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What is a months-long episode like?


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I've never had a long period of time (weeks or months) where I was severely depressed or hypomanic for the entire time.  

 

I've had weeks of depression but only parts of it would involve the not being able to get out of bed, crying all day, not eating kind of depression; most of it would just be a constant sadness like a weight on my shoulders, avoiding socialization, thinking about death a lot, exhausting but not completely debilitating.  Even then, though, there would be times when I feel sort of normal, and even capable of some happiness, but it doesn't last very long.

 

There are other times that can last for weeks where I feel delicate and unstable, sort of a buzzy tension under my skin and I know I could go off at the slightest provocation.  I'll be feeling okay and then something a little frustrating could throw me into a rage, a mild disappointment could turn into sobbing on the floor, or seeing an old friend could lead to high energy and talking too much and getting super wired.  None of these extreme moods would last for very long though, and afterward I'd be tired, feeling catatonic, until that buzzy feeling built back up again.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that all of my extreme mood states don't seem to last very long (hours or days) even when they seem to be in the midst of a longer, milder mood thing.  And I can have periods of normalcy in there at places.  So I can't figure out if those are all little discrete mood episodes or just intense parts of one long mood episode.  

 

What is a long mood episode like for you?  Are there ever periods of normalcy or at least less intense mood?  I'm especially curious about what a long mixed episode is like.

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Sounds familiar. My pdoc says it's all one big mixed episode. Had a bad one last year and early this year. Lasted about 7-8 months. Now I'm in a depression that's lasted almost as long, save for a few manic/mixed states that I zapped with my PRN. In my experience, the more intense stuff has a shorter duration and the less intense stuff can go on for many months or years.

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Long mood episodes are usually me going into hypomania, they start out small and then grow from there. They constantly get worse. I get intervention as soon as I can.

 

Going up and down like you're talking about sounds like a mixed episode, to me at least, that's what mine are like. Depression and mania kinda mixed up into a jumble. I get the energy of mania and the thoughts of depression. Basically I get fucking agitated. 

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Long episdoes for me is usually manic episode lasting two - three months. After the few few weeks of getting used to the increased activity, self esteem i experience a lot of hallucintaions day and night. Its feels like a rollacoaster you cant get off from, i am likley to be consumed by whats going on, time goes very quickly and i bounce around ideas and projects. Its not pleasent at times and really stressful but i most of it is very positive even if other people dont agree.

Jude

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I think you should count how long an episode lasts by how long you feel different from your stable state.  Mood tracking is a good way to do this.

 

I have a mood tracker on my phone that asks for my mood five times a day, from "couldn't be worse" to "insanely great".  It is quite helpful.  Usually what I'll see when stable is lots of entries of "okay" or "fine" and when I'm unstable it's mostly "bad" or "very bad" with some "great" in there.  It has a graph that makes it easy to see when the bars are mostly mid-range or when they're really up and down.  Sometimes it's hard to choose a mood, though, because I might be feeling really good but also really agitated and I don't know if I should go with good or bad.

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My manic episodes on average last 6-9 months and I have maintained them for 2 years once and 1.5 years the last time.  I literally feel like I am higher than life.  I "gush" so to speak, I feel like I could hug anyone.  Once I hit that spot, I am gone.  I will not see or be able to be talked into meds.  I often claim I was misdiagnosed and was never bipolar at all.  I never think anything is wrong at all.  My behavior is unpredictable.  I tend to want to change everything about life.  I tend to be overly jacked up, talk over everyone, call and email people people at all hours with my advice.  After months of little to know sleep, I start making no sense and will end up delusional and paranoid, like thinking I am being followed and threatened to be framed for murder and ending up in jail. and the crash is the mixed state part of it which is miserable.  My depression is apathy so I tend to just think I am being lazy and not think much of it.  I haven't cycled since 2007 and tend to get a little elevated in the summers still but nothing too bad.  My cycling is always very long term.  

