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About Rabbity9

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  1. No issues with BCP for me. If anything, I think they help, because one of the wonderful side effects of birth control is that it often reduces PMS symptoms, which can include mood dysregulation even for women without a mood disorder. They also give me a lot of peace of mind because I really do not want an unplanned pregnancy with the meds I'm on.
  2. I agree with others who've said that you should probably try therapy. It seems that a lot of things you've experienced are still weighing very heavily on you. Meds can help a lot, but they can't do everything. They can help correct the chemical balance in your brain, but they won't erase your negative thoughts. Therapy can help you feel better about yourself so that you are able to see your assets and help you connect better to others. It is okay to not be "normal" without meds. There is no shame in it. People take medications to make themselves "normal" all the time. Someone with diabetes needs meds to make their insulin response normal, and someone with a mental illness might need meds to make their brain chemistry normal. Lots and lots of people are living more normal lives in many ways thanks to modern medicine. I can say that meds have helped me a lot. I sleep better, take care of myself better, and can focus on the things I need to do rather than my latest mental crisis. I think that meds (once you find some that work) and therapy can definitely help you achieve what you're hoping. I'm recently 30 too. I have a masters degree and am working in my field, but I'm now probably going to go back for another bachelors just to make a lateral career move. I was considered very bright and talented as a kid and some might say that I'm not living up to my potential but guess what? I'm still figuring things out and that's okay. Starting treatment for bipolar has helped a LOT. Instead of making an attempt at progress in my life before giving up due to depression, I am now able to make gradual progress over time. I wish I'd started earlier. I might have excelled in school rather than just getting by, for example. And, regarding hair loss, it's really not the worst thing. I understand why you'd want to avoid it, of course, but I do know a number of good looking men who are losing their hair pretty young, and it really doesn't take away from their looks at all, in my opinion. Most just wear their hair short. Not bald, just pretty close cropped. If you're dating women your own age, many aren't going to be bothered by hair loss at all. It's just a thing that happens to a lot (really, a lot) of men.
  3. I find that a lot of anti-med advocates don't understand what the experience is like, dealing with these disorders. A guy I grew up with recently posted an article on Facebook, and I've seen it pop up a few times since. It was entitled "Rethinking Mental Illness: Are We Drugging Our Prophets and Healers?" I won't link it here, but it's easy to find. It made me pretty angry. The author, a "self-love advocate," seems to have experienced some mental illness, herself, and thinks that it gives her great insight into the world. As such, she has written a general summary of all the erroneous thinking one can have due to romanticizing mental illness. It holds up the idea that people with psychosis should be "supported rather than medicated" without giving answers as to how they might be supported. I work in a psychiatric hospital, so I know well that many people who are not medicated for their hallucinations end up homeless. The author also claims that because people in treatment still commit suicide, that treatment doesn't work, and then they have the gall to suggest that "treatment might have prevented some suicides" in the instance of people like Sylvia Plath, but that it would also rob society of their creative gifts. I find that thinking so ungodly selfish. To say that someone in pain should remain that way to preserve their creative output. Again, this article was written by someone who has experienced mental illness, but the people who happily share and spread such articles tend to just be ignorant hippies who are really into alternative medicine and think all meds are evil because of "big pharma." They have no personal experience with serious mental illness, so they think because they can bust through a bit of a slump with hot yoga, that everyone can. I used exercise, yoga, nutrition, all that stuff, and while I can't deny that it is helpful, it's only helpful when you're already at a decent baseline. Daily yoga and a nutrition-focused vegan diet did not stop me from getting suicidally depressed a few times a year. At the time I also kind of romanticized depression, likely because of the bullshit idea that it makes you more creative and insightful. I know now that it doesn't. I get jack shit done when I'm depressed. I'm not going to be writing great poetry, or really doing anything but the bare minimum to function in between thoughts about dying. I do not feel less creative on meds. Quite the opposite. My mind tends to race too fast to settle on any ideas long enough to conceptualize when I'm hypomanic, and depression is just a dull cloud of doom. This is so apt. How does denying the effectiveness of meds in improving people's lives helping stigma? Isn't it just saying that people who rely on meds didn't "try hard enough" to treat or cure their illness naturally, whatever that means?
