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Hi.  I'm wild_goose.  I've been diagnosed with dysthmia, major depression, and GAD. I take wellbutrin and effexor.

The thing is, I think I may be bipolar II, which terrifies the hell out of me.  I have these spells where I sleep only 4 or 5 hours a night, feel great, pace the house feverishly, and get tons of work done.  I also buy lots of stuff I don't need.  Not to the point where my financial health is in danger or anything, but it is troubling. Normally I am Ms. Careful with money.  My husband, who is wonderful and supportive and loves me tons even though I'm nuts, says I don't act like myself when I'm like that.

Do I need to tell my pdoc about this?  I sooooo don't want to take lithium because I am afraid it will make me fat and stupid, and that would make me not want to live.  Also, can you actually say to a Dr. "hi, I think I'm even crazier than you thought I was"? 

I have come off the jazzed-up spell and an now needing extra sleep but am not horribly depressed or anything. 

I know y'all aren't doctors <insert legal disclaimer junk here>, but I could use some advice from folks who have a clue what this is all about. There's no one here I can talk to in real life except my husband, and he is pretty stressed out as it is with sick parents and so on.

Thanks,

wild_goose

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hi wild_goose,

welcome to the boards!

i think that you should be open with your pdoc. if you are bipolar rather than MDD (major depressive disorder), you could be on/given anti-depressant meds that could trigger a full mania. a diagnosis doesn't alter who you are as a person. it is an illness. you can't control it. i wouldn't blame a person for having lupus or multiple sclerosis. why think badly about someone who has bipolar disorder. and also, don't equate bipolar with being crazier than MDD. i think that MDD is far more likely to kill you (i don't know this for sure though and would be curious to know the statistic on which phase most bipolar people die in, depression or mania).

be open and honest with your pdoc. get the right diagnosis and the right treatment. and if you don't want to take lithium, there are other meds available.

take care,

grouse.

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Hey WG,

Welcome.

Full disclosure is always the best course of action when dealing with pdocs.

If you're having these symptoms, mention them. If you're worried about the side effects of Litium et. al mention that too. A doc is not going to shove something down your throat. You are a participant in your healthcare planning.

There are many options open for medication for BP II. Lithium is only one of those options. I, for example, have BP II and I take Wellbutrin and Depakote. Do some reading so you know a bit about the medications and when you broach the subject with your doc, let him know your concerns. Having done your research you will be able to discuss and perhaps suggest alternatives to Lithium, etc.

Although you seem to have fairly mild episodes, a dysphoric mania in full cry can be a dangerous thing.

In my opinion, you're better off saying something and negotiating on the meds.

InfoNut

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(i don't know this for sure though and would be curious to know the statistic on which phase most bipolar people die in, depression or mania).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Grouse,

I believe studies have show that people are much more likely to commit suicide during manic periods, especially the dysphoric mania of BP II.

That's neither here nor there as far as I'm concerned when comparing 'levels of craziness'. I'm not even sure you can compare craziness. Am I more of a nutjob because I hear voices, as opposed to someone elses major deprression?

How crazy am I? It's not something I can rate on a scale of one to ten, or compared to the nutjob sitting next to me.

Im crazy enough.

Crazy enough that it effects my life. Crazy enough that it effects my career, and the lives of those around me. Crazy enough that it comprimises my saftey.

Crazy enough to need help for it.

InfoNut(job)

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Hi Wild Goose, welcome!

Ok, so you want me to tell you to lie to your Pdoc? Huh? ;)

Heck, yeah you need to tell him about these spells, if you want to get better.

You don't say how your other treatment is going, but be aware the BP'ers, especially BP2 spend on average 53% of the time depressed.  Hmmm. 

And the meds you take for depression versus BP (with depressive spells) are different. 

And no you don't HAVE to take lithium, even though it's the gold standard, there are other mood stabilizers.  And no you don't HAVE to get stupid or fat.  Hell, Paxil made me a ravenous food machine, lithium stabled my weight.

Why else should you tell your Pdoc?  Because Bipolar, unlike basic depression, typically tends to get worse and increase in length, the longer it goes untreated. Referred to as "kindling theory", though it is well established by observation.

Ok, to tell your doc about it this way:  "Doc, I've seen a pattern of my behaviour that concerns me, blah blah,  what do you thing it is?"  (Don't bring up the word Bipolar until after you Pdoc has given his opinion.  Pdocs like to feel like they do something, so humor him).

Check out Dr. Phelp's Bipolar II website:

www.psycheducation.org

Good luck,  A.M.

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Thanks for posting on my thread!  It's nice to meet y'all.

AirMarshall, I wouldn't lie to my pdoc, but I can't tell her everything in 15 minutes, and I'm nervous about it.  (Oh, no!  She'll think I'm nuts.  Oh...yeah...I am nuts. ;) ) The meds I'm already taking make my brain a bit less effective than before, and I'm working on a PhD and I need to be able to think straight. (Oh, and thanks for the link.  I'll check it out.)

Sigh.  My husband agrees with all of you that I have to mention it to her, so I guess I'll have to find the courage to do so.  It took me a long time to ask my GP about my depression because I was afraid she would laugh and me and tell me to grow up or something. (She didn't, of course.)  I'm having the same sort of anxiety about telling my pdoc about these odd spells of jazzed-up energy.

Have any of you had spells like this?  Do they get worse or more frequent?  Do drugs work to even them out? 

As for how crazy is crazy and how crazy am I, grousemouse and InfoNut, you are right---how do you compare crazinesses?  It's just that the word "depression" is more acceptable than the word "bipolar," but it makes no difference in terms of the illness I'm suffering.  If I have to get used to a new name for it, so be it.

But talking to doctors of all kinds is something I find extremely difficult.

