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Thread: Bipolar Disorder, possibly...maybe likely...

  1. #1

    Default Bipolar Disorder, possibly...maybe likely...

    Well, I usually don't ask much for support, but I feel like I need a hug and some advice.

    A lot of my symptoms appear to match bipolar disorder, and my psychiatrist and I are beginning to work things out--but in the meantime, I'm having to cope with one hell of a series of "manic" episodes during the day (during classes).

    And I feel particularly frustrated about it because I have finally discovered what I love to do--yet no matter how hard or what I try (deep breathing, deep muscle relaxation, closing my eyes, etc.), I just can't shake the inevitable highs (or lows) that show up periodically. I just have these painfully intense rises in energy, and I have to commit 80-90% of my focus just on keeping myself calm during class--it's dramatically affecting my ability to focus, so I'm barely retaining anything the professor is showing me.

    Is there anything I can do during or before class--pending possible medication--that I am not doing already to help minimize or turn around these intense moments? (exercising regularly, eating nutritiously, getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night [I KNOW lack of sleep makes it worse!], deep breathing, deep muscle relaxation...)

    I've tried to deal with this for quite a many years without medication, and I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve--including diapers--but I feel like I'm reaching my limits.

    Is there anything I could do to better cope?

    (I could describe my symptoms, but I think it is clear to both myself, my parents, my psychologist and psychiatrist that something is amiss--and bipolar is the most-likely culprit at this point, before blood tests rule out any physical diseases)

  2. #2

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    Sounds like you are on the right track so far. I would also add to avoid alcohol and illicit drugs as these can alter your decision-making ability and can cause depression or anxiety, depending on what is used. Be careful. Make sure to try to get to a safe place when the extremes come on until you can work out with your psychiatrist the best treatment method.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kif View Post
    Well, I usually don't ask much for support, but I feel like I need a hug and some advice.

    A lot of my symptoms appear to match bipolar disorder, and my psychiatrist and I are beginning to work things out--but in the meantime, I'm having to cope with one hell of a series of "manic" episodes during the day (during classes).

    And I feel particularly frustrated about it because I have finally discovered what I love to do--yet no matter how hard or what I try (deep breathing, deep muscle relaxation, closing my eyes, etc.), I just can't shake the inevitable highs (or lows) that show up periodically. I just have these painfully intense rises in energy, and I have to commit 80-90% of my focus just on keeping myself calm during class--it's dramatically affecting my ability to focus, so I'm barely retaining anything the professor is showing me.

    Is there anything I can do during or before class--pending possible medication--that I am not doing already to help minimize or turn around these intense moments? (exercising regularly, eating nutritiously, getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night [I KNOW lack of sleep makes it worse!], deep breathing, deep muscle relaxation...)

    I've tried to deal with this for quite a many years without medication, and I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve--including diapers--but I feel like I'm reaching my limits.

    Is there anything I could do to better cope?

    (I could describe my symptoms, but I think it is clear to both myself, my parents, my psychologist and psychiatrist that something is amiss--and bipolar is the most-likely culprit at this point, before blood tests rule out any physical diseases)
    Bipolar disorder presents with manic episodes that completely alter the way one goes about their daily business, and only in insanely rare cases would it present as you describe - more than a single manic episode in a span of a year or two. What you're talking about is daily. Not saying you aren't one of those rare cases, but I want to put it in perspective here. I'd be even more cautious, here, because of my own experience being misdiagnosed.

    If you're able to live your life as normal - even with the kind of difficulty you are having - I wouldn't think that you have bipolar, not if you've spent...how long, unmedicated? How old are you? Bipolar technically can't be diagnosed if you aren't an adult. I had a quack in my past who diagnosed me with it - at ten years old, and I've got lasting damage from the cocktail of dangerous anti-psychotics he had me on for a disorder I don't have and never did have. He never waited long enough to see if one really might be helping. That's why I'm so heavily advertising caution with this. I have enough evidence to sue him for malpractice...but...well, that's another topic.

    Additionally, this is only your psychologist's suspicion right now for a very good reason - Bipolar gets misdiagnosed all the time because the symptoms are so similar to MANY, MANY, MANY other disorders. Especially in teenagers (again, don't know your age, just guessing here...), which is why a responsible psychiatrist is not going to make a definitive diagnosis at such an age. You do describe something that sounds a lot like bipolar, it is possible something is now recognized as a more manageable form of bipolar, though.

