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Old 06-30-2006, 12:18 PM   #1
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Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

It seems that most of us bipolar's are always looking for that excuse for our actions/episodes.I know I did for the first 15 years of my diagnosis. About every 2 years,a environmental "trigger" would move me into another episode. Of course, I was inconstant with taking lithium. Like a lot of us we felt that a hypomania/maina was the answer to 'feeling better." After all, We were so much more productive. Then came the depression after the first environmental "trigger." Then came all the excuses for my mood swings :"Oh,I'm just bipolar,I can't help it","My medicine has to many side effects,so I quite taking it", "My parents don't understand me","My Pdoc never does listen to me anyways" and we could just continue on and on with these "poor me" excuese.

It now has occurred to me that I have been stable (episode free) for the last 21 years.As I look back over these past years,I have seem to see a pattern of my stability: Number one,taking my mood stabilizer (lithium) consistency. Two,self education on bipolar disorder.Three, Learning how to confront/deal with all extended family. And being strong enough to stop all association with them,if need be.Four,knowing when any environmental "trigger" is a potential stress hazard to precipitate a mood swing.

These four insights to stability just didn't 'appear" to me over the last 21 years. They seem to come with a maturity factor related to age. I would like to say that all my biochemical reactions in my bipolar brain, has simply changed, for the better, with age. If not that,then it may be that with age, we have that knowledge,patience,and maturity to positively deal with bipolar disorder. Excuses for this problem has just slipped to the way side. The challenge is for "us" to possibly think and know that evey day we "Age", we can overcome bipolar disorder.At 64, I'm still learning.

There are so many who post on this web site : GatsbyLuvr1920,Ruth,Kiehn.Fallan Angle,coffeegirl2, just to name a few. I would feel honored to have anyone post a comment.

Eyes

 
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:21 PM   #2
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

I will 37 next week and I am still learning how to deal with me in positive ways and to have the future I would want for myself. I would have to say on my behalf that my struggles with the mood swings actually have gotten worse the older I have gotten. Now instead of one or the other I tend to have both at the same time. I do agree with much of what you have said and am glad to hear such positive remarks made and to hear the strength in your words on your own behalf. Sometimes there are those while they fight for others during their struggle they forget to put themselves on the list or any list for that matter. I hope you will continue to share and grow in positive ways.
Bright Blessings,
Emerald

 
Old 06-30-2006, 03:49 PM   #3
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

Thanks for the post. I definitely agree that over time I have become much more "aware" of my behavior, mood, sleep and energy changes caused by this illness. In doing so, I can "catch myself" becoming unstable and call my pdoc to adjust my meds before I get too manic or too depressed. Years ago, I had no idea I was acting in irrational ways or totally depressed. It would take months for anyone to notice or understand what was going on and get me to alert my doctors. By then much damage could be done with relationships, weight, financial, self-esteem, guilt, etc. No matter how difficult of a case of bipolar you have (and my doctor who has been practicing 30 years told me mine is one of the worst he has seen), the key I think is to have friends and family looking out for you and be very aware yourself of changes in mood, sleep, behavior and energy. You must be open to "constructive criticism" from loved ones who encourage you to call you doctor. Keeping in close tough with a good doctor and therapist who know you well I believe is the key to staying stable in the long run. Doing what they say in terms of taking all meds as prescribed and behavior modification goes without saying!

 
Old 06-30-2006, 04:50 PM   #4
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

I was diagnosed with bipolar nearly 12 months ago and i still have trouble accepting it. My experiences last year were so traumatic for myself and my family, that it is so painful to think i might go through all that again.

I'm only 21 aswell, so i feel the illness has ruined any chances of me having a normal life. Like enjoying going out with friends and aiming to make something of myself. I have lost almost all of my friends since i got unwell, i'm too embarrassed to have friends because i dont want them to see me in a manic phase, it is such an embarrassment for me. I only have 2 friends and it hurts, because i used to be so socialable.

Also my family dont really understand the illness because mental health is not fully understood in my culture and i dont think they reallly understand that i could get unwell again and there is a possibility of going through what i went through before.
Everytime i bring up that fact, i get responses such as, 'gosh, we were so worried when you were ill, it made our lives stand still and we never knew what was going to happen, i dnt want to go through that again'. So i'm finding that i really hate this illness with great passion and i wish i never had it. I'm the only one in my family who has any type of mental illness ( i have three disorders) and i feel like i dont belong.

