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  1. I have asked him about pregnancy and medications. I know that he's not really that well versed because he started pulling percentages out of the air for fetal deformations, and crucially these numbers were inconsistent with each other. I am hyper aware of numbers and I feel confident that he completely made them up. With respect to that episode - I was being transferred from one medication to another over a 5 month period due to side effects. It was a slow process because usually that's what I need. I was clearly hypomanic, which he did note verbally and in my clinical notes, but gave me the option of whether I wanted to keep on decreasing the old one because he wanted me to make my own decisions. Of course I said yes - I was high and didn't want to go down. My mother was in the room and was furious. He admitted me the next time he saw me, and I don't think my family has forgiven him for not acting on what he saw previously.
  2. There's a lot going for my psychiatrist. He's been treating me for almost three years and the last few months have been among the most stable in my memory. He's seen me manic, depressed, anxious, psychotic and also while an inpatient (I was admitted where he works). He's met my family so understands where I come from, and he can look at me and have a pretty good idea of where my mood is, which is good given I still need to work on expressing what's going on inside. He's also the cheapest psychiatrist I've had in my current country. He does have his issues - he makes assumptions, sometimes pigeonholes me, and likes to describe everything in a wildly inconsistent manner. I've been seeing him long enough to take these comments with a grain of salt. However, in the past, he has seen me on the way to mania and has told me to cut my medication down, to the horror of my family. That resulted in a three week hospital stint. From things that he's said, I get the impression he isn't all over medication side effects and complications too. I'm considering trying to start a family in a couple of years, which doesn't leave me much breathing room for cutting down or changing medication, given how slow things have moved historically. I hold big concerns about getting the wrong advice, both with respect to contraindications for pregnancy and any symptoms not being tackled aggressively enough. I don't know what to do. I like him these days, and he does understand me and where I'm coming from. He's also affordable, and as someone earning enough to not be on a healthcare card but not enough to even think of buying property, that does count. However, I am worried about being on harmful medications if my partner and I do start trying for kids in a couple of years, and I'm also skeptical of my current pdoc's ability to catch me before I rise or fall with medication or hormone changes. Does anyone have any perspectives?
  3. Seroquel and Zyprexa calm my mania and anxiety... from all the other meds I've tried, nothing else quite hits it for me.
  4. I'm sorry you've had to go through that. I think some hospitals are more about liability management rather than treatment due to bed space. If they don't admit someone who has told them they are acutely suicidal with intent in the moment of the interview, it's very easy for the family to sue if the patient passes. If someone is floridly psychotic so that they have no inkling that they are unwell and their actions are posing a risk to life, they have to be admitted for the same reason. If someone comes in and says they are no longer acutely suicidal, there is a smaller basis of a lawsuit and the beds need to go to people who have a higher risk. It sucks, and its why my friends also couldn't get beds, but unfortunately this is the way it is at some hospitals.
  5. I think I would actually make a good therapist. A lot of my friends have started coming to me over the past few years to work through some things. Sometimes I daydream about leaving my industry and going back to study, but I would want to become a psychiatrist, and I feel too old to start med school and don't know if I could go without an income for the next five years. On top of that, years and years ago, I (very vocally) turned down so many scholarships for med school and I don't know if I could swallow my pride.
  6. I've also only been in your situation but a couple of friends have gone to the ER in the last few months and both were discharged. Both have bipolar and both were actively and acutely suicidal. I'm also pretty sure both had previously attempted suicide, and one had been hospitalized and suffers from a lot of psychosis with limited insight. One went to the hospital in the evening and stayed a few hours. He was actively suicidal but once he had his meeting about intake, they decided not to admit him as he was no longer deemed a high suicide risk. The other friend took herself there because she thought she was about to attempt suicide again, and I think they gave her a bed in the ER for the night, but for whatever reason she wasn't admitted,. She's gone to ERs a lot without being admitted, actually. My experience with the involuntary admit for suicide is that you have to have just attempted suicide or self harm that has the potential to end your life (even if not the intention). If you display a concrete plan which you have the resources to execute, and have the intention to execute imminently (usually same day), you will be admitted. The thresholds are time sensitive. It might also be worth noting that because of the time sensitivity, if you have attempted suicide and had an interrupted attempt and tell a medical professional a few days later, that will no longer be grounds to admit you against your will (they would need more evidence to do that). At this stage, this is where the voluntary admits come in, but these admits are subject to how many beds are free. Honestly, I think a lot of whether they will admit you depends on how much space they have and the severity of the other patients going through. A friend of a friend even went to a mental health clinic, said he was suicidal, but because of resources they booked him in for an appointment a month after initial contact. Two weeks before the appointment, they found his body under a bridge. The system is stretched and tragically with that, comes some unpredictability about who can get what resources. I think it's not quite as bad though in the US, because the insurance piece cuts out a good part of the population who can't pay.
