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Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 4/3/2005 9:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Until I found this site I didn't even realize there were classifications of bipolar illness.  I guess I didn't look very hard.  Fourteen years ago I was diagnosed bipolar.  From what I knew of the illness at the time I believed that the manic phase was characterized by a loss of touch with reality.  The Dr ,in my opinion,severely overmedicated me.  Three months later I was convinced I was truely losing my mind, So I flushed the lot of the meds.  Once all the drugs were out of my system I found that the depression and anxiety had passed and I was back to my normal self.  At least as normal as I get.  Over the years I've had recurrent moderate to severe depressions but the up end of the spectrum has always been fairly controlled.  Lots of energy with little sleep, reduced appetite etc.  the norm.I've never really lost control.  I truely believed the doctor had misdiagnosed me until today.  Now I"m not so sure.  Currently I'm dealing with a big black depression .  After all the drugs they put me on the last time I dealt with a Dr. how can I deal with this on my own?  I don't think I can trust another Dr.  I can't really pile all of this on my family.  I feel so isolated and alone right now.

Danarx
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Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 585
   Posted 4/4/2005 6:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ellie,

I have a compeer friend with schizoeffective disorder who's name is ellie. I have lunch with her about once a week. But that's besides the point.

I am really happy you found this site. And are asking these questions. Welcome.

Let me first say there are ALOT of quack psychiatrists out there. How I found my psychiatrist is I first went to a couselor at school (I happened to be going to Purdue at the time). She then went through all of the psychiatrists in town. And belive me there were a lot of bad ones. There is probably people who know the psychiatrists and which ones are good. You should always you homework first.

A good web site on bipolar II is www.psycheducation.org It's by a man by the name of Dr. Phelps and he goes through things very thouroughly.

As far as meds are concerned. I am a pharmacist and I pretty much control what I take (for the bipolar, I may not have a choice with the lupus). Ultimately, as you know, you are the one who will make the choice of wheter to take them.

So again do your homework. Know the meds you are being prescribed and know which ones you will and will not take. And communicate this with your doc. (that website I mentioned will help you learn the meds)

My medications of choice are ones that did not cause weight gain. The mood stabilizer is lamictal and works great for depression. I also take zoloft and klonopin.

But is a lot of trial and error, because medications work differently in different people. And the lamictal takes time because it has to be tapered up slowly.

I know where you are at right now. Depression is horrible. And I've let myself go through it way too many times. I have often not believed my diagnosis and have decided to go off my meds. And it is the depression that I can not deal with.

I really hope I have helped some and that you are able to find answers for yourself. But the best advice I can give is educate yourself.
 ~ With Love ~ Dana, Pharm. D.
 
~ Diagnosed with Lupus in May of 2004 and Bipolar II in April of 2001. 
 
Disclaimer:  On any medical information I provide, please bring your concerns to your physician.  I have no financial interests in any drug or drug company.  I will try be as objective as possible.  If I am giving my opinion I will state it first. 


Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/4/2005 10:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks much for the info. The site is very informative and cleared much of my confusion. As for meds the only antidepressant I ever had any success with was imipramine and that made me bounce so high I od'd (accidently) on alcohol one night just trying to sleep. They couldn't hit me with enough tranqs to get any rest. I went days without sleeping at all. Even that might be better than this blasted darkness. Thanks again

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/4/2005 2:34 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi, Ellie!  There is much to learn about this comlex disorder.  Every person is a totally unique individual to treat where meds are concerned.  The more you learn, the better you will be.

As far as meds, if you are having problems with one, tell him!  It's the lack of communication that will be your downfall.

Learn to track your moods on a chart - very important to share with your doc to let him know how to adjust you.  Regular med changes are a fact, since this disorder never stays the same and is highly affected by seasons.

Lamictal is great for the depression, but you will most likely need another type of stabilizer for mania with it, too.  Weight gain is also a concern, and it can happen quickly.  Keep an eye and report to your doc. There are meds without that effect, but what will be effective for YOU is most important.  Not every bipolar reacts to the same meds.  It's a delicate balancing act and can take a while to find the right "cocktail".  Don't give up, stay with the program!

The imipramine and most other antidepressants will often induce mania, best to stay away.  Most pdocs won't write them, anyway.  There are other things.

Call around and ask the office staff what the pdocs in your area specialize in.  Some have preferences. 

