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Here is what it is like having BP type II rapid cycling.

Yesterday on top of the world feeling great in the morning, by afternoon depressed as all hell. Still depressed.  The depression generally lasts longer then manias. Nothing really triggered it, save for not hearing from the one I love.

If she would call, I'd probably turn back to mania in a heartbeat.  Back and forth, almost every day. Depressed ---- elated.

World makes sense, world is fucked up

Relationship is great. relationship sucks

Work is fun. work is tedious

Sex is great, sex is tiresome

I love life, I hate life

I want to live, I want to die.

Like my signature says, A true walking civil war

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Here is what it is like having BP type II rapid cycling.

Yesterday on top of the world feeling great in the morning, by afternoon depressed as all hell. Still depressed.  The depression generally lasts longer then manias. Nothing really triggered it, save for not hearing from the one I love.

If she would call, I'd probably turn back to mania in a heartbeat.  Back and forth, almost every day. Depressed ---- elated.

World makes sense, world is fucked up

Relationship is great. relationship sucks

Work is fun. work is tedious

Sex is great, sex is tiresome

I love life, I hate life

I want to live, I want to die.

Like my signature says, A true walking civil war

So this isn't normal for most people?  It seems like a pretty normal day for me and I'm not BP...or am I just an in-the-closet BP?  ;) hahaha

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I am like that on a normal day.  My times are tough when I get so hyper, I start hearing stuff, spending money, driving fast, talking fast and extreme responses to sounds (real jumpy).  I'm not sure if others are like this, but I also forget the day before.  It's almost like all my yesterdays are dreams and they are all blurry.  I asked my friend what he was doing on New Years Eve last night.  I feel stupid and forget everything.  Maybe it's just me.  The depression is worse than the mania by far.

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Here is what it is like having BP type II rapid cycling.

World makes sense, world is fucked up

Relationship is great. relationship sucks

Work is fun. work is tedious

Sex is great, sex is tiresome

I love life, I hate life

I want to live, I want to die.

So this isn't normal for most people?

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Ah, but don't forget us less-than-ultrarapid cyclers.  Weeks of creeping depression seguing into a mixed state mania or hypomania with increasing paranoia, anxiety, irritability phasing into rage, spinning up and up then crashing into crushing I-can't-live-anymore depression.  All this can take weeks or months.  Then crawling up to normal, then lengthy hypomania, then the same thing all over again.

What most of you are describing is ultra-rapid cycling.  "Rapid cycling" means (at least to pdocs) having episodes at least twice a year.  I'm more like that, although hypomania can feel like ultrarapid cycling because of the spinning out.

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Ahh.  The overwhelming JOY where all is right in the world and you can, and possibly are, accomplishing everything and all that can be crammed into your 22 1/2 hour day because who needs to sleep when you can be saving the world/writing your autobiography/driving to your new internet friend's house in Hobunk/redecorating your basement but

then everything is blurring together and you're trapped in your skin and the lights are too bright and your thoughts don't make sense and you can't drive fast enough or drink enough or punch the wall hard enough and you see things and hear things and

then people are telling you things that you did or you'll get a flashback or realize that there are huge pieces of lost time where you only kind of remember what you did or who you did.  And FUCK.  You just looked at your credit card bill and bank statements and the 12 new pairs of shoes in their boxes in your closet.  And why do all these people you don't know keep calling your cell phone?

God, you're just so tired.  It's getting harder and harder to roll out of bed in the morning and food looks so unappetizing.  The sound of the phone is irritating, so you stop answering it and don't really care if you call people back and resist going out, because it's too much work and people just piss you off anyways.  Can't really concentrate at work, getting behind, getting looks, getting "talked to", fuck it, whatever.  Why shower or change clothes, who cares anyways, you don't feel like leaving the house.  You don't feel anything anymore.  You're so completely useless that why fucking move off the couch.  God, you're such a worthless stupid piece of human trash you might as well waste away and die.  Everyone hates you anyways.  You hate you more than them though.

