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Clio
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 9/21/2005 9:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi!  I recently found your forum and have been lurking for a few days now.  Thought I'd come out of the woodwork and introduce myself...
 
I was diagnosed with BPII (rapid cycler) when I was 24.  The 2 1/2 years after the BP dx were hell, but I had an amazing psychiatrist who finally found the right cocktail (Wellbutrin, Depakote and Clonazapam to help me sleep).  My pdoc also subtley put me through cognitive behavioural therapy (I was very resistant to it), until I just automatically began to use the coping skills he was teaching me.  It wasn't until a few years later that I realized that I had been snookered and had been undergoing c-b therapy all the while, but by that time, the therapy, the cocktail and talk therapy had stabilized me to such a degree that I was considered "in remission."  I went to graduate school, I met my fiance, I stopped abusing drugs and alcohol, and I discovered horseback riding as amazing additional therapy.  And, I began to file my manic depression away as something that I had once been through, but not something that was a part of my life now.  Sure, I had a number of depressive flair-ups, but none were truly disabling and they passed quickly.  (Looking back now, I realize that I also had manic flair-ups, which were actually terribly destructive, but didn't know it at the time.  Just figured they were "character flaws" that I'd better deal with.  Denial--marvelous, isn't it?)
 
Well, my seemingly happy ending came crashing down around me around a month and a half ago.  I finally figured out that I had gained so much weight because of the Depakote and I wanted off the drug.  Yes, I know--don't mess with a good cocktail, but I had grown to hate my body--I didn't recognize it anymore, I couldn't dress it, even Large sizes didn't fit (I had always been very thin), no amount of exercise was helping and I felt horribly unattractive.  And to me, who had banished my dx to my distant past, changing meds didn't seem that big a deal; since I was fine, I didn't actually believe the drugs really *did* anything, so I truly didn't believe that going off the Epival would cause any problems.
 
Man, was I wrong.  Almost immediately I crashed into a bad depression.  But it didn't last long and I soon began the new drug--Topamax.  Turns out it had no effect and I began to cycle, sometimes in the course of a few hours.  Then came the mixed episodes.  This is actually how we found your forum; my fiance and I wanted to know more about this Topamax and were astonished by what we found out (Stupamax!?!).  That and the glaucoma-causing headaches (I thought they were just allergies...) got me off the drug real fast.  The doc switched me over to Lamictal, which I started 2 days ago.  So far, my mood seems to have leveled out, although I still feel the hypomania lurking around.  I know that the obvious answer would have been to go back on the Epival, but I want to give this drug a chance before condemning myself to a life of obesity.
 
I'm sorry--this is turning into a novel, but I don't have anyone to talk to who has been through this.  I find it so terribly strange (and sad, and horrifying)  that I'm back here again after five or six years of remission.  I feel stupid that I thought it was over, but I really wanted it to be over!  I'm cancelling things again because I'm too sick to make it, and I can't say why.  I'm acting strange at my new job (I recently quit graduate school, but not for medical reasons), talking too fast and too much, random thoughts popping out of my mouth, having "energy like a teenager!  Are you sure you're 33?", not understanding instructions.  It's utterly embarrassing.  And I feel like I'm failing everyone again; you can only say "no, I can't do it" or "I thought I could, but I can't" or "I really don't feel like going out/having people in" so many times.  I can't focus on anything, which means I can't read, and reading has always been my saving grace when I've been sick.  Everything upsets me and I flip into depression at the drop of a hat.  I'm not hungry, so I don't feed myself properly, sabotaging my physical health.  And I'm so tired from all the cycling (and the insomnia doesn't help either).
 
And I'm also so friggin' tired of telling those close to me that I'm going to be fine, it's just a meds problem, I'll be back to normal soon, please don't worry.  Yes, it's the truth, but it sure doesn't feel that way.
 
And finally, this recurrence has raised so many questions about my future (which I will post in another thread), that I've become very scared.  I don't really know how to live with this illness because I've been in some sort of stupid fantasy world for so long believing that it would never come back.  I guess that's at the heart of this post--the main reason I'm writing this: I'm scared.  I'm really, really scared.  And I needed to tell someone instead of reassuring everyone all the time that I'm going to be fine.
 
Thanks for taking the time to read this through.