    My suggestion is exercise - heavy exercise. Back when I was exhibiting symptoms that were kinda-sorta-bipolarish, exercise really helped to mellow me out and focus better. Sprint to your classes, etc.

  4. #4

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    I am NO expert, I have seen a guy with what was supposed to be bipolar but I kinda doubted it because of the way he acted. He did tell me he used to smoke some stuff and I think he still does. I "think" that was the cause of most of his problems. The second thing is Diet !!!!!
    A good friend of mine seems to be allergic to a certain variety of cheese and onion crisps, along with a few other things with "certain" ingredients in. He hits a high and then becomes irritable and he argues about the slightest thing, his joints ache and later that day it clears. I know he`s had this problem for years but now he realises it is his snacks. MSG can cause problems and so can "E" numbers.
    You are not alone with sympoms like that, try eating simple foods and never NEVER eat stuff from takeaways.
    *HUGS*

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Draugr View Post
    Bipolar disorder presents with manic episodes that completely alter the way one goes about their daily business, and only in insanely rare cases would it present as you describe - more than a single manic episode in a span of a year or two. What you're talking about is daily. Not saying you aren't one of those rare cases, but I want to put it in perspective here. I'd be even more cautious, here, because of my own experience being misdiagnosed.

    If you're able to live your life as normal - even with the kind of difficulty you are having - I wouldn't think that you have bipolar, not if you've spent...how long, unmedicated? How old are you? Bipolar technically can't be diagnosed if you aren't an adult. I had a quack in my past who diagnosed me with it - at ten years old, and I've got lasting damage from the cocktail of dangerous anti-psychotics he had me on for a disorder I don't have and never did have. He never waited long enough to see if one really might be helping. That's why I'm so heavily advertising caution with this. I have enough evidence to sue him for malpractice...but...well, that's another topic.

    Additionally, this is only your psychologist's suspicion right now for a very good reason - Bipolar gets misdiagnosed all the time because the symptoms are so similar to MANY, MANY, MANY other disorders. Especially in teenagers (again, don't know your age, just guessing here...), which is why a responsible psychiatrist is not going to make a definitive diagnosis at such an age. You do describe something that sounds a lot like bipolar, it is possible something is now recognized as a more manageable form of bipolar, though.

    My suggestion is exercise - heavy exercise. Back when I was exhibiting symptoms that were kinda-sorta-bipolarish, exercise really helped to mellow me out and focus better. Sprint to your classes, etc.
    Thank you for your perspective Draugr.

    I am only putting my suspicions out there because bipolar is what most-closely matches what's going on with me--and I want to attract advice from folks like you who have had similar experiences and would have a better idea of how to cope with similar symptoms or might offer advice about other places to look.

    My age is nineteen, by the way--and I've been having troubles with depression for at least six years. I've been suicidal, though I've more often hit or bit myself, and I've also had multiple experiences that I might best describe as "panic attacks" (elevated heart rate, high anxiety, feel like I'm going to die...). In one particular case in which I couldn't stop crying--my mother called my dad home because she thought she or I were in danger.

    The strangest part of what I've been experiencing has been the sudden shifts in the consciousness of where I am, more or less. I'll feel closer to normal earlier in the mornings, but suddenly everything will seem different and unfamiliar usually within a couple hours of waking. It's then that my energy will start to rocket--and I'll have trouble remembering what it feels like to be on the "other side" once I've crossed over. It's disorienting.

    On another note, this is affecting my life significantly. I do have an extremely strong will that I exercise on a daily basis to get most things accomplished, but sometimes it's just not enough. I have a tendency to explode without much warning during these times, though I can usually hold it off long enough to get away from anyone; most of the time, I get very fidgety and aggressive.

    I suppose I might just increase the amount I spend exercising. I exercise moderately every day, and my friend and I are jogging in the mornings three times a week. I also eat generally very healthy--I have a gluten intolerance, and my diet forces me to consume more vegetables and fruits (and no alcohol or drugs). If anything, I might occasionally over-consume protein or carbohydrates. (typical of most Americans)


    Honestly, I find it kind-of weird that I posted for help about this. It's frustrating to describe how I feel, because I can't very clearly remember what happened last night--it's like I was a completely different person. Hell, I feel completely fine. Maybe for as long as I've been dealing with this without medication, I shouldn't complain. I'm doing the best I can, and it's all I can do--whether or not I have bipolar disorder doesn't matter right now. Maybe all I really need is support occasionally, when things become a bit too intense and I feel like I'm going to do something I might regret--after all, it's the very fear of losing control that worries me at times.

