Leaden paralysis

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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 11/16/2005 10:44 AM (GMT -7)   
HI all...I was just reading corresponding notes betwen a few of you about leaden paralysis.  You all  might have been able to tell so far, that I'm pretty positive (i.e. my "its a beautiful day"...etc. memos)...because I am.  I love the days when I feel that I'm not suffering from this. 
However, yesterday I felt the onset of one of the seemingly unmanagable stages of bipolar.  I have noticed this type of thinking as "maybe I was misdiagnosed...I feel fine."  But then I speak with my wonderful mother, and she goes over it with me, and I know deep down that she is right.  I just knew today would be like this:
I was reading and some of you were discussing "leaden paralysis." And I got it.  This morning was the first morning I woke up and barely was able to get out of bed, missed my first class this semester...so I went to the gym thinking it might help wake me up, but we all know in these stages it's not that easy.  We all hope there's some other way to deal with it.  This is how I began my search in bipolar before my diagnosis.  Luckily, its not that cold yet, and I can get out a little, but I am scared this will continue throughout the winter months. 
I have to admit, it is terrifying to feel like I was so happy, positive just the other day trying to encourage you all, and now I'm suffering...once again...My medication has been a lifesaver to say the least, and I'm sure that it has kept me going for longer than I know.
However, I have done so well this semester and am looking at my second 4.0 ...but I'm so worried that within the next three weeks I won't be able to get out of bed and into classes again, sending me back down to academic probabion...I had never leard of leaden paralysis, and wondered if it could be controlled in any way...I have to admit, that is what seems to hit the most unexpected and there seems to be no way to avoid it.
If anyone has any suggestions for this type of situations; if you have gone through it, and anything seems to help, let me know...It would be greatly appreciated. 
Hope all of you are well...*Sarah

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/16/2005 12:49 PM (GMT -7)   

I am sorry you're at that point. I wish I could do something to help. The best I can tell you now is to remain in contact with whoever you talk to when life starts to feel rough. Make sure that person or thoes people know that you're doing well in school and you're happy, but you can't escape the leaden feeling. Hopefully, your recent feelings might not go away but maybe you'll at least have people around you to lift you up. It's what works for me, in any case. Take care!

Ellie 1
Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 11/16/2005 1:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sarah,
Sorry you're feeling so low. I've heard several posters here say they have purchased lights that simulate summer sun. That it helps with the Seasonal Affective Disorder component many BPs face. While I"m not certain this is effective with leaden paralysis, it certainly couldn't hurt to give your Pdoc a call and find out if this could be helpful. I know how terrible it can be. I once spent the better part of six months in my bed, barely able to make it to the bathroom, much less able to care for my children.
Hope you're feeling better soon.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 11/16/2005 3:39 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi, Sarah -

I have suffered it too, although not 6 months worth (OMG!), but a good 6 weeks I lay in my bed, to weak to bathe, go to the toilet, much less do ANYTHING around the house.  I was totally worthless.  And the funny thing is, I wasn't depressed like sad or anthing - when it started. 

Leaden paralysis is unique to bipolar depression, it doesn't happen to clinically depressed patients.  What happens is the voluntary movement of the body is kind of shut down, what controls thinking and voluntary movement, while the autotomic system (that controls breathing, heartbeat, etc.) is fine.  No wonder we can't MOVE!  Thus the term "paralysis".  That is bipolar depression.  It's not crying and feeling sad necessarily, but the psychomotor slowing.  But you can bet after a week or so of that crap I was plenty darned depressed!  And so angry that I wanted to do, needed to do things, but physically couldn't.  Try telling somebody else that.  They think you're feeling sorry for yourself and just don't "feel" like getting out of bed.  Nobody understands that, even many pdocs don't know about it.  Fatigue is fatigue to most people, this goes way beyond that.

The only thing that can help is good meds, I highly recommend that everyone who can take it, take Lamictal, it's a mood stabilizer, but more for the down part.  The only med that can stop you from going DOWN.  I would have been in bed already this time of year, but Lam has so far avoided it.  Some days I feel my body slowing and I'm terrified it will happen, but the next day or two I'm ok again. 

This is the time of year we all cycle quickly and most of us experience some depression due to lack of light, that's where the lightboxes come in, they are a little costly, but worth it if you can swing it.    Get as much sunshine as you possibly can, sit outside and read if you can, not too cold, I won't tell you to take a walk if you can't, because exercise doesn't give you more energy when you're suffering from it, only drains you and you can't walk anyway when it gets bad. 