I'm trying to accept it, but i just try to ignore it. The only part that truley makes my heart ache is that the only thing i ever wanted in my life was to marry my partner and have a family. But now after all that has happened to me, i dont feel i would be fit to be a mother and wife, so i feel my life is worthless. I also love my partner so much, so i dnt know what to do.

Back to the point, fater reading your post, it did give me abit of hope. I understood where you said you used your illness to explain your behaviour because i do that now, but when you said you had been stable for 21 years, it gave me hope that maybe i can lead a normal life and have a family.
I have taken note of all the stratergies you used to help stabilise your moods and i am so grateful you posted them.

I have one question tho. I am extreamly afraid about having another episode, and you said that knowing when any environmental "trigger" is a potential stress hazard to precipitate a mood swing has helped you become stable.
I was just wondering how you were able to do that? For instance, was it through experience, like you would have an episode then look back and see what could have triggered it (because i want to avoid the episode- i know that maynot be possible). Or did you start to note down what had changed in your environment when you felt you were going into an episode??

I'm sorry if i am asking silly questions, but i cant express how afraid i am of getting unwell, it really was such horror when i went through it before being diagnosed. I hope that age does have an effect on bipolar episodes because i would love to think that i will be happy at some point in my life.

Thank you again for your post.

I hope you stay well and stable.

xx
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Old 07-01-2006, 11:49 AM   #5
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

Thanks for your collective responces,Emeraldeyes,Gotitbad,and Lai.

Just a quote from Emeraldeyes :"Sometimes there are those while they fight for others during their struggle they forget to put themselves on the list or any list for that matter." It has occured to me that as I have aged, in dealing with bipolar disorder; the most important person is myself. Yes, we do need to put ourselves at the head of any "list".

Gotitbab states:"..... that over time I have become much more "aware" of my behavior, mood, sleep and energy changes caused by this illness. In doing so, I can "catch myself" becoming unstable and call my pdoc to adjust my meds before I get too manic or too depressed." Yes, if we are postive about being "aware" of all behavioral changes,each time they may occur;then "time"is on our side. We learn through the "ages" !

Lai's question:I have one question tho. I am extreamly afraid about having another episode, and you said that knowing when any environmental "trigger" is a potential stress hazard to precipitate a mood swing has helped you become stable.I was just wondering how you were able to do that?
Sometimes "fear" can keep us from being able to think clearly.(wanting everything just "perfect"). If we can at least keep "fear" away and accept the "fact" that an episode is possible,and then open up all "awearness" to any environmental "triggers" of stress;we then know that we are on a postive track to deal with a potental episode.

I came across a comment from Peter Ubel,M.D. He has conducted serveral senior studies,and has found that bipolar people are often surprisingly happy,sometimes just as happy as heathy people.This suggests an adaptability or resilience in face of their bipolar disorder ,as they age.

Eyes

 
Old 07-01-2006, 02:10 PM   #6
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

Gosh Eyes, what a great idea to bring all of us aging Bipolars into the open!!! I just had a birthday Thursday and thought I'd totter over to the computer where I keep an extra walker to aid me in sitting down - & voila! The perfect post for a 52 yrs old med compliant Type I Bipolar WITH a bit of gray hair and arthritis!!

Ok, nuff of all the fun stuff!
What a great post!!!
The difference between me in my 30's and me now is tremendous. Something that everyone here who worries about family, other people, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, education, needs to know.
Over time I have become much less self-absorbed with my brain & self-analyzing my behavior. The longer I stay stabilized on lithium, the more I continue to read about Bipolar disorder & win my Dr.'s award for most self-educated about their illness, the more I get to an age where I don't really care what the everyday person thinks of me, well - I guess it boils down to the fact that I'm just aging into a place where I am much more comfortable with who I am.

And the person that I am has EVERYthing to do with having this chemical imbalance. I have experienced intense spiritual highs in manias that left a lasting impression on me. I have watched people I love die of heart disease & cancer while at least my disorder doesn't have death as an outcome.

