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Has your illness changed as you've aged?


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I'm just wondering what other people's experiences are with this. I've found that as I've aged my illness has changed. At the start I only ever had depressive episodes, this lasted for probably 9 years. Then I started to get manic episodes mixed in with the depressive ones for about 4 or 5 years, but then I started to have less and less depressive episodes and now I haven't had one for quite some time (going on almost 2 years now). I'm thinking my illness might have changed from the depressive side to the manic side and maybe I won't have any more depressive episodes?

If that's true good riddance, I'd rather be manic than depressed any day. There was a woman in my support group who had only had manic episodes and had never experienced a depressive one, maybe I've become like her?

 

Is this remotely normal or am I an oddity?

Has your illness changed at all over the years or does it remain constant?

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I remember a similar thread to this. Maybe? I confuse easily haha.

Anyways, yes my illness has changed. I used to only get depressive episodes like you. Then the manic ones started. Then the psychotic episodes after that. Everything has sort of snowballed unfortunately. I still experience all of those. Oh and I forgot anxiety too! That was probably the first monster to show up. Followed closely by the OCD.

And the insomnia? Well that began when I was a teen and it has waxed and waned in severity since then. I remember watching music videos late at night "Insomniac Theater." It takes a lot to sedate me enough for sleep, unfortunately.

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My illness is much better now that it's controlled by medications.  I used to have manic/psychotic episodes, now I mainly have anxiety and mild depressions.  Actually, I am going through a med adjustment and as I am feeling better I start thinking am I going to have manic episode even though I haven't in years. So far so good, though.

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Yup, it's definitely changed a lot as I've gotten older.  For a long time it was just anxiety and depressive episodes, then a healthy dose of mixed episodes started showing up in my late teens.  After that some standalone hypomanic episodes became apparent, totally separate from the depressive ones for the first time.  I fear that in the future it may develop further and I'll start to experience full manic and/or psychotic episodes, but I guess that's why I'm in treatment, right?  To avoid that?

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Yes, it has changed for me too.  I was in hell when it all started and for years before the current cocktail was found.  I was depressed, suicidal, manic, felt "ok" at times in between ... rollercoaster.  As I have gotten older the diagnosis kept changing, starting out as depression and after years of guessing many diagnoses it seems like, now SZA bipolar-type with socail anxiety, agoraphobia is the final diagnosis.

 

Right now though I am stable because I am on the right meds.  I used to be able to deal with stress and being tired, but that part has gotten worse over the years and I've become more sensitive to it; stress and being over-tired bring on hallucinations pretty fast if I don't take time to sleep/lower stress.

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Yes my illness has definitely changed over the years. At the beginning I would get depressive episodes every 3 years. Later I started suffering from pánic attacks. Then I got severe depression with psychosis. Then I was medicated. To me, meds changed the course of my illness. With zyprexa and cymbalta, my mood was always low. After 2 years of being medicated I started having depersonalization and paranoia.

Years later cymbalta was replaced with lexapro. With this med I began having frequent mood swings, switching daily or even having different moods throughout the day. Even having mixed episodes.

I've never had extreme manía, the only time I had it, it was med induced (abilify made me energétic and manic)

So to me, meds can change the course of the illness . I am not a doctor though.

I've also noticed that as years went by my illness worsened

Edited by CookieN
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I was normal with friends,university,apartment .

then,on my 20th bday,I just knew life as I knew it was over.

I felt an emptiness ,a knot in stomach,I became immobilized in a week.

moved back to my parents place.

it's been a journey.

 

so yeah,I went from psychosis,hospitals etc to find the right meds over 10 years. 

now I'm as good as can be.

but I fall easily.

I dont know.

everything passes,everything changes.

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from 15-23, depressed except for two single year long hypo-manias. Started to get severely, severely (maybe mixed) depressed from the time I was 23 to 29, for 18mo periods at least. Made my only real planned murder-homicide (not carried out, of course) shortly after I reached 30. Then at 35, went into remission, on a low dose of Wellbutrin as a precaution, and was firing on all cylinders (except I worked part time).

 

My first "official" mixed episode happened when I was 42. In my "youth," BP II was not supposed to include mixed states as a feature. Even though I seemed to get sick whenever he was on vacation (July-August), from my own reports, and reports of my covering pdocs, we still figured mixes episodes.

