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salty 09-07-2008 07:47 PM

Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
Hello. If so, what have you tried, what has worked for you?

I'm so desperate right now, the depression is so bad.

Lexapro is the only med. that has worked for me but it's not enough right now.

Anyone been in a similar situation and has added another med. to the Lexapro?

I would really appreciate ANY feedback.

Thank you.


Bunnylover 09-08-2008 10:41 AM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
I'm a little unclear what you're asking. If you asking if anyone was missed diagnosed with major depression, and turned out to be bipolar, that was me (and it's really common). I am Bipolar II, mostly depressed, and the depressions are horrible. I finally agreed to try mood stabilizers because in the middle of my last bout of depression I really wasn't sure I was going to survive it. None of the typical anti-depressants helped in the long run (they worked quickly, but then crapped out.) Lamictal finally worked for me, and cross my fingers this November I'll have been depression free for a year.

Don't know if that helped.

seaturtle 09-08-2008 08:39 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
Lamictal has helped me, too. I also take Wellbutrin. I never found the SSRI's helpful.

I am uncertain, too, if you've been diagnosed as being bipolar when you really have major depresion, or if it's the other way around. If it's depression, then there is a depression board, too, where you may get some help.

Best to you,


salty 09-24-2008 11:17 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
Hi. Have been so sick haven't been able to respond. Have major depression and the only thing that has worked is lexapro, but I need something added.

Thank you for both for writing. I'm very nauseous and it's hard to write more.

I wish I had the answer. I'm so tired to being depressed.


brit5467 09-25-2008 10:41 AM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
If I'm reading your question right, you were diagnosed BP but now feel you have Major Depression? If you read definitions of the types of BP (Types I, II, and Mixed) you’ll see they all include depression. That’s why it’s also referred to as ‘Manic Depression.’


My experience might be the opposite of what you're asking about, but I'm sharing to show how misdiagnosis can happen.

As a teen, I was told I just had depression. Was on many different anti-depressants (AD’s) throughout the years. Wasn't properly diagnosed with BP until my late 40's (I'm now 51). Those years in-between were HELLISH, to say the least.

People make the mistake of thinking that the 'manic' or mania aspect of BP should be obvious and outrageous. But for me it was not, because I only experienced hypomania (not as extreme as full-blown mania). I just felt REALLY, REALLY energized and hyperactive at times. High on life. And very productive.

Sometimes this was a positive thing. I could stay up all night cleaning house, organizing kitchen cabinets, or spend all day cleaning car inside and out. I'd become very talkative and outgoing. I might go shopping and buy lots of stuff. But knowing I could not afford it, I’d return it all the next day (people with full mania, for example, would not care and go into debt).

But sometimes I would feel too hyper so I resorted to alcohol (while still taking the AD - BAD move) to 'calm me down.' I was self-medicating. Although ‘calming’ the hyper-ness, it actually had the opposite effect than on ‘normal’ people and I'd stay up late drinking more, sometimes all night.

The alcohol would then negate the AD and for days after a drinking episode, I would be extremely depressed. Even suicidal a couple of times. I also go into lots of trouble (to include DUI's) due to my drinking which only further depressed me. Then the AD would kick back in and I'd go awhile feeling 'normal.' But then the hypomania would come back and once again, I'd try to self-medicate with alcohol.

This became a vicious cycle with feeling normal, then 'manic', then drinking to feel calm the mania, then depression from the ‘crash’ and alcohol. And then it started all over again. For the doctors, this became an issue of “which came first -- the chicken or the egg???” Was the alcohol causing my depression or was my depression causing me to drink?

So unfortunately, my alcoholism became the focus of my illness and I was then re-diagnosed with THAT being my main problem. They blamed my depression on THAT. I was even taken off my AD.

Doctors didn’t think to look past the alcoholism or to question that it might be a symptom and not an illness in itself. So being BP wasn't even a consideration. As well, I'd never recognized my hypomania behavior as a problem so I never brought it up, hence, they were never aware of it.

Fortunately, since then the Mental Health community HAS come to realize that many alcoholics are actually people with mental illness who are simply attempting to find a way to medicate themselves.

Eventually in 1996, I got sober and thought all my mental problems would go away. But soon after, I got hit very hard with a BAD depressive episode, so much so that I could not go to work and was considering checking into a hospital. But as quickly as it came on, it went away just as fast and I got on with life. The next couple years are kind of hazy as far as my behavior.

But I DO remember the last hypomanic episode. After getting fired (problems with jobs goes hand in hand with BP) I found myself going for two job separate interviews for which I was under-qualified. Yet in my ‘manic’ state, feeling grandiose, I presented myself as being so competent that I landed BOTH jobs at an annual salary far above my qualifications. I was ecstatic. Yet when I started the new job, another depression episode kicked in and I just didn’t go back. Nor did I call them to resign. Very irresponsible (another symptom of mania).

