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  1. Hey everyone, I'm still really new to these boards... but I've really appreciated the welcome & advice I've received thus far when I posted this topic and this topic. Thanks again to all! Just thought I'd post an update. I'm happy/terrified/relieved/shocked to say that finally, after going through these swings since high school, dealing with all the work/relationship problems that they've caused... a psychiatrist was able to diagnose me last week. I have Type I, Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder. I feel really weird. Even though I was kind of expecting to receive the Bipolar badge, I didn't realize I'd be Type I. Though now reading up on it, it totally makes sense - especially the rapid cycling. The pdoc explained that the type is really based on how often/how long my episodes last. He started me on 150mg of Seroquel XR [an antipsychotic medication] for the first 4 days, then I went up to 300mg. I take that dose for a month, then we'll see how I'm doing. He said the nice thing with Seroquel is it can possibly help with all 3 episodes I experience...the manic/mixed/depressive episodes. My fingers are crossed. I know it's trial and error, though. I was given fair warning about how it can take a while to find the right combination. Anyone have any experience with Seroquel? I'm sure my eyes bugged out of my head as soon as he said the word "antipsychotic"...I looked at him and he was like "don't worry, it's not because we think you're psychotic!" and we had a good laugh. It's been interesting, the Seroquel knocks me on my butt! I'm usually really groggy within 2 hours of taking it [i take it at 8pm], and then I pass out. I can't even think of the last time I actually slept all through the night before taking it, it had been that long [i was staying up anywhere until 4am, then wide awake at 7-8]. At first the medication left me super groggy even the next morning, but since going up to the 300mg, I've noticed I'm less groggy in the morning now. I'm assuming that's because my system is getting used to it. One thing I did find odd though...the night I took the 300mg, I was up late again. It only happened that one night, but I found it strange. Also, the second or third night I took the higher dose, I got extremely dizzy and nauseous at one point, but I just went to bed, suffered through the feeling, and eventually fell asleep. I was fine in the morning. I'm not sure if it's the medication or not, but I also noticed the first few days I was taking it... I was extra irritable. I felt like the smallest things would set me off. That also seems to have subsided, but I've been making notes/filling out a mood chart for my pdoc. I know this is something I'll have to talk about with my therapist, but I'm just curious to hear from those who have actually been there. I find ever since I received the diagnosis, I've really struggled with it. As I said, I was half expecting it and do feel quite a bit of relief...but also to actually hear it as truth just feels different. I have a mental illness. How do I know where I end and the disorder begins? How do I know if I'm upset about something, that it's because I'm genuinely upset..not just irritable/anxious from the disorder or heading into a depressive episode? Like for example, with my SO. Granted he doesn't know much about the disorder yet, but I worry that now every time we have an argument... he's going to assume it's the illness talking, not me. I don't want that. I still have thoughts, feelings, etc. Just because I may get upset about something, doesn't mean it's automatically the illness. For those who have the disorder, how did you guys handle accepting the diagnosis? Any advice? Also, for those either with the disorder OR those who know someone who has the disorder...any further tips for explaining things to my SO? Any advice as to how I can help him accept things and/or help him see this needs to be taken seriously? I know I've received some good tips in the other threads, but I thought I'd see if I could find even more. He's said he's happy to read up on any information I provide him with...and I've started doing so. But at times I also feel like I'm overwhelming him, and at the same time part of me also kinda wishes he would be a little proactive in learning about it, not just waiting for me to send him stuff. I printed off some symptoms for him to read through the other day, just so he knows what to expect...and there were more than a few times where he was just like "..oh, well, I do that all the time!" I understand that he was probably just trying to empathize or relate, or perhaps make it so I didn't feel so alone, but at the same time it kinda felt like he was dismissing me/my symptoms. Kind of like an "oh everybody goes through that, how come it's so different with you" kind of attitude. Again, I'm sure I'm wrong, I'm sure it's just me having difficulty accepting things, but it still bugged me. I'm hoping I can find some good support here. I've also started looking into actual BP support groups in my area. If anyone has any ideas/advice/tips/words of encouragement, it is greatly appreciated. I'm so glad I found this board. My apologies this is so long...thanks for reading!
