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