That's BP to me.

JBella

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Unipolar is *typically* insomnia... bipolar is nothing *but* sleeping.

Mmmmmm...no.  I'm quite bipolar and I've had both kinds of depression--unable to move but unable to get to sleep and having badly disturbed sleep, and depression where I slept 12-14 hours a day and did nothing more than lie on the couch staring at the TV the rest of the time.  Part of my BP is that I have insomnia almost all the time, depressed or not.  The worst is when I'm deeply depressed and at night I sleep for 3 hours then am up for three staring in despair out the window, then crash for 4-5 more hours.  And then can't sleep late and get up in despair and stare out the window or at the TV some more.  Yuk.  The only time I sleep well without serious intervention is a) if I'm very, very sick or B) if I'm reacting to a med.  It's still my hope that I might get stable enough on meds that I won't need to take ambien.

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And isn't that a major difference in unipolar and bipolar depression? Unipolar is *typically* insomnia... bipolar is nothing *but* sleeping. At least that's what I've read/heard?

That depends on how you define "typical."  I know this sounds like a Clintonian distinction, but someone, once upon a time, had the bright idea of calling brain-as-molasses slugabed too-heavy-to-chew-one's-own-food depression as "typical depression" and the restless insomniac might-actually-have-just-enough-energy-to-kill-oneself depression as "atypical deperssion."  After the lines had been drawn, it eventually became clear that there were more people with so-called atypical depression than supposed typical depression. 

As bipolar disorder becomes more widely recognized, these numbers might swing again, since for all we know a number of these typical atypical depressives might actually be bipolar, more than from the atypical typical depressives group, but the research wasn't looking for this at the time.  I have no idea what sorts of studies are currently in the pipeline, or how much they matter. 

Among people who are already recognized to be bipolar, you are right.  More experience the steamrolled-on-the-couch-for-a-month variety of depression when in their downward spiral than experience the insomniac, edgy sort.  These are soft distinctions, however.  No two people have identical experiences of mental illness.  It makes all of this categorizing seem ridiculous mch of the time.  There is a point to it, but diagnostic guideliness are not to be worshipped as some infallible god. 

Good morning, Starshine.  Oh, wait.  It's after four PM.  Riiight.  *goes off to rummage for breakfast*

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Heya,

;)

OK.

I have to say, as my supposedly-stable self,that the language is going to be awful here.  But it's about my thoughts/feelings, right?  So honesty is okay here.

Bipolar is, for me, crushing "agitated depression" and the occasional "mixed mania."

Depressed (3 months out of 4):

Who gives a damn.  Not me that's who.  Hate me.  Hate the world.  Need a rest.  God I wish the car would crash.  Wish I could make myself drown.  Or freeze to death, they say that's quiet.  Fuck.  Whatever.  Just, whatever, whatever.  Hungry, sleepy, grumpy, various other dwarfs, whatever.  People suck, they scare me, can't talk to them, can't work, can't read, can't go to school.

Mixed/manic (4-8 weeks out of 52):

***All of depression, plus***:

Can't sleep, feed me.  Shut the fuck up, I'm talking, this is IMPORTANT.  I'm NOT YELLING.  Can't slow down enough to stop.  Can't focus, can't concentrate, can't fucking read for ten minutes.  What, you can't understand me??? Listen faster, idiot, you're such an idiot.  Fuck you, you hate me, you suck, go away dammit, I'll kill us both.  Crash the car, crash the car, crash the car, fiery collision would take me away and you with me, idiot anonymous (innocent) driver.  Fucking/Shopping/eating/alcohol will make it  better.  Well, it didn't, so now it's your fault, maybe ours both, let's buy a bunch of crap, fuck a lot, and have a big fire and die.

