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StaticInMyHead

Finally Starting To Get Some Help.

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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!)

Edited by StaticInMyHead

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Hi StaticInMyHead,

Welcome to Depression Forums! :welcomeani: . It is lovely to have you with us.

Your post was very impressive and you expressed your thoughts and feelings coherently. I personally only experienced major depression, so therefore, I cannot completely relate to the episodes of mania that you are experiencing. However, I do know that bipolar disorder can be treated. In Australia, there is a sports commentator named Craig Hamilton, who was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. He recovered through a combination of medication and life style changes such as yoga, meditation, and turning off stimulating electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers etc. He believed that the hyperstimulation of modern society caused by mobile phones, computers, ipods etc are putting us at risk of mood disorders because our brains are overstimulated. Excessive stimulation of the brain is a risk factor for mania.

With regards to my suggestions, keep in mind, that because everyone is unique, my suggestions may not work for you. I have discovered in life, that what works for other people, may not work for me. Also, I am a not mental health professional, so, my suggestions may not be the same as the suggestions given by trained professionals, although, most of the suggestions are similar.

- Self Help Books that teach you to use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to manage your mood: I find self help books are a wonderful resource because they educate us on our illness. As the saying goes "Knowledge is Power". The more we know about our illness, the more we can take action to rise from the illness. Also, self helps books provide useful suggestions in helping us recover. I would recommend reading a book over reading information on a computer because there are fewer on screen visual distractions in a book than there are on a computer. Visual stimulating, distractions can be a risk factor for bipolar.

- Meditation: Meditation is the process by which we learn to focus on one thing repeatedly for as long as we can, so that we learn to let go of any distractions that arise in our minds and in our the external environment. Meditation is the opposite of a manic episode. When we are manic, we are distracted and our minds are racing. When we meditate, we are focused and calm. Learning meditation takes practice and it may take a while for you to learn, however, I do believe it is a powerful technique to help you rise from bipolar disorder.

- Gradually reducing or possibly, if safe, eliminating caffeine or smoking in your diet: Caffeine in the form of coffee, cola beverages, chocolate candy and some drugs are a risk factor for mania because caffeine is a stimulant. Gradually reducing or if possible elimating caffeine will make you calmer.

- Unitasking: I believe that multitasking is unnatural and our brains are designed to do one thing at a time, not multiple things simultaneously. Multitasking means our brains are overstimulated and this is a risk factor for mania. When we unitask, we learn to be focus on one thing at a time and we learn to be patient. In this unhealthy, fast paced modern society, we are becoming more and more impatient. I know from personal experience, that practising patience has made me calmer and happier than rushing around completing tasks. Patience also makes me less selfish because I do not demand to have things immediately.

We look forward to hearing how you go.

Lots of Hugs, Rainbowstar :hugs:

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Welcome to DF, StaticInMyHead,

You should print out your post and take it with you when you go for your evaluation next week. It will give the pdoc some history with your emotional cycling and your reaction to meds. You should also start a mood diary to chart your swings. Bipolar is very difficult to diagnose as it contains components of other mental illnesses. It took many months of history by my tdoc and pdoc before I was diagnosed. Initially I was diagnosed as having depression, then Bipolar in 1983 and refined to Bipolar I with severe, chronic depression in 2005. Be patient as this may take a bit of time with a lot of med trials to find the right combo of meds for you.

Wellbutrin is one of the energizing SNRIs so be aware this could trigger anxiety or put you into an extremely higher level of functioning. In a sense, it could trigger a manic episode. Seizures are on the rare side and occur if you stop taking this med suddenly after long-term use.

When you fill out your registration papers, you will be asked what meds you are currently taking. List everything you take. If there's a place for allergies, you may mention the side effect you had on Cipralex.

Sheepwoman

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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?

Edited by StaticInMyHead

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Hi StaticInMyHead,

I am really glad you found Sheepwoman's and my post of assistance to you :holiday: .

I am impressed by your determination to get better and to rise from the illness. I believe that people who make a commitment to get better have already overcome one of the greatest obstacles to recovery which is lack of motivation.

- It is wonderful to know that your significant other is beginning to acknowledge the suffering that people with mental illness experience. You may find that during your journey to recovery, your significant other will also learn, mature and develop even greater levels of empathy and care. When I experienced major depression, my mum who was a nurse was unfamiliar with mental illness. But my illness, gave her the opportunity to understand mental illness. You may also discover, that during your recovery, you will empathesize with people who have suffered like you and assist them during their recovery. Empathy is one of the gifts that we as humans can learn.

- Please Keep in Mind that I am a not a mental health professional and that the things I say could be wrong. It is essential that you question and scrutinize the things I say, and clarify my statements with a mental health expert - My view of hypomania is that because everyone is unique. What mental health practitioners consider as mania in one person may in fact, just be a person's inherent personality. Extroverts are people who love social stimulation and are outgoing and energetic. I believe, that sometimes these personality characteristics may in fact, be mislabelled as mania by mental health professionals because there are similarities between the behaviour of extroverts and the behaviour of people experiencing mania. However, in your case, I could well be wrong, and I strongly recommend that you seek the opinion of a qualified and experienced mental health professional who specializes in bipolar disorder. It is important to consult an experienced mental health professional, because I am more confident that experienced mental health professionals who specialize in bipolar disorder are more likely to take into consideration normal, healthy personality differences when making a diagnosis.

Best Wishes in Your Recovery! We look forward to hearing about your progress and keep in mind, that setbacks and obstacles are perfectly normal during your recovery.

Lots of Hugs, Rainbowstar! :hugs:

-

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