 

Then last summer I went so batshit that the covering pdocs were having me come in every 4 business days, and I had psychotic features. I was episodic lasted long enough that my pdoc was able to compare it to my baseline, and concluded dysphoric mania. So now I am BP!. Does that mean I was always BP?

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I guess the biggest changes in my illness have been my first hypomanic episode, when I was 20 and when I first became psychotic, at 21. Both caused major changes in my treatment. Previously, I had only ever been depressed. 

Edited by Parapluie
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The last year this is the list of things that has helped me the most

 

1) Medication Tweaking - It's been a rough journey but it was done at times on a weekly basis, a few times more often than that.

1) Hopsitalizations

2) Education about my illness

 

Education I think will be the single most important thing after I get on the best med combo I can get. Thing is you can get the best med combo possible and you will still be symptomatic. Learning when you have those symptoms and how to react to them is of the utmost importance. I am still not the best at it myself, but am learning. This I think only comes as you deal with your illness more and more. It also only comes if you face it and take personal responsibility for managing it. I could just "wait" for the medications to work, but I would never be "fixed". I think you have to be pro active and that only comes from failures, experience, and acceptance, as well as age since this takes time. 

 

That aside. For me ? 

 

Started of as depression and severe social anxiety when I was : 15-16

Progressed to manic phases (serious ones but no psychosis) : 19-25

Then we proceeded to long periods of alternating depression and mania every 2-3 months : 25-30

Severe mixed Episodes. Not knowing who I was, where I was, or understanding anything about life (severe psychosis started) : 30-34

EXTREME Mixed Episodes Beyond Recognition : 34-35

Start of my recovery and education. Still plenty of problems but not as bad as age 30-34 and better than 15-16. Hell I enjoyed 19-25

 

From this point on ? I don't know. I am more rapid cycling on current meds and less mixed - which is progress. Right therapy, more education, a little more med tweaking ... and i may gain some assemblance of life I haven't had since I was very very young. For me I think age will help as I educate myself more. Learn my limits of what I am and am not capable of. What my triggers are. That sort of stuff. It is all seperate from the medication. Medicine alone will never be a "Cure All" - At least not for ME. Personal Responsibility, Medication Management, and Therapy, Learning Triggers wll all be parts of a foundation for me to build a new and better life. Unless of course the illness totally kicks my ass again.

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I finally feel like I have a much better hold on things as the MI has progressed.  More "grown-up," even though at times I feel like losing it when in a mixed state or something.  Better able to understand people and empathize with them if they are struggling also.  I can see different perspectives on things better.  More insight.

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Episodes have gotten increasingly more intense over the years, and the "psychotic features" have come more quickly in an episode when before it would take weeks of losing it before I started hearing voices and believing people were plotting against me. But I've also found much better treatment than I had in the past.

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I've had mania from the beginning as a kid and as time went on, more depressions but after having kids, back to more mania.  If I had to choose, I'd choose my depression.  At least people wouldn't look at me like I'm an alien come to snatch their kid.

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I was really depressive from a very young age, and in my early/mid-teens I started flipping to hypomania. I always thought I was just really depressed and that the bursts of creativity and projects and all that were just me feeling better. Then the mixed episodes came... I think the first actual mania was around 19, and halfway through 20 I could hardly function anymore and sought treatment. I'm a few months from 22 now.

 

It's hard to say how much the cycle lengths have changed, because obviously I didn't track it early on... But I think the depression used to be constant, and for the past few years the upside has been a way bigger issue, with depression only coming as a crash. I ultra-rapid cycle sometimes, meaning my episodes can last anywhere from a few days (at which point it can go on for months cycling back and forth every handful of days) to a few weeks at a time, so I think that's probably different than how it used to go. I wish I'd known early on so I could have mapped it out better, but it's obviously changed over time in a fairly typical way.

 

Also, it's funny that you say you'd rather be manic than depressed. I know that that's a common preference, but I'm actually the opposite. I'll get the nice euphoria sometimes, very briefly, but usually my (hypo)mania is just painfully embarrassing and terrifying and frustrating and horrible, and it creates a lot of interpersonal friction for me with the irritability/rage. Plus, it often ends up mixed. Depression is awful, but it's familiar, it doesn't humiliate me, and it's not scary. Miserable, sure, but less-so that the chaos of mania in my case. 

Edited by tinypunx
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