I know it all sounds like a lot, but the more you learn, it will get much easier.  Study up on the meds you do get prescribed, recognise side effects and find if they will usually diminish.  Call the doc if you're concerned or very uncomfortable.

At the risk of rambling, welcome to the world of BP!  We really are a special lot! :-)

 


Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/5/2005 6:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the reply. I'm wondering if there is something that can be done without drugs? I'm still breastfeeding my one year old and I know as soon as I go in for treatment they'll insist I stop so I can be medicated. Also If I make an insurance claim my husband will know. We've been separated for two years and are just beginning to patch things up again. He's aware I've had problems in the past but he knows nothing about any current difficulties apart from my depressions. I think my manic side is all he's ever known. I hear so much about the "normal" periods between the extremes in the spectrum but I don't believe that applies to me. It seems to go one way or the other. Not necessarily to the same degree each time but never really normal. I don't know if I know the real me. This began in my early teens, and I haven't seen my teens in more than two decades. In truth I think I'm also afraid to lose my mania. What if my whole life is just one long depression. How many people go in the the Dr and say "Gee, I'm feeling really happy can you fix this for me?" I think I need it. And now I know I'm rambling. Sorry, I may be bouncing back. Either that or alot of anxiety. Hours of pacing yesterday evening and a whopping 90 minutes sleep last night.

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/5/2005 7:27 AM (GMT -7)   

Ellie, this is Psychnurse (screw up with login!)

We ALL have the dread of losing mania.  We ALL go through quitting meds because of it.   Not to get personal, but many of us lose our marriage BECAUSE of the mania.  Are you sure it didn't have anything to do with your seperation?

Changing from mania to stable feels like everything is going in slow motion for awhile.  You have to relearn who you are.  You may not like it at first, but your family and friends will love you for it, trust me.  I resisted for 15 years after my diagnosis and almost lost my husband due to irritability, anger and reckless spending among other things.  Most of us with mania drive other people crazy!  No pun intended LOL!

Do you enjoy not sleeping at night?  Do you honestly think you are better off?   Hasn't anyone told you about the problems they see in you?  They can't all be wrong, assuming they have, of course.

It takes a good while to get used to being stable, but you know, it's heaven once you do.  You think clearly, lose the impulsive behaviour that you later regret, the holier than thou attitude, (grandiose thinking), you sleep at night with the right meds, and lots more.  Just have a peaceful feeling, something you probably know nothing about.  You will NOT be a zombie or boring after the transition.  i.e wat goes up must come down, i.e. crash.  You probably will go through a pretty good depression first.  But with the right meds, (mood stabilizer plus lamictal works wonders in most) you WILL come out of it and get stable. 

What concerns me is your inability to tell your husband about your diagnosis.  You have to be able to communicate with him or it won't work out anyway in the long run.  You may be actually surprised that he will support you and try to help, knowing you are going to get better!  If he doesn't then maybe it's better to move on.  Give him literature to help him understand, have him go with you to your psychiatrist to get a better grasp of what's going on with you.  This diagnosis is GOOD, not bad.  Means you can get help.  Mania feels good to us, but not to others most of the time.

With the right combination of meds, you will not live in a permanent state of depression.  If you feel yourself falling into one, call your doc.  Don't let yourself get fully into a mania or depression before you call, the deeper in you get, the harder and longer it takes for the meds to get you out.

Bottom line - get help!  Be brave, face it and don't give up!  You will be alright and frankly, happier.

I hope this helps, hon!


Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/5/2005 8:03 AM (GMT -7)   
I think I'm frozen with fear. The doc last time nearly killed me with drugs. I remember when I was hospitalized the last time hearing one nurse ask the other which of my list of meds i was currently on and her disbelief when the response was all of them. Everytime I experienced a side effect he called it a symptom and added another drug. I can't live like that again. And you are right, sometimes its like beautiful symphony's playing in my head. But I can't make out the notes because its fifty all going at the same time. I've had alot of people think I do coke and I've never even seen the stuff. I know I need help or I wouldn't be here. It's just dredging up the nerve to reach for it that poses the problem. Thanks for a strong dose of truth psychnurse

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/5/2005 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   

You're so welcome, Ellie, that's what this board is all about.  I'm glad you found it - I never knew there was such a thing.  (There wasn't when I got diagnosed LOL)

Ah, the music...  I had the choir singing acapello (sp?) in my head.  But sometimes it was an annoying room of people talking all together and I couln't understand any of them! 

