Rabbity9

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About Rabbity9

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. I'm the first with bipolar, that I know of. Definitely not the only one with mental health issues, though. My mom has been treated for depression for most of my life. Her mom, my grandmother, had something going on. She was an alcoholic and even after getting sober, she never seemed to really enjoy anything. HER father, my great-grandfather, died from suicide. Lots of mood disorder and likely mood disorder on my mom's side of the family tree. My dad's side had some alcoholism, but I live in Wisconsin so NOT having a relative with alcoholism is more or less unheard of.
  14. I met my boyfriend online (OkCupid). He was really open about having bipolar. He mentioned in in our third or fourth message, before we even met in person. I'm no stranger to mental illness, so it didn't put me off. I have an ex who was almost certainly bipolar, completely unstable with repeated suicide attempts, and still refused to get help. So many people seem to be existing with undiagnosed MI and refuse to admit that they have a problem, so I'd rather date someone who knows they have issues, gets treatment, and is honest about them. At one point I semi-jokingly told my boyfriend, "I tend to be attracted to troubled people, and I like you because you know what your trouble is." That's my personal view on things. I know there's still a lot of stigma, and my boyfriend kinda took a risk telling me right away. But, I've struggled with moderate to severe depression for my entire memorable life, so I'd be a pretty big hypocrite to dismiss someone over MI. I actually got diagnosed bipolar after we'd been dating for a few months, in part because of our relationship. I was reading a lot of books about bipolar to get a more thorough understanding of it, and as I read, it heightened some suspicions I'd had about my own mood swings. When I had another "up" episode, I had some idea what was going on, and the boyfriend confirmed it and helped me find an affordable psychiatrist. So now we're in a dual-bipolar relationship. I think it really helps us understand each other in ways a person without mental health issues might have a harder time with. Obviously, a "normal" person can still be very compassionate and understanding when their partner has MI, but personally, I don't like feeling like "the crazy one," so dating someone else with problems works for me.
  15. This is a complicated issue and I have a good amount of experience with it, so I apologize for this being hella long: So, cheating can definitely be a symptom of mental illness. Total lack of impulse control and hypersexuality are symptoms of mania which can lead to infidelity, and the person often feels a lot of guilt for it once the episode is over. Carrying on an affair, lying and gaslighting your partner don't seem like manic episode behavior or schizophrenia related behavior. Frankly, it kinda just sounds like asshole behavior. Sometimes people with mental illness use their diagnosis as an excuse for bad behavior, and sometimes their partners let them get away with it, because they are well-intentioned, kind people who want to be understanding. I think you might be one of those people. To affirm my opinion, I googled "schizophrenia and infidelity" and all I got were hits about paranoia the person with schizophrenia might experience about their partner cheating, not that people with schizophrenia might cheat due to their symptoms. It is your choice, but personally, I'd cut him loose. Your lack of physical proximity should make this easier than it might be under different circumstances. Relationships are difficult sometimes, but they should, overall, affect your life in a positive way. If he makes you feel bad about yourself more than he makes you feel good about yourself, that isn't a good thing. He very well could be making your episode worse. This is not to say that all relationships where both people have mental illness are bad! They can be very mutually supportive. My partner and I both have bipolar. He actually helped get me diagnosed. I knew for a long time that I had depression with "up" episodes, but I minimized them. I had an "up" episode a few months into our relationship, and he recognized it as hypomania and encouraged me to see a psychiatrist. While our illnesses aren't exactly the same, we still recognize and support each other during episodes more easily than a person without mental illness might be able to. There are still issues, of course. He can be very closed off during anxiety episodes, which was difficult for me to deal with at first, because I thought his growing distant had something to do with our relationship. I now understand that he just needs some distance because talking to people is tough for him during those times. Likewise, I sometimes get bad social anxiety when I'm depressed, so I might drag him out of gatherings that he's enjoying because I'm on the verge of a meltdown. Those are just two examples of things that aren't easy to deal with, and there are plenty more, but we put up with them and try to be understanding, because the good times make it worth it. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm bragging about my good relationship while you're having trouble. Just want to give an example of how mutual mental illness can be a good thing, rather than an automatic negative. It definitely helps that we're both medicated and on the stable side now. TL:DR - Don't write off a person as a potential relationship because they have mental illness too, because with good communication and understanding, you can be great partners. However, don't let someone walk all over you because they have a mental illness. You do not have to put up with feeling miserable. Even if the hurtful things are related to their symptoms, you still don't have to put up with it. I stayed in a bad relationship longer than I should have, once, because I finally got sick of him making suicide attempts and telling me that they were my fault. I thought it would be wrong to break up with him because of his depression, but finally realized that he was very emotionally abusive. Even if that was related to his illness, I didn't deserve to be a victim of it.