  7. Don't do it. Disclose as needed, if needed. Where are you based? My experiences in the US and Australia is that it will be viewed very negatively, unless the person in HR screening it has personal experience with bipolar. Or unless you work as a counselor or similar. Usually there is a button for prefer not to disclose. Just because you don't disclose now doesn't mean you can't get accommodations later. I got accommodations at uni and also my psychiatrist said he would have exempted me from a lot of my duties at my old job. I think HR would have found a way to fire me though if it came to that. It could be ok, but it likely won't, and if it's not the downside is huge. I wouldn't do it if you thought you could turn up on day one and do the work, and if you don't think you can I'm not sure they'll hire you anyway.
  8. Idk for me that sounds normal, especially because I'm quite ambitious and do things in binges. Everyone is different though, and also some psychiatrists seem to say that I seem too high. I see that more as a personality thing though and I've always been that way. It's served me well, too. Hypomania does not. For me, I know that I'm too high if I'm consistently not sleeping enough or I find that I'm waking up repeatedly in the night and I feel wide awake. When hypomania comes on, I feel euphoric rather than positive - like the kind of feeling that makes you want to jump from treetop to treetop singing songs of the universe. I often feel like I'm plugged into some divine power that no one else can grasp. My thoughts are loud and all over the place to the point that I can't read and my work is garbage. When I'm like this, staying inside an office cubicle is torture - I just want to be outside free to act as my heart's content. For me, this feels very different from being driven and productive.
  9. Zyprexa as a PRN. Hated it when I was on 20mg long term.
  10. Been on and off birth control for years. Any mood effects have been smaller than my normal fluctuations. Being able to control my periods has been monumental and I used to get period pain so bad I'd throw up, but have never had that problem on the pill. The only times I went off the pill were when I was too lazy to remember to get a gynecologist appointment and didn't want to wait months at student health once I did remember.
  11. I get headaches during.
  12. Your experience of mania sounds remarkably like mine, and every doctor, nurse and therapist I've worked with (20+ professionals) over the last 2.5 years has said I clearly have bipolar I or schizoaffective bipolar type.
  13. Also bipolar 2 and 1 are treated very differently for obtaining other forms of insurance, like life insurance. A bipolar 1 diagnosis on paper might bring practical difficulties. Maybe the bp2 diagnosis is just pragmatism, even if it doesn't match your symptoms.
  14. I think it depends. Our bodies are chemical factories. Exercise, meditation and diet do drive chemicals in the brain even though we don't pop them as pills just before we go to bed. I'm not going to speak for anyone else, but I know I need meds to live and function now. This may not always be the case. However, I can definitely see exercise and meditation lessening residual symptoms, such as anger, anxiety and hopelessness. This can mean better sleep, taking a PRN less frequently, better interpersonal functioning, and maybe even gaining insight about when I start to cycle. All of this helps. I do know someone with bipolar 1 who is off meds and functions fine. He's a mental health professional though, and has incredible insight into when he starts to cycle and how to nip it in the bud. I don't think most of us normal people have the self awareness to pull that off.
  15. Just because side effects are well established doesn't mean that they're not dangerous and don't need to be taken seriously. Heck, I've been on lithium for less than three years and I'm already showing signs of kidney damage. I'm in my mid 20s. I do get the allure of not nudging medication that works, and I completely respect people who make that choice for themselves. Trying to change has landed me in hospital more than once. However, I do think sometimes mental health professionals prioritize mental health over physical too much. I saw some well-publicized studies recently which showed that people with bipolar and schizophrenia had much shortened life spans from physical health conditions after adjusting for suicide. Some of these health problems are associated with negative symptoms and depression, but a lot are medication related. If most neurotypicals were having their life expectancies reduced by decades there would be substantial action taken, but society cares little about the seriously mental ill. So for people who are thinking of consolidating meds - it's definitely a cost / benefit analysis worth discussing, but the results of that analysis are different for each person. If you do change, change slowly, under close supervision and with a Plan B in case things unravel. I wish governments and charities - and even inpatient facilities - would at least acknowledge the physical health issues that affect people which serious mental illness at a much higher rate because of our medications and conditions. Whether it be diet education when on medications that risk diabetes, physical activity that is achievable when on low energy, weaning people off cigarettes (schizophrenia patients apparently smoke much more?), more accessible resources to reduce alcohol and drug abuse. Our health matters. We matter.