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Old 04-08-2009, 07:52 PM   #1
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Officially diagnosed today

Though I've suspected it for a while, my pdoc officially told me today that I was bp II. It was a blow, and I cried. I don't really know why. I guess because I'm no expert, and I didn't take my own dx as seriously. But today, after I called my pdoc about what seemed to be rapid cycling all yesterday, he simply explained that "mood disorder NOS" (my dx for 3 yrs now) wasn't what I had. Instead I was bp II. He's held off calling me bp for some time. He's used terms like "mixed episodes", "rapid cycling," but never said I was bp until today. My symptoms yesterday seemed clinch it. He said to stay on the 150mg lamictal, but he's added on .25mg risperdal to help me sleep at night.

Risperdal - that's what Grandma took for schizophrenia. That kinda freaks me out... But pdoc assured me that I only have bpII. There's always a silver lining.

I cried to my sister, and played my cello, and I feel better now. Just a little. And I'm even starting to feel a relief that I now know the name of the dragon who chases me sometimes, and then retreats to his cave...

 
Old 04-08-2009, 07:59 PM   #2
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Re: Officially diagnosed today

I'm glad your got a definite diagnosis. Having that give you your next stepping stone into getting and feeling better. I know how hard it is to hear the first time that you have bipolar, but once you go through the acceptance stage, it will be much easier to handle and deal with. And crying about it is definitely okay and helpful to do.

 
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:13 PM   #3
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Re: Officially diagnosed today

Don't worry risperadol has all sorts of uses to it. Its not just for people with schizophrenia. Besides the purpose of the risperadol is to help you sleep. By the way the cello has got to be my favourite string instrument. Sometimes when I feel down I pull out some music where it has the cello in it and listen to it.
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:55 PM   #4
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Re: Officially diagnosed today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elf_Ears View Post
Though I've suspected it for a while, my pdoc officially told me today that I was bp II. It was a blow, and I cried. I don't really know why. I guess because I'm no expert, and I didn't take my own dx as seriously. But today, after I called my pdoc about what seemed to be rapid cycling all yesterday, he simply explained that "mood disorder NOS" (my dx for 3 yrs now) wasn't what I had. Instead I was bp II. He's held off calling me bp for some time. He's used terms like "mixed episodes", "rapid cycling," but never said I was bp until today. My symptoms yesterday seemed clinch it. He said to stay on the 150mg lamictal, but he's added on .25mg risperdal to help me sleep at night.

Risperdal - that's what Grandma took for schizophrenia. That kinda freaks me out... But pdoc assured me that I only have bpII. There's always a silver lining.

I cried to my sister, and played my cello, and I feel better now. Just a little. And I'm even starting to feel a relief that I now know the name of the dragon who chases me sometimes, and then retreats to his cave...
hi

\in some ways it is good to have definitive diagnosis as then you can get on with learning about it and how to manage it. there are books that are great - 'an unquiet mind' kay redfield jameson, and 'the family silver'. both possible to get online. worth a try. know it is a blow initially but i guess once realised that it is a disease like any other it becomes easier to accept. good luck with it.

 
Old 04-09-2009, 06:00 AM   #5
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Re: Officially diagnosed today

Thanks you all for your responses. I'm so glad this board exists. I can only imagine how isolated bp people were before the internet. I think I would've joined a support group. But it's so much nicer to be able to post and repost through the day.

I will look for those books. Right now, I'm reading one called Why Am I Still Depressed? by Jim Phelps. Its focus is bpII and other "soft" bipolars. One thing I haven't found in the book is what Dreams in Neon mentioned, atypical bipolar, where one is cycling between manic and normal moods. That was me from age 16? - 34. Then the real lows came between the highs. Having my fifth baby was the turning point for me. I haven't been the same since. I'd do it all over again, for I love him dearly, but there it is. (I'm careful not to say this in front of him, and I hope he never knows until he's well into adult-hood and able to take it in objectively. It certainly isn't his fault.)

I told Dh all about my day yesterday, and he reassured me that he loved me just the way I am. (The news was no surprise to him, lol) He also encouraged me by pointing out the good in bp - the creativity and high performance of mania. He also called me his "Polar Bear." (Someone should use that as a user name!)