Arenace
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 249
   Posted 9/21/2005 9:33 AM (GMT -7)   
First of all Clio, don't be scared. It WILL all work out. You will find the right cocktail again. It does take time and there are new drugs out there. I'm on a new one myself which seems to work for me and you might want to talk to your pdoc about it. It's called Abilify. I don't know if it would work for you or not. I was on Depakote also and gained a TON of weight. I was fighting a depression just about that!!! Which is not a good thing to add when you are already dealing with the stuff we deal with daily. We meaning rapid cyclers especially and BP's in general. I am a BP1 rapid cycler. I take 2 stablizers and an antidepressant. I am doing really well now. I am able to work full time and have a social life. Yes, my social life is limited and maybe it always will be, but hey, something is better than nothing, right?????

Please post often we'll listen and respond.

Sandra

BP brings new meaning to Life's Little Ups and Downs


kittycat27
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 438
   Posted 9/21/2005 9:47 AM (GMT -7)   
First welcome, and your info. is or was not a novel . Anywyas, Denial. ugh...... I think I have donethat since my dx. It stinks... You make up every excuse why we are doing things, why this or that. The constant thought racing in your head, and wondering if other people have them. It's complete confusion, and ANYONE who does not have it , will never understand. It's not like a headache, or cramping, it is much more difficult to explain and to treat. i myself feel really bad for you going through remission . Some peeps use different terms, so I assume you mean from being stable to falling or cycling again. That must be a horrible feeling. One more person here had been stable for quite soem time, and recently is having trouble finding " stable" if you will. She is Sahnnon, a remarkable woman. Anyhow, I never had the experience of meeting sstable, although I really wish he/she would come and visit me.LOL Everything you said makes sense to me, I will not tell you , that you will be fine, cause I don't tell myself that. I am BP I, so I tend to rapid cycle, in which i say hey just look at this way in 2 minutes you could be okay. Sorry you had a bad experience with Topamax, it is not for everyone, as with other meds. I was also on depakote and had to get off the med, dut to the weight increase ( although it worked well), and having diabetes. If there was not a weight isue , I would ahve stayed. I take wellbutrin 150 , and topamax 200mg. Their is a great site on topamax, if you search the word and then find the good, bad, and funny. I hvae posted it on another thread. I have no side effects of the stupo factor, and would quit if I did, due to being in Surgical Technology school. I don't think that would work out to well. I really think I need a anxiety pill, or something for nerves, see the doc tomorrow. I also agree about thinking youhave character flaws, i thought that too. For me it was all normal.Shannon, can telll you more about the lamictal, you justs tarted, I have not been on that , she currently takes it. If you read my thread from the other day, it sounds just like what you are saying about failing everyone. The thread is depressed, guess it's my turn. I feel the pressure and heat sometimes and just want to escape. Too much at times, too many expectations , not just from others, but from myself. Now mine is turning long, listen I realy think you will benefit from heres, just being to able to post and have peeps be able to relate, is a godsend.I hope you stay so we can get to know ya, and you can here what other people living with this disease have to offer. Best wishes too you, Nickie  

Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 9/21/2005 10:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Clio, welcome to Healingwell
I also am bp1, spent alot of years in denial and finally went back on meds about a week ago. I take Abilify as well. It says it can cause weight gain in some people but not usually a significant amount and it actually causes me to lose weight. Just not enough. lol In fact I heard so much about the meds we need causing weight gain i informed my dr I would not take anything that caused significant weight gain. Hence the abilify.
I'm a little on the too up side sometimes with it but they've adjusted my dose today so maybe i won't be vibrating out of my computer chair tomorrow. Take care and keep posting, one of use is almost always on.
Ellie

Clio
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 9/21/2005 11:16 AM (GMT -7)   

Arghh!  Just had a nice reply to everyone completed when my internet connection failed.  So, until I have the energy to write it again, I just want to say thank you to everyone for your generous welcome.  It was pretty obvious after reading only a few threads that there are many kind, understanding and extremely knowledgeable people on this board.

Oh, and Nickie, you've basically got the concept of "remission" right--just the terms a little backwards.  When I became stable, I went into remission--the illness obviously wasn't gone, I just wasn't suffering from any episodes for a long time.  And now, well, it's back!.......


kittycat27
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 438
   Posted 9/21/2005 11:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry i probably worded it wrong, so it iswhat i thought it was. Thanks though! :-) Have a great day, and if you bump into stable please send it my way. lol kidding, well not really. I would love to be stable, well more than a few days anyways. Oh yeah , that sucks about computer, that's happened to me a few times.

psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 9/21/2005 1:47 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi, Clio!   Welcome aboard! 

Your ahem, "novel" was the story of all of us, you will find that out the longer you're here.  

