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do continued mood swings mean i am undermedicated?

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i was feeling fine. really really just OK fine. nice. content. mellow. even. then. last weekend, i had three days of obsessive doing stuff. yeah, one might call it manic. i felt great, and accomplished, and couldn't really stop myself. but i just thought it was finally me waking up after winter, and getting started on the new spring thing.

except. now. on monday. i crashed. i have been spriralling down into this ugly depressed state. the uh. *S* word popped into my head for the first time in a long time. no ideation really, just ... hmmm.

this feels awful.

so i am thinking ...

1. Maybe there is something to this alluded to possible BP dx ...

2. WTF!?

3. Does this mean I am undermedicated? Or, like I said in the title, is there just so much the meds can do?

I don't wanna be a zombie. I have to keep working. I just can't TAKE more meds. besides the fact that I couldn't afford it. my health ins. is for shit. I have a $2K annual benefit max. That just about covers the 80% I will get back for my meds.

or are the meds not addressing the issue at all? might I be as well off w/o them? hell. i have gone through stable periods before w/o meds, so who's to say that it was th emeds that kept me stable this time?

i just feel so fucked. from every direction. and i don't know what to do anymore.


please give me some feedback. i feel so lost.

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fuck fuck fuckity fuck sure says it all.

ok, some alternatives: perhaps the meds keep you from cycling more frequently. that is, if you weren't on them, you'd be up-down-up-down constantly, not jsut once in a while.

maybe you are reacting to the change in season/daylight, and it was just enough to kick you into a cycle. just one cycle.

there is the possibility like you say, that the meds can only do so much. but if they are removing say, 95% of instability, can you imagine what having that 95% back would be like? i don't think they are not working at all. i do remember how you felt and wrote a long time back....i remember the up-down-up-down-up-down. it was more than just unstable...you seemd so fragile back when i first met you.

you do seem stronger and more centered now. so maybe look at it long term like 'how have i done for the past x years'

i hope that helps. i'm really not familiar with bp other than what you guys here have taught me. oh, wait, my own damn depression has taught me to expect occasional blips. they happen sometimes jsut to happen it seems.

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For me, there is only so much the medications can do. Now, having said that, they do a great deal, but it took a loooooooong time for me to strike the balance between medication and self management.

I have had to learn to deal with my own moodiness and to know what I can and can't do - and to honor those boundaries. As I've gotten older and I've dealt with this for longer it has gotten easier, and I have been able to stretch the boundaries somewhat, but when I need to go home, pop a large bowl of popcorn, grab a coke and go watch Law and Order:CI that's exactly what I better do.

I meditate and get some exercise - that helps a lot....if I'm feeling antsy and anxious usually the best thing for me to do is to play with the dogs. I have a very high stress mid-level administrative job for a large corporation - which I keep for the benefits - and I have to keep it in perspective.

I just kept trying things until I found what worked. I have to admit that I also married a wonderful man who helps me a great deal, and I credit him with a lot of my success. The rest of it, though, was trial and error. Turned out that I loved weightlifting but aerobics got me too keyed up.

I had to know myself inside and out in order to finally manage the swingset.

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I read reddog's response and nodded my head in agreement plenty. Yes yes and yes.

I think meds probably hold back and awful lot, but they don't do everything. They probably keep the cycling down. I know that's what I count on mine for...but there are almost always going to be breakthrough episodes or...whatever you want to call 'em.

I'd look to the weather/time/light change, too. March madness, you know? Things are just screwy and a lot of us are feeling it. I've had some recent days of incredible productiveness, too...felt great...couldn't stop talking, but hey. I had to go with it. Almost always a crash around the corner. Bleh. Things turned amazingly introspective, I literally wrote in my journal for days, I'm drowning, I'm drowning.

I know the meds can be scary, but they don't have to make you a zombie. It's not all black and white like that. Maybe it's not about *more* meds, but different or adjusted meds. Or not. But your doctor should have some ideas, I'd think. I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow...I have hope.

These blips or breakthroughs or seasonal tough spots, they can be managed...I have to believe that. We have to believe that.

