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Do Bipolars tend to lie when they're manic?


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This is going to be long, so thank you to those of you who manage to get all the way to the bottom to get to my question; but you need the history to know where I'm coming from.

My tdoc yesterday forced the issue of my past which I really, really hate talking about because it feels like, to me, it was a different lifetime ago, a different person.

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Anne -- it's an interesting question. I was diagnosed bipolar years ago, but then emphatically diagnosed as not BP also years ago, and eventually just deceloped my own opinion on the whole thing that sort of transcends the concept of the diagnosis, but I *have* experienced mania and depression. I, for one, almost never lie. When I do, even when it's a "good" lie, like to avoid hurting someone's feelings when the truth has no obvious benefit even to them, I still have a hard time lying and often end up telling the truth anyway. I've known some liars, even one who told me she might be a "pathological liar" (which ironically I think she was making up, but that's a long story), and none of them were in any obvious way suffering from mood disorders.

This is just one person's experience. I'd actually be curious to see any studies about honesty and mental illness. But I suspect they don't go hand in hand in any significant way. It sounds like, as you said, when your life got more stable, you dropped what was a bad coping mechanism, because you know it's wrong in some way. And it sounds maybe like you can revert back to this old habit when you're under a lot of stress, particularly things that threaten your ego (in the Freudian sense, your "self"). So it wouldn't be surprising that the same stresses might coincide with manic periods or depressive periods. But I really don't know.

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This is just a first-blush answer that is not terriby thought out since I only popped in to see what's new, but I wanted to say to you that I imagine you lied, exaggerated, whatever you did,  because you were young, wanted to fit in, and felt a lot of pressure.  You probably were just not stable enough to realize that the "real you" was really just fine. I have found that in times of stress or bad behavior that I almost dissociate from the person doing the bad behavior (me).

I hope you continue to be stable and enjoy your current life, husband, and children. Try to let it go.  It's in the past and you don't have to figure it out.  If it continues to cause you anxiety, then I guess therapy must be the answer. Sometimes I wonder if all that stuff is just better left alone. I know it's hard to forget it.

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Anne, I was like you and in high school I made up a bunch of stories and adventures and boyfriends just to feel like I fit in. I don't know why I did it. I wasn't diagnosed with a mental illness then. I also thought some of the lies were real and started believing them. I would also forget what I'd lied about, so that if someone brought it up, I might not know what they were talking about. Got to be embarrassing sometimes. A moment's hesitation, then another lie to cover it up. So much to keep track of. I do believe it can be a part of mental illness. My mother is BP like me and lies all the friggin' time.

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Regular (compulsive?) lying is not one of the symptoms of Bipolar disorders.

I have known two or three individuals who fabricated whole stories about themselves but didn't seem to have any BP symptoms. Surprisingly I have never happened across any real explanations for this.

It is fascinating because the people I knew were all friendly, intelligent, capable guys, who didn't have any need to invent themselves if they had just applied themselves in life. They almost put more effort into lying than doing work.  My pure guess would be that it is a way to compensate for low self esteem.

It's good that you don't feel compelled to lie anymore and can step back and exam the issue.

Maybe Erika might know more.

A.M.

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It may not be in the official diagnosis, but I am not the only one who noticed it can happen (see below). I know, a lot of these articles are aimed at kids and teens. But if you had any idea HOW honest my husband is, for him to lie IS a biggy and ONLY happens when he is bouncing off the walls manic. So I can believe that lying is one of the ways his particular flavor of mania expresses itself, or I can believe he is a big, giant jerk. Guess which one I am picking!! (And my answer has NOTHING to do with the fact that he made me tea tonight or that he is so darn cute .... really)

"Increased lying has been seen with a number of psychiatric diagnoses such as ADHD and Bipolar Disorder. With ADHD people will often say "I don't know why I did that", and when confronted about why they lied, their answer will be the same. ADHD children also display impulsivity, and they may lie implusively. Bipolar Disorder can be associated with low serotonin levels, which has been implicated in impulsivity, which, as indicated before, makes a person more prone to lie."

