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  1. Think I may be bipolar

    When my pdoc told me I am BPII, I went home and read a lot about it. A light bulb went off with many of the things I read. "Ahhh, things make so much more sense now." Like you, I was skeptical at first. Definitely tell your pdoc about your experiences. Try to be objective and not let yourself try to fit your experiences in with what you read. Also, there's differences between a habitual shopaholic (or any other behavior) and behavior due to mania. Look for distinct periods of doing certain things.
  2. There's a lot there that I don't have the knowledge/experience to comment on. However, there was a period when I suspected I was BPII but was not (yet) diagnosed. Pdoc put me on a mood stabilizer (started with depakote then moved to lamictal) before I ever had hypomanic symptoms. He put me on it because I was constantly cycling in and out of depression every few days/weeks. It wasn't that I had variable degrees of depression, it was on/off. Anyway, shortly after starting a mood stabilizer (two weeks), springtime hit and bam, I went hypomanic. I pretty much knew what was going on right when it happened. At my next appointment pdoc said I am BPII. All that said, there is a school of thought that it doesn't matter if you have a BPII diagnosis or not if you are on meds that work for you. If you respond to a mood stabilizer, then there's a high likelihood that you are on the bipolar spectrum somewhere. Your dose of lamictal is quite low. 100mg is generally a starting therapeutic dosage. I started on 50, wasn't working, now I'm on 100, hard to tell if it's working, depression is still there but haven't been hypo since. A couple times I thought I was about to go hypo but didn't. Quitting alcohol altogether would be a wise choice. Alcohol and brain meds don't mix.
  3. Do you feel like you don't deserve nice things? It sounds like you grew up learning frugality out of necessity. When you were a kid it wasn't that having nice things was bad, it was that you just couldn't afford them. It's understandable that having nice things given to you from your parents now seems odd. Here's the way I look at money things. It's ok as long as you are living within your means. It's ok not to buy nice clothes if you don't have the money for it. It's ok to buy a new Mercedes every year if you are rich. As long as you don't have an attitude of greed or entitlement, you're ok. If your mom can afford to give you things, I would accept them with gratitude. She loves you and that's one way she shows her love. You can have nice things and still be an amazing humble individual. I know many people who are very wealthy but they are awesome people. Your money and things don't define you one way or another. Shoes with holes do not define you, nor would brand new shoes.
  4. Wow... that's almost my story. Started on Wellbutrin, worked great for my depression but gave me insomnia about two months in, was given trazodone for sleep, it made me sleep but after about two weeks I went plum fuck crazy and ended up one night in a dark room at home curled up and rocking back and forth mumbling to myself about being taken away to the looney bin. Threw away the trazodone and started on Remeron. Now on Wellbutrin 150, Remeron 15 for sleep, and Lamictal 100. My pdoc suggested gabapentin to me once but I wasn't convinced it would help me. Maybe it's worth taking him up on the offer? My cocktail has been working somewhat, but I haven't been stable lately. My pdoc also told me about the BP spectrum. He said I"m BPII (which is true) but he doesn't like to differentiate BP into subtypes and prefers to just say I'm on the spectrum.
  5. Y'all have a lot of great insight. I try not to get caught up in semantics but sometimes I do. If someone asks me if I've ever attempted suicide, I've never known what to say. I'm pretty sure the answer is yes based on this conversation. And of course, there have been many times I've planned it and started to execute parts of the plan. My tdoc says I have an addiction to suicidal thoughts. He's right. I know it's not healthy, but I also know that I haven't been taking those thoughts seriously enough. A couple of you mentioned that you had thoughts of checking out by age 30 or mid-twenties. Well, I just turned 39 this week... it doesn't take a rocket scientist to imagine what's been going through my head. I'll see my tdoc next week and I need to see my pdoc in the next three weeks for refills (he requires a face-to-face office visit every three months). I'm safe and well right now. My moods haven't been very stable, I can go days with no depression whatsoever (like today), and then crash into a serious low the next day. For the last couple months it's been more low than baseline, and I'm getting tired of it. I really want to be manic right now but of course that's out of my control.
  6. For me I don't think that ADs are necessarily activating. I had tried several over the course of over a year without experiencing hypomania. Then springtime hit and I started having hypomanic episodes of 4-5 days each. I've had three so far since the first one about four months ago. So far since coming up to a therapeutic dose of lamictal I haven't been hypomanic but it hasn't been long enough for me to really know if it's effective. There have been a couple times I thought I was about to go into hypomania but I didn't. I wonder if ADs are more activating for BPI sufferers?
  7. https://www.dovepress.com/a-pilot-study-differentiating-recurrent-major-depression-from-bipolar--peer-reviewed-article-NDT
  8. I work full time from home. I'm on a flex time schedule which means I don't have to work any set hours, just basically get my work done every pay period whenever I decide to do it. It is a perfect job because some days it takes forever to get out of bed or I just don't feel like working. It also allows me to spend time with people, which is really important to keeping me on the right path.
  9. Very good points everyone has made. I agree that the examples would likely not be actual "attempts." A lot of my wondering has come from what I've read/heard from others. Here's one more hypothetical: Say you take your bicycle up a mountain and find a tall cliff. You take off your helmet and ride full speed towards the cliff with intent to careen off the cliff and die. At the last second you hit the brakes and stop. What do you think about this one? It's actually a pretty good analogy to something I've done, but I don't want to share the circumstances of what I did. I once met someone who did the same thing I did and it really freaked me out since it isn't a common method at all. All this said, I do understand how dangerous these behaviors are. My pdoc and tdoc are well aware of my suicidal ideation and behaviors. We've come up with crisis plans and when and how I should activate those plans. So far it's worked because just this week I had to take action, which was to call someone on a list of people who know of my issues and know why I would be calling. My thinking and planning was going too far.
