I am new to this forum... have a few questions for everyone.
I was diagnosed yesterday with Bipolar disorder. The psychiatrist would like to read over the notes he took from our session yesterday to better determine which type. About two years ago I hit a wicked upper pole - was awesome I love it and miss it. Best 5 months of my life and then I crashed and burned and since have been really bad... for the past two years I have been feeling awful. I couldn't even attain that upper pole if I tried. Weird stuff... never thought about it in terms of Bipolar so it took some time for me to grasp what I was dealing with. The upper pole was cool but I realize it wasn't really me.
ANYWAYS, my questions are these -
1. How tired can one become from untreated Bipolar? The reason I ask is that I thought it was something in my sleep, but I am terribly tired. Like brutally, all the time no matter how much I sleep.
2. Do medications for Bipolar have brutal side affects?
3. I know now that I cannot get over this myself. But how much can a medication or combination assist Bipolar peoples?
Hi Matty and welcome to one of the best boards here!
Yes, you can feel terribly tired when you are Bipolar. It's a fine line between exhausted and depression. The opposite of your "High" months would be a depression or feeling too tired to talk or even think.
I don't think there is a Bipolar med around that doesn't have side effects. But most of them wouldn't be brutal unless it was a result of taking too much of it.
I have a slight tremor, get up several times a night to pee, drink gallans of water. BUT, the side effects of lithium are nothing compared to my manic behavior and really awful depressions.
I am a Type I Bipolar and have not had a moodswing in 20 years!!
I was soooooo tired all the time before my doc found the right meds for me. Now I have no problem getting up at 7...fyi: my meds are 200 mg lamictal, 2.5 Abilify...I sleep fine, no trouble getting to sleep and thus far I have had no side effects except the one I want: stability!
I am a Type I Bipolar and have not had a moodswing in 20 years!!
Ruth: what a relief THAT is eh??
Last edited by barbaric_yawp; 02-15-2006 at 02:45 PM.
I know this is a real late reply but I appreciate these responses and I took some time because of the following:
At the time that I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (also Type 1) I was also diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea. So I told my psychiatrist that I would like to try CPAP (treatment for apnea) first as sleep deprivation can cause a number of issues. One month in however, my severe "low" of depression combined with fear is still present. My sleep can be baby-quality-like but the moment I am up, my mind is racing like a horse and full of worry - depressed thoughts. My sleep doctor agrees now, that it is highly likely that the Bipolar is underlying and actually causing a lot of the insomnia and exhaustion.
At the time I decided to go with CPAP, I also told my psychiatrist to hold off. One month later however, I would like to go back. I now believe that he was seeing it as he should - I just wanted to explore all options before doing something like this. My eating habits have changed, I have been drug free for years, I rarely touch alcohol because it causes a smoke screen... but still, my mind stays the same. I try and talk to myself but this doom is not going anywhere. I remember being on that one, crazy high I went through for a few months and it was like out of a movie. I was a movie star, and I wasn't thinking like this at all - in fact I was invincible. Since the crash though, I have been like this. And no matter how much self help I try, it doesn't seem to be working. I'm thinking of exploring exercise but I think I know that it won't take away the fear and depression I have.
I don't know I am somewhat confused I suppose. I'm tired of popping pills, but I think I've come to the realization that this is something pretty serious and out of my control. The fact that I can't stay focused on anything is bad news. Can I ask some questions of those who are Type 1?
1. Before trying medication, did you find it extremely hard to concentrate on any good in life? Did you worry a lot, was there fear involved? (I am scared of everything!!)
2. Did you try countless attempts of talking yourself out of the state? Were you successful at all?
3. How many "highs" did you go through and for how long? How many "lows" did you go through and for how long? (My concern is that I went through only one typical HIGH - which was a classic not like me escalation - and then ever since I've been a big crash and burn... does that sounds like BP Type 1?)
4. Does medication alleviate these symptoms? I hear you can actually go really stale - unable to go up (or feel down). Is this true?
5. Any sexual side affects?
6. Can we get out of this? I have tried, God knows, for three years if in fact this is Bipolar Type 1. A lot of the reason I am here is because of designer drugs... and abuse. But what the hell? I can't continue on just barely gripping to nothing when I should have lots to be happy for.
PS. ADs make my head race more - not good for me.
Thanks to anyone who can provide feedback - it is greatly appreciated!
I too am bipolar and I also have generalized anxiety and OCD. It took me a while to decide to go on meds and to tell the truth I don't like to take them but I don't like how I feel when I don't take them. So everyday I pop like 8 pills. In response to your questions:
1)Yes, I did find it very diffacult to concentrate on the good of life. I found that it was diffacult to pull myself out of bed in the morning let alone take a shower or eat. I was (maybe still am) a chonic worrier. I was afraid to talk to people. I was affraid to return something to the store because I was worried that the person behind the counter was going to laugh at me or think me stupid.
2)I did try to talk myself out of things but most of the time it just served to make me evan more depressed/anxious because I couldn't talk myself out of it. In therapy though I learned to talk back to that little voice in a positive way. I learned to tell it to shut up when it started to make me depressed/anxious. I'm still working really hard on that part because it's been such a part of me for so long.
