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Please hold my hand. Bipolar disorder...

(31 Posts)
ConcernedFromTunbridgeWells Fri 30-Nov-12 22:14:50

Long term MNer but have NCd.

I've been signed off work for a while with depression and anxiety. I went back to the doctors yesterday as I am getting worse. DH came with me as support and to help me as I find it very difficult to communicate verbally atm.

The doctor think I am bipolar. I am also having intrusive thoughts, usually violent ones.

He said that he saw a big decline in me since he last saw me three weeks ago.

He has referred me for an urgent psychiatric assessment.

I'm a bit freaked out. Have I just crossed the border into insanity? Am I crazy? sad

Will my kids be taken away? I'm so scared of that. I would never, ever hurt them and I am no risk to anyone I just feel on a massive emotional rollercoaster.

The doctor said that he could see me 'rapid cycling' even during the appointment. I feel embarrased and like I shouldn't have let it get this far. This is my fault. if I was stronger minded in the beginning of the depression it wouldn't have escalated into this.

I'm worried friends will like me less, DH might find me less attractive. Maybe my parents will think that thye have failed me somehow and thats why I'm this.

Please hold me hand. Does anyone have any experience of any of this? I know other people go through much much much worse but I'm feeling pretty low about it all.

neveronamonday Sun 06-Jan-13 23:14:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pyrrah Sun 09-Dec-12 23:11:28

Oh, one of my worst things was having to tell my now-DH. When I eventually plucked up enough courage, he just looked at me and said 'of course you are, it was obvious when I first met you'. (I was quite seriously hypomanic when I met him, but didn't think it was THAT obvious).

Anyway, he still married me, still wanted children with me, still adores me. It is only one facet of you and has both good and bad points (trying to buy a house in a week = bad; having a spur of the moment decision to paint the spare-room and make new curtains in 24 hours = potentially good).

Pyrrah Sun 09-Dec-12 23:06:21

It's a horrible shock at the beginning and I spent many years trying to prove that I wasn't bipolar.

Nowadays I'm very open with people about my manic depression. It helps that I am now very stable on Lamotrigine (wonderful stuff).

Being bipolar doesn't mean your children are taken away. I had fabulous support when I was pregnant. I lost it badly after the birth but I was in hospital anyway for a week and the psych team came down every few hours and eventually moved another bed into my room on postnatal and told DH that he was moving in too! I had wonderful support for the first year with weekly visits that picked up my developing PND in the very early stages.

I have friends who are in and out of hospital with very severe episodes and while it isn't easy for them or their partners, social services are really supportive.

Being bipolar is like being diabetic - do you think that diabetics are weak or that their children are ashamed?

I know so many people with bipolar disorder in very high powered positions - senior consultants in the NHS, high-court judges, more politicians than I can be bothered to try and name, big city lawyers etc. I've managed to have a pretty decent life with it too and jobs that no-one would think a crazy person could hold down.

It's not the end of the world by any means. It can take a while to find the right meds though - don't be fobbed off. I had a miserable time on things like tegretol.

luckywinner Wed 05-Dec-12 14:14:31

Going through the same thing here. Have to dash as 10 month old just woke up. I swear she can hear me clicking away on laptop.

Guilt towards my children is eating me up at the mo, but my psychiatrist said some really helpful things, which I can't post just now due to baby awake. But your gp sounds great, and you won't fall through the gaps and suffer anymore.

You have been diagnosed with a new illness that can't be 'cured' and that is a big thing for anyone to get their head around, mental or otherwise. Please pm me if you want to chat.