Isn't it ironic that manic people are probably the bravest of all people (well, if by brave you mean stupid LOL!) but are the weakest when it comes to getting better.  Hmmmm.....curious

There's a saying that you know you're crazy if you think you're normal haha!  Talking about mentally ill people of course.

Warning, tho - sounds like your mania is kind of severe, it can escalate into type I in time.  It happened to me about 10 years ago.  It went from all the "good" things about it to losing touch with reality (thought I was a witch with supernatural powers), but still functioned well at my job.  Then the really bad psychosis set in - rage beyond words, destroying everything in the house (one time I even picked up the vaccum cleaner and threw it onto the glass coffe table becuase it was in the way).  I couldn't even control it - it was like watching myself from another body.  Every time I heard someone talking low, I just knew they were gossiping about me.  Totally paranoid.  Horrible pictures in my head of loved ones all bloody and dead, that I had killed them.  Dreams of getting murdered, stabbed, shot you name it.  Mania is not great.  Obviously, I had to stop working and my poor husband who had lived with it for 10 years (a miracle on earth) finally said I had to stay on meds or he had to go.

I went on meds and it was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, but I stuck it out because I truly love him more than life itself.  I got stable and our marriage is like a fairy tale.  I never thought life could be like this.  There is a bright light at the end of the mania.  Mania is NOT good.  Don't let it get to that stage.  Don't be afraid in the least, and please don't wait.  You may have to go through a bad time to get there, but it's well worth the payment!

 


Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/5/2005 8:41 AM (GMT -7)   
The mania was very mild at first when I was very young. almost unnoticable, the older i get, (and thats happening faster all the time) the more pronounced it becomes. Some of the bad aspects you described sounded more like you were describing me. Maybe this is more serious than I can see myself. Sometimes I wish I'd just dive over the edge into complete madness so I wouldn't care anymore. I was diagnosed 15 years ago and have been drug free for 14. It was such a terrible time in my life. I just hate to give someone enough power to do that to me again. I HATE lithium and Major Tranqs. The latter give me horrible anxiety attacks. I always thought thats what they were supposed to prevent.

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/5/2005 9:19 AM (GMT -7)   

Yeah, I understand that.  Lots of meds that work properly on other people work the opposite way on us.  Like SSRI antidepressants often make mania way worse or even bring it on when depressed.  Also marked panic attacks.

Lithium seems to be the first thing they put you on.  IMO it's horrible.  I couldn't stand it - felt like a zombie, like I had the flu, fatigued out of it, acne so bad it left scars.  That's why I quit.  Thank goodness now there are several options for stabilization.  I was left with one option - couldn't tolerate Depakote (weight gain, hair fell out), tegretol (blood tests pain in the butt), finally tried Trileptal and with great success.  Excellent for sleep, too.  And seroquel for sleep and to prevent psychosis.  None of these affect weight.  If your new doc suggests Zyprexa, ask to try Seroquel first, Zyprexa = massive weight gain fast.  (Not trying to sell drugs, everyone experiences this).

Fact:  Bipolar disorder does get more severe with age.  Many people like you and me never experience normal in between highs and lows.  It's considered as bad as schitzophrenia without treatment.

As far as giving others the power over you, when you get stable it will be very easy to leave those situations becuase you will be thinking clearly.  I did, but then went off meds again. 

Remember the joke about thinking you're normal?  It's true, even when I was at my worst, I thought I was fine.  We can't see at that point that there is a problem in most cases.  Trust me, you don't want to go mad.  It's harder and harder to come back every time you get unstable.  YOu sound like you're pretty mad at this stage if you're having those kind of symptoms.  You don't want to get worse.  Like I said, all docs don't know the complexities of this disease becuase different BPs respond differently to different meds.  Do your homework, either read up on side effects or ask people here what they mean (Dana or I will be able to explain them to you).  There is a wealth of information these days compared to when you and I were diagnosed.  By the way, not trying to be too personal, how old (young) are you?  I am 40.