--------------

I tend to have some kind of wave between them.  No "normal" until meds (Lamictal) and the subsequent ability to READ and FOCUS (When Anger Hurts, best book I can recommend, watch for my review when I have the ambition :) ).

I'm just *now* learning to see when an *episode* might be coming.

Not there yet, and they (even with Lamictal, hey, I'm still me) *still* catch me offguard.

And, yesterday, when I (thought I forgot my bedtime dose and) took Lamictal in the morning, I felt freaking ***sedated*** -- although I suspected that what I saw as sedated was others' experience of "normal."  I see my psychiatrist next week, I'll seee what *he* says.

--ncc--

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Thanks ncc, you just wrote my life. But you're slower than I am. I did that shit every few weeks. I don't think I have the strength to go back to that world long enough to write what you did.

And yes, I can still feel the spring getting wound up, ready to punch through the control of the drugs.

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Heya,

Yeah Unregistered, I know.

I know.

In fact, writing that post set me off a little.

Big shocker there.  ;)

I'm one of those people (there's room for us on Axis II) who intellectualizes things, tells stories about things, just the facts.

Intellectual personality disorder.

But I'm just now at the point where I can "intellectualize" what's going on in my brain.

And not most days.

I feel the spring -- as you so accurately call it -- *so* ready to be sprung.

But for people who cycle more rapidly -- your pain.  Your pain.  Must be *so* much -- well, I originally put "worse," but it's much **more frequent.*

--ncc

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atypical: hypersomnia (sleeping slug), eats too much, no energy, mood reactivity, ability to laugh.

so-called atypical is actually the most common sub-type (http://www.mcmanweb.com/article-200.htm).

both uni- and bi- can exhibit atypical or they can also exhibit typical ... bps just tend more towards atypical, that's all.

descriptions of both kinds of depression (typical or atypical) are easy to find, just google.

depressed plus insomnia & high energy & racing thoughts for a bipolar often means mixed states which is the very worst and most likely to lead to suicide. When a bipolar comes into a pdoc's office complaining of depression, a good pdoc will be insightful enough to see what the patient really means. When I explained to mine that I was extremely happy and extremely depressed at the same time, that was a clear giveaway.

Kalifornia, I've often wondered about folks like you. The range of "normal" temperaments is broad and complex. And I do think moodiness is normal for some. But the criteria for pathological is simple. Has it been messing up your life in a big way? Like destroying your credit? your social life? your career? and has this happened not because of a low IQ but because of extreme mood states as described in the DSM? If not, count yourself lucky to not be truly bipolar as us unfortunates.

if we're moody like this on meds, just imagine how bad we are when off.

7

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Ok, my experience of BP:

Ooh. I'm happy. I feel excited. Ooooh I'm euphoric. Oooh I'm lightheaded. Bounce bounce bounce round the house. God I need to get to the gym now, damnit!! Work out, work out. Run round the house. Sleep for a few hours. Wake up and omfg I'm so euphoric I could burst, damn I'm good, damn I'm so special. Get told I'm talking all the time, talking loudly, going on and on and on about shite. Then someone steps on the accelerator. Run run run round the house, speech speeds up, slow slow down we can't understand you, faster faster faster, want to spend spend spend, up goeth the phone bill, I don't know what to do with myself. Down with the accelerator and we're into crazy mode, race race race, run everywhere, movements jerky, break things, hands tremor, can't hold a coherant conversation with anyone because my speech is too fast and my memory is too short, can't remember what they said, can't remember what I'm saying. Plaged by patches of coloured light, patterns, lines on the walls, objects start increasing and decreasing in size, the walls breath, patches of light shimmer in the air, this male voice starts speaking inside my head, holding conversations with me. I don't sleep, I eat like a wild beast, I run everywhere, everyone's watching me, flashing lights, burglar alarms are cameras spying on me, I'm being surveyed, I have to hide, they want to lock me up and experiment on me.

This takes about 4 days, the longest it ever lasted was 10.