A few days later I was on top of the world again. I started installing an entire brick patio by myself. I did all the manual labor. It was HARD work. Then I landscaped, planting trees, plants, and mulching. And I did all this in 100º weather and lost 20 lbs. -- all the while my neighbor was telling me I was crazy and going to kill myself in that heat. She saw that something was ‘wrong’ with me, but I didn’t.

I then proceed to take on painting my bathroom and living room, only to sink into a deep depression (I crashed) just as I needed to finish up the last little bit painting in my hallway. I could not understand how 4 square feet of ceiling could seem so overwhelming and literally paralyze me. I blamed my ‘depression’ on paint fumes.

I’ve gone into such detail only to show how hypomania affected me and that it didn’t even seem unusual to me. I just thought I was being very productive. I loved the energy. Therefore I never reported this sort of behavior to my shrink. I have not described my depression because obviously you know what THAT is like.

But fortunately for me it was THIS particular depressive episode, along with a new ‘shrink’ taking over my case, that finally got me properly diagnosed.

When I got there, I initially complained about the depression, saying I could not understand it – after having accomplished so much (with the patio and painting). Thank GOD she recognized BP and asked me just a few simple questions such as “was I needing less sleep” and “had I had unusual energy?” She’d recognized the cycle of having mania and then crashing into depression and immediate made the proper diagnosis and put me on Depakote.

I got immediate positive results from Depakote (Valproic Acid) with the exception of weigh gain, so a couple years ago, I was switched to Equetro. Also, after another period of feeling depressed after years of being fine, I was also put on Lamictal. As well, I had been taking Wellbutrin XL prior to any medication for the BP, so I continued taking that. (As a side note, I also take Klonapin for anxiety.)

This has been my ‘cocktail’ of medications for about 6-8 years now and I have done well on them. I don’t suffer from depression anymore. I do still at times, feel I have slight periods of the hypomania where I am very productive. But it is not out of control and for all I know, ‘normal’ people experience the same thing, where they have ‘lazy’ days and want to relax and other days where they feel extremely productive.

Hope this has been of some help to you and sorry it’s so long.

Best Wishes,

salty 10-05-2008 02:35 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
brit5467, thank you for all you wrote...when i'm feeling better i'm going to really digest everything...lamictal worked great for me for about 5 days, then i got really, really ill and my face broke out like crazy. I've tried WB many times...never heard of Equetro. If you could tell me a little about it, i'd appreciate it.

I'm having gyn. problems now too so I'm just at my wits end...never going to have children and I have a feeling I'll be solo for the rest of my life...if someone told me my life would be like this, I'd never have believed it. Always thought I'd be married with children and happy.

Just can't find anything to add to the lexapro to help me...the depression is overwhelming. As I said if you could tell me about Equetro, I'd appreciate it because I've never heard of it (and that's unusual). I know I don't want anything that causes weight gain, been through all that and it only made things worse of course.

I'm really glad you don't suffer from depression anymore, that's wonderful.


salty 10-05-2008 02:44 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
Bunnylover, thank you for writing. As I wrote to brit, I tried lamictal and it was horrible. I have major depression and am looking for something to add to lexapro (which is the only SSRI that ever helped)--but it's now not enough.

I am very glad you have been depression-free for a year and I hope you will be forever. I wish I could find the answer for me.


salty 10-05-2008 02:50 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
Seaturtle, thank you for writing, too. I wish lamictal had worked for me. I've lived on the depression board...they've been great. I just still can't find the answer to my depression. Seems like lamictal really works for people.

None of you had terrible acne, etc. from it?

I was so sick...I do remember that well. It worked great for a few days.

Just looking for other answers...brit mentioned equetro, never heard of it, have you?

I know I need something to add to the lexapro...seems like i've tried them all.

I'm glad you have found something that works for you. I hope you stay depression-free.


brit5467 10-06-2008 03:11 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
You're welcome!! You can read about Equetro but I noticed it referenced it being for BP, specifically BP Type I, which has more mania then depression (if I interpret it right) and that's weird because that's not my case. I had more depression and not really 'mania' but more the 'hypomania' as I'd explained, so it's odd my doc prescribed it for me. But that's a whole other story.

I think I get what you're saying now, that you only have major depression and are not bi-polar. Maybe that's why the Lamictal did not work out for you, since it IS for BP.

I'm curious as to what led to the misdiagnosis or why you feel you were misdiagnosised

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One thing that might be helpful is to take your treatment into your own hands as far as educating yourself on ALL types of depression meds available and discussing options with your MD. From what my mom told me (she used to work for a regular dr.), they basically don't know that much about meds because there are SO MANY out there and mainly rely on the Pharm reps who come by and give them free samples and pamphlets about them.

Not to say there aren't good docs who DO read up and really educate themselves. But you can't depend on the doc to know EVERYTHING about EVERY new drug that come out. So I'd do lots of research on the different drug websites and discuss the different options with my doc.