 

 


Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/5/2005 9:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Im 41. I have grandchildren older than some of my children. In fact I have a grandson and son that will both be starting kindergarten this year, Also three others still at home. I'm afraid that perhaps this is unraveling this time. It's crazy how much faster and harder I bounce now. A year ago it was a more gradual change. Now I go from being nearly suicidally depressed to climbing the walls in the same day. All new. So keyed up. Sometimes a single drink in the evening keeps me from yelling at everyone. Hellps me to be able to sit down for a few minutes but I'm nursing my youngest and try not to make a habit of it. Now shes on amoxil and I'm afraid if I have even one it might interact with her antibiotic and make her sick. Lately I've also been able to direct it less. Less cleaning and more pacing with no direction. Feeling like i might sit down in the corner and cover my ears and scream and never stop Until today I had never put all these pieces together. I mean I knew it was all there of course but this is the first time I've ever stood back and taken a look at the whole picture. I don't know If im happy about that or not. I need to deal with this before it affects my children more than it already has. Also is this genetic? It seems most of my family has been diagnosed BP.

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/5/2005 10:19 AM (GMT -7)   

Most definitely it's genetic.  They have discovered that, they just don't know exactly how it works in the brain.  My father is, and there were numerous siblings of his mom's that commited suicide or lived in the psych hospitals.  My 45 year old cousin blew her head off last year.  She was married, had money and an 11 year old son.  A good marriage, too and parents that worshipped her.

I hate to tell you this but even 1 drink is the worst thing you can do.  It will cause more severe swings.  It calms you down and makes you feel better at first, then when the alcohol  leaves your system, it becomes another chemical that causes a depressed feeling in people with a history. It also keeps you from sleeping well.

Your symptoms are very scary - I can't diagnose you, but I am worried you are having either extremely rapid cycling or mixed episodes.  Mixed episodes are by far the most likely of us to commit suicide, I think it's about 20%.

Children can definitely trigger much of your symptoms.  I am a little strange, I guess becuase I never wanted kids.  Even as a young girl I never played with dolls.  I never even questioned my decision not to have them.  Thank goodness my husband feels the same way.  It's not real common, but some women experience extreme stress when hearing children cry or scream to the point they can become violent with the child or just need to get away immediately.  I am one of those.  (Not violent!)

I would really suggest given the severity of your symptoms that you call around for docs now.  You are lucky enough to have insurance, be thankful for that. :-)

 P.S.  If you are thinking about talking to your husband about it first, DON'T!  You don't need anyone's permission or approval to get help.  You will end up losing everything if you don't.

 

 


Post Edited (psychnurse) : 4/5/2005 11:23:26 AM (GMT-6)


Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/6/2005 8:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Making an appoint with my GP today. Have to do that in order to get a referral. I did have to mention it to my husband in order to get the ins. cards. He carries it through his place of employment and I needed to know how much is covered etc. His human resourse dept would have told him anyway when it went through for approval. Not particularly supportive but not unsupportive either. JUst a shrug and an offer to watch the kids so I could go. I guess thats something. I don't really have any friends, I keep myself pretty isolated. I used to like it that way. Hard when you need a sitter though. Thanks much, guess I needed a push in the right direction. You're right got to take care of this if for no other reason than for the lack of sleep. I went three days without once and starting seeing wierd stuff. Scary.

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/6/2005 9:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Ellie, I have never heard of any insurance company where you needed a referral to see someone in mental health.  The card usually has a different number for behavioural/mental health.  Just call them and maybe you can save your copay and your time.  GPs also know nothing about BP, so if he wants to treat you, look out!!!!!!  I am soooo glad you are doing something now!  Way to go!!! tongue

Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/6/2005 9:26 AM (GMT -7)   
I didn't even bother to look at the card so I'm sure you're right. But I'm due for a physical anyway and before I dive into this head first I want my thyroid function checked. I came out borderline hyperthyroid ten years ago and that could be causing some of my symptoms. Thyroid disorders run VERY heavily in my family.

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/6/2005 9:39 AM (GMT -7)   

True!  I also had 2 episodes of hyperthyroid - man, on top of mania what a *****!!!!!