http://www.mental-health-matters.com/artic...e.php?artID=153

http://www.teennewhorizons.com/bipolar_disorders.htm

"Although "charmingly manipulative" is nowhere listed as a symptom of bipolar disorder, I have no doubt that this description sometimes fits any number of people at times during manic and hypomanic episodes." http://bipolar.about.com/cs/crime/a/jaysonblair.htm

"Frequent lying and manipulation of others may be another comorbid symptom of bipolar disorder and ODD/CD (Papolos & Papolos, 1999). Geller and Luby (1997) found that approximately 22 percent of children and 18 percent of adolescents with bipolar disorder demonstrated features of CD, such as poor judgment and grandiose behaviors, as initial manifestations of early-onset bipolar disorder." http://www.crazyboards.org/index.php?showt...86entry109886

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Thank you all so much for your replies.  I guess lying isn't really what it is, (well it is) but is was more like creating something that I wasn't and then having difficulty differentiating between the two; making up stories to make myself into someone else; probably what I thought was better or who would get more attention or something.  I'd always make up grandiose stories about myself.

Thank heavens, I staunchly believe in telling the truth now.  I really don't lie anymore, don't have the urge to and really try to be honest about who I am and what I do.

I think that is why, for so long, I had the feeling that people didn't really know who I was and once they got to really know me, they'd think I was a terrible person; almost like living two lives and now, 20 years later, I feel like those two lives are starting to merge.

I don't know what in the hell is going on in my mind, so I don't even know if I'm making any sense.  At least I know I'm headed in the right direction, it's just too bad I feel dangerously close to the "dark side" of mania.  I've got it in control (xanax helped a lot and going out to eat to get my mind off of it) right now, but I guess I'd better call the tdoc on Monday if I'm still like this...

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While lying may not be a symptom for most people who are manic, grandiose thinking often is.

I'm far far more likely to be honest when I'm manic than to lie... I'm right and that's the way it is, and if you don't like it, well something is dreadfully wrong with you! I have absolutely no fear of rejection or not fitting in when I'm manic... BUT the things I say and believe when I'm manic may be so far off from reality, that it would seem that I'm "lying." Does that make sense? The things I say may not be true, but it's not because I want to manipulate or deceive anyone. It's because my brain isn't registering reality.

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Yes, I agree too, SerraGeorge.

Keep in mind that I've only been recently dx'd as BP, but been dealing with this all my life. With me, I think it's never been overt lying. It's been making promises I can't keep, which in its own way is like lying. Probably grandiosity, in my own way trying to be the best person I can be. When I'm doing well, that's okay -- I can live up to those promises. When I'm not doing well, it's a bunch of bullshit.

Now that I'm becoming aware of my BP, and trying to get a grasp on my moods, I'm hoping I'll be able to make this distinction more readily. I can tell you that what I regret most in my life has always revolved around broken promises; these take a big chunk out of my sense of ethics and self-esteem.

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As many of us, I felt like I was crazy at a very young age, but I really didn't know what was wrong with me.  It was not until recently that I learned it was because of my mental illness.  Sometime during highschool, I started lying about myself, making up stories to feel more like I "fit in".  Then when I went to college (when I look back, I think it was one, long manic phase), the drinking and lying became so intertangled that I even started believing they lies myself.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Wow.  You could be telling my story.  One of the things that really stood out from this paragraph is "the drinking and the lying".

I don't know how it was for you, but my drinking started early (age 11), and continued until about a year before I got my diagnosis (37).  I don't know about MI, but garden variety drunks, to a person, are consumate liars.  Believe me, I've been doing the AA thing for 6 years now, and it a quality we all tend to agree we have, LOL.

It took me awhile to get honest with myself, and others.  Sometimes, I still want to tell those "little whites" to prop up my insecurities, my feelings of being "less than."  I just tell myself that I am worthy and remember where maintaining that web of lies got me -- drunk.

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The most involved stories I have ever invented have been to avoid consequences for not doing something or for doing something improperly.  This was especially strong in elementary and high schools.  I don't do so reflexively now, and I've managed to get through nearly two years of university without telling such lies to a professor.  I still slip up in all sorts of little ways, though, and I lie without thinking about it.  I hate it hate it hate it. 

I'll have to read that bit Wifezilla posted about ADD when I have more time. 

