Hello everybody. I have been reading this forum the past couple of days and you all seem to be very nice people, from what I have read. My name is James, I am 17, and I have recently been diagnosed as being Bipolar and I have had Panic Disorder w/agoraphobia for about over a year now. This past year and a half has been a hard one for me. My life seemed to be going great. I was doing well in school, I was even taking some college courses. Then, one morning I woke up and I felt horrible. I was having a panic attack, though at the time I didn't know it. I didn't go to school or leave my home, and I continued to do so for a week. I then decided to make an appointment to see a counselor at the mental health clinic, where i was diagnosed with the panic disorder w/agoraphobia. I was placed on Zoloft and tried going back to school. I seemed to be doing very well, then all of a sudden i became depressed and stopped everything. I stopped seeing my therapist, and my psychiatrist. I became violent, full of anger and rage, and even choked my little brother. I was threatening to kill my father and his girlfriend. I then began to think that everyone was talking about me behind my back. I isolated myself to my bedroom only. I began sleeping during the day, and being awake at night so that I didn't have to come into contact with anyone else. I started to hear voices, and I even began seeing shadows, and what seemed to look like black bugs crawling up the walls and accross the floor. Then it all just stopped. I was back to being my normal self. My sleeping cycle started to become more normal, and I began socializing with my father again. I attempted to do the same with his girlfriend, but she hasn't said a word to me since I threatened to kill her. That was in October of last year. I truly am sorry for what I had said and for what I had put them through. I appologized to her, but she still hasn't spoken to me, I probably would do the same if I were her. So, about a two months ago I began seeing shadows again and hearing voices and that's when I thought to myself, I don't want to do this again. At this time, i realized that something was wrong and I made an appointment to see a new psychiatrist, whom of which diagnosed me as Bipolar. I know that my mother is Bipolar, i talk to her often, but I never though that i was. But now the more I think about it, the more I realize that I am. My father is in denial, but I believe it is more ignorance. Nobody that i know believes that I am, except my mother, but it is hard to talk to her since she lives so far from me. I feel so alone. I am beginning to become depressed again, and it scares me. I look back and think of the many times I have contemplated suicide. I know that I really do not want to kill myself, but when the depression becomes extreme, I'm in a different state of mind, which I am sure a lot of you can relate to. I have an appointment to see a new pyschologist today. I don't really want to go, but it's for the best. Well, I just wanted to introduce myself here before I began posting so that you all could know a little about me. Thank you for reading this, and I can't wait to become active in the forum. James.
Hi, James!!! I am so glad you found this forum! You will get all the support you need from all the wonderful people here.
First, let me say how sorry I am that you have to suffer this disorder. Life is hard enough at your age.
Now, I will give you the naked truth. I will not tell you that once you get on a medicine that you will be totally fine. Usually it's a trial and error, because we are all wired differently and what works for one, may not work for another. It can be awhile to find the right "cocktail" of medications and to get stable. You sound like type I to me, with the hallucinations, voices and pscychotic tendancies. I'm type I, too. It's the most severe form and the trickiest to treat. The great news is that in recent years there are many more meds to try with less side effects than lithium and antipsychotics that are safer. (Lithium works very well for many, tho. If your doc prescribes it, try it.)
Here's the trick for staying reasonably stable: talk to your doc as soon as you start having symptoms of mania: lots of energy, racing thoughts, talking too fast for people to understand, anger, irritability, etc. Nip it in the bud. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to get under conrol. And the harder you will crash (depression). If you start feeling depressed (lack of energy, lack of motivation, feeling numb emotionally, tired), call the doc immediately. You don't necessarily have to make an appointment every time, the important thing is to keep in touch every time you feel something is going on - quickly. You may possibly experience a period of depression when you start your meds, that can happen when you get brought down from mania. There is often an adjustment period, where you feel like everything is in slow motion and you feel blah. It will pass.
BP is a lifelong illness and requires a lot of attention and care. It is hereditary, and since your mom has it, it's logical that you do. As far as your father, well, many parents don't want to believe there is anything wrong with their children as far as psych problems. They don't understand and don't believe these disorders exist. It's not your fault! The best scientists can find is that it is a neuron (electrical function of the brain) disorder as well as a chemical imbalance. But no one knows for sure. So it is as physical as diabetes or heart disease. You might want to give one of Kay Jamison's books on BP to your father to read as Dana suggested. Ask him to educate himself on BP and to support you.
I hope this helps you some. There is just so much to know, it can blow the mind (no pun intended LOL)! Anyway, I'm glad you found us!