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aura

I'm not bipolar!

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Okay, maybe I am. I don't know. Whenever my mood is normal for more than a week, I become convinced I don't have bipolar and should stop taking my meds. 

Does anyone else do this?

I really want to work on acceptance, but at the same time I don't want to be stuck on majorly strong meds if I don't need them. What if my doctors are wrong? Right now I'm feeling convinced the meds made me sick, not well. 

Anyone here come to accept their diagnosis after struggling with similar doubts?

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I was so thankful to finally get the right diagnosis and meds that i told myself to never go off the medication. What my family went thru during the years of my up and down moods was horrible and i didnt want them to go thru anymore pain.  i dont like being dependent on 4 meds but its better than having bipolar take control of me.

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I doubt myself, my moods, and my diagnosis. When I'm stable, I'm convinced that I've never really been ill, that I've just exaggerated everything. When I'm depressed, I question past hypomanic states; maybe they were just normal moods that felt so high because I was so low outside of them. When I'm hypo (which is rare), I think that I'm stable half the time. The only time I fully believe my diagnosis is when I'm in a mixed episode because I feel so batshit insane that I can't imagine how I could ever have doubted my diagnosis in the first place. It's those mixed episodes that keep me on my meds, particularly my last one. It was so horrible, the last thing I want to do is ever experience (or put my children through) that again. But yeah, I'm not sure I'll ever fully accept my diagnosis. I think it's part of the nature of the beast for so many of us.

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I understand the questioning...would reading through past blog posts help clarify how you were feeling or do you think you were hospitalized unjustly or before things got too bad?

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23 minutes ago, dancesintherain said:

I understand the questioning...would reading through past blog posts help clarify how you were feeling or do you think you were hospitalized unjustly or before things got too bad?

I think the hospitalizations all made sense (maybe all but one...). The problem is that I think the meds caused my episodes. I can look back and acknowledge how crazy I was, but I have trouble believing it happened because of bipolar. I can see how that sounds illogical, sure, but the timelines (when I started or stopped certain meds) feel plausible.

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6 hours ago, aura said:

Okay, maybe I am. I don't know. Whenever my mood is normal for more than a week, I become convinced I don't have bipolar and should stop taking my meds. 

Does anyone else do this?

I really want to work on acceptance, but at the same time I don't want to be stuck on majorly strong meds if I don't need them. What if my doctors are wrong? Right now I'm feeling convinced the meds made me sick, not well. 

Anyone here come to accept their diagnosis after struggling with similar doubts?

I've done it before (stopped meds) and totally regretted it.  I don't like being on the meds, but would rather be on them than what I experienced off of them.  I came to accept my dx after being off meds, then put back on them, then stopped because I thought they were poisoned, etc. 

How did you think they made you feel sick?  Did you start feeling sick after you'd been off of them for awhile?

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Yes, yes and yes.  I question my DX when I feel good.  I strongly believe that many of my most recent episodes and symptoms were caused by my meds. I did not have these symptoms prior to meds. 

But...... You feel good now because of the meds.  They can't be doing nothing. I am at higher dosages than I would like to reduce as well.  One day maybe even eliminate. (Tried on my own, not a good experience).

What helps me is remembering why I sought treatment in the first place. What helps me is to go back in time to the last time I was symptomatic.  

I tend to think I have been stable for a long period only to find that it's only been weeks. 

My plan is if I can stay stable for a year then I will work with my pdoc to begin reducing my meds.  

FWIW I follow your blog.  Your bipolar sweety pie and it's okay. 

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13 hours ago, dancesintherain said:

What about the fact that certain symptoms only went away when certain med changes were made? 

(If you feel like that's a truthful statement.)

It's a truthful statement, for my current meds at least. I guess my mind just thinks... oh, these meds stopped what other meds started. But your comment did give me pause, thank you.

8 hours ago, melissaw72 said:

How did you think they made you feel sick?  Did you start feeling sick after you'd been off of them for awhile?

An anti-depressant made me manic in the first place, and I think it gave me brain damage or something. Then I was put on various other meds that hurt my mind and body. I have stayed on them and been compliant, yet this was the sickest I've ever been. I do think I have some kind of bipolar tendencies but I think the meds made it more extreme.

3 hours ago, dragonfly23 said:

Yes, yes and yes.  I question my DX when I feel good.  I strongly believe that many of my most recent episodes and symptoms were caused by my meds. I did not have these symptoms prior to meds. 

But...... You feel good now because of the meds.  They can't be doing nothing. I am at higher dosages than I would like to reduce as well.  One day maybe even eliminate. (Tried on my own, not a good experience).

What helps me is remembering why I sought treatment in the first place. What helps me is to go back in time to the last time I was symptomatic.  

I tend to think I have been stable for a long period only to find that it's only been weeks. 

My plan is if I can stay stable for a year then I will work with my pdoc to begin reducing my meds.  

FWIW I follow your blog.  Your bipolar sweety pie and it's okay. 

In bold: yes, yes, yes this is exactly my situation too!

Reading my blog definitely shows the crazy, but where did it come from! :P

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I've rarely had that feeling because even though I feel "fine" most of the time, the difference in my life is obvious: I'm functional, and I have a job. Last time I went off medication, it was because of the psychiatrist who suggested it because she thought that my bipolar "was very mild" (turns out it wasn't, OOPS) and then I couldn't afford to go to the psychiatrist any more at all and went off the deep end. I wasn't hospitalized, but maybe I should have been.