  2. Hey everyone, I joined this forum the other day [see my post here] and I'm just curious if anyone had some advice. The day after I last posted on that thread, I wound up in the ER. Not because I did anything drastic [though as noted in that first thread, I had thoughts of self-harming], but because I had no idea what the heck was going on... if I had a reaction to what was the 2nd antidepressant my doctor put me on or what. They were extremely friendly and patient in the ER. After hearing all of what's been going on, the doctor flat out asked me if anyone had ever mentioned Bipolar Disorder to me before. I said yes, explained that my doctor thought I had Type II, and put me on antidepressants to start me off and see how I respond to the medication. The doctor kinda shook his head, saying that normally with Bipolar Disorder, a mood stabilizer should be the first go-to and that possibly could be why I was suddenly in my up phase. He then asked me if I thought I had Bipolar Disorder. I said yes. He said he thought that both mine and my doctor's thinking was "bang on." He then brought in a mental health crisis nurse who asked a bunch about my history, they told me to stop taking the antidepressant completely and then gave me Zopiclone to help me sleep [i was staying up until 4am, wide awake at 8am, just like in my hypomanic episodes pre-medication days]. I have my first psychiatric evaluation on Friday, so I'm hoping to finally get a firm diagnosis and a mood stabilizer. So as of yesterday, my work benefits took over my paid absences. My doctor is currently on vacation, so I had to get another doctor to fill out the form. He was amazing, he could tell flat out by looking at my symptoms that it's definitely Bipolar Disorder [he's the 3rd doctor to say that now!] and he had no problem filling out my forms. Even though I wasn't in crisis when I went in, he could definitely tell I wasn't in shape to be dealing with all of this plus work on top of that. Pending on the psychiatric assessment, I may go back to work around mid-August or so. For those on mood stabilizers and/or a combination of that with antidepressants or any other meds... how long did it take to start feeling the effects? I'm a little nervous after what happened on the antidepressants [though clearly I should've had something along with it]... I just don't want to have to take too much time off work to adjust to the medications. So to finally get to the point of my thread [sorry for rambling guys!]...since I had stopped the Cipralex, I've been in what I believe to be a hypomanic episode. Some days seemed to be a bit of a mix though. Still felt depressed, still cried a lot. But felt the switch inside when I started staying up really late. Especially felt it on the Friday [though that was really weird... totally hyper/restless/racing thoughts during the day, then wound up hysterically crying by evening...mixed episode?]. The last couple days especially, I've really felt the shift. My problem is... I've noticed a couple things. A] I really want to go to work. I feel like I can handle anything. I know this is part of the episode...and deep down I know I can't handle going to work and should wait until I meet with the psychiatrist and get used to medications, etc. I'm on sick leave for a reason. I know that just because I may feel/look okay/totally fine/full of energy/happy/hyper to both myself and my loved ones... it's part of the disorder. I know that. But being on the sick leave, I also feel extremely guilty. I feel like a complete failure not being able to function like a normal human being and go to work. I feel like my significant other thinks I can wish my way out of this. That if I just try harder, go to the gym more, hang out with friends more, get my mind off it, stop thinking about it... it will all go away. This feeling gets bad regardless which phase I'm in, but I've noticed though it's nearly unbearable during the depressive episodes...it's also REALLY bad during the hypomanic episodes...simply because I feel like I can do anything. Why am I not at work when I feel like I can do it?! However...I know I have to take care of myself, I know I would actually be useless at work and I know I would just wind up calling in sick again soon after meeting with the psychiatrist, because I'm sure the shift into the unbearable depressive episodes would happen. It's inevitable. I was just wondering if you guys had any advice as to what I can do to a] calm myself down seeing as I don't have any medication yet [things to do, ways to help with excess energy etc], b] help with the guilty feeling, and c] explain things to my significant other when he comments yet again about how I "seem fine and could totally go to work." Once again, I apologize for my rambles. It took me forever to write this. Totally off-topic, but do you guys ever find it takes you forever to finish things? I find that to be the case regardless if I'm hypomanic or depressed. When I'm hypomanic, I'm either super focused and can do something quick and finish it completely OR I go do a million other things, get bored midway through whatever I'm doing, and a lot of the time don't finish anything. It gets annoying.