Yes, moral support is always important.  I did read your positive posts the other day and I wanted so badly to warn you, you sounded very hypomanic to me (too joyful), because after a hypo episode, you crash every time.  But I thought, I will just mind my own business, I dont even know you  yet.  If you're getting too high, you're not on the right med or enough of it, or you may need something added.  What goes up must come down, and it hurts when you hit the ground. 
Call your doctor today if you haven't, or first thing in the morning, you need to avoid getting sicker before it gets bad, it will be easier to stop it than to bring you out.  Tell him you were too high the other day, don't forget, because if you dont' tell him EVERYTHING he cannot help you.
Keep us posted on how you're doing, we care and most of us have been in the bed. 

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 11/27/2005 10:17 PM (GMT -7)   
is leaden paralysis, to everyone's knowledge, always cyclical? my doc insists i have it, even though my fatigue is NEVER cyclical, always constant. also, i have not responded to BP treatments, even 25 mg of lamictal made me super anxious. is my fatigue probably related to unipolar depression?

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 11/27/2005 11:47 PM (GMT -7)   
I think Psychnurse is mistaken: leaden paralysis can affect plain depressives as well as those who are bipolar. The DSM IV says it's a common symptom of "depression with atypical features." Here's a link to an article on it the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (free, in Acrobat PDF format):


It says other symptoms of atypical depression include significant weight gain or increase in appetite; hypersomnia (i.e., excessive sleeping or excessively deep sleep); and a longstanding pattern of sensitivity to interpersonal rejection.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 11/28/2005 6:22 AM (GMT -7)   
While you are correct in the DSM IV's definition of atypical depressive episodes, the leaden paralysis is usually not included in unipolar depression in all actual studies done on both unipolar and bipolar depressive episodes.   The leaden paralysis, while possible, is rare in unipolar depression and extreme fatigue is usually associated, not the NP.


New Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 11/28/2005 1:57 PM (GMT -7)   
so extreme fatigue is possible, and even common, in unipolar (and often atypical) depression??

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 11/28/2005 2:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Right, fatigue is nearly always involved in depression or atypical depression to some degree, sometimes just feeling tired, sometimes not wanting to get out of bed.   The difference is in leaden paralysis, you want to do things, but your body won't let you, example:  It's too fatiguing to get across the hall to the bathroom.  You are out of breath when you get there, and your body may just give out if you try to do anything more, bathing is often impossible to do yourself.   It's a very debilitating symptom, but I am certainly not downplaying the fatigue in clinical depression.    


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 4/11/2008 10:55 AM (GMT -7)   
I have gone through bouts of this for a long time.  I am doing better now.  I started eating and I showered today.  Our goal is to find support and leave my bed a little bit each day.  One of the differences for me is that I have other conditions involing MI so I am usually effected mentally as well.  I have no desires beyond breathing and that feels difficult.  As far as being suicidal, it feels like this as I told my doctor as few days ago: I don't have any desire to plan a suicide (which for me is as easy as eating foods the are off my diet since I take a MAOI, like a piece of chocolate;) however, if the house was on fire & I didn't have to save my babies, I would lie there - and that is the thought that makes me happy.
I know I don't belong in a hospital.  I have 2 psych doctors I see them weekly for one monthly for the other, and over the phone (they also do my therpay,)  I see my interist every other month, I have gyno. checks every six months, and once a year I have brain imaging done by my neuropsychaitric team. I have otherwise been hospitalized more that 20 times and my family has had to fight for my institutionization, my husband even lost custody of me once (my father is doctor and the board would only let me live with him and my mother if she quit her job.)  Hospitals scare me and are re-traumatizing.  I feel like there are no answers when this is happening.  I am taking 10 meds and we need to add more in June just to prevent more damage.  The only thing that is helping is the 70mg of vyvanse I take in the morning.  I also take dexamphetmine but for some reason I don't seem to help at all.  I think nexk week we might add more vyvanse.  Stimulants, in high doses w/ T3 help me move around on days when things are easy and I only have the other problems even if there are breakthrough episodes.
What are others symptoms and how to you force yourself to speak and make eye contact?  Are there any meds others have used beyond anti-depressants and antipyschotics?(lithium,depakote,topamax,lamictal,neurontin are all drugs I have already tried as well.)  Thanks.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 4/11/2008 11:50 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello and welcome to Healingwell and to our board. This particular thread is a few years old -- from 2005 -- so the people who were discussing it are largely gone. It's an interesting topic though. I've never heard of anyone with leaden paralysis, it's new to me. Let's see if anyone else has...

Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

penelope weaving
New Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/8/2011 6:41 PM (GMT -7)   

I just joined healingwell.com after I found the thread about leaden paralysis and a comment that it is 'one of the most unmanageable' symptoms of bi-polar II.

This symptom was present long before my diagnosis at age 51. Lately, I've wondered about recent years and how it can keep me in bed for a couple of days and then keep me groggy for weeks. I was so happy to read that is a distinctive symptom.