Because of the years of self-introspection and analyzing myself I am almost psychic in my ability to "read" others. (3 cheers for Deanna Troi the empath betazoid on Star Trek)
I am well educated and up to date despite being unable to go attend college.
I have worked for all but 2 yrs of the last 30.
I have a wonderful teflon-coated husband who is perfectly suited for the moods I do have!
I have a couple friends who know I have bipolar disorder but claim that I'm more put together then THEY are!!

Time is a great fixer for more than just grief.
The jagged rock that represents Bipolar Disorder that I set down in the stream at age 30 is a much smoother one now...
It's still a rock, but time has changed it to what it is today.

I like who I am - & I do have to thank my experiences (not always so wonderful by the way) for who I am today.

 
Old 07-01-2006, 06:17 PM   #7
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

Wow Ruth! Thank you for your insights. It is so comforting to here your perspective and optimism! You are so lucky to have a husband to share life with that understands or at least accepts you. I didn't know if that was really possible. Since mine walked out on me upon receiving my diagnosis, I've yet to gain confidence that I will ever find someone who will love and accept me when they find out that I have a mental illness. My family and friends who have known me my entire life have stuck with me for the most part, but I just get so afraid the stigma attached to bipolar will ruin my chance of developing close relationships with new friends or a possible husband. I wonder what percent of people your age living with this illness have had as much success controlling it over time as you have. Do you think you are a typical example or unusual?

 
Old 07-02-2006, 05:05 AM   #8
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

Ruth : Happy birthday,at 52 you have certinaly aquired an amazing amount of insight on how to stay stable. You stated "I am well educated and up to date despite being unable to go attend college.
I have worked for all but 2 yrs of the last 30.
I have a wonderful teflon-coated husband who is perfectly suited for the moods I do have!
I have a couple friends who know I have bipolar disorder but claim that I'm more put together then THEY are!!"

You really prove the point that TIME is a factor when dealing with bipolar disorder when you said :"Time is a great fixer for more than just grief.
The jagged rock that represents Bipolar Disorder that I set down in the stream at age 30 is a much smoother one now...
It's still a rock, but time has changed it to what it is today."

Gotitbad : I surely understand your concerns as to the possibility of finding another mate who will love and accept you with bipolar disorder. However,if your family and friends have always given you support, than with TIME, and a contiued diplay of STABILITY,the chances are very good that that "Mate" will be found. Oh, you asked of of Ruth :"I wonder what percent of people your age living with this illness have had as much success controlling it over time as you have. Do you think you are a typical example or unusual?
Ruth may her answer,however, at my age, 64,the percentage would be quite high. Just remember it has been said : "Time Heals All"

Ruth is working on 21 years of stability and I am at 22 years of stability. And I would say that we are the "typical example"

Eyes

 
Old 07-02-2006, 05:38 AM   #9
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Wink Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

Eyestwo22,
I liked what you wrote. I am 53 years old and only found out last November that I am bipolar one. I now wish I had only knew years ago. Now I know why I gave up on things that meant so much too me. I was always putting my self down and I still do at times.
I'm now on Lamictal and it has done wonders for me. I really don't know how my husband has put up with me all these years. I think back now on how many times I packed up the kids and said I'm leaving you. He has been there for me and why, I have no answer.
My counselor whom I meet with once a month says I'm in a very stressful job but yet somehow I seem to manage. If only he knew, sometimes for no reason I will lose my temper and yell at someone and I can't tell you how many times I will quit my job and lose everything that meant so much too me.
I work in a PPC office and thank the Lord I have a very understanding Doctor that I work for. He doesn't get mad at me when I lose it and he tells me when he dx a new bipolar patient he actually has me talk with them. I have read every book under the sun and the more you know about your disease the more you understand your moods.
I'm still struggling but I know I can change and now when I know I'm really upset about something I excuse myself and go to my car and have a good cry and then I'm come back and get on with the job.
Thanks for writing and thank you for listening to all of this. I have rambled on way too much.

