I am new to this board, just joined this morning. I am 45 with bipolar and have gone through extensive med combos, 27 ECT's in the early 80's, hospitalizations too many to count, pharmacologists and the leading expert at Mass General in Bipolar. I have had the same Psychiatrist for 8 yrs now and the same therapist for 15yrs. For the last 5 yrs I had been stable with minor ups and downs until Thanksgiving when I tragically lost my 4 yr old dog who was my best friend and a very special dog. She was a visiting nursing home dog and was loved by all. I slowly fell into a depression so deep like never before. I landed in the hospital for 2 nights and now I have been in a hospital day program which I have to go to now.
I wanted to give you hope....The meds you have to try, a psychiatrist is where you need to go, Now this is not advise but just a suggestion. I take meds and will my entire life but they help me to lead a normal life 90% of the time.
I will write again when I get home. Please think about a proffesional, I don't feel any of us can do it alone.
I'll be thinking of you and keep your head up you are not alone
Post Edited (SMSIRL) : 1/6/2006 10:05:18 PM (GMT-7)
I understand much of the frustration you are feeling with all that you are faced with. I have to say - I'm on the same train as Jet and SMSIRL - finding a doctor that you feel comfortable with who listens to your concerns is key - so is finding an appropriate treatment.
I'm a 25 year old girl and was confirmed BPII about two years ago. I suffered through years of depression and upset not understanding that this wasn't a normal experience. Finding the right medication was the best thing I could have done for myself. I take depakote and it works well for me. Not much in the way of side effects and the results are profound. I did gain a few lbs but managed to lose it once I was stable. I've also accepted the fact that I would sooner be 10lbs chubbier and happy, productive, outgoing and personable, than be 5lbs underweight, sluggish, upset, panicky, spastic and unpleasant - I've done both so I'm speaking from experience.
In the beginning, I was worried about medication also and all the potential side effects that came with it. I pursued the natural route as best I could with no success. There are no doctors in my area that deal with that type of treatment and my pdoc had no faith in available alternatives. My pdoc had seen many people try natural remedies and solutions, but none had any significant success with many people spending a great deal of money on treatments that didn't work. That's not to say that there aren't alternative therapies, but BP is nothing to be taken lightly and should you pursue an alternate route, it should be done under the care of a pdoc and natural health practitioner. Unattended BP can become disasterous rather quickly and trying to pick up all the dyfunctional and shattered pieces is much more difficult than managing it properly - also speaking from experience.
The big thing for me that I've learned is when I swing to the manic side, I get panicky and anxious. I've done some reading that suggests that anxiety can mask underlying mania in BP patients which can make it hard to get a proper diagnosis and thus the untreated mania can make it difficult to treat the anxiety. Adjusting my mood stabilizer helps to reset that stuff so that the anixety subsides and I can get a grip. I was lucky because finding the right mood stabilizer helped me to reduce the overall amount of medication that I took and helps me to sleep better so there's little need for medication there too.
Having said all that, its important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle as was mentioned earlier. I'm pretty convinced that it becomes a "sum of the parts" type situation. You could have the best care money can buy (natural or conventional), but if you don't treat your body well and take care of all the other systems (rest, nutrition, exercise, etc.) than the likelihood of feeling your best is compromised. It doesn't mean that you have assume a rigid lifestyle, but making small changes can really make a big difference. I'm not great at keeping up with a hard core exercise routine, but a 20 minute trip around the block every day with my pooch does wonders for my health. Same goes for regular sleep routine and eating schedule.
Take care of yourself and keep posting,Putter
Please share the supplement you take....thanks
I am 23 years old and have been on bipolar medication since I was 20. The doctors diagnosed me as bipolar when I was 19, but I did not believe the diagnosis. I went for almost a year without taking medications, and believed that I did not have bipolar disorder. Then in the spring I had a manic episode and crashed hard. I had to be hospitalized and it disrupted my whole entire life. I was lucky that I was able to finish off the semester in school. Although I did have to withdraw from my hardest class. However, I was not stable enough to have a job that summer.
Looking back it would have made everything easier if I had just stayed in on the medications when I was diagnosed the first time. Choosing not to be on medications after a diagnosis is very risky. You might not crash this week, but if you really are bipolar it will happen eventually. For me my crash was hard, and it came when I least wanted it to.
I currently take Lithium and I don't experience any side effects. There is a risk of kidney damage but the doctors do blood tests to check kidney function every so often. If there is a problem they will discontinue usage before the damage is severe. Not every will experience any kidney damage because of lithium.
I have been stable since I have been on lithium. I told some people that I have known for about a year that have bipolar disorder and they were shocked. One friend said that she would never have guessed I had bipolar, if I had not told her. The fact is there are no symptoms of properly treated bipolar disorder. I am so glad that I was able to get my life back on tract, and I know I could not have done it without taking medication.