Hoophopes Tue 04-Dec-12 22:28:09

Hi - although scary, your Gp has acted really quickly and got you referred so you don't have to wait months and months not knowing what is going on , not being able to access help. An assessment by a psychiatrist can help identify what you are struggling with, to confirm what the gp may or may not think and to help with medication. If you need and get medication you may find that things really help and that although you may be offered a cpn this doesnt' mean you have to be under a mental health team for ever, or for long term - they are there to offer support when you need it and hopefully along with the psychiatrist and gp can help support you such that you no longer need there support. As my cpn told me, their aim is to get people well enough to not need the support of a cpn!

loverofwine Tue 04-Dec-12 21:43:27

Just to say I am bipolar and it's ok. Being a 'loony' has its up side (quite literally in the mania)..

But seriously, I have been diagnosed for more than 20yrs and remember how unhappy and uncomfortable I felt in the first few years. Now, with a few breakdowns and four kids behind me I am proud to be bp as living through the downs and ups have made me who I am. There is lots of help and support out there (mdf.org is particularly good) and medication is pretty good these days though it can take a while to get it right.

Good luck and remember that your life will never be dull!

Theala Sun 02-Dec-12 22:07:47

my dp suffers from bipolar ii. he was only diagnosed this summer. we've been together three and a half years.

if anything, i think i love and respect him more since he's been diagnosed. frankly it explains a lot and it explains that a lot of the shit we've been through has not been his fault because he's been sick. it's like thinking that someone is just a bit of a lazy bastard until you realise that actually they're not lazy at all, they just have a broken leg. there's a huge ' oh oooohhh' moment when you suddenly cop.

dp is taking his medication and trying to live healthily and manage his bipolar, which is part of the reason i have so much respect for him and basically think he is absolutely brilliant.

sometimes i do think it would be easier if he wasn't bipolar, but then he wouldn't be himself. most of the time though, it's not even an issue; its just another thread in the tapestry of our lives together.

i realise how incredibly wanky that sounds and i am sorry. i just wanted to illustrate how quickly things can get back to normal after a bipolar diagnosis. (we were both in shock for the first week.) smile

SirBoobAlot Sun 02-Dec-12 21:26:39

I have a serious mental health condition. I remember feeling exactly how you are feeling. Please do not be intimidated by what was said, and please be kinder to yourself; if you had gone in and he had said, "Ah it appears you have two broken legs, lets send you to a specialist!" you wouldn't be blaming yourself.

Big hugs. You are getting help, and once you have help in place for any problem, it gets easier. Promise. x

How long were you in the appointment for? As I think your doctor may not have the greatest understanding of what rapid cycling actually means.

curlypoo Sun 02-Dec-12 18:01:31

I think the line is if you are still questioning if you are crazy, then you are not!

I have nothing productive to add but just wanted to lend support, you must be so scared. Also take the GP's 'diagnosis' with a pinch of salt and wait for the Psych to do their work.

I am holding your hand.

BrittaPerry Sun 02-Dec-12 18:01:10

I have bipolar, and it was horribly serious for a while. I honestly wrote myself off. Then something kind of 'clicked' and I started being strict with myself, eating and sleeping properly, taking medication properly, I tried a few medications and found Lamotrigine worked, then we increased the dose until I was well.

Now I am more stable than I have ever been. I didn't even know it was possible to feel this in control.

It is hard, but remember that one in four people will experience mental health issues.

Give Mind a call, they are brilliant, as are Rethink. (Rethink works with serious MH issues, mind with everything)

Does your GP have any training in mental health issues? Really I would wait until you have talked to the pysciatrist.
I actually think your GP has been very irresponsible by giving his opinion before you have seen a specialist.
He would not diagnose cancer just because you had a lump on your breast, why is this any different?
Anyway, even if it is bi-polar, there are many forms of treatment nowadays and most people have it successfully controlled with medication.

NanaNina Sun 02-Dec-12 17:50:10

So sorry CTB that you are justifiably worried about the diagnosis, though it looks like Gorja can help as she is in the same position. Take no notice of that post from AC - totally inappropriate. I have unipolar depression which just the depression and anxiety and not the high bits that are present to a agreater or lesser degree in bipolar. I had a severe episode of depression and anxiety 2 years ago and still get intermittent severe depression, which as you will know is a real torment, and only those who have experienced it first hand can even begin to understand how awful it is.