Unfortunately, finding the "perfect" cocktail is great - until it stops working so perfectly.  I have been dealing with this since childhood, even elementary school.   Actually, longer than that, it started with horrible terrifying dreams when I was a toddler that I STILL remember.  The dreams (nightmares, actually) continued until I finally took meds.  Well, I'm 40 now and started meds a year and a half ago.  Talk about denial. eyes

I was formally diagnosed at 25 because I came within a hair of slitting my wrists.  The doc was very bright, and actually diagnosed me on the spot.  I started lithium and felt much better than I ever had.  So I took it for a while, but the blood tests were a pain and it made me tired, so I quit and lived hypomanic until age 35, tried depakote.   Fine.  I had a mania breakthrough so bad I ran of with some guy I had known for 2 weeks.  (Ihave been married for 12 years, that was 5 yrs ago).  So after that, bad alcoholism and script dependancy to the point of not remembering an entire year, and bankrupting us in a matter of months I got help.  It was great, and like you I thought I would be that way forever.  It lasted 6 months.  I do adjust and add meds pretty often.  I am on Lamictal among several others, I'm type I rapid cycler.  I think Lamictal rules!   But, it's nowhere near strong enough to stabilize me, or most other type I, esp rapid cyclers, and it's recommended to be used with another mood stabilizer even in type II if your hypomania is bad.  There is also a registered pharmacist here who is awesome.  Besides Epival, there is Trileptal and Abilify.  I just started abilify 3 days ago, trying to adjust to it.  That makes three mood stabilizers I take now with an antipsychotic and antidepressant.  Lamictal is great for depression in BPs, interestingly it doesn't work that way with non BP depression.  hell, I'll take it!  It pulled me out of a bad depression (bedridden kind) last fall, and I am praying it prevents that from happening this fall.  If you are having more trouble than usual, it's because fall and spring do that, it's the change in light.

Just be really careful you dont' stay in a hypomanic state, it's easy to think it's working really well, when your in that state, so ask your fiancee to watch carefully for the signs.  My hubby is almost as good as a pdoc now!!!  It sounds like he is interested in learning about it, good for him and bless his heart, it's not easy on the spouses.   I just want to hug and kiss the ones who stick it out with caring and love.

I hope you'll stay here, it's a great bunch of people, so caring and understanding, because we've all been through hell and done horrible things.  Nobody judges here, we're all in the same boat.  Dont be afraid to share some stories with us when you feel comfortable enough. 

Welcome!

Shannon


Variety is the spice of life, BP is the key

Post Edited (psychnurse) : 9/21/2005 2:53:49 PM (GMT-6)


psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 9/21/2005 1:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh, I forgot!  OMG Nickie I am soooo blushing - remarkable?  Uh, that's a matter of conjecture for sure!  You're not so bad yourself! :-)
Variety is the spice of life, BP is the key


Clio
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 9/21/2005 9:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Shannon, I know exactly what you mean about the dreams! My first memory ever is of a nightmare when I was still in my crib! They continued until I got onto my meds as well; my pdoc figured that they were caused by the chemical imbalance. But they sure were weird, not like normal dreams, or nightmares. As a kid I used to call them my "feeling dreams" (though thinking back, that doesn't really describe them well...). All I know is that they didn't always end when I woke up; something in my head would create a strange rhythm or beat started in the dreams and everything that I saw or heard for the rest of the day would start to pulse to the same beat. Sorry, really hard to explain, but it sure was freaky. Later, as I grew older and into my 20s, the dreams morphed into something much scarier; at first I would wake up and see a man at the end of my bed (and I was actually awake). I would demand he would go away until I turned the light on and realized that there was no one there. These dreams got even worse as the man became men who stood over me, telling me they had been sent to kill me for something I had done (though I never knew exactly what...). Sure was glad when those stopped. Apparently they were some sort of hallucination. Related to post-hypnogogic hallucinations, or something (I always forget the correct technical term, though you probably know it...)

Anyway, I wish I could respond more directly to all of your posts, but I've got to get to bed. I'll post again tomorrow. Thank you all for writing.

psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 9/22/2005 2:39 AM (GMT -7)   

Ah, yes, the people sent to kill you. eyes    I have been shot, stabbed, drowned and pushed off tall buildings so many times......

I guess that puts an end to the theory that if you die in your dreams, you die for real! tongue

But, I did learn to fight back and I offed several enemies, too, lol.  Ok, it's middle of night, cant sleep, will write later.  I hope you are doing well this a.m., Clio! :-)


Variety is the spice of life, BP is the key

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