  10. I'm going to use some examples below of common suicide means that may be triggering. Without examples I don't know if I can get my point across. That part of my post is hidden below. I battle with suicidal ideation a lot. I think of suicide pretty much all the time. But one thing that's always been on my mind is whether I'm actually made a suicide attempt. I've read a definition of a attempt as, "A non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behavior with an intent to die as a result of the behavior; might not result in injury." But when is that line crossed? When does a behavior become "potentially injurious," particularly when you voluntarily stop either before injury or before the act becomes absolutely potentially injurious? I know sometimes when people attempt it's without question, particularly when you perform an act that can be deadly but you did not die for reasons outside of your control. I have done some things that may be considered a suicide attempt, and I don't know if I should dismiss them or embrace them in order to better understand myself and be more alert to warning signs of dangerous behavior. My fear is that if I don't take past actions seriously enough, I may get myself into trouble in the future. Thanks for your input.
  11. I was diagnosed with BPII a few months ago. The academic part of my brain knows it's true, but the emotional part has had a hard time accepting it. I have had three hypomanic episodes that lasted 4-5 days each. They all had telltale signs of hypomania. In fact, within hours of the first episode I pretty much knew what was happening. It was a very distinct feeling. A lot of my feelings are based on what others will think of me. When you think of "bipolar" people tend to think of extreme mania. I've told people who know me well that I'm bipolar and they say, "are you sure about that?" I doubt myself, thinking that I'm exaggerating for attention or sympathy. But I know it's a correct diagnosis. Besides the hypomania, it just all makes sense. I have rapid cycling, and it's far more common in bipolar than major depressive disorder (at least that's what I understand based on my research). Other things in my past started to make sense as well. Just this morning I read a study that was addressing when people are BPII but haven't yet had a hypomanic episode. Diagnostic criteria requires you to have one, but one school of thought is that you always were BPII even before your first episode. The study concluded that if people with MDD respond well to mood stabilizers, they are likely BPII even in absence of a known hypomaic episode. The study also made note that often people have had true hypomanic episodes but are unable to identify them. That's just my thoughts and experience. I'm not sure if it's helpful to the OP.
  12. Mood tracking app?

    I use eMoods and really like it. Some of the others were too complicated for what I wanted (for example, Mood Tracker has you track ten different aspects of depression, such as worthlessness, tiredness, loneliness, etc. I'm not interested in doing all that every day). eMoods has categories such as depressed, elevated, irritability, and anxiety, each with a 1-4 scale (none, mild, moderate, severe). It also tracks your meds. The only thing I wish it had was more than four points on the scale. I can be between mild, moderate, or severe. I'm using the free version for iPhone.
  13. Please don't stop taking your meds unless your doctor tells you to. It can be disastrous. Taking meds for mental illness is no different than taking them for high blood pressure or an infection. It's something that we must do to stay well. It sucks to have to deal with mental illness, but we need to treat it just like any other sickness. A very good friend just called me an hour ago. He stopped his meds two weeks ago (ran out by accident) and now he's in crisis. His depression is quickly getting out of control.
  14. If he is a scammer, you did the right thing by shooing him away. And being targeted by a scammer is nothing personal. They pick their victims at random. I've been a target of some pretty convincing scams. It happens to a lot of people. It seems you really don't have a way to know if the person was a scammer or was genuine. Think of it this way: something tipped you off, or at least just didn't feel right about the situation. If he was genuine, he took actions that raised suspicions. This situation is all about him, not you. If he did things to make you suspicious, then you did the right thing.
  15. He started me at 25mg/day of lamictal for two weeks, then going to 50mg/day. If he increases then I assume it will be something like 75mg/day for two weeks and then 100mg/day. I have tried depakote before I got on lamictal, and the depakote didn't seem to do anything. And it was horse pills I didn't like taking. I usually take either 7.5mg or 15mg of remeron every night. I had been on 30mg for awhile, and it just seemed to leave me in a fog all day. I had to up my dose last week because the hypomania was keeping me awake. Hypo is overall a positive experience for me. For some people it's not. But it can be exhausting. Your mind is going 100mph but your body can't keep up. I like being hypo, but I know that I can't be in that state forever. Our minds and bodies aren't meant to stay like that. I have to keep telling myself that while it's nice and all, it's still not normal, and I need to stay on my meds and try to keep it at bay. The mixed state was awful. It's the worst of both states. You're depressed, feel like shit, hate your life and want to die, but your brain and body feels like it's being shot up with adrenaline and it won't let you just lay down and stay in bed all day. On the other side, you're all amped up with energy and want to conquer the world, but you feel like you are a worthless piece of shit who can't conquer breakfast. Call it a miracle from God, but two of times I went hypo were directly from states when I was in crisis. The first time I believe it saved my life because that day I had decided to end it and had already written my note, but at 4pm I flipped to hypomania. The other time I found myself counting pills to see if I had enough to kill myself. I knew that I was going to be in trouble the next couple of days or so. Now I'm working on expanding my crisis plan because I can cycle so quickly and unpredictably. All of this sucks. I wish I could just be normal. I have this constant fear that I could cycle down at any moment and end up dying.