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Well, I'm glad you raised that, because I have begun to think that this illness is much more complex than I ever thought. Technically, I'm rapid or ultra-rapid cycling but looking back over the years I think I see a different pattern there. It looks like maybe bursts of ultra-rapid cycling on top of a much slower cycle. I have had long periods of productivity where I was probably hypomanic, and periods of gentle decline. I think that these dips are the point where I switch to ultra-rapid.

Anyway. I think the meds do work, but not 100%. I've had a pretty horrible reactive depression and as the pressure has started to come off I can feel little bursts of mania creeping in, followed by sudden slumps. No warning, no gradual just like someone throwing a switch. So I think the meds do what they can, and us and the environment contrive to give us the odd curve ball.

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Hi All,

Nothing especially thoughtful to add, but I think I've accepted that my meds can't fix everything. I am fairly stable, but there are times when I still feel low or get moodswings. I tend to accept that now these days.

Though if I feel bad-enough agitation, I'll take Zyprexa. If I really can't sleep, I'll take Imovane. I have nothing to take when I really feel low (cocaine would fit the bill, but I don't have access to it), but thank God I haven't been feeling too low too much lately.


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thank you SO much! it's this all or nothing, black & white thinking i have (that, along with other stuff, sent me into a borderline dx and DBT several years ago ~ although that dx doesn't seem to fit anymore w/meds yay!).

i guess i just never stopped to consider that there could be a mood swing/cycle "breakthrough" event.

and Red the perspective you have is priceless to me. i can't get back into that head space, or even remember with any kind of clarity how i used to be, or how much i have changed!

i never thought about the light triggering a cycle. i just (again B&W) looked at it like dark bad, light good, dark depressed, light not depressed.

i also haven't been paying attention to moods from a BP vantage point for very long now. my most recent pdoc only alluded to bp-spectrum, blah,blah, blah. but hell, my very first dx was BP, 20 years ago. just was abandoned because i didn't respond to lithium.

i googled a lot on it last night. and there seems to be a huge amount of evidence pointing to the connections of light and dark and bi-polar cycling. one article in particular caught my eye, wherein they say that bp has been successfully treated w/light-dark therapies, and the dark/sleep part was for a period of 10-hours a day. i have always needed 10 hours of sleep. but it has been a rare thing for me to be able to take it. i wonder how much different my life would be if i could!

lots of food for thought, and a load off my mind lifted. i think the whole feeling like maybe i was doomed to never be better because meds didnt work thought pattern was only making my depression worse.

you've all helped a lot.


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So I think the meds do what they can, and us and the environment contrive to give us the odd curve ball.

Well said.

And March Madness around our house doesn't have a DAMN thing to do with basketball.

Every hospital episode hubby has had started in March and he was in a locked ward by April.

Now that he is stable on Lamictal, he still has to keep that seroquel handy for break through mania. It started earlier this month for him and he has been taking it at night to help him sleep and get his brain to shut up and leave him alone for a few hours. If he stays true to form, he should be off the seroquel shortly.

Without the lamictal, he would be trying to ride the mania buzz and I would be calling the nice men with the funny white coat that ties in the back again. ;)

P.S. AirMarshall has commented in other threads that the lack of insight in to your own illness and symptoms is normal for bp. Hubby's tdoc mentioned the same thing to me. Guess that makes you normal huh?

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I also think, in terms of perspective, that it's important to not get *too* worried about mood-shifts. What I mean is, you can go up for a couple of days (as you did, in fact) and then come back down naturally. Equally, can feel like shite for a few days and then come back up naturally. A couple of days worth of bipolar-type mood does not necessarily herald the start of a serious episode, and can be ridden (so long as the shifts aren't so extreme that they're completely fucking-up you life). I've realised this since coming off meds, since when I went mildly hypomanic for a couple of weeks then mildly depressed for a couple of weeks. I just made damned sure I was aware of the symptoms, what was going on, that I was doing all the stuff I'd discussed with professionals in the past to avert a major episode.....and it worked. I'm fine. I'm not saying it's the same for everyone (God knows we all know it's not!), but just bear in mind that, sometimes, catastrophe isn't hiding round the next corner.


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