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Does anyone have relief from this disorder?


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I'm not officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder but I told him recently that I thought I might be. My pdoc has had me diagnosed with anxiety disorder and I've been seeing him since the beginning of Jan 2015. I've taken what it seems like just about every medication but mainly anti-depressants. I've always been a shopaholic buying new things (mainly the same brand of expensive clothing), gambling, and going to strip clubs. Not long ago I had I moved out of my friends place and back into my own apartment. I got extremely excited when that happened and went on a spending spree buying all new things for my apartment and racking up 20k in debt in about 6 months. I feel like I was in a euphoric/hypomanic state for all of those months as I was very talkative and self-confident which I don't think I've ever been in my life. Once I came back to reality and saw all the damage I panic'd and ever since then I've been undergoing immense stress at work afraid that I'm going to lose my job, will never get out of debt, will be unable to make my child support payments and end up in jail. My work has suffered and I feel like I've fallen way behind. Also, for as long as I can remember when I'm under stress I will run from it, sometimes just taking aimless drives around which used to help. My pdoc put me on depakote about a month ago and I'm up to 1500mg at night but as soon as I wake up I feel restless and just need to move unable to relax and all I can think about is all my racing and suicidal thoughts. I can't even sit and be alone with myself unless I know it's time to sleep which is all I look forward to. I've always been very bad about isolating my family and friends as well (not answering calls, not calling them) and I don't know why. I live 15 hours away from all my family and moved for work so I'm kind of in a bad place since I have no real support here. Are any of these symptoms you guys also struggle with and have you found any real relief? I told my pdoc about the anxiety and suicidal thoughts I was having on depakote and he was thinking we would try lithium next.

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I know many people have relief from this disorder. It takes a long time find a med combo that works.  I struggle with wanting to isolate during the day, and trying to do things.  I find relief only at night.  I feel really normal at night.  Prior to this I was always in a horrid mixed state with the medications I was on.  I am on Lamictal and klonopin.  So far, it is the best for me, but I still am not stable.  I have been trying to stabilize for a year.  I do belileve that we will all find relief.  I keep my faith in God, and realize that he has a plan for all of us.  

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No relief - meaning it is always there and I'm always struggling with it. I am very rapid cycling type 1, so we haven't been able to get rid of it, but I'm able to get out of bed and also not destroying my life, so I guess that's progress. Certainly sounds like you are struggling. Sorry to hear it.

Edited by Renarde
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I've found relief from the mania and to some extent the depression. I generally don't have manic episodes anymore thanks to meds but am usually depressed to a greater or lesser extent. I'm pretty disabled by the depression. 

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I have found that awareness comes with exposure. Time grants experience. I was on several different meds for a few years. Been completely off of them for about a decade now. They kept me breathing long enough for me to learn to handle life.. again.

I can usually tell when my mania is ramping up. I also know what provokes it, so I keep my life very simple. Sure, sometimes it still creeps up on me with no warning.. All of that energy needs somewhere to go! My outlet is either writing (soooo many notebooks full of spontaneous ramblings (ideas/plans/sketches/poetry/lyrics) or mountain hiking (I don't ever follow marked trails).

I have learned to minimize the potential liabilities of the illness. I have no credit cards and one debit card that I put a daily spending/withdrawal limit on. I do not borrow anything from anybody. Ever. I have even put my own debit card in an envelope and mailed it to myself in order to eliminate temptation. I have a P.O. box in another state that I occasionally mail money orders to. Cash is a necessary evil. If I cant hold it in my hands, I wont spend it on ridiculous crap I dont need. I work too hard for my paycheck to insult myself by wasting it. Lesson learned. 

The depression side of things isn't horribly debilitating for me. I can still function, but lose interest in everything. I become a master procrastinator. Music is my therapy. The steering wheel of my vehicle has heard more about how I feel than any human I have ever known. 

I am entirely self sufficient and very much on my own in life with next to nothing for a support network. That is both a blessing and a curse. It forces me to stay motivated when all I want to do is sleep. Starvation and having to ever depend on anybody for anything doesn't sound enjoyable to me. Too much stubborn pride.

Other than an extreme minimalist approach and self-imposed isolation (stress reduction), a commitment to sobriety is probably what has helped me the most throughout my years of living with this insanity. I take better care of myself, and that makes a huge difference.

My cycles have morphed considerably in the past 15 years. At the start, they would be much more intense and last for weeks at a time. Now, with the way I have learned to recognize the signs and proactively adapt, they tend to swing more often, but not nearly as extreme. As long as the scary nasty psychosis stays dormant, fair trade. I am fine with that.  

I guess the short answer to your question is that it is possible learn how to interpret your own thoughts, emotions, feelings, and reactions. Trusted people will make it obvious if you are straying beyond the invisible lines of whatever 'normal' should be. Find the hints as they appear, learn to recognize what provokes a strong response in you. Any chemical imbalance will overreact to whatever stimulates a response. Having a journal is a great outlet for any abundance of pent up thought. Knowledge is power. Educate yourself of the overlapping symptoms of the spectrums of different afflictions. The more you know, the less of a surprise it will be. In the realm of mental illness, surprises are rarely fun.

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