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Starting to seriously consider if I am BP II

Guest angeldivax

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Guest angeldivax

I've been prone to depression since I was pretty young, I think my first episode was 14 or so at the latest, and I've had several episodes since then (22 now). I also have some anxiety issues-- I used to get panic attacks but now it's mainly GAD.

I always thought I had straight depression + anxiety, but after reading on here, I am really starting to wonder if some of what I thought was anxiety was almost a form of mania.

There have been times where I've been so upset that I absolutely cannot sit still, so I just go drive aimlessly and cry and cry.

And more recently, when involved in an emotionally abusive relationship (that I am out of now, thank god), I would get extremely, extremely agitated and upset when we would fight. Like, I'd snap. I'd just feel awful and horrible and unable to cope and I'd get these HUGE adrenaline rushes.

I also seem to get some hypomania from low blood sugar, like if I go too long without eating, I get really hyper and edgy and weird. My blood sugar is *technically* normal, but I do have a fast metabolism so sometimes I think I go borderline hypoglycemic.

Anyway.. I've been on Zoloft for about 2 months (50mg) and I think it's making me worse. I am totally antisocial, I don't even feel like being around people anymore. Could this be why? I've never considered a BP diagnosis before but it makes a lot of sense now that I think about it.

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What you are describing could be read as "soft signs" of bipolar disorder, but they don't sound like clear-cut evidence (ie significant hypomanic or manic episodes) of bipolar to me.  The best way to get this worked out would be to find a psychiatrist who will do a thorough evaluation of your case and history, someone who will listen to your thoughts on the topic but also give the evidence of your reported history precedence, and see what they have to say. 

I don't mean to trivialize your experience.  The ultimate aim of psychiatric treatment is to alleviate suffering and help you function as a healthy person, and it is possible that a mood stabilizing agent could be part of your personal puzzle.  Nonetheless, a few of your reported behaviors come across, through text, as being something other than bipolar. 

I would get extremely, extremely agitated and upset when we would fight.
Getting upset over a fight is normal, especially in an abusive relationship.  Unhealthy and emotionally charged situations will bring about abnormal levels of emotional intensity in many people without a mood disorder.  There is a terrible amount of pressure, and it will blow.  This doesn't automatically mean you're bipolar.  It means you're human and flipped out in an emotionally charged situation. 

Were you feeling ragey or abnormally agitated before the arguments?  Did they happen because you were already far more high-strung than you would normally be under such trying circumstances?  Adrenaline rushes are triggered by stimuli like a heated (potentially dangerous?) argument.  Your behavior, as you've described it, wasn't necessarily pathological. 

I also seem to get some hypomania from low blood sugar, like if I go too long without eating, I get really hyper and edgy and weird.
Did the weird, hyper, edgy feeling/behavior go away once you ate something?  It's possible for various forms of bodily dysregulation to trigger an episode, but if the unusual feelings or behaviors clear up once this other form of dysregulation has been resolved, then it was the other thing which caused it, not bipolar disorder.  Remember, one DSM criterion stipulates "The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism)."

Everyone feels somewhat depressed sometime.  Everyone feels something like hypomania on occasion.  These feelings aren't pathological.  They are triggered by physical and emotional states in normal reaction to stimuli.  In bipolar, however, they occur disproportionately to anything which might have "caused" them, or might not have any external "cause" at all.  They occur to an extent that they disrupt "normal functioning," damaging the things which are important to you.  (Some people do a pretty good job of damage control, though, with great effort.)  Though some people are rapid cyclers or ultra-rapid, ultradian cyclers, mood states ordinarily last for days or longer, not just a few hours. 

This does not mean you definitely don't have a form of bipolar.  I can't diagnose you; I can only give you my opinion.  But I do think that you should carefully evaluate the possibilities before becoming too attached to any self-diagnosis, and that any self-diagnosis should be confirmed by a qualified professional, like a psychiatrist, through a thorough assessment. 

You've probably already come across it, but Revlow highly recommends this site's introduction to the soft signs of bipolarity.  These include things like the number of depressive episodes you've had so young.  If you haven't already read it, please do. 

You might find (and this is only one possibility) that your emotional outbursts when not in the depths of depression follow a pattern resembling one of the personality disorders.  The descriptions might be worth reading over.  It is also possible for bipolar to overlap with a personality disorder. 

And finally, even if you aren't "technically" bipolar, you might do well with a mood stabilizer combined with an antidepressant.  Stabilizers, ACs and APs are often used in treatment of refractory depression.  You also mention that your depressions tend to be the agitated sort, not the brain-full-of-molasses-and-a-body-to-match variety.  Maybe this calls for a stabilizer. 

Whatever conclusions you draw and whatever diagnoses you end up with, the point is to find whatever it takes for you to feel and function as yourself.  Good luck.  Feel free to come back here and post questions as needed.  (Not everyone is as longwinded as my 4AM self, I promise.)  And keep talking with your psychiatrist and (if you have one -- I think therapy's helpful) therapist.  You'll get this figured out. 

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