New with Bipolar, Looking for advice?

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Hellissa
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/11/2009 12:37 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm 19 years old, and have been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My psyc says its best that I don't hold a job, because of how I sleep and live. He hasn't put me on any meds yet, but I'm afraid they won't work, because many did not work for my dad, who also has bipolar. I am very hard to deal with sometimes, and I'm terrified that my fiance won't be able to continue handling me. He doesn't understand and thinks everything can just be fixed if I try hard enough. I wasn't aware that things just go away if you try hard enough- I really need some advice on what to do. When I was in school, I had a really hard time focusing and sitting still while manic, and just wouldn't work at all while depressed. If I can't work, how am I suppose to get on with life? Please help!

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 8/11/2009 2:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Hellissa,

Welcome to HealingWell and to the bipolar board. My advice would be to find yourself 2 things: a new, more helpful psychiatrist and a therapist. Your psych diagnosed you, which was good of him but otherwise left you in the lurch: don't hold a job, but I'm not going to put you on any meds and they probably won't work anyway. How pessimistic! That's not how psychs are supposed to be! They're supposed to help you make your life better, not just keep it as bleak as it is now. Why bother, otherwise?

Second, the therapist, because I'm guessing with a bipolar father you've had a bumpy past, certainly you've had a hard time getting through school, you're having struggles with your fiance, and you're not working. Having someone ON YOUR SIDE to talk to can be tremendously helpful. They can help you work through the pain and chaos of bipolar and start making life work again.

No, things don't go away if you just try hard enough -- it's not a race. But everyone needs help and advice. You're not alone. That's why we're all here. Please feel free to ask questions about the disorder or anything you want. Someone will hop on soon and answer.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


mommy.michele
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 369
   Posted 8/11/2009 5:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome Hellissa. Serafena is right, you need a more helpful, proactive psychiatrist, It sounds very odd that this dr. would diagnose you as bipolar, but not start you on any medications. Living with bipolar means learning to accept that you will be on meds the rest of your life. The sooner you find the medication that will work for you the better.

Maybe your father's doctor just never found the right medication or dosage for your dad. Besides being on the right medication...it is important to be having some sort of talk therapy. It is not an easy road, but the travel is better if you have a good ear.
"Just because you're in the driver's seat, doesn't mean
you have to run people over." ~ Fred Pausch


BPWife
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 139
   Posted 8/12/2009 6:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Helissa,
Welcome to HealingWell! Coming here was a great first step. You will see that everyone is very supportive and helpful. There are those who suffer from BP as well as those who care for someone with BP (I'm the latter).

I'm basically going to repeat what Serafena and mommy.michele said. You should definitely look into getting another psychiatrist. Unfortunately bipolar isn't cured but it IS managable with the right medications and talk therapy. There are many people who hold down jobs and very very successful ones at that.

I'm sure your fiance loves you but I would also recommend that he gets as much knowledge as possible because BP is not something that just goes away or that anyone can deal with on their own. Once you get a new psychiatrist and therapist, you should ask him to come to one of your sessions.

I do not know the circumstances behind your dad's treatment, but things have gotten a lot better in recent years. There are new medications, research and more importantly society is beginning to accept the condition.

You will get on with your life because you know you have to. Hopefully you will find a new doctor that understands the condition and wants to help and support you to get through it.

You can do it!

BPWife

Hellissa
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/13/2009 1:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for replying so quickly and being so helpful. I do have some questions. I have a very erratic and unreasonable sleep schedule, mostly being I'm up past 3 am and sleep til past 2 PM. I never feel like I'm getting any sleep as I dream very very very vividly. I could tell you stories of the dreams as they seem to last for hours like a movie. I used to take nite time cold meds to sleep well, before I knew about the BP, but I know thats unhealthy and probably addictive. I'm on a whole different clock from everyone I am around and its not going well for me anymore.  
 