  6. #6

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    What you describe certainly sounds somewhat like bipolar disorder symptoms - however, the frequency with which you experience "cycles" seems to be astronomically rapid compared to most cases ("frequent" bipolar cycles would be considered about one manic cycle every 1-2 years...most bipolar people only have one or two manic cycles their entire life.)

    When I exercised, I went until exhaustion. I think if your body is worn out it has less energy left to expend on an emotional high - it might be less intense or not last as long.

    It's also possible you are experiencing a form of dissociative identity disorder. My best friend suffers from multiple personality disorder (the extreme end of dissociate identity disorders), and what you describe is something similar, though not as markedly extreme - loss of memory, strange emotions/feelings, right around the time of a "switch." He also has other mental disorders - distinct to different personalities. One personality might not have the same mental disorder as the other. As you can imagine, that made things exceedingly difficult to diagnose.

    What you say here:

    "The strangest part of what I've been experiencing has been the sudden shifts in the consciousness of where I am, more or less. I'll feel closer to normal earlier in the mornings, but suddenly everything will seem different and unfamiliar usually within a couple hours of waking. It's then that my energy will start to rocket--and I'll have trouble remembering what it feels like to be on the "other side" once I've crossed over. It's disorienting."

    Is very, very similar to how my friend feels when he switches personalities (very rarely anymore, his condition is probably as cured as he can ever expect it to be). Your other symptoms - panic/anxiety attacks, sudden aggression, depression, memory loss and odd distortions of how you experience the passage of time...all those things my friend went through as well.

    Some professionals do not believe this disorder is real, I strongly disagree. I've seen the proof with my own eyes, things so strong that it can't be anything but MPD.

    And let me add a disclaimer, here, this is in absolutely no way meant to be professional advice, I'm just gleaming things out of my own personal experiences. I don't have the knowledge necessary - especially, y'know, since I haven't met you in person, hehe, to make that kind of an informal diagnosis. Hopefully, however, it at least gives you something to think about.

  7. #7

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    I don't like to side the pharmacuetical companies, but having suffered undiagnosed for years (my psychiatrist is still unsure whether I have bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or a schizotyal disorder of some sort), there becomes a point, if there truly is a chemical imbalance, where drugs are the only answer (along with maintaining the actions you used to combat your panic or mania in the past). I have been taking Seroquel (an antipsychotic) along with Effexor (an antidepressant) for several months now and have been able to make a great amount of progress. And treatment by medication rarely has to be permanent... often, once the medication balances things out, as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can function without medications.

  8. #8

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    There are some forms of rapid cycling bipolar. I have a friend who suffers from that, but even in her case, which is extremely rapid, it's still only 2 or 3 manic periods per year. She's on an experimental drug for it, however, and it keeps it under control.

    Still, in her case it's more than just bipolar. Her ex-husband is a sociopath who harasses her, gets away with it, and brain washes her children to the point that they side with their father even when he beats and threatens them. The guy is so twisted that he uses his father's business to hide his income, so that this friend of mine has to pay child support to him, despite him actually having a nearly 6 figure income. Meanwhile, because she's so messed up, she doesn't have the will to have him investigated and take him to court. So this cycle of mental distruction continues. It seems to me that without these environmental factors, her bipolar would be more traditional.

  9. #9

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    I think your symptoms sound like bi-polar as well. Of course it's very serious so I would do that which your psychologist and Psychiatrist suggest. They're the professionals and are trained in such matters. I certainly had my problems when I was in college. I was very depressed my freshman year and would just sleep instead of going to classes. Needless to say I had two f's and three D's between the two semesters. My sophomore year was even worse. Eventually I pulled out of it, but had a psychotic break my senior year and then had a psychiatrist.

    It sounds to me you are doing every thing you possibly can do to live a normal life. It's now time to be a little more emphatic with your psychologist and explain to him the same things you've told us. As for support, I have always liked you, your posts and your incite. I wish you the best in all of this and I hope you get effective help from your doctors. Hugs from me as well.

  10. #10

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    i dont think its bi-polar. sounds like someother kind of mood disorder or something. depression, anxiety of some sort? and "shifts in the consciousness" sounds sort of dissociative. really nothing you described is manic. i wouldnt be to quick to grab a label for yourself yet, would just work on identifying what really inhibits your functioning and trying to deal with those symptoms. your brain is still developing too so things could change a bit in the near future

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