3)I went through a few highs now that I look back on things. I wish sometimes that I still got the manic thing. I did some of my most creative art work when I was manic. I also destroyed several relationships, lost tons of money, and got fired from many jobs. My bipolar is mostly deppresive and mixed so I would feel super deppressed and full of energy at the same time. Those were the most destructive times for me. That's when I would have considered myself "crazy" because I would start cutting gashes into myself without even knowing it. I don't have a social life any more because I have been on a down now for several months. I'm trying to get that squared away but it's a daily battle.
4)As far as the medicine goes, it has been a god sent (evan though I don't beleive in any gods). I still get depressed and I still get happy but it seems more "normal" to me now. I don't dwell on things like I used to. I don't beat myself up should I happen to screw up. I'm currently taking wellbutrin (for the deppresion), Lexapro (for generalized anxiety), depakote (as a mood stablizer), seraquel (as a mood stablizer/sleep aide), and restoril (sleep aide). It sucks to take so many meds but it's worth it to feel like I'm in control. My pdoc says that eventually I will be able to get off most of the meds and only have to take a mood stablizer. If you get a good doctor who puts you on the right meds then you won't get the zombie effect. It may take a while to find the combination that works right for you. It took me a year and a half.
5)Unfortuanatly yes, there are some sexual side effects. I'm not sure what the effects are for men but for me it makes it diffacult to achieve orgasm. This can be really frustrating but I have a patient and understanding partner and that makes all the difference. I have also noticed that the longer I'm on the drugs the less the side effects effect me. Does that make sense? I know that with wellbutrin it can acttually boost your sex drive because it works on the norepinephrin (can't spell it) not the seratonin uptake inhibitors.
6)If you are in fact bipolar it is likely that you may have to take some form of mood stablizer, such as lithium or depakote, for the rest of your life. I know that that must sound ominous especially with all those tv ads out there. I know when I heard that it was like hitting a brick wall. Then someone passed along this little piece of advice that I will pass onto you. Having a mental illness, bipolar, is like having diabetes. It's something that you have to live with and medicate. No one thinks anything of someone that has to monitor their blood sugar so no one should think anything of anyone that has to monitor their moods. You will come to a point in your treatment when you are stable and don't require fifty million pills. I have not reached that point yet. I'm working hard to get to that point and it's something that I look forward to because like you I find taking designer drugs scary. But if I had diabetes I'd take my insulin because I had to. I'm bipolar so I take my meds because I have to.
I advise you to go to a doctor who's speciallty is bipolar. I also advise you to do all the reseach you can to educate yourself on your disorder. Knowledge is power when it comes to mental illness. The more you know the better off you'll be. I hope this diatribe was helpful to you. If I can assist you more just let me know. Good luck, and know that evan though you might not be able to see the light at the end of the tunel, it is there and you will find it, I promise!
Only a wee reply to you guys. For the first time i've found people on the same wave as me, I know exactly what you mean about the 'cool' period. I was depressed for a while, drug induced and I won't get into that. I knew I would snap out of it and told my mates that when I do 'you wont know me.' I went clean from weed and eventually I rose to a state of ecstacy. This lasted for a good 5-6 months, I don't mind admitting but I was a bloody cool dude, women where no obstacle, my conversations with people where interesting and always unique (I reckon anyway). This was all too good to be true, and around the end of Dec 2004, I smoked a humungus joint with my mate, I rolled it myself and stuffed it full. I can remember saying this is going to ruin me, and it surely did the next morning I woke, and couldn't stop talking to myself, and It has been a living nightmare ever sinse. Is this the little voice your talking about? It's called an auditory hallucination to my recollection. I know everyones different, but until today I tried to put my finger on what this is, and you guys have enlightened me, I thought I was the only person to have this awesome experience - but it only goes to show. The health care here in Ireland is ****** by the way, we pay for our doctors, and hospitals out of our pay called National Insurance- if I was to try and sort this out I'd need to have talked to an ill-educated psyciatric nurse for about 3 months before even getting an appointment to see a psychiatrist. I'm on no medication and hope my current 3rd level education will help me regain my old self back. One last thing, have any of you ever experienced body aches all over. about 3 weeks ago this started to happen to me. Then after, a brief peiod of burning sensations (about 2 days) all over. I'm left feeling fatigued now and tired all the time. This has never happened to me before, and I'm just wondering if it's to do with having bi-polar or maybe it's something else.
It sounds like you have a classic case of deppresion. The way that deppresion was explained to me, by my therapist, is that it isn't the saddness that people think it is. It's a feeling like being covered in a giant marshmellow. It makes it diffacult to get out of the house or to do the dishes. It's the simplest things that are diffacult and it's not that you don't want to do anything, it's that you simply can't do anything. I would advise that you see a therapist as you can not just snap out of this. You may be able to do some self help. There is a great book out there called "The Feeling Good Book". I have used it and it really helps you to identify and fight back that voice. It gives you the power over the marshmellow, so to speak. If mental health help is a challange then do what you can to get an appointment and on the side, read and educate yourself. There are a lot of good self help books out there, pick one up. Keep on the doctors, sounds like you could benafit from some meds. Take care,