And then the crash.

Want to die. Sleep all the time. Suicide is always on my mind. Hate everyone. I'd self harm if I had the energy. Lie in bed rotting. Career plans out the window. I *know* that eventually I will kill myself. God it's awful, I want to end it all now. I don't want help, damn it, I just want out.

And then sometimes I get that agitated, insomniac depression. That was how I initally presented to my first pdoc. Can't sleep, constant foot tapping, want it to end but not sure I want to die. Nothing lifts me out of it.

And then we cycle back round to mania. Yay.

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My cycles, the types of symptoms I experience, the triggers, and durations have all changed in the 20 years since I got my DX (I'm 27).

This was typical for me as a youngster:

6 months of sad hopelessness, an indescribable feeling of dread and despair

2-3 months of electricity in my brain, a whiriling and twirling that wouldn't stop- running around the whole neighborhood with more energy than any of the dogs or people on the street

more restlessness and despondency, outright bad behavior, and not doing my homework

as a teenager:

years of straight suicidal depression followed by randon, non-instigated HIGHS that lasted about a month or so each, followed by feelings of guilt and hopelessness, and crappy grades. suidice poetry.

As an older teen/young adult

periods of irritable, scoffing intensity followed by "fuck me now" intensity, down into "can't get out of bed" land and up into "get him/her INTO bed" land. Higher spikes of mania. Depressions just fading into the background, less and less of the issue the manias became.

Into my mid-late 20s (like now)

More rapid cycling. The "big" cycles (depressions into manias) take a few months each to complete, but smaller

"transparent" cycles will lay themselves on top. So I could have a depression Big Phase, but a few days of mania thrown in for fun. In this case the mania would be dysphoric usually.

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Kalifornia, I've often wondered about folks like you. The range of "normal" temperaments is broad and complex. And I do think moodiness is normal for some. But the criteria for pathological is simple. Has it been messing up your life in a big way? Like destroying your credit? your social life? your career? and has this happened not because of a low IQ but because of extreme mood states as described in the DSM? If not, count yourself lucky to not be truly bipolar as us unfortunates.

if we're moody like this on meds, just imagine how bad we are when off.

Believe me...I understand exactly how bad a BP can be off meds.  My aunt is has BP 1 w/psychotic symptoms and when she is off her meds (like she has been the last year), she is MESSED up.  When I first joined CB (when it was affiliated w/CM), there was actually someone (donnareed) on here who knew my aunt and used to go to her house (small world!).  The stories we could tell between us were insane.  And I'm pretty sure another aunt also has BP 1, but I don't think she's ever taken meds.  I've never been allowed to talk to her or see her.  Craziness tends to hit the girls pretty hard in my family.  ;)

But the reason I wrote what I did, was because I'm definitely beyond what one would call "moody", but not at the point where I'm anything like my aunts.  And where this stuff messes up my life can come from any number of my problems (atypical depression, AS, thyroid issues), so people without BP II can understand exactly what it is like to constantly change moods from one end of a specturm to the other.  Maybe not as extreme as some BP II people, but from what I've read on this forum there are plenty of dx BP II who don't go on sexscapades or spend massive amounts of money.  The BP II people who don't do those extremes are the ones I can understand completely.

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good luck with your own mi. with a history of bp, i would definitely watch it, tell your pdoc, cuz bp is something you can develop if you have the genetic predisposition.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

And BPII is more prevalent if you have a relative with BP, as well. (I'd imagine you meant this also, seven.)

Kalifornia: I'm still not certain from what you've written if you are BPII, or what? Maybe I missed it somewhere. What's your dx, if you don't mind my asking?

As for depression and sleep patterns, I've had them both. Depressions where I've slept 20+ hours (no shit). Others where I haven't slept in days.

Boy, so many people here have hit the nail on the head. Thanks for everything you've written. Seven, your last post was so dead on for me.

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