Then there's my "overactive imagination." I say that, because when I imagine something, I'm actually able to see it, as if I were dreaming it up. Is this normal for BP? I mean, I'm obviously able to tell that I made it up and that its not real at all, but I worry that there will be time when I'm unable to distinguish pretend from reality. I think I do it to keep myself company, since I don't keep many friends for long. (They really don't understand and just think I should "get over it" ) I feel so out of place, and I came here, hoping people would understand.
 
I used to be on a med called... symbrax? But I gained a whole lot of weight. Other than that i think it was working fairly well. My cycles are normally managable, but manic is apparently really annoying for anyone around me. My dad who has bipolar reccommends that I stay awat from caffinee? I know I have a lot of questions, and I apologise. I'm curious about it all, and just really lost on what to do.

sukay
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1432
   Posted 8/13/2009 2:59 AM (GMT -7)   

Welcome Hellissa blush

I too think your first move is to find a new psychiatrist asap and to make an appointment with a therapist. Most of us who have BP see both. The combination compliments each other and is a great deal of help. The therapy helps us with steps to implement new behavioral changes that are so important.

I agree with the others that medications have come a very long way. That is probably why your father got discouraged with not finding a combination that worked for him. Maybe you both could find a psychiatrist together.

Keeping in close contact with your pdoc and letting him know what's working and what’s not working is key! Many of us are on a combination of medications.

I have had a very hard time sleeping in the past as well and am a very vivid dreamer too! There are meds to help you sleep and you can learn how to adjust your sleep schedule to a proper one with help from your psychiatrist & therapist.

It's true, many, many people with bipolar have very successful jobs. I think more do than don't. With proper medications & taking them you can have a better outlook on things.

I don't like pdocs that make quick assumptions like telling you that you won't be able to work!  Especially from THIS one who won't even give you any medications.  If you stay with him...you won't be able to work or function properly!!!!

There is a great book out titled "The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know

by David J. Miklowitz

It would be a great read for you, your fiance & father!!!

Best of luck...keep us posted.


~sukay~
 Bipolar - 2004
     Crohns disease - 1995 
Arthritis & Fibromyalgia 
 
Leo Buscaglia


BPWife
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 139
   Posted 8/13/2009 7:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Helissa,
Have you decided to look for a new pdoc? Ask your regular doctor for a recommendation of someone who works mostly with patients who have BP. You want someone who understands that the condition is very managable with medicines and talk therapy. You could even hit the jackpot and get a pdoc who also does talk therapy (there aren't that many who do that anymore). Either way, you need to see someone who is on your side and there to support and help you.

From what I understand, sleep is a very important issue for those with BP. It's good that you are getting sleep but it sounds like you want to get to sleep earlier so you can get up earlier. My husband tried Zyprexa and liked it. He only took it at night but he was able to fall asleep pretty quickly and didn't wake up feeling like a zombie for the rest of the day (which was how he felt after taking Seroquel). Granted, everyone reacts differently to medicines but I thought I would throw it out there as a suggestion for you.

As for the overactive imagination, that could be the mania side of your BP but you should really speak to a pdoc and/or therapist about it. I'm also very sorry that your friends tell you to "get over it" because they obviously don't understand BP. It is hard for some people to understand it but you need to be around people who support you and your quest to manage BP. Definitely take sukay's advice and get that book.

I have also read that caffeine is not good for BP. (Then again, it really isn't good for anyone is it?) Again, you should talk to your pdoc (when you get a new one - please do!) about it. Caffeine has a lot of side effects and could alter your medications. My husband and I love coffee so we buy a container of regular coffee and a container of decaf and then mix them together. This way we still have some caffeine in the morning but it's diluted by the decaf. There are also a lot of caffeine free sodas out there (I know Coke makes one) that you can drink.

Keep coming here to ask your questions too! We're here to help you however we can!