  4. You might want to check out Carrie Fisher's book "Shockaholic." She talks pretty candidly about her experience getting ECT to treat her bipolar depression. There's also a fair amount of celebrity stories which might not interest you too much, but they're generally funny and it's a quick read regardless. The ECT stuff was by far the most interesting to me, since you don't hear too many first hand accounts about it. It's still a pretty rare procedure. Carrie got it several times and considered it a maintenance treatment, and had an overall positive view of it, although with some serious side effects, mostly short-term memory issues.
  5. Alcohol actually helps me feel more stable, which I know is bad. I was self medicating with it a lot before getting diagnosed and starting proper meds. When that happened, I kinda magically started drinking a lot less. I thought I might have alcoholism because I was drinking enough to feel sedated most nights, but it was so easy to cut back once I started seroquel that I know I was just using it to get to a point where I could sleep.
  6. Yeah, definitely. I think it's normal to question things. What you describe sounds exactly like hypomania, and even though I've had similar phases (mine are shorter though, I'm one of those rapid cyclers) I still sometimes feel like I must be making it up. That I was just happy and why should I think that being happy is a symptom? I do not question that I experience depression. That is reeeeally obvious. I have phases where just getting out of bed feels like a marathon and all I see in my future is a black hole of misery, so I can't deny that. I think the thing that keeps me okay with my diagnosis is the meds that finally work. I tried antidepressants in the past, and they were either ineffective or baaadd news. Mood stabilizers and aaps, on the other hand, seem to work rather splendidly. I am not totally stable, but I have also made it through half a year without my typical winter misery, start of spring wild phase and subsequent crash back into misery. Sometimes it helps to think of diagnosis as just a thing that helps you figure out what will help make you better. Like, maybe I don't actually have bipolar, but the meds that help bipolar seem to help me, so this label is okay.
  7. Ho. Ly. Shit. I have never looked at the Yale Tic Scale before and apparently have more tic behaviors than I thought. For instance, "evening up" which is feeling like your body has to be even. I just thought I was really bad at relaxing, because I constantly have to adjust because my body does not feel symmetrical. I've always thought of the ticing as a minor annoyance but the more I look into it, the more I think treating it could substantially improve my life. I get bad headaches that are probably from the weird facial tensing. Man, our brains and bodies are weird.
  8. I don't really enjoy working at all. Working sucks, some jobs suck less. I have friends that genuinely enjoy their work and feel fulfilled and motivated by it, but that is not me. That will never be me. Unless living a pleasant life can possibly be a job. The closest I might ever get to a job I truly enjoy would be a well paid lifestyle blogger, where I make good enough money to afford modest comforts and occasional travel, financed by writing about the climbing trip I just took, or the muffins I just baked, or the adventures I have with my cat. Clearly, I have interests, but none of them are lucrative. I work with troubled kids and I like a lot about it. They’re hilarious and I love it when they have their own accomplishments. I generally feel like what I do matters. But given the choice, I’d rather not work at all. My only career goal now is to get into teaching so that I can have vacations built into my schedule. I am well aware of the problems facing teachers, especially in the U.S., but I currently work in non-profit mental health so it’d be more or less a lateral move into another underpaid job working amidst bureaucratic bullshit with problem children but with the aforementioned vacations. I want to do shit like go backpacking and that just doesn’t happen when I have to save up PTO at a rate of about one day per month. Plus, I think I could possibly help more kids as a teacher because I am able to recognize when a "problem" kid is hurting and needs help, rather than seeing them as an annoyance. That might be the closest to career ambition I have.
  9. Cool, I will take all tic-related topics there in the future! Interesting to hear someone else trying out Abilify. I'll definitely check back to hear how it worked for you. I'm going to talk to my pdoc about trying aripiprazole on Monday. He might prefer to wait a bit since I haven't been on the seroquel for very long let. It'd be nice to have a quick fix, but I know that's not really how these things work.
