Hey Pretending -- nice to meet you and welcome to HW. Sorry I wasn't by yesterday to read your post.
I'm not surprised none of those anti-depressants worked: for a bp sufferer, without a mood stabiliser or anti-psychotic in the mix, anti-depressants have a bad habit of making things worse by triggering manic or hypomanic episodes. Chances are, you may go back onto one of those anti-depressants in the future, but this time with the right meds to balance things out. Also, anti-depressants are often used to treat anxiety as well (which is more linked to depression than mania), and so it may be that it is being without the anti-depressant that's brought your anxiety back worse. Can you have a talk with your pdoc and find out what his/her plan is here? He/she might be starting you on the Lamictal and Geodon (mood stabilser and anti-psychotic respectively, I think) to see how you cope with those before introducing an anti-depressant -- and he/she might have felt that this would be easier for you to accept after so much "bad luck" (which of course it wasn't -- just not right for bp) with anti-ds.
I agree, it's difficult to feel in control when your brain is sending the wrong signals, but in certain respects the brain is teachable. When I was in an acute anxiety and depression period over the summer, triggered by problems with my bipolar ex (though not really *because* of him, as d/a-p is something I just have anyway), I bought books on bp to try to give myself some more rational help with some of my ex's more difficult behaviour on than I could bring to it. I found one night, when I'd been in a terrible state, that going to the books and reading these clear explanations really soothed me, gave me a sense of things not being alien and impossible to understand or help with (and it made *me* feel better as well as helping me to see how my ex might). I would really recommend this too you: bp is scarey to the newly diagnosed -- and probably the more so if you have an anxiety disorder as part of it or as an adjunct to it. -- But finding out more can help to reduce the fear, and reading is a good anxiety reliever -- except sometimes when people symptom-surf online -- but that's normally because there's limited info (enough to make people worry, but not enough for them to see that they don't actually have x or y disease!), and you as a nurse will be good at seeing that!!
There are a lot of good books on bp. I always recommend David Miklowitz "Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide" because it's the one that helped me most (is a good balance of case-studies, science, coping therapy, etc.), but you may be more drawn to more clinical studies (there's a Bipolar Disorder journal with lots of articles). In any case, this kind of thing may help take the fear away a bit and help to lessen the anxiety.
Do keep posting!
People are not like fish: they do not work well battered.
When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded...
Moderator, Bipolar Forum