Good luck!
BPWife

LadyKnight4
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/14/2009 11:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey, there~

I'm going to echo the others - new psych and definitely a therapist. Mine have been priceless for me.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to get a strong routine/schedule. Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, etc. I have a very hard time sticking to a schedule by myself, so when school is in session (I'm a teacher), I do a lot better. When my sleep schedule was a little wacky, one of my doctors gave me just a week of Ambien. I took it at the same time every evening, and when the week was up, my sleep schedule was a lot better! Not perfect, but better. My task was to maintain it without medication, which I much prefer. :)

Also, I've had night terrors and vivid dreams, and hallucinations when I'm in a depressed and/or mixed state. Honestly, I could swear that there are people in the room, even though there is no one there. It's like I can see their "energy." It's weird, but it also lets me know that I need to recheck my routine, my eating and sleeping habits, and call my doctor.

Overall, you can be your best advocate. Let the people close to you know that you need their support - this can be a very lonely illness - and that you're working to maintain a happy and healthy life. (I personally think BP has nothing to do with general life happiness, but that's just me.) Get a new doc, and good luck to you!
"Sanity is a cozy lie." ~ Susan Sontag


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 8/15/2009 1:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Excellent advice from the others.

If you can regulate your sleep schedule, you'll feel a lot better. Honest to god one of the first things they tell you about bipolar is you need to get regular sleep.

Good luck!!!!!

serfena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


sentientderangement
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 8/17/2009 3:13 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with getting a new doctor and seeing a therapist. Don't listen to talk of not being able to work. If you look at a list of famous artists you will find many of them are believed to have some sort of mental illness. Many people manage their illness with medication and work just fine.

In terms of your sleeping, are you getting enough exercise? This really helps with the illness and giving you the need to rest. I am a bit of a lucid dreamer, so I enjoy my sleep. I find my sleep restful, however. Are you waking up in the middle of the night because of your dreams? I just don't feel like taking medication to sleep is the right solution. There are medications that are necessary and then some are just excessive. I am not a doctor, however and I don't want to talk like I can prescribe anything so forgive me for coming off that way. I am just trying to provide some exterior insight.

I would say first get a firm diagnosis for your situation. Then get on a medication and treatment plan and follow it. You will be able to make it through the hard times.

bipolarempress
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 8/19/2009 9:17 AM (GMT -7)   
First of all I must say I admire you for your age to reach out for help! Give yourself a big hug!Please listen to these well meaning people and people who have been there. If I were not on medication I would not be able to work. But I have worked for 38 years and never been without a job! It is very hard at times but I have to do it. I have been on medication for 21 years! And I have been in therapy for 21 years (not to say you need it that long) and I have been seeing an excellent psychiatrist for 21 years! I could stay up all night if I were not on meds and of course I would sleep till afternoon, anyone would. You have gotten yourself into a pattern and it will take time to get adjusted with a doctors help. Bipolar can be more manic or psychotic or more depressed like me. A doctor will be able to try different meds until they find the right combination for you. Good luck!

Sunday Morning
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 8/22/2009 11:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Hellissa,

I am the husband of a bp - we just recently found common ground and are making our wellness a priority. The altered reality you speak of I do believe becomes harder to distinguish as you get older, we are approaching 40 and both she and I have noticed, that as you get older those memories start to overlap your reality (what you remember 2 yrs from now sometimes becomes a bit confusing because those thoughts are so vivid and real). I believe each person is different and this would be great to discuss with your pdoc. The fact that you are very young and willing to deal with your own wellness is wonderful and should be commended. The more willing you are to resolve what bothers you the more successful you will be, it is very important to find the right Pdoc and therapist, if you are unhappy with one then find another do not procrastinate on your own wellness it is in you hands. You might want to discuss the holistic side with your pdoc because from our many readings we found that omega fatty acid is a great additive to any med regiment but again that should be discussed with your pdoc. Remember results are not always immediate and to take one day at a time. Journals seem to work very well as you can record how certain meds do and do not work and what seems to help you find peace and a way to get yourself into a proper sleep pattern (this is very important). Not only that but journals are a nice way to look back and discuss with any pdoc or therapist if you choose to move or change your pdoc/therapist and even to see your progress. Self Discovery can be a rewarding process especially when you find solutions that work. Like bipolaremprss said give yourself a big hug you are actively seeking wellness. :)

regards
sunday mornin
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