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Hi

I don't know...I am highly anxious and I am having a tough time posting this, but I just need some support. I usually post in response to others, but I have a question this time...

I have been depressed for some time. I figured it was the season. I tend towards depression during winter months. But I was looking forward to a move towards some kind of normal mood...well, I don't know when, but sometime. Spring?

Anyway, out of nowhere, about three days ago, I got hypomanic. I began awakening with racing thoughts, I made a list of things to do and managed to do about ten loads of laundry (um, I have six people in my household and I got behind from depression...sorry) including putting it all away, I cleaned the house top to bottom, ran a bunch of errands where lately I've been unable to leave the house, I did a bunch of work on my dissertation--a project I've been unable to approach for over a year. I think you get the picture. I've also been terribly irritable, impatient, easily frustrated. And very talkative.

Argh.

So my question is this. Where's normal? When do I get to be normal? I was diagnosed BP I about a year and a half ago, I'm 38 years old and I feel crazy at this point. It saddens me, it angers me. I read everything I could get my hands on when I got my diagnosis and the books made it sound like this:

---You'll take your meds, you'll go to therapy, you'll have some depressions sometimes, you'll have some hypomanic times now and then that might go into mania if your pdoc and you don't be careful...but for the most part, you do your stress reduction crap, you take your meds, take your meds, take your meds...and you're mostly fine.

Did anyone else get this impression or was it just me? And is it just me that's going through this mini roller coaster? It's not like I'm deeply depressed or totally freaked out manic, but I swing. A lot. My moods are Not Good.

I've said enough, I think. I'm sorry if I went on and on. I'm just frustrated. I don't even know if the meds are even worth it. I don't know what the therapy is doing. Maybe I'm some kind of hopeless case. Or maybe this is just what BP is like and the books are just BS. I don't know. I just don't know at this point.

I'd love to hear any of your thoughts on this.

Thanks.

Sallie

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I don't have "normal". I have up or down. With the right meds, I achieve "close to normal" with smaller ups and downs (not up and down to the extreme that you are describing) and less rapid cycling that I am able to tolerate and my family can live with. That's what I'm striving for, really.

To me, it sounds like whatever medications you are on aren't working the best for you. Bipolar medications can need a lot of tinkering and adjusting and manipulation to get to where you need to be and to the level that you need them. I would say that you need to call your doctor and let him know what is going on and see if something else can be done.

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I agree with Jennie. After a lot of medication tweaking, her moods are relatively normal but she still has flucutations up and down. When this all began she was more depressive, now she tens to become manic but for shorter periods of time. While this doesn't sound like your situation, one thing my dd had to learn was what was "normal" again. She had been so I'd really talk to your doctor about reevaluating your meds. First, there are some excellent AD's that will zap the depression BUT may send you into mania. The meds you are on work to stabilize moods but I don't see an AD and I'd recommend you look into that.

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I can count on a shop teacher's hand the number of people who found the majick med combo in a year and half's time. I've been dealing with med combo's since 1994 and I'm STILL having trouble with my mood swings. Granted, my options are really limited because a lot of meds I can't take because of my seizures, but still...

Don't give up. I know how frustrating it is, but eventually it does get better. I've known periods of normalacy before. Then they've had to fuck around with my meds for one reason or another. (when you throw in seizure disorder it makes things a lot more complicated)

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"normal" for me is more of an even. it is not feeling either depressed or manic in any way. normal for me can even mean somewhat anxious, though not everyone will include anxious in their definition.

i agree with everyone- i've been DXed as BP1 since i was 7 (i'm 28 now) and i'm STILL working on my meds. almost every time i see the pdoc, which is still monthly, we do a med adjustment of some sort, whether it be up or down on this, or replacing this with that, or adding or taking away this, you get the picture. lately my meds have been pretty stable, not counting the substitution of risperdal for abilify for severe hormonal reasons.

don't give up! there are times when you'll feel "normal". you'll feel "normal" for long periods of time at times. my record is something like a few months. some people feel remittance for most of their lives. i know a bipolar guy who has been DXed for over 40 years and hasn't had a single episode (he's on lithium) since his mania 40 years ago.

you can't ever discount the possibility of becoming even. maddy is so right- it takes forever and a day to come up with that special combo, and then your body changes and your meds have to change. go figure.

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and let's not forget, "normal" people have mood swings too. only inanimate objects are completely even. you had a tough trough, you rallied, you fought back to do all the things you needed to do. it's not all bad or pathological. irritable is bad though...dysphoria. then again, lots of cranky churlish folks fly under the mi radar.

what is normal for me? just not being depressed or stuck in an emotion against my will for an unreasonably long time, say over a week. I've been pretty good for the past year, all things considered, with some spikes here and there. but hey, builds character, right? there are lots of sides to this equation. not all mi.

7

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I appreciate the input a lot. I know it's about patience...and also about a certain acceptance. I think when I'm like this...hypomanic...I'm not the happy, euphoric type. Like you said, seven, it's dysphoric. Bleh. And with that comes impatience. So by its very nature, I get impatient with my treatment, my whole BP deal. And Loon-a-tik...I feel anxiety all the time, unfortunately. It's a constant problem, so that probably plays a part.

Part of my treatment issue is that I can't take ADs. I became completely manic on Paxil and then had another major manic episode on Lexapro (why the second pdoc put me on that, well, who knows...I wasn't well enough to know enough to question him and I don't see him anymore). I know the pain in the ass of being limited with meds like you said, Maddy. It makes for a lot of frustration and feeling kind of hopeless at times.