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I'm not surprised at all that lying is an indirect symptom of mania.  When my (now well-respected by me) pdoc told me I had been hypomanic for months, I absolutely refused to believe her.  "Goal-directed behavior"? I thought that was something that heralded the fact I'd come out of a 10 year torpid depression!!  I didn't think biking 4,000 miles in 5 months was a bad thing!

What angered me the most, though, as I spiraled back into depressionland in mid-October, is that she wanted to put me on the Lithium.  Fortunately, I'd convinced her to look the other way and put me on Lamictal (she's open-minded and intelligent, if nothing else; not to mention she totally respects my knowledge of psychopharmacology).  That med's helped a bit, but indeed, I have noticed that us bipolars tend to not seek help when in our more manic states.  It's just a natural condition of human behavior.  Why seek help when you're perfectly happy and productive (in your own mind), at all?

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I wouldn't lie to other people but would often lie to myself (i.e. I was living in a state of denial.)  But no, even when feeling rather grandiose I was still me and never spun any yarns or pretended to be anything/or anyone other than myself.

Didn't need to be...I was manically charming enough.  Bah-dump-bump! (Okay, I know, I know...bad bipolar joke...)

Karen

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I wouldn't lie to other people but would often lie to myself (i.e. I was living in a state of denial.)  But no, even when feeling rather grandiose I was still me and never spun any yarns or pretended to be anything/or anyone other than myself.

Didn't need to be...I was manically charming enough.  Bah-dump-bump! (Okay, I know, I know...bad bipolar joke...)

Karen

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I live in the state of Maryland.  Trust me, it's worse than the state of Denial.

</offtopic>

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I think that our grandious thinking can swing both ways- it can be in the form of lying or in the form of outright truth, like Serra said.

For example, my sister is a liar when she is manic. She lies to get away with it, and also has delusions that her lies are real. She'll spin her sagas and not realize she's doing it. Also, she will NOT admit to being manic. She will do everything possible to try to hide it. She knows it and will hide it.  ;) She will stay out and claim to be working on projects or at work when she is really engaging in manic activities. That's how she lies her way around it.

And for example, there's the way I deal with it. I am very frank because I do not believe it is possible for me to be wrong or for others to have any adverse reactions to what I say. While I am super guarded in depressions and paranoid in mixed episodes, I have the confidence of a million Leos (I am Leo and have Sag rising and Sag moon). I'll step out, with ideas and passion and unending energy, take over the show and bully people into compliance.

As far as lying, I believe we are all different. We may lie and feel  bad about it because we can't live up to our own delusions or what delusions we have of others' expectations. We may hide our mania and lie about it. We may invent the party, crash it, and reinvent it all at once. Mania is a ride for sure.

-----------loon--------------

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I tend to lie about stupid things that have something trivial to do with how people see me.  I lie about what time I ate dinner last night and whether I ate green beans or salad.  I lie about how often I take the train to work (never).  I was feeling rotten and tired this morning, and for some reason I considered telling my therapist, who has an immune disorder, that when I cancelled with her last week to avoid exposing her to my cold I was actually over the cold.  And I wasn't.  Somehow not being sick seemed more attractive than being thoughtful and responsible. ;)

I think I've lied as much when I've been depressed as when I've been manic.  Maybe more; I was so ashamed of my depression that I hid everything from the world. 

In my case it's definitely a coping strategy from childhood; my parents preferred "white lies" to the simplest kind of honesty.  Truth was considered vulgar.  I'm still untangling our family's lies from what's actually happened to all ofus.  Even though I'm very aware that it's wrong and self-destructive I find myself doing it under any kind of social stress.  It's far better than it was, but it's maddening that I'm so hard-wired about it.

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During high school (non-medicated) and then in college, during my hypomanic phases (can you say Prozac?) I could spin a mean weave of lies and deception.  I did it, I think, to feel better about myself.  To make me more interesting.  And I have told some biggies in my life.

Fortunately, I feel more stable now and I never lie anymore.  But I do still feel the guilt of all the lies that I created and to anyone that I hurt because that was never the intention.  This may very well be something that I bring up at my next pdoc appt.

Thanks!

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