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Med problem or just depressed?

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I've been pretty stable on my meds for a while, but am not sure if my depressed state is normal or not. I have bipolar I and was only diagnosed a year ago (I'm in my 50's). I feel so new to all of this, especially not having extreme highs and lows. Also, I've had med adjustments all through the year. I used to spend most of my time in mixed states or depression, punctuated by periods of mania, so pdoc has been working to get rid of my depressions.


I know I'm depressed - little motivation, want to sleep more (but don't), the general blah feeling, and I don't have the excuse of winter either. I live in a high desert and the temps have been in the 60's to 70's and perfectly blue and beautiful. It's really more than the blahs, with the usual head spinning threads of gunk and bunk and bullshit.


I know I'm a malcontent and that it may not go away. I've read here about breakthrough lows and highs, but I guess I just don't understand it yet.


What do I need to expect?


Thanks a lot,


Edited by Rhetorical disease
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Hi RD, I can't tell you too much of what might happen years from now cause I was just diagnosed/started meds myself about a year ago, but CAN tell you that it's been a bit of a roller coaster for me- not as intense as before but in some ways bumpier, if that makes any sense. I get pretty down, kinda like you describe- lack of motivation or energy with invasive thoughts- less frequently and for not as long though. This week has been one of only three times I've dipped into the upper range towards mania, but it's bad enough that I emailed my pdoc about it. 

Is it meds? I ask myself that question every time I feel off. My pdoc did say to me once when I was telling him about feeling down about something, "Well, you will still have moods." So I have to ask myself, is this "mood" interfering with my ability to do the things I want/need to do? For me it been a matter of weighing pros and cons and working very closely with my dr. I'm still very much in the process of redefining what "normal" is for me.

Hope that was at least a tiny bit helpful, and I wish you luck in figuring all this stuff out!

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Thanks Molecat - I do get that it's a rollercoaster, but bumpier. Makes sense. I guess we're the same in that we dip into depressions more often.


Defining what's normal is exactly what I mean! Thanks for giving me a quick and precise way to say it. 


I'm confused about mood though - do you mean that moods are part of the new normal?





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Mood is a prevailing emotional state.  Along with mood come symptoms--irritability, sadness, euphoria that help you define what mood you're in. Symptoms also help serve as warning signs that a mood change is ahead and we can make corrections to try to head it off.


Right now I'm sure it does feel very foreign and like there is too much information to take in.  Are you working with a therapist?  A therapist is an excellent resource for helping you learn how to spot those symptoms and cues as well as work on how to manage to live with a chronic illness.

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Thanks, Phoenix


Re moods, I was just wondering if moods are the things we accept vs a needed med change. My mood range and repertoire has changed significantly due to meds, but everyone has moods, so... Probably over-thinking it.


I have been working with a therapist since my dx. It definitely helps. I also go to a process group every week - also really helpful.

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Over-thinking is under-rated, I think.


I think I get what you are saying: you no longer have something to gauge your current moods against? Don't want to put words in your mouth, so I hope this is helpful...

If I do understand you correctly, this is an example of how I deal with figuring this out (at least at this stage in the game): Last week I noticed that I was feeling more anxious than usual, apparent to me by my tendency to interpret normal outside noises as "attacks", and a fear of leaving my house (this to me is what phoenix was talking about "symptoms" of moods). This sometimes happens to me, but it's not the norm since I've been on meds. I wondered if I should talk to my pdoc about it, maybe see if this was a med issue, but usually if I can bear it, I always tell myself to give it a week, because that currently seems to be the shelf-life of my more upsetting moods. I can usually get through it without a lot of disruption to my life. Is it pleasant? No way. But is it more unpleasant than changing/messing with my meds and the accompanying side effects? If the answer is no, I wait it out, and try to deal using some of the tricks I learned in therapy. If the answer is yes, as it turned out to be this past week, I email my pdoc and therapist to see if there's something we can do about it.

So yeah, still very much trying to figure all this out, too. Like Phoenix said, there's a lot to process...

Best wishes.

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Meds can clear up symptoms, but you'll always have moods. Even the most stable people without MI have moods. Stable doesn't mean happy all the time. Bipolar or not,moods are to be expected.


I recommend taking charts of your moods (I use http://www.patientslikeme.com)and watching the chart. PatientsLikeMe (also free) has a lot of good ways to monitor your mood. Other sites do too, I just found PLM the best for my own use. 


Tell your pdoc and tdoc, see if they notice a difference in you. I find others notice a difference in me before I notice it.

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