But in case you're thinking it's all your thyroid, it's not.  Yes, it makes it worse, but  once your BP. you're always BP.  So don't wait until your tests come back, you need to do it now.  Are you in some kind of denial, since you say you don't want to "dive in head first".  It kind of sounds as if you are blaming the thyroid and want to rule it out first.  I could be wrong, I apologize if I am. :-)


Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/6/2005 10:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Not denial, dragging my feet a little perhaps. Not too much though, Yesterday was VERY bad. I'm not looking for many more days like that. I won't make it and I know it. No numbers on the ins card though just a website that won't let me on without a blasted password that I have to get from my hubby. Great. And yes, I was hoping it could be all thyroid. So much for that. Most of my hesitation stems from the last episode. Those days were so dark. Six months of a depression so deep that I couldn't get out of bed to send my kids to school. My ex screaming at me that i was trying to ruin his life, and slapping me around when I refused to take all the meds the idiot DR. was trying to kill me with. He is an ex-husband now and this current one is the gentlest man I've ever met. So thats not my worry. I just can't help but wonder if the disorder sent me spinning off into the darkness or the drugs. I was originally seen for a mod. dep. and then everything went to s*** very fast. Shortly before I refused meds I couldn't have told someone what state I lived in. Couldn't find my way into the house from the mailbox and going outside felt like the sky was going to cave in on me. And when I stopped all meds two weeks later I was normal. Okay, not normal but as close as I get. Dramaticly improved. Even the DR. looked shocked when I walked in with my head up and met his eyes for the first time since he'd started seeing me. This time can be different though. I'm not walking into it blindly trusting the Dr to know whats right for me EVERY time. Plus I've discovered alot of support here. I don't feel so alone this time.

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/6/2005 10:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Ellie, what happened to you last time is not uncommon.  The higher the mania, the harder the crash.  Meds take you down fast.  There is usually a period of adjustment and it's often a bad depression.  It can last a few weeks or a month or more.  Depends on the meds and the person.  Lamictal with the mood stabilizer can help dramatically.
 
The crash is number one reason BPs stop their meds.  But if you keep in touch with your doc, they can help adjust the dose or change the meds.  Sounds like you were on way too much medication.  Did you tell your doc?
 
I had exactly the same depression for 2 months, can't get out of bed, moving is hard.  My doc actually said "you just aren't used to being normal!!!"  She put me on Welbutrin, which is about the weakest antidepressant out there.  Didn't do jack.  We did lower the dosage of my depakote and Seroquel, and then added Lamictal and I came out of it.  Not saying that this combo will work for everybody, we're all different.
 
Tip:  BP I cannot take SSRIs because of the mania returning and/or severe panic attacks, so beware if your doc prescribes these.
 
And as far as your ex goes, GOOD RIDDANCE!!!! mad    Many women aren't strong enough to get out, you should be proud of yourself.  Sounds like you got a good man, don't resist help and lose him. :-)

Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/6/2005 12:57 PM (GMT -7)   
What are SSRI's?

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/6/2005 1:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Medications like Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Celexa, Lexapro and many others.  They have a stimulant effect on the brain and are a disaster for BPs, esp. those who have a problem with mania.

Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/6/2005 1:08 PM (GMT -7)   
What on earth do I do if I crash like that again. I have kids and my husband and I aren't currently living together.

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/6/2005 1:12 PM (GMT -7)   
If I were in your shoes, I would have your husband take them if you become unable to do it for awhile.  They're his kids, too!  It may be inconvenient, but families just have to work these things out - it can be done!

Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 4/6/2005 1:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Not an option. I'm going to have to be very careful about meds and how far I let myself drop. My oldest daughter at home is 13 and is able to help some but shes still a little girl and I can't in all fairness put too much on her. My kids ARE my life. Maybe a good Dr. can make sure the fall isn't too extreme?

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/6/2005 1:50 PM (GMT -7)   

There are no guarantees, but the one guarantee I do know of is this disease will either end up killing you or you will lose your family eventually.  Nobody can live with that forever.

Just talk with the doc.  Tell him what happened last time and that the thought of it happening again is making you think twice about taking meds.  There are always other things to try.

But I will tell you, once you do become stable, do not let yourself get even close to getting hyper!  Just remember, every time you go up, you crash.  It's not worth it.

If it's none of my business, I understand, but why is it not an option.  I thought he was a good guy!  Don't you think he would want to support his wife for the sake of his children, if not himself?  And if your children are your life, wouldn't you want to be a better mom?  Don't think for a minute that they are not affected in a negative way.  You cannot hide your symptoms.  We all think we can, but we're not fooling anyone, least of all the people we live with and love.


psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/8/2005 10:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Ellie, did you see your GP the other day? How did it go? How are you??

Post Edited (psychnurse) : 4/8/2005 11:52:21 AM (GMT-6)

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