  3. Hi Rainbowstar & Sheepwoman! Thank you so much for your replies, very insightful and chalk full of good advice. Much appreciated! I'm definitely going to print off my post and bring it to the pscyhiatrist, just so I don't miss anything. I'm glad you guys felt I explained things well and it would give a good idea of my history. I've definitely started looking into a whole slew of books on the subject [ebooks - but thank you Rainbowstar for the heads up that the computer can be stimulating...hmm...may have to get some actual good old-fashioned books with real pages! haha]. If you guys know of any good reads on the topic, I would love to know. I'm also trying to find some good ones to provide info to my significant other. I finally fessed up to him yesterday about nearly cutting myself...he looked horrified. I think it may have finally hit him, the gravity of everything. Possibly clicked in fully that this is a real, serious illness. Thankfully I am getting help though. So, ever since Tuesday evening [the first night I didn't take the Cipralex], I have been wide awake until 3 or 4 in the morning, and up by 8. Totally wired, buzzing with energy. Today especially. Last night I felt like I couldn't shut my brain off. I'm feeling exactly the way I do when I'm in my up phases, which I'll admit... this is definitely a nice change from the last few weeks/days. But, I know it isn't good. I should probably let my doctor know. I find it very interesting that the minute I stop taking the Cipralex, I go right into the hypomanic phase. That was crazy. I don't know if the antidepressant caused the switch per se, because I've had these shifts long before medication entered the picture. Plus, the switch happened once I stopped the medication. Who knows. I apologize if this is TMI, but I've also noticed during the up phases, that my sex drive just shoots through the roof! It's ridiculous, almost to the point of being extremely annoying. It's like I'm a bottomless pit. Doesn't matter how often/how many times I'm intimate with my significant other, because my drive is so high, it's like its never satisfied, it's almost like each time never happened because I'm still so raring to go later. I'm not complaining haha, but sometimes it is very annoying. I've also noticed this happening since feeling wired the last few days. I don't know what to do. I seriously think/feel like I've gone hypomanic. Should I call my doctor?
  4. Hello everyone! I'm glad I stumbled upon this forum, it would be nice to speak with people I may be able to relate to. First, I suppose I should say I'm 27 and technically, I am not officially diagnosed by a psychiatrist yet. I have spoken with my doctor about what I’ve been experiencing. I have finally received the call regarding a psychiatric appointment, which I have next Friday. Now to some of my symptoms... I've noticed that I'll be on top of the world for days/weeks/months at a time, life is wonderful. I don't need much sleep during this time [i'll stay up until 2-3, sometimes 4 in the morning and then still get up early], I'll have tons of energy, feel hyper and have a million things going on at once. I'm ridiculously productive, come up with tons of different plans for things to do, even business ideas to start... but don't follow through on any. I am TERRIBLE at finishing things I start during these periods. I get easily distracted, it’s like I can’t focus on anything. I could easily read 5 books at once. I’ll start buying things I don’t need. I tend to drink more during these phases. Then, randomly without warning, other days I will suddenly wake up feeling just unbearably low, feel like all I want to do is cry [which I do, fairly often], I will also sleep an unhealthy amount - I could go to bed at 10pm & easily sleep til 11am/12pm the next day, if not more. During this state, I just feel like everything in my world is crashing down. I feel like when I get in that low place, it's incredibly intense and I can't shake it - I also feel like during these times I almost look for things to be upset about. I usually wind up picking fights with my significant other during these times, I don't want to talk to anybody at all. I also feel like it takes every ounce of energy/strength in me just to get up and go for a 10 minute walk. I don't want to do anything. I only just started having these severe mood swings more often in the past couple years (usually every 3-4 weeks or every couple months etc...it varies), but I always brushed it off. I just figured 'oh I'm feeling down again' and thought it was normal. It's really a weird feeling, to be in such an extreme, empty, painful place... and then suddenly wake up the next day/few days/weeks later feeling totally fine and happy again like nothing happened. I won't lie, it kinda scares me at times. Especially during the crying spells, I get really scared because I feel like I'm going crazy. Which brings me to my breaking point a couple months ago. I was at home alone and just randomly started crying for no reason whatsoever. I'm not talking one little tear either, I'm talking like... I was sobbing uncontrollably, hard, like