I guess I just kind of want a break. A breather, you know? I see other people seemingly going about their business each day and to me, I am struggling. It makes me feel like a loser. I know, I know. Quit with the self-pity.

Ultimately, I think I just don't fit the picture painted in all the books. I guess I need to let that be okay.

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The picture in the book has never fit everyone. Don't worry about that.

Acceptance of the situation is the key, and figuring out how to function whatever is going on in your brain is the key. I can maintain a full time job, raise teenagers, volunteer for three different organizations - but I have to be very very conscious of my mental state and have a plan in place for whatever the situation in my brain is. I have to realize my limits and work within them.

There are times that I can't function. That goes with the territory. That's when I hit the hospital.

I wish I had things like this board when I was first diagnosed.

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  • 1 month later...

I got the same problem, Sallie21. I don't know what to do about it, I just don't work and am trying to work out a "holistic" treatment plan with my bf. It's difficult. I finally decided to go with the hypomania and not try to "reign it in" because it's not like I can reign it in when I'm depressed. Well, gotta go-- battery is low. More tomorrow.

the life of the mind

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I would say that I am normal most of the time. I'm neither up nor down. I'm on a pretty even keel. But mind you that is after years and years of med changes, at least 20 different drugs in countless combinations, years of therapy, and much daily work on my part to maintain that level.

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I am usually down and I go through very short periods of being okay/normal. ;) I/ however, have very nice periods of mania

I am manic right now and they are just gonna up my meds a vists to the pysc. I hate the crap. I know what you mean. Always taking your meds, Don't quit your meds. Don't quit your meds.Don't quit your meds.Don't quit your meds.Don't quit your meds.

arrrggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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I have actually been thinking a lot about this whole idea of "reining in" hypomania, too. At what point is it a problem? What is "normal" for someone who's BP, anyway? On the high side anyway...and where can we hang out safely if we want to? I mean, I'm sure no one wants to hang out on the low end. It just sucks there.

I've read about this idea of "prodromal" symptoms, the sense of building trouble in the brain chemistry towards mania...but there's no blood test, you know? Wouldn't that be convenient. Trying to constantly calibrate my mood with meds makes me feel like a chemistry set sometimes.

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It would be great if we could just hang out at a hypo level, but ion my experience that is really hard to maintain. I think there are people who are constantly a little hypo and they don't need medication to regulate it. Type A personalities and over-acheivers and just hyper people. When I thought I was hypo my docs thought I was full on manic, so squashed it I know what you mean about nopt wanting to hang out at a low level, that is no good. If only depression wasn't the ultimately outcome of mania, I would stay a little manic all the time and actually get shit done.

Blabber blabber. I know what you mean about being a chemistry set. It is so frustrating to play guinea pig to a pdoc's informed whims. You have to give up some control and that sucks.

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"NORMAL" is a setting on a fucking washing machine.

I hate that word--means nothing. Whats normal for you is off the wall for me, and vice versa. Just work on "stable"--I like that one a lot better.

for what its worth--

china, very chatty tonite

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I put "normal" in quotation marks in the thread because I, too, have some problems with the word. I know that it's all relative. But in some ways, I long for normalcy. In other ways, I say screw "normal." I'm unique, we're all unique. I'm not in favor of going at anything...especially something as nuanced as treating BP...with the idea that there's one "right" place we should all end up.

It's interesting, when I take an honest look at myself, I see how I grasp and grope for help and reassurance when I'm depressed or hovering on that edge of darkness, but when I'm moving towards the high side, I start thinking more about my autonomy in treatment, almost as if I want to be left alone to a certain extent--med compliant, but don't talk to me about changes! I guess that's the stubbornness and grandiosity of the manic mind, huh?

Oh, well.

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I just wanted to chime in here and say that I was diagnosed with manic depression (that's what they called it then) way back when I was 18-19. I'm 40 now. I probably had it way before then. I resisted taking meds for about 15 years, and I passed as "normal" for most of those 15 years - meaning I never got arrested or hospitalized. Sure, I went to doctors, and sure I was suicidal now and again, and yeah, I got into some super manic moods where I spent myself broke and moved across the country on a whim, but people labeled me as "weird" or "eccentric"... not "crazy" - okay, some people did call me crazy.

Anyway, my dx has always been manic depressive - then bi-polar. That's never changed. What did change was that I finally became med compliant. The first two years were a lot worst than my non med years, but now that I've found the right combo, I see a lot more stable days than unstable - with a few breakthrough periods as recently posted. High stress times are the worse, but for the most part, I can reach that "stable" period. It's there - stability. It can be reached. Maybe not forever, but man, it's good to have the rest between the highs and lows.

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Well, I don't know if I can definately add any true information here, as today is the first day that I've been diagnosed as bipolar. It's been a long hard fight to stay away from a real Pdoc, but recently I realized if I kept up the way I was I'd probably lose my job, and that's even with the lousiness of my 3.5 year old daughter not knowing if daddy is "grumpy" or not.

I my normal is about a 40% depression. I do get spikes of depression that are subzero, "hit with a hammer" is what I call it. But, this last year, my normal mode of operation is half-furious looking for anything to justify the seething anger inside me. Luckily, I'll get a few days of depression, which is liberating in a way.

The scary part, besides almost getting in real trouble for being too frustrated this Tuesday, is the occasional moments of bliss I'll have. They freak me out. I'll think "I am more as peace than I have been in decades, if ever." and then I'll realize I'm just driving, and that really bothers me.

Oh, and if anyone remembers me, hey, I may or may not be back. My work blocks this site, and I'm sure not going to be asking them to unblock it. No one needs to know how crazy I am at work, except my depressed pal Steve.

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