mum with bipolar

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 11/7/2016 1:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone

So, this is an odd experience. I used to use this board for my panic attacks/GAD, but now i come here to write about my mum.

My mum is 68 years old - she's always been a bit on the anxious side, but always managed well. She recently had some tough physical health problems, which she was getting help for, but around 5 weeks ago, everything go turned on its head. My mum lives alone, and my brother got a call from one of her church friends saying they were all very concerned about her, and that she was acting very strangely. After a bit of digging, it turned out she hadn't slept for more then 3 hours a night for about 4 weeks. She said she was up feeling anxious and checking things. So we thought - OCD! We started treatment for OCD, and supported her with that.

However - within the space of a week, mum had declined dramatically. I spoke to her on the phone, and she would talk for 40mins non-stop - i couldn't get a single word in. It would be about how she was going to visit Israel, and she was going to be a children's minister, and how she was going to learn all these languages. Every day on the phone she got strange and stranger, and eventually made little to no sense at all to me. She seemed completely lost. We were all terrified and thought it was dementia.

My brother managed to get time off work and moved in. She was convinced people were listening in on the phone, and she would speak to the 'other person' on the phone mid conversation. We got really worried and were fed up with waiting for doctors to refer her, and took her to A&E, where they did every possible physical test and found nothing wrong and sent her home. In the morning, she was even worse - she had a bath in her nightie, made no sense at all, freaked out and ran into the living room and threw herself on the floor.

So eventually, she was diagnosed with having bipolar, and having a psychotic manic episode. They gave her anti-psychotics, and she has made a great recovery over the space on 2 weeks. We can talk and have conversations like before, and i feel like i've got her back. Although it is clear there is a long way to go still.

She is still getting very worried about strange small things - like we will watch the tv together, and she will say 'this is pre-recorded' and i will say 'no its not, its on now', but it turns into this big thing. It seems like such a small thing to worry about, but she gets really obsessed with it.

Another thing is, she is finding meaning in everything. We watched this pop star guy performing, and she was obsessed with his eyes, and that he was sad.

Can anyone else relate to this experience? Does anyone else have any stories about people getting diagnosed with BPD for the first time in their 60's?

Would love to hear your experiences/any tips on how i can help my mum

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20035
   Posted 11/7/2016 8:12 PM (GMT -7)   
hi and welcome. i am uncertain why a psych evaluation was not done at the start? obviously the docs did not do there job well enough, and listened but not heard. this is very indicative these days. patients whom have less mental health insight, including families get the bums rush. an auusie term, for quick out the door job. however, from the situation you presented us, your mum has been actually unwell for some time, and this, even with masking it or not, can topple into a manic psychotic episode. i am sensing some schizoid type behaviour, this is common in the mania and psychosis phases. she may be doing some up n down, rapid cycling is the term. however, she can get better. there are many types of bi-polar, 1, 2 bi-polar affective disorder, this is more schizotyple, and may lead into a schizo - affective disorder. some things you have presented may be an aging factor, and possibly schizo-affective type disorder. i know, had them all. just my 2 cents.



Forum Moderator

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 4419
   Posted 11/8/2016 5:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi boxcastle,

Welcome to the Bipolar forum!

Happy Turtle gave you a great insight.
I am glad your brother was able to take some time and he moved in with her. I don't think your mum should be alone especially now with he age and as she is not well. Is she still using the meds? These will help her. However she may have ups and downs.

I hope she will continue to recover well.

Moderator - Bipolar

Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder.
Chronic Pain - Cervical Kyphosis, Cervical Spondylosis, Thoracic Scoliosis.

Tim Tam
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 1096
   Posted 11/8/2016 12:03 PM (GMT -7)   

It's good that you are reaching out for your mother.

As someone who also has bi-polar and who is also a senior citizen, I have some idea of what she is going through and you.

She is fortunate to have good help like you and your brother, and to seemingly have gotten good medical treatment. You need to keep an eye on the diagnosis, treatment and the medicine as time goes on.

I downloaded some information from the web, which I suggest you look at also. One of the ideas mentioned was that it is possibly genetic. Do you have anyone in your family with that, or another psy. illness?

Here below is what I found on (Please let us know how this is going.)


In contrast to younger individuals with bipolar disorder, studies have determined that older adults are more likely to be hospitalized for manic symptoms and experience a greater degree of disability related to the depressive symptoms. Additionally, older adults are more likely to be “rapid cyclers” meaning they experience more than 4 episodes of depression or mania over the course of a single year, making treatment a must.

Symptoms of Mania include:

While the symptoms of mania overlap with those seen in younger individuals there are also some that are unique to presentation in seniors. Symptoms of mania or hypomania include:

• Psychomotor agitation (in the manic phase this is seen coupled with intense frustration, irritability of other negative external mood indicators)

• Moving faster than usual, leading to falls and injuries

• Decreased need for sleep (this differs from sleep problems seen in the depressive stage as in the manic stage decreased sleep does not lead to feelings of fatigue during the day)

• Hyperverbal speech or being overly talkative, talking in a rambling manner or

• speaking in an incoherent manner

• Complex paranoid delusions

In older populations, those diagnosed with bipolar disorder are twice as likely to be women while no significant differences in gender have been found in younger populations.

Genetic – While it has been established that there is a genetic contribution to late onset bipolar disorder, it does not appear to be as strong as for the early onset type. However, few genetic investigations have been conducted on the condition in this age group to date.

Effects of Late Onset Bipolar Disorder

• Malnutrition

• Increasing inability to tolerate physical pain

• Hyper-vigilance related to bodily functions and interpreting normal aches and pains as an indication of a catastrophic illness

• Impaired cognitive functioning (e.g. planning, memory, decision making, problem solving)

• Debilitating effects on general ability to function normally in daily activities

• Increased use of medical health services/Decreased use of behavioral health services

• Increased risk of morbidity and mortality due to complications of other illnesses and risk of suicide

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 11/25/2016 2:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you everyone, this has been really helpful. Its just really terrifying for the whole family (probably especially mum, although she seems elated most of the time)
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Sunday, December 10, 2017 11:18 PM (GMT -7)
There are a total of 2,903,864 posts in 318,692 threads.
View Active Threads

Who's Online
This forum has 158102 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, Deanna_lc.
252 Guest(s), 1 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details