Now I see why I got so many complements on raising my 1st four kids, born from 1985-1992. (#5 was born in 2002) I was determined to be the best mom I could, spending quality one-on-one with each, consistently disciplining them, esp #3, who is now thankful for that, getting up with them at night, going on 4 hrs sleep for 3-4 nights in a row w/o flagging. I even home-schooled them for several years. All this time, I was hyper-diligent about child safety. (I got teased about this, but I knew what needed to be done.) My mother was amazed - truly boggled at how I did it. She also had 4 kids in 6 yrs, and was often exhausted. But she did also struggle w/depression, so it's apples to oranges. DH called me "Super Mom." Now that I've dipped into depression between the highs, I look back and am amazed myself. But when I realize that I was prob hypomanic half the time, it makes sense.

Another thing I wonder about: Since age 18, I have had a tendency to obsess about something for about 3 years, then drop it, only to pick up a new obsession a year later. I've obsessed about home-schooling, Danny Kaye, Ragdoll cats, jewelry, psychology to name a few. My family noticed my habit, and anytime I would become fascinated by something, they'd remark, "Uh-oh! Mom's got a new thing!" and laugh. Since starting lithium and then lamictal, this tendency has been much-tempered. I still love to dig in an research the heck out of something, and then "report" on it, but it's not the same intensity as it used to be.

I've also been told that I had "big energy." Has anyone here heard that? That's how my tdoc decribed me to me after 1-1/2 yrs therapy. She was trying to explain how I had improved and become calmer, more normal over the year of therapy and meds.

 
Old 04-09-2009, 11:25 AM   #6
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Re: Officially diagnosed today

Elf, I'm glad you got the relief of finally knowing the name to your disorder!

And isn't it true? I did the same thing and looked back on my life and definitely found periods when I was manic there or depressed during that time. It all makes sense now I guess!

 
Old 04-10-2009, 05:56 AM   #7
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Re: Officially diagnosed today

Feelings of relief about finally understanding what's going on, and being able to treat it, and loss of the life you invisioned without being bipolar, and fears about what this means are completely normal.

It can be a big, scary diagnosis, it was for me--I had made my peace with being depressed, having an anxiety disorder, but bipolar is a whole other thing--much scarier and more stigmitized, it's normal for it to come as a shock.

That said, give your self room to feel what you need to feel--anger, fear, frustration, loss, but also do what you can to take control back over your life.

Three suggestions:

1. For me, more information is always better. I did a lot of reading when I was first diagnosed, a lot of talking to my psychiatrist. The more I know, the more in control I feel, so that really helped.

2. Understand that the process of finding the right treatment plan--medication combo, lifestyle management, finding good pdoc, tdoc if necessary, will take time. The road won't always be as rocky as it feels right now, try as hard as it is, to keep that in mind.

3. I needed badly to do something to restore my confidence in myself, which the diagnosis really took away. For me it was taking a scary trip abroad, without my husband, which helped me conquer my fear of travel and restored my sense that if I could deal with X that happened on the trip, I could deal with anything. For a friend it meant finally starting back to school. For my aunt, it was smaller, undertaking and finishing an embrodiery project--teaching herself a new skill and staying with something to completion. In a few months, start thinking about what might help you.

Most of all, know you're not alone. I think one of the worst things this disease does is to isolate people, in part because of the stigma that means many of us can't share our struggles with most of the people in our lives. But this is a safe place to come for help or reassurance.

Sorry about the book, hope this helps.

 
Old 04-10-2009, 06:34 AM   #8
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Re: Officially diagnosed today

Elf,

I know exactly how you feel because I felt the same way after I was diagnosed with BPI three years ago. Part of me was relieved, but the other part was in shock and denial.

It took me a year to fully accept my diagnosis and I'm now at the point where I look at my bipolar as being just another part of who I am.

I found it helpful to discuss bipolar with my tdoc: what it was, the different types of bipolar, the symptoms of mania and depression as well as coping techniques. All of these things were helpful in allowing me to understand more about my diagnosis.

Keep posting here whenever you have questions or need to vent.

Most importantly, know that you aren't alone.
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Atypical Bipolar I Disorder with Rapid Cycling
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Risperdal 1mg titrating to 6mg/day
Klonopin .5mg (2x/day)
Trazodone 100mg or 200mg PRN

 
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