It's also interesting to read that it can follow a period of hypo-mania--which is what I take to be my real self--energetic, hard-working and devoted. Any tips out there about how to cool down? It seems to me that my last two episodes of a high and then a period of deep depression signal a worsening of my condition. In other words, does this leaden paralysis represent a progression of my particular bi-polar illness? Will it occur more often?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Jazmine Phoenix
New Member

Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/10/2017 4:25 AM (GMT -7)   
I typically sleep 8-12(16) hours a day. Oftentimes after 12 hours, i can get out of bed and drink four cups of coffee so that within an hour I don't feel like going back to bed. On the days i just can't get out of bed, i take the attitude, "Not going to worry about it and turn it into a problem." I am on disability and don't have children to take care of.

about ME: I finally have a name for my condition, yay! I rarely get it longer than 16 hours, OR more than once or twice a week @ 16 hours, it doesn't usually last longer than 26 hours, and i get very little response from professionals whom i mention it to as they don't seem to understand my explanation, "It is a physical depression, not an emotional depression - i don't feel sad or distressed." I am SMI, longtime diagnosed with schizo+depression, recently diagnosed AGAIN as bipolar. In the past, professionals haven't paid any attention to my hypo-mania. Fluoxetein and Risperidone manages excellent whatever schizo (there hasn't been). I don't suffer from any unsourced emotional depression. I just refuse to sweat over the 'physical depression' i.e. leaden....

Post Edited (Jazmine Phoenix) : 8/10/2017 5:45:34 AM (GMT-6)

Tim Tam
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 1107
   Posted 8/10/2017 6:22 PM (GMT -7)   
(The earlier posts on this thread are from the year 2011 and earlier. But the last 2 posts, yours and mine, are from this year, August of 2017. I don't know how this forum wants to treat that, start these latest two items as a new topic, or what? Waiting on advice from forum moderator UA. --Tim Tam)

I'm not familiar with leaden ... but I do have bipolar.

You said: "I am SMI, longtime diagnosed with schizo+depression, recently diagnosed AGAIN as bipolar. In the past, professionals haven't paid any attention to my hypo-mania. Fluoxetein and Risperidone manages excellent whatever schizo (there hasn't been). I don't suffer from any unsourced emotional depression. "

With interest in: "In the past, professionals haven't paid any attention to my hypo-mania"

On drug.com, it says, "Fluoxetein (Prozac) antidepressant"

and "Risperidone is a antipsychotic medicine."

It seems like psychiatrists treat ny bipolar with an antidepressant for the depression side of the illness, and with a mood stabilizer, such as lithium (in my case) for the mania.

However, I was treated once for the manic portion with an antipsychotic, stelazine (sp?). It was rough.

So you say, "In the past, professionals haven't paid any attention to my hypo-mania"

But they might be paying attention to it by giving you the antipsychotic (Risperidone) which the net says, "Risperidone is used to treat schizophrenia and symptoms of bipolar disorder (manic depression)."

You said, "I am SMI (serious mental illness?), longtime diagnosed with schizo+depression, recently diagnosed AGAIN as bipolar."

So, assuming you're bipolar, for a few seconds, if they give you an antidepressant without a mood stabilizer, such as lithium (or possibly an antipsychotic as in your case) the antidepressant could push you into mania.

So, again, they may be treating you for the hypo mania, with the antipsychotic. Have you had any hypo mania episodes lately?

These are just my views as a bipolar, and from meds I've taken, and from looking at what meds that other bipolars on this forum take.

You said, "I finally have a name for my condition, yay!"

I've got a condition which I didn't know had a name for many years, it is called hyperacusis, in which sounds seem louder than they are.

You also said, "i get very little response from professionals whom i mention it to as they don't seem to understand my explanation, "It is a physical depression, not an emotional depression - i don't feel sad or distressed"

For years, I had to explain to ear doctors what hyperacusis was, and give them possible tips on small home remedies.

You say, "I just refuse to sweat over the 'physical depression' i.e. leaden...."

That's good, are you able to get out? Can you do any volunteer work, or anything? How do you get through the day?

It's good that you reached out for help.

Post Edited (Tim Tam) : 8/10/2017 7:27:28 PM (GMT-6)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 4428
   Posted 8/11/2017 5:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Jazmine,

Welcome to Healing Well's Bipolar Disorder forum. We are glad you joined smile!

The thread you posted on is very old. These members have not been online for quite some time. Please take the time to introduce yourself in a new thread. This is easily done. Simply click on the "New Topic" button and the program will open a box for you to post your intro. This will help members see your first post and extend a welcome to you smile.

Thank you for sharing bout yourself. I am glad the meds are helping. It sounds like you are doing well. I am glad that you are okay.

I am locking this thread since it is an old thread. Hope you will start a new thread and I look forward to learning more about you.

Moderator - Bipolar
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