I managed to get my shit together long enough to get to another psychiatrist, who quickly put me back on (different) medication. 

I think the real "evidence" that you have bipolar disorder is that taking an anti-depressant triggered mania. That's a big red flag.

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5 hours ago, Bubble said:

I've rarely had that feeling because even though I feel "fine" most of the time, the difference in my life is obvious: I'm functional, and I have a job. Last time I went off medication, it was because of the psychiatrist who suggested it because she thought that my bipolar "was very mild" (turns out it wasn't, OOPS) and then I couldn't afford to go to the psychiatrist any more at all and went off the deep end. I wasn't hospitalized, but maybe I should have been.

I managed to get my shit together long enough to get to another psychiatrist, who quickly put me back on (different) medication. 

I think the real "evidence" that you have bipolar disorder is that taking an anti-depressant triggered mania. That's a big red flag.

I thought the mania had to be independent of any drugs in order for it to qualify as such (and therefore a bipolar diagnosis would not be forthcoming based on that). Did it change?

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6 hours ago, Flash said:

I thought the mania had to be independent of any drugs in order for it to qualify as such (and therefore a bipolar diagnosis would not be forthcoming based on that). Did it change?

^^I agree with this.  I was thinking the same thing.

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8 hours ago, Flash said:

I thought the mania had to be independent of any drugs in order for it to qualify as such (and therefore a bipolar diagnosis would not be forthcoming based on that). Did it change?

It changed a little in the DSM V. If an AD causes mania, and once the AD is removed the mania subsides, then this isn't sufficient for a bipolar dx. However, if the mania persists beyond having the AD in your system, it counts.

In my case, my hypomania got better very briefly when I stopped taking Lexapro. I had a week of normal or even low mood. Then my mood suddenly shot up again and I stayed manic or rapid cycling for 2-3 months. Since then I've had manic episodes sans ADs so my doctors feel pretty confident with their DX.

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I think its important that you now can say, with fair certainty, that ADs cause manic symptoms.  

However, just b/c ADs cause problems doesn't mean that the rest of your meds need to be chucked.  We all experience various side effects on meds.  The question becomes, are the side effects worth the relief in psychiatric symptoms?

 

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4 hours ago, aura said:

It changed a little in the DSM V. If an AD causes mania, and once the AD is removed the mania subsides, then this isn't sufficient for a bipolar dx. However, if the mania persists beyond having the AD in your system, it counts.

In my case, my hypomania got better very briefly when I stopped taking Lexapro. I had a week of normal or even low mood. Then my mood suddenly shot up again and I stayed manic or rapid cycling for 2-3 months. Since then I've had manic episodes sans ADs so my doctors feel pretty confident with their DX.

That seems a sensible approach. In people who are susceptible, how long does it usually take before an AD launches them into mania? Does it usually happen early on, or does it take 6-8 weeks? 

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28 minutes ago, Flash said:

That seems a sensible approach. In people who are susceptible, how long does it usually take before an AD launches them into mania? Does it usually happen early on, or does it take 6-8 weeks? 

Here's the exact wording, by the way:

"Note: A full manic episode that emerges during antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy) but persists at a fully syndromal level beyond the physiological effect of that treatment is sufficient evidence for a manic episode and, therefore, a bipolar I diagnosis."

In my experience, I had some psychotic/manic symptoms immediately after starting the antidepressant. Then they went away for about 2 weeks before emerging again. My pdoc at the time diagnosed BPII even though I was still on Lexapro actually, which is a bit quick by DSM standards. But she turned out to be right-ish, I guess.

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This is actually a symptom of bipolar illness, called "Lack of Insight." It means you are unable to recognize your own symptoms, and then decide you must really be fine. Quitting meds "because I don't need them" is super common with bipolar illness. The reason I am compliant is because my dad is a pdoc who specialized in bipolar illness (and mood disorders caused by brain injury), and told me about it over and over, before we even knew I was bipolar. So that keeps me taking meds.

Edited by crtclms

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6 minutes ago, aura said:

Here's the exact wording, by the way:

"Note: A full manic episode that emerges during antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy) but persists at a fully syndromal level beyond the physiological effect of that treatment is sufficient evidence for a manic episode and, therefore, a bipolar I diagnosis."

In my experience, I had some psychotic/manic symptoms immediately after starting the antidepressant. Then they went away for about 2 weeks before emerging again. My pdoc at the time diagnosed BPII even though I was still on Lexapro actually, which is a bit quick by DSM standards. But she turned out to be right-ish, I guess.

I was just wondering because I tried an number of ADs way back when I was misdiagnosed MDD. I never got launched into mania, but then I wasn't on any of them for very long. The only screwy side effect from ADs I've ever had was a bad spell of psychosis. That happened on Lexapro, but a number of people here expressed reservations about the possibility of Lexapro causing that (as did my pdoc, for that matter).

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I go off my meds all the time.  I'll feel alright, and decide that I don't need them anymore.  I finally decide that since I am fine, taking these drugs would cause brain damage to someone who doesn't need them.  It usually takes a few months or some shit, to realize that I'm causing brain damage by not taking them.

 

 

 

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