someone had died. And I couldn't stop. During this moment, I remember thinking what is wrong with me? I literally have no reason to cry! Stop it! But I just couldn't. Aside from this stuff, my life is great - I enjoy my job [i'm in Sales], I excel at it during my good weeks, but tend to tank miserably when I'm having the low weeks. Life with my SO is good. So, needless to say, during this time... it was then it really hit me that I may actually have something seriously wrong and need to get some professional help. I started seeing a counsellor, who right away thought it was bipolar disorder. One thing she said to me that really stood out, was that it wasn’t stress causing my mood swings... it’s more that my mood swings are causing the stress. I found that interesting, and so unbelievably true. When I started thinking back, realizing my patterns... I realized even my boss/coworkers notice when I'm having my low weeks. On multiple occasions they'll ask if I'm okay, that something seems wrong, I seem upset, I don't seem like my usual upbeat self etc. I've broken down crying at work during the low points, I just figured it was due to having a stressful day/dealing with the pressure. But the more I think about it, I really think it's because of the severe mood swings. It’s incredibly embarrassing. The really weird thing is, even though I only recently realized the pattern of my moods, I think it all may have actually started way back when I was in high school, possibly even childhood. The descriptions I’ve read regarding bipolar symptoms in children fits me to a tee. In high school, I would stay up until all hours of the night [5-6am], cleaning, doing graphic design, writing songs, listening to music. My most creative work was done in the middle of the night, and it's the same even now. I'd stay in my room constantly, cry for no reason. I remember my mother being concerned a few times, but I think she just figured I was being a typical emotional teenage girl or something. When I first mentioned all of this to my doctor, she agreed with my counsellor that it sounded like Bipolar Disorder, specifically, Type II Bipolar Disorder. She said she wanted to start treatment right away, didn’t want me to wait for a psychiatrist appointment before getting treatment. She said she wanted to ease me into medications, so she started with Cipralex. I took 10mg for a week, then went up to 20mg. I noticed I felt rather flat on it, and then I started sleeping even more than I normally do. It got to a point these past few days where I was sleeping 15 hours a day. I couldn’t get out of bed. I had to call in sick to work, even just the thought of going to work was just unbearable. And things have been great at work. It was just unbelievable. Along with that, for the first time ever, I felt a strong urge to cut myself. No suicidal thoughts per se, I just wanted that release. I’m just tired of the swings. I want it to be over, I want to feel normal. So, after all of this happening, I went to my doctor yesterday and told her what’s been going on. I said that aside from the fact that I wasn't crying as much as I was pre-medication, overall I think things were actually worse. She took me off it immediately. She told me to stop taking it right away, and start taking the Wellbutrin she prescribed. I don’t know if it was a subconscious thing or what, but I found it weird that I was sleeping 15 hours a day when I was taking the Cipralex, and then the one time I don’t take it (last night)...I was up until 4am, wide awake at 8am. Felt just like I do when I go into my ‘up’ phases. It’s ridiculous. I took my first dose of Wellbutrin this morning. Hopefully this will go well. I’m just curious though... has anyone experienced going into hypomania right after stopping an antidepressant? My doctor told me if I notice any problems whatsoever with the new medication, to call her right away. I looked up the side effects online... the whole seizure thing makes me kinda nervous. But I must say, I like the way I’ve been feeling today....even though I’ve only had 4 hours of sleep. I feel wired. Anyway, I apologize for rambling, but I was just hoping to gain some insight from you guys and appreciate any feedback/advice you may have! Also, I'm curious how long it took you guys to be diagnosed? I've read horror stories about people being misdiagnosed with depression, or not diagnosed for years. I'm so tired of the unpredictability, the ups and downs. I'm tired of crying, picking fights with my SO. I'm amazed he's still with me after 5 years! I can’t wait for my assessment next week. Hopefully I will finally get the official diagnosis. I’ve read up so much on it all, just in case. I’m having issues with my SO understanding...I know he doesn’t fully get it yet...but it’d be nice if he realized I can’t just wish myself out of this, it’s an illness. He’s even suffered from depression himself, so I would think he would be empathetic. Any advice on telling him how he can help me during the episodes would also be extremely helpful! Thanks guys! (Again, sorry this was so long!)
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