I remember a long time ago, when I just saw a psychologist for talking and then HE would send me over to the shrink for meds IF and only IF he felt I needed them. At one point during therapy I knew I was very depressed but he did not agree. I had to more or less 'argue' with him that I WAS and needed meds until he 'gave in.' Once I was on them and feeling better, he admitted to me that I knew better than him.

It was an epiphany for me. I realized that my doc wasn't 'God' and he didn't know everything. They're human, too, and prone to err just like us. And that it was up to ME to take charge and get involved as well.

I'm not giving docs a bad rap for anyone who misinterprets me. Just saying that I feel a person needs to trust their gut when a med is not working and to be assertive and get involved in their treatment plan.

I also found, thru all the years of therapy and shrinks, etc., that there are good ones and ones who don't know crap. Sometimes it's time for a change. Once you read my story, you'll see that it took a new shrink to recognize my BP problem after all those years. God, I must have seen 7 or 8 others in my lifetime before her.

Sorry about your 'ladies' problems....but don't give up on happiness. It took me until age 50 to find the right guy but it was worth it. And we don't have kids and are glad in many ways (with the way the world is, as well as for selfish reasons....we love our freedom). Don't mean to make light of your situation. Just saying that you're never too old to find someone. And you can adopt if children are really important.

Okay, I'm rambling now. Sorry. I am a very talkative person.

Take care and take charge!

salty 10-07-2008 01:12 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
Bonnie, you are so sweet and I appreciate you writing. The lamictal worked great for 4 days, thought that was the solution.

I agree with everything you wrote about the drs. I have to always do the research, etc.

I just don't have the's always depression, really bad depression.

When I took my very first pill of lexapro within minutes, the fog cleared and it was wonderful, I couldn't believe it. Then over the years, I had to increase the dose and now I'm just here...just existing, but not living.

All the gyn-stuff doesn't help, but I just don't know anymore. I tried sooo many meds and I just don't know.

I did horribly on topamax and the epilepsy ones, so I'm sure it will be the same with equetro. I was so hoping that would be one to help. Every time I hear of a new med, I think it's gonna be the one.

I'm sorry, dear, I'm just out of ideas...I take anxiety meds...trying buspar now, am on nausea meds for gyn-stuff...tired of meds, tired of being sick.

I love God and know I can't give up, but I don't have any more answers...i just keep searching.

Had terrible relationships...I'm so glad you found someone. I have to believe that I will be okay, that for some reason this is God's plan for me. I just never thought it would be like this.

I don't know what I will do when my parents are gone. I just have to keep believing I'll be okay by myself.

I just don't understand with all the technology we have today---with everything we can do, why there isn't a cure for depression.

Sorry, sweetie, I'm sorry for venting, I'm just tired of fighting to just exist. I'd just like some happiness. I'd love a little "hypo" anything right now.

Thank you for writing so much. I really appreciate it. I feel like I've known you for a long time or something, it's weird.

I can barely take care of myself, let alone children, but maybe one day, I'll find the answer to this horrible depression.


salty 10-07-2008 04:40 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
I also wanted to know about the dr. who finally got it right for you, etc.


salty 10-07-2008 05:16 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
Bonnie I forgot to write that when i was in high school i was diagnosed BP because i was a teenager who acted other words, I haven't had any hypo anything since then. I was put on lithium and it did work to help the depression. It stopped working years and years ago from preventing depression.

That's when lexapro changed my life and i thought i was home-free.

What puzzles me is why the lamictal worked so well right away. From experience I know that a med is either going to work right away with me or not at all.

I really thought that was the answer for me, lexapro and lamictal and you know it crosses my mind a lot to try it again just because it worked sooo well in the beginning. The acne was so bad i couldn't continue to use it.

We live in neighboring states, I wish I could find someone like the dr. who finally helped you. I love my dr., but he's not knowledgable enough about the BP's and depression. I've had so many bad experiences with drs. I wish I could find one who really knew what was up so i could get the help i need. I adore my dr., but he's not knowledgable enough.

I felt a connection with you right away--you are wise (i never would have even heard of equetro if it wasn't for you) and we are close in age. You've been through a lot with your disorder as have I.

I have been on the depression and BP site for years as they have both had information that helped.

What do you think about the lamictal and it working so well (except for the acne)? Any thoughts? Thank you.


salty 10-08-2008 04:14 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
Also, Bonnie, what do you know about Abilify?

Thank you.


brit5467 10-09-2008 08:18 AM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
Just wanted to say "you're welcome" and I know what you mean. Sometimes there's just a connection between people :) And I have the same problem in school as you, with the acting out part. Will get into that another time.

Bye for now....

salty 10-09-2008 04:17 PM

Re: Anyone Misdiagnosed BP & Instead Had Major Depressive Disorder For Years?
brit, i hope you're didn't answer my posts.


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