  10. I have chronic tic disorder and am curious about pharmacological help. I have a few simple and complex motor tics that aren't exactly debilitating, but they are annoying and affect me at work. I work with kids and get asked "why do you do that weird thing with your eyes?" and stuff like that. Sleep deprivation tends to make the tics a lot worse. I'm on seroquel and it has been helping me sleep much better, so I've noticed a reduction, but they're still around. I've read that abilify has shown promising results in at least one study for helping tic disorder. I didn't see a subforum for tic disorders, so I figured I'd just post it here since BP is still my primary diagnosis and adding another AAP would likely impact my mood as well. If anyone has any experience with anything like this, I'd love to hear about it.
  11. Animals are among the best for me. No matter how down I am, my stupid cat will always find a way to amuse me. Dogs and other cats too, but my cat especially. Animals are just so weird and silly, I can't help but smile. Also, certain types of exercise. Running is often a no-go. If I'm starting to get depression, then the weighed down feeling will just make me feel slow and weak if I run. Climbing or really grinding away on the elliptical with motivating music are more likely to help. If the batshit is total irritation at everything, ready to throw plates out the window because I'm mad at them for being dirty kinda stuff, then often the only answer is taking a break. Maybe even a nap. Me, alone, dark room, ugly cry to release tension, fall asleep. Exercise can help with this mood sometimes too.
  12. It worked almost magically for me too, at first. I was in a post-hypomanic downswing when I started it and it lifted my mood quite quickly, but I wasn't at all manic, just...normal. Content, functional, good. And like you, it was the first time in years that I'd felt that way for any length of time. I am sad to say that it didn't last, but that does not, in any way, mean that Lamictal hasn't worked for me. I'm not saying this to be a downer, just sharing my experience so you might be prepared if this happens. I did wind up getting depressed again after a while. That's normal for me toward the end of winter. But, I had a lot fewer symptoms. I still had the fatigue, gloom, hopelessness, etc., but I didn't get the leaden paralysis or total anhedonia that I used to get, which meant I could still function decently at work, exercise, and make myself spend time with friends. All that helped prevent me from totally going down the depression spiral. Overall, good experience with Lamictal, but it wasn't magic.
  13. Cutting it out totally for a month is probably a good way to "reset" your habits. As far as people getting on your case for not drinking, try telling them you're taking a "detox month." I've done it, and I've had friends who've done it, and usually people just say "oh," and then "maybe I should try that sometime" in response. If they persist, ask why they care so much. If they're relentless and you feel comfortable being a little confrontational, maybe mention that alcoholics are often uncomfortable being around people who aren't drinking and tend to encourage peers to drink more so that they feel "normal." That should shut them up quick.
  14. This is a good topic. It's really interesting how much sleep issues seem to plague people with bipolar, even when not in any kind of clear episode. Do you usually sleep not enough or too much? Usually not enough. I like 90% sure I have delayed sleep phase disorder, because I am almost always energetic when I should be sleeping and consequently exhausted when I should be awake. Even as a kid, I would sometimes get in trouble because my dad would find me still up reading or drawing or whatever when he got up for work at 4 AM. How much sleep do you get on your average night? Lately, it's been about 5 hours on a work night, then I drag the average back up to about 6.5 by getting 8ish on the days when I can sleep in. I still wake up tired on those days, but find myself unable to get back to sleep even though I want to. What's the longest you've gone without sleep? 48 hours or so. It was a few years ago and during a pretty stressful final semester of grad school, so I couldn't tell you if it was because I was hypomanic or not. I just had so much work to do to finish everything, so maybe I was just fueled by necessity, but I did feel pretty unstoppable during that period, so I could have been very conveniently manic. Or the stress and sleep deprivation triggered it. What's the longest you've slept in one sitting? Not more than 10 hours without waking up at all, as far as I can remember. When depressed I've spent the whole day in bed, slipping in and out of sleep and mostly just getting up to go to the bathroom and maybe to eat or drink something.
  15. People can and do have successful careers after engaging in criminal activity. Especially if you can prove that it was related to mental illness and that you are being treated. You don't have to give up hope for your life because of a mistake or two.