it is like she isn't really there much of the time.

I know what is going on right now is not healthy for me, but what do I do? I can't give up on her, I care about her too much. It hurts so much to be in this relationship sometimes, but it hurts just as much if not more when I think about walking away for awhile and not being there for her when she needs me.

Cole

 
Old 04-14-2005, 07:31 PM   #7
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Re: Duration of an episode/med question

I have been in a manic type for a couple weeks now anyway. I am hoping my new med will help to squash this. Sorry about the other, I have been vowing to stay on my meds or whatever pdoc says. They should have a support group for spouse/friends of bipolar. I know my hubby has almost had just too much. Good luck. Love, Lori

 
Old 04-14-2005, 09:26 PM   #8
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analog2000 HB User
Re: Duration of an episode/med question

Quote:
Originally Posted by goofyafter2
They should have a support group for spouse/friends of bipolar.
They do! The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), sponsors free family and friends support groups in many cities. You can check out their web site or call them to find one near you. Your psychiatrist might also be able to recommend a group.

I went to support group meetings twice a month when my husband was really bad (he is bipolar). It absolutely saved our marriage.

 
Old 04-15-2005, 01:43 AM   #9
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Re: Duration of an episode/med question

I had NO IDEA! Thanks for the info. Love, Lori

 
Old 04-16-2005, 08:24 AM   #10
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Re: Duration of an episode/med question

My gf is still in a space wanting mode, but mostly from me. To catch up, we went from great up until Sunday April 3rd to not really talking much for a week on Tuesday April 5th, there was no fight, there never is, she just started her "crabbyness" which usually lasts for 3 to 4 days. It is going on about 2 weeks now. She has called me to go out about 4 times this week, but she still acts like she needs a lot of space. Whenever we are out, she acts kind of crabby towards me, but her friends or complete strangers will be treated normally with smiles and interest. I feel like a parent trying to get a teenager to talk about their day. It is very frustrating. In addition, she hasn't returned my calls a couple times in these past two weeks, and she went out last night with no call at all to say hi or to tell me what she is going to do. She always talks about being selfish when she is going through things, but I am having a hard time dealing with the lack of common courtesy that is being showed to me. It just doesn't take that much time, energy, or consideration to do the things that she is not doing. It really feels like she doesn't care about or consider me at all right now. Is it normal for the significant other to be treated the worst through all of this? Does bp make some people that less considerate? I just wish I knew what the he** was going on. One minute she wants to be with me all the time, and then she can't be around me or talk to me but still wants to be "together"

 
Old 04-16-2005, 08:45 AM   #11
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Re: Duration of an episode/med question

I think so. I spend a lot of time thinking everything is about me and if dh doesn't like it , then f- him. Sorry it happens that way but it does. Then things get ok. So at least you have something to look forward to -lol! Seriously, I hope everything gets better soon, just wanted you to know that that IS somewhat normal for me. Love, Lori

 
Old 04-16-2005, 09:41 AM   #12
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Re: Duration of an episode/med question

Hi,

Yes, we do treat our signifigant others differently, I think we always treat the ones closest to us the worst, because we're the most comfortable around them, and we feel safe.

Only you can decide if you feel like you aren't getting your needs met,and you think you can't hang in there the way things are going. Since you're not married, and you're still young, you really don't have to feel obligated to stay committed to her. Maybe she's not ready yet to be in a loving relationship with anyone. I don't know sweetie, I'm sorry. I hope you figure it out though.

take care,

~~heather~~

 
Old 04-17-2005, 02:21 PM   #13
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Jennita HB User
Re: Duration of an episode/med question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colefort
My girlfriend is back on her medication, and things have been great for the past month up until this past week. She has had the longest episode of irritability/depression that she has had since I have known her. She has finally talked to me a little about her feelings during this period which makes me feel good, but this extended time without really interacting much is making more insecure about our relationship by the day. I keep telling myself that things will be better tomorrow, but tomorrow isn't coming as soon as it used to. In addition, tomorrow has seemed to come a couple times, but left very quickly. Any input would be helpful.

A couple questions:

How long do hypomanic/depressive episodes usually last?

If you quit your medication for a period of time, can it make the med less effective when you go back on it?
I do know that when brain receptors are stimulated by a drug for a long time, science knows that those receptors go through something called downregulation. This means some will die off, or become weaker, meaning they are desensitized to the effects of the meds. This can be a reversable but fairly long-lasting condition. That's one reason I think more effort should be made in finding root causes and cures rather than use meds to control behavior.

Chances are, she has downregulation and will now need stronger meds/new meds but how long that will work is always up for grabs.

Some people find relief from symptoms using amino acids, vitamins and psychotherapy but everyone is different. Nobody should cold turkey off meds either way.

 
Old 04-19-2005, 11:30 AM   #14
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angelblue65 HB User
Re: Duration of an episode/med question

Hi Colefort,

I read your response to my post from last week and I agree that you and I are in similar situations. From what I've read on this illness and from what I've seen here on the boards, it does appear that there are the "predictable" symptoms and behaviors we can expect but with every day's life stressors, our individual personalities, and how we interract with one another, these symptoms and behaviors break off into their own personalizations. So for example, the needing of space and time to think things through and sort out all the thoughts is a predictable symptom but HOW each person with BP reacts based on that partiuclar symptom varies considerably. Your GF tends to retreat and cycle with days where she needs to be alone. My BF also needs space but handles it differently by just avoiding the problem subject or taking a drive, etc.. And of course you have to take into account we live together vs. you and your GF living apart. There are so many variables and the best thing we can do to "get it" and figure out what's going on is to really pay attention to the cycles. You will find they are more predictable than you realize. On top of that, we have wonderful people here who are willing to share their own personal thoughts to offer insight and we can take what applies to us to help us even more.

It's okay to feel what you're feeling for wanting her to be more in tune with your feelings because you are only human. Feel what you feel. It's ok. And take Heather's advice about being careful not to fall into the trap of codependency. It's sooooo easy to do and you end up not taking care of yourself. You think if you stop doing "everything you can do" it means you don't care. It can't be forced but there will come a time when all of a sudden it makes sense to you to do something for yourself and the guilt will finally be absent from this. I'm still a work in progress on this but it does help.

Just when you think you can't take it any more, things get better and more hopeful. During these times is when you learn just one more thing and no matter how small it may be, you've learned something and will be that much better for it.

Keep posting and hang in there!

 
Old 04-26-2005, 07:12 PM   #15
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Colefort HB User
Re: Duration of an episode/med question

Just to answer my original question.

Some can last for up to three weeks.

All I can say is thank God it is over, I really thought we were through.

Thanks for all the help.

CF

 
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