 

Unless induced by a drug or supplement or something, my mania is 6 months minimum.  I have a range, one episode, I was cold and mean and another one, I was hugging everyone and giving away gift cards to strangers and just talking nonstop to everyone whether I knew them or not.  I cheat on whoever I am with, party, use alcohol and cocaine, steal, lie and obsess about delusional crap, like thinking I can solve world issues or using tachyon theory to create a formula to solve the Bermuda triangle thing or aliens etc.  Flying to different countries has happened.  Thinking there were messages in the TV shows and commercials for me to help the government with top secret missions etc.  I tend to chase that manic high so I don't really see anything wrong with me and I tend to go inpatient via the police and I am usually argumentative and nasty to them so it is via a tazing, pepper spraying or billy club LMAO... but they scream back which is not helpful at all... I lose friends a lot because when I am manic, even though I warn them before that happens, they end up arguing and fighting with me and I am impossible because I don't think there is anything wrong.  Sometimes, I never remember it at all or bits and pieces but more often than not, I remember all of it.  It is always embarrassing when I come to though.  In debt, broke, dumped, once I moved to a different place altogether, sore and in a nut ward.  I come out of it quick but I started when I was 5 years old so it may be part of that.

Edited by Mattheus
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I've had months-long episodes of mania before. Off meds because I thought I was opening my chakras and having a "spiritual experience". Very psychotic for months. Thought I was turning into Athena. Thought I could see auras, and heal people with my mind. Thought I was on a mission to save the world. Grandiose delusions. Now I'm on meds, and been depressed for like six months.

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I've had months-long episodes of mania before. Off meds because I thought I was opening my chakras and having a "spiritual experience". Very psychotic for months. Thought I was turning into Athena. Thought I could see auras, and heal people with my mind. Thought I was on a mission to save the world. Grandiose delusions. Now I'm on meds, and been depressed for like six months.

I think the depression is harder to treat. My hypo/manias never last more than a month or two. My mixed episodes last many months and my depressed states can last years. Blech.

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I had long hypomanias, at least two that were a year each. I also had long, severe depressions. One lasted just short of two and a half years. The others were 9-18 mo. I haven't been severely depressed since my 30s. The longest my manias or mixed episodes last are a couple of months. But I am better medicated now.

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What exactly are mixed episodes? I was stable for 9 months and the last 3 months have been awful. Started with hypo and then anger, depression, normal, anger, etc etc and currently been on the couch for 4 days crying.

I am no doc, but a mixed episode for me is full range of moods at a severe level. Crying, laughing, hypo sexual, agitated , manic to depressed all rolled into one. I have been stuck in one since about June. They are exhausting to say the least.

Via meds the depression has left, and left me with what I think is pure mania, with a few break thru crys, which I charactize as brain exhaustion, nothing externally to cry about, and my mood goes right back to manic, shortly after the cry.

I have heard it also explained as manic and depression rolled into one, rather nasty state to be in.

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What exactly are mixed episodes? I was stable for 9 months and the last 3 months have been awful. Started with hypo and then anger, depression, normal, anger, etc etc and currently been on the couch for 4 days crying.

Mania and depression at the same time and/or in rapid alternation. Periods of relative or near-normal can also alternate with the other states. Alternation typically happens on the order of hours or days for me, and occasionally the cycle lasts a week or two. It's an incredibly exhausting roller coaster ride. Last year I had 5-6 months of it, plus a 2 month hypomania that served as an introduction. Now I just take a pill and get rid of it. I'm very lucky that way, and I hope my medicine doesn't poop out on me. I never want to go through that again. Most people here seem to get the combination state more than the alternating state, and there's a feeling that goes along with it that is often described as wanting to claw your way outta your own skin. It's a very unpleasant sensation.

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Yesterday I was curled up in a ball crying on the dining room floor and today I wioke up feeling great and went to the mall and bought a bunch of stuff. These daily changes are tiresome!

Yep been there done that, it's tiring and also confusing . I have done this in public before, the complete breakdown sobbing thing.

Hope it ends soon for you, I honestly feel like my mixed episode is mellowing, the edges are coming off, but i have been working really closely with my pdoc to get stable. I think I still have a way to go, but some progress feels good.

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What people are saying about mixed episodes sounds very familiar, especially the "claw out of your skin" and "complete meltdown" bits.  It is exhausting, and it makes me tense because I never know where my mood is going to take me or when things will get really bad or when they'll get better.

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I know how you feel, I'm in a mixed episode right now, and one second it's crying, the next it's elation, but the agitation and irritability are really getting to me. 

 

It sucks. Definitely get in with a pdoc for this before it gets worse. Mixed episodes aren't fun at all.

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What people are saying about mixed episodes sounds very familiar, especially the "claw out of your skin" and "complete meltdown" bits.  It is exhausting, and it makes me tense because I never know where my mood is going to take me or when things will get really bad or when they'll get better.

Only meds made the big bad mixed episode go away for me. And I still get breakthrough episodes every so often, but haven't had a complete meltdown since. <Knocks on wood>

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