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  1. I used to be on here a lot when my bipolar was out of control. Thankfully that is a lot better! Unfortunately, my anxiety is not. On a good week, it is manageable (barely), but there are periods where it takes over everything. My doctors have strongly suggested SSRIs, but I have refused due to them previously making me manic. However, I'm at the point where I do want to go on medication again (potentially even SSRIs) for anxiety, for my own benefit and those around me. For people with bipolar, how have you managed treatment for anxiety? Are there any medications that have worked particularly well? I'm especially looking for treatments that are pregnancy-safe (not currently pregnant but hopefully will be in the next couple of years).
  2. It does sound like some form of anxiety, especially fearing people's reactions (I'll bet that no reasonable human being wants to laugh at you). The good news is that there are effective treatments for anxiety, ranging from medication to therapy (and both). A lot of people are able to make progress with the right help.
  3. Most psychiatrists these days diagnose mental illnesses based on clusters of symptoms without necessarily isolating the root cause of the issue, often because the root cause isn't well understood. There could be multiple organic issues that cause similar symptoms to manifest. At the moment, there's no commonly used blood test/genetic test to isolate bipolar disorder, and I wouldn't be surprised if diagnostic categories change once there is something along these lines - who knows how many conditions cause us to experience manic/depressive symptoms. It's quite possible that your symptoms could be divided into different clusters. As for the underlying cause of our illnesses? Most of us have no idea why we experience what we do, even those of us who don't have psychiatrists arguing over diagnoses. The most important thing is that our diagnoses in our files give us access to the treatments we need.
  4. High-dose Seroquel is the best medication I've been on, and that's helped significantly. On top of that. I've been living a very strict life with accountability - no possibility of doing some of the self-destructive/triggering behaviors that made me more susceptible to mood episodes. For example, I go to bed at the exact same time each night, and avoid doing work immediately prior (as this influences the quality and quantity of my sleep). I don't consume coffee, alcohol or any other drugs. I exercise daily, and write a tally of how many consecutive days I've done on the fridge so that it's there for anyone to see if I stop. I step back from activities that are too stressful, and I don't take on as much work as some of my colleagues. I haven't had a mood episode in a while, but anxiety still rears its head. Unfortunately I can't handle any medications for that, so I have to lean into therapeutic strategies. Thanks everyone for the kind words ❤️
  5. A few years ago, I was a daily poster here. Not sure if anyone from back then is still around. Anyway, I just wanted to say that things can get better. They've massively improved for me. When I used to post here, I was in and out of hospital every few months, my cognitive capabilities were in the gutter and I struggled a lot with suicidal feelings. I was unable to work or study properly. These days, I'm able to hold down an intellectually challenging job, have a stable relationship and see a future. Things aren't perfect, but I feel like I have my life back. Hang in there. Keep on fighting.
  6. I did the last thing on your list, and stopped because someone came into the room I was in - I considered that an attempt given my intent when I sat down and started swallowing. I think intent is key here. I don't know how to hide content so I've just done a spoiler below.
  7. a) Yes. b) Involuntarily inpatient stay, eventually came down with a sedating antipsychotic. c) I was "normal" within three weeks, but then was pretty depressed (was hospitalized). And after that extremely manic/psychotic (also hospitalized). Some true semblance of normality took a couple of years.
  8. Long story short - I was diagnosed with bipolar I and a bunch of other things (including anxiety) a few years ago, but because the bipolar had a direct threat to my life and sanity, all of my treatment focused on that. I dropped seeing a therapist because my psychiatrist also offered therapy in our regular consults and that was more affordable for me. Fast forward to now, and my mood is good (yay!). However, my severe anxiety and paranoia is now more obvious to my psychiatrist, and he has advised me to see an external psychologist as well as adding on medications. I'm really scared about seeing a therapist because it's been so long. I was wondering if anyone had any advice about going back into treatment, and how to prepare for that initial consult with the psychologist. Something that worries me is getting across the information I want to in that first meeting. I've written down bullet points, but I don't know exactly what information is the most useful, especially as my psychiatric history is more complex than the average outpatient anxiety patient (psychosis, multiple hospitalizations, suicide attempts etc). My psychiatrist wants the psychologist to give some diagnostic feedback and I'm not sure how to get across the most importation information here. To make things a little complicated, just from observing me and some of my concerns, my psychiatrist thinks I have GAD but also maybe some other stuff too. The GP writing the referral letter wrote down possible OCD and phobias. So everyone agrees that I have very intrusive and disruptive anxiety, but they don't agree on the finer details. It all just feels overwhelming and I'm worried about the consult not going to plan. I don't know how to get ready for it or even calm my mind about it because every time I've discussed these things with clinicians recently it has resulted in anxiety attacks.
  9. Has anyone ever gotten these comments from other people? Four years ago, a close friend who I only saw once every week or two in a group setting told me that he had seen real depression and anxiety and this wasn't it. This was as I was handing over pills for my overdose on the instruction of my therapist. A few weeks earlier, in my first meeting with my psychiatrist (who my therapist had referred me to for depression medication) said I didn't look depressed despite how I was feeling and the sleep disruption etc. After my first inpatient stay, another friend who I also saw in groups said "I can see the ups, but the downs?" I don't know why I can't get these out of my head even though they were years ago. It's making me doubt everything. I've had other clinicians tell me that I am depressed, as well as other family members and friends observe the same thing. But also, why do people feel a need to comment on how you look? What benefit is it supposed to serve? They see you for a very select window, often when you're giving all you have to see normal, and don't see the nightmares, fatigue, leaden limbs, inability to read or write...
  10. 20mg zyprexa zapped the soul out of me and my friends got worried. I'm on 800mg seroquel these days though and I am back to my usual (although anxious) self.
  11. In case other people find this thread... I will honestly say that the CATT team was the worst thing to happen to my mental health, possibly ever. I am not anti-treatment, but their actions led to multiple hospitalizations and numerous treatment teams trying to patch up their mistakes for well over a year afterwards. Proceed with caution and prudence.
  12. Maybe you're bisexual and homoromantic? Labels are frustrating and you don't have to have them if you don't want. I get the desire to want a label, as it makes things cleaner and there's a sense of belonging. I was like that once, but things have changed for me over the past few years. I would probably fall under bisexual/biromantic but the politics of claiming those labels is dicey for me, as I've never been in a same-sex relationship. I came out to one of my parents who told me to never tell anyone. So I just change my label depending on who I'm talking to.
  13. The hunger is easier to manage if you don't eat much sugar and have slow-release carbs (low-GI). That will likely reduce cravings dramatically. This website gives some good information on low-GI foods (http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html?referrer=https://www.google.com.au/). Some of the low-GI foods like lentils are extremely cheap (they swell a lot when you cook them).
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