Just me.
Tweeyone

 
Old 07-02-2006, 11:21 AM   #10
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

I wouldn't necessarily say that I've been able to change my behaviors, but like Tweetyone, I've just been able to see why I do certain things, and looking back in my life, I can see why I acted a certain way. For my outbursts, I'm better now that I'm on the Lamictal, but I'm still moody and unpredictable. However, now I know what has made me upset, but I can't stop myself from actually becoming upset in the first place. I've always saved my outbursts and my OCD symptoms for home, with the people I love (mostly my mom), ever since I was a little kid. This may be because I'm uncomfortable around strangers and I want to be "perfect" in school, but there's always been a big difference between my behavior in the classroom and home. Ever since I can remember, I've bottled up my frustration from school and let it out when I got home.
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Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 07-02-2006 at 11:24 AM.

 
Old 07-02-2006, 11:27 AM   #11
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

Tweetyone :
This Thread is all about age and how it may give us an advantage with bipolar disorder. You, already, are on the right track to stability when you are doing as much self education as possible. By your own words you stated : "I have read every book under the sun and the more you know about your disease the more you understand your moods." Age has always given the bioplar person the advantage, We learn by doing,and undoing some of our mistakes of our past. It's by puting your knowledge to good use,you are learnig to stay stable.Again, as you said "I'm still struggling but I know I can change and now when I know I'm really upset about something I excuse myself and go to my car and have a good cry and then I'm come back and get on with the job."

Keep up the good work,and stability will follow

Eyes

 
Old 07-03-2006, 05:49 PM   #12
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

[QUOTE=GatsbyLuvr1920]I wouldn't necessarily say that I've been able to change my behaviors, but like Tweetyone, I've just been able to see why I do certain things, and looking back in my life, I can see why I acted a certain way. For my outbursts, I'm better now that I'm on the Lamictal, but I'm still moody and unpredictable. However, now I know what has made me upset, but I can't stop myself from actually becoming upset in the first place. I've always saved my outbursts and my OCD symptoms for home, with the people I love (mostly my mom), ever since I was a little kid. This may be because I'm uncomfortable around strangers and I want to be "perfect" in school, but there's always been a big difference between my behavior in the classroom and home. Ever since I can remember, I've bottled up my frustration from school and let it out when I got home.
-GatsbyLuvr1920-[/QUOTE

Gatsby:

It is pleasing to know that you are so awear of why you respond to you OCD symptoms. As you say, you "save" your outbusts for the people you "love". That is just so "perfect" for others in your life. However, it occurs to me that that this type of behavior is something that you are,in fact,somehow, controling on your own. (yes,Lamictal is helping you). Think for just a moment, if you have been awear of this "ever since I was a littlr kid";could it be possible,just possible, that you have "LEARNED" over your "YEARS" of your life (age 19),that this 19 years ("AGE") is a very important factor of learning how to deal with OCD. (and Bipolar Disorder for that matter). No matter what our age is now, it is my impression that we are always,somehow, LEARNING how to deal with our mental disorders "OVER TIME".

Eyes

Last edited by twoeyez; 07-03-2006 at 05:52 PM.

 
Old 07-04-2006, 06:09 AM   #13
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Cool Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

thankyou eyes for your imput. i hope you have a great fourth of july. just wanted you to know that i still have my ups and downs but i'm doing much better with them. as the old saying goes this to will past.
two more cents worth.
just me,
tweetyone ( Linda)

 
Old 07-04-2006, 05:50 PM   #14
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

Linda ( my wife's name,Also)

Having those "up and downs" is always ok. The important thing is that you are awear of them and what may be the "triggers" that may cause them. And at you "young" age of 53, you give me the impression that you are dealing with the "triggers" just fine.

Yes the "old" saying goes : "this to will pass" (past/age has it's advantage over time to keep bipolar disorder stabilized)

Oh Gatsby, I still looking for a responce from you.

Eyes

 
Old 07-05-2006, 06:29 AM   #15
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Re: Can Age be a positive factor in dealing with bipolar episodes ?

Hey, Eyes! Yes, you're right in that I can control my outbursts to a certain degree. Really, the only thing that is totally beyond my control is the obsessions, which just pop up out of nowhere, literally. I can change how I deal with them, but I can't change having them, sort of similar to how bipolar people can't change having mood swings, but can change how to handle them...
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