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The thing is, I think I may be bipolar II, which terrifies the hell out of me.

It is a scary idea.  I am coming to terms with the same thought.  I had 2 MD's and a T tell me I may be bipolar but I never stayed with any of them long enough to get a definative Dx.  But it seems to fit. The reason BP terrifies me is that depression seems more like something I can control, where bipolar seems more chemical, and therefore uncontrollable sans medication.  To be bipolar, to me, means to have to admit there is really something wrong that I may have no control over. A broken brain if you will.  I know I probably don't have control over the unipolar variety either, but it feels like I should, or at least could someday. I feel there is a certian hope with being depressed that is lacking in BP.  I am also aware of how wrong this all is.  But it is my fear none the less. 

My only question is, did these episodes of extra energy start before or after you went on meds for your depression?  AD's can cause mania or exasorbate the condition of someone who already suffers from mania.  Either way you want to talk to your PDoc.

a diagnosis doesn't alter who you are as a person. it is an illness. you can't control it.

Grouse will you drill this one into my head please?    I know the illness was present prior to the Dx but somehow I feel if I don't get the Dx then I can't really have the d/o

i think that MDD is far more likely to kill you (i don't know this for sure though and would be curious to know the statistic on which phase most bipolar people die in, depression or mania).

The last thing I read was that BP in a mixed state is the most likely because they often have the energy the MDD is lacking to follow through with their plan.  I think it is all speculation though.  How would we really know what a person was feeling immediately prior to a suicide? Its not like we could ask them.  (Sorry, in a weird mood tonight)  It would be an interesting topic though.  I love studying this stuff. God I would love to be a psychologist except for all the talking to people thats involved.

Because Bipolar, unlike basic depression, typically tends to get worse and increase in length, the longer it goes untreated. Referred to as "kindling theory", though it is well established by observation.

Do you have any sites that reference this?  This is something I am curious about as it is a new concept to me.  Is treatment only referring to meds or does therapy help avoid kindling?  Is this a measurable occourence or strictly in theory? 

(Don't bring up the word Bipolar until after you Pdoc has given his opinion.  Pdocs like to feel like they do something, so humor him).

How true! I think the easiest way to not get Dxed with a d/o is to tell a Pdoc you think you have it.  They have to feel they know more than we do. 

Wild Goose,  I hope everything goes well with your appt.  I know its hard to get everything out in 15 min.  Maybe write your symptoms down so that you don't forget what you want to say.  I would love to know what your PDoc says, so keep us updated OK? 

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Wild Goose,

Yes, we BP'ers have similar actions.  That's one of the defining symptoms of BP!

-Don't worry about the 15 minutes.  You are there to see the Pdoc and let him know about any problems or symptoms. This is a major deal, you need to tell him about. A good Pdoc will take the extra time needed to take care of you.  Again, 15 minutes is not you concern.

- Does it get worse?  I'll say it again YES, if you don't get diagnosed and get the right meds.  Proven fact.

Do check out Dr. Phelps site. 

A great book that is current is The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide. 

Now go see your Pdoc.

regards,  A.M

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Hi Wildgoose,

Thanks for your post.  It has helped me figure out a few things in my own situation which is a bonus.

The book hint from AirMarshall is one I should also consider.

I think you have all written so well I don't think I have much to offer.  I think the 15 mins would make anyone stressed, so writing it down does seems to me like a great solution.

Labels are hard to deal with.  Just remember it is totally safe here.  You also found it helpful to speak to your local doc about your depression, so go into your session with the idea that if you want to bring up about BPII do so, but probably like the others are saying, tell your Pdoc your symtoms and hopefully you will find they might get around to the diagnosis you feel you are connecting with.  On the other hand the Pdoc may open you eyes to other triggers.  Its all very subjective.  What ever you decide, don't feel bad!  You do need to talk to someone though.  Fearing the appointment will just set you back, the 15th is ages away.  Easy to say not so easy to do, (believe me I know) but hopefully good food for thought for us all.

Take care Bleu

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Guest billycat

Hi wild goose    I can't agree more with Grouse, Info nut and A.M.

They just recently helped me figure out what a mixed state is...      I was DX with BPII  in March    after about 5 years of just taking anti-depressants.  I have to tell you ..yes..it was kind of scary...but more so, a relief to finally realize what was going on in my life for about the last 20 years.  It's better to know and understand than to be  confused and not realizing that you can actually feel alittle

better with treatment.  I can really relate to the spening money on things I didn't need or want (or could afford).  I was in a very dark and lonley place for a long time and it is not quite as dark any more.    I see myself different....not bad..

just different and that is ok.

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completely off topic, but i just wanted to say that every time i read your username, wild goose, i get the song 'wild boys' by duran duran in my head. thank christ it's not abba.

grouse.

ps. and good luck. you'll be fine. just put your underwear on your head and stick a couple of pencils up your nose. works every time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sigh.  Yup, pdoc says I'm bipolar.  She's taking me off effexor (reducing the dose over time, of course) and adding Depakote to the wellbutrin.  So I'm going to be fat, my hair will fall out, and my liver will cry itself to sleep every night.  ;)

Yuck.  I am in semi-denial at the moment.  I told my husband, "I'm not that crazy, and I'd rather be crazy than fat."  He thinks fat is better than crazy and that I definitely need to do what my pdoc says.  He's almost certainly right.  At any rate, I know I have to get stabilized before I can trust my judgment on this. 

Thanks for the supportive comments, y'all.  I'm off to read about bipolar disorder now.

wild goose

p.s., grouse, the song I hear in my head is the old, old Frankie Lane song "Cry of the Wild Goose."  It starts like this:

My heart knows what the wild goose knows,

I must go where the wild goose goes.

Wild goose, brother goose, which is best?

A wanderin' fool or a heart at rest?

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