Also I think it's really common for those of us with mental illness to somehow think it is "our fault" and we should have been able to stop it happening. I also feel ashamed of having this illness. I think this is for 2 reasons - I think to feel this way is a symptom of anxiety, and also because there is still a huge stigma around mental illness, and a lot of misunderstanding.

I think the media are in a way responsible because of their portrayal of people as "mad" - Mrs Rochester hidden in the attic in Jane Eyre, and reports of paranoid schizophrenics attacking people at random. There is never a mention that this person is suffering from parandoid schizophrenia, and the statistics show that it is a very small minority of people who are murdered by people who are mentally ill, but of course it is always in the headlines. We use words like "nutter" "bonkers" and "barmpot" and "barking" as in "barking mad" and think nothing of it, but once having experienced we can see how the "madness" myth is built up.

I was a social worker for 30 years in children's services and NO you definitely won't have your children removed but I've lost count of how many times I have written that on these threads. Children can only be removed if it can be proven that they are suffering significant harm. The drugs today can keep people with bipolar relativey stable as far as I'm aware.

Please feel free to come on the thread again - there is loads of support and it has got me through many a dark dark day, when I don't want to interact with any real person (other than DP) so tapping on a screen I can manage.

You have been diagnosed early and are being referred to the CMHT and that is the right way forward. I had a CPN for about 18 months and she was lovely - she used to stay a couple of hours and if I was ok we'd just chat but if i wasn't she would just sit with me and stroke my back, or if it was a nice day she'd suggest we sat outside or went for a walk in the park. I am sure you will come to appreciate any help that you are given.

Take care and take things steady - you have an illness and need to remember that - it sounds like you have a supportive DH which is a great blessing! What age are your children?

I have grandchildren and when I can't see them or meet them from school, we say nanny's "Headmonster" is playing up. Then they draw pictures of the headmonster and tell him to go away so nanny's happy again. Works for us!

Mental illness can and does affect a large % of the population and

lazymum99 Sun 02-Dec-12 16:02:56

Being diagnosed with a serious mental illness comes as a shock. You never thought it would happen to you. You thought the depression was a phase and somehow it would get better. I can sympathise. I have a 21year old son recently diagnosed with bipolar. The meds seem to be keeping him stable but I believe his recovery from a severe depression is being slowed by him coming to terms with the fact that he probably has a life long serious mental illness. His whole life has been put on hold. He couldn't cope at university he has lost all direction and cannot find his place in this world. He talks openly about craving the manic episodes when he says he was really happy. However he quite quicklyslipped into the beginning of a psychosis and that was frightening (for him and us). He discusses his illness openly with friends and the university were very understanding and he can start again next year.
I also felt a'shiver' when I read your post referring to crazies etc. it is an illness like any other but affects the brain.
BTW my son also has rapid cycling bipolar, before medication he could swing from deep depressive hopelessness to mania within a couple of hours and his depression was accompanied by extreme agitation which is difficult to treat.
I've just realised my post is a bit of a downer for you but with the correct medication (which takes time) I believe he will get his life back.

Gorja Sun 02-Dec-12 15:42:07

I have bipolar and kids and can completely sympathise with you.

My kids all know about my illness as I was in hospital and they came and visited.

Firstly now I'm on the correct meds, quitiepine and lamotrogine I feel a completely different person and I know I'm a better Mum.
I also realised that actually my kids don't care, I have always been in their eyes the best Mum in the world and that hasn't changed. They love me regardless of any illness.

If you want to ask any questions or just moan and rant and chat feel free to pm me.

Take care

Alameda Sun 02-Dec-12 14:06:21

I was horrified by the 'manic depressive psychosis' thing, it conjured images of piss soaked homeless alcoholics muttering to themselves and none of the guff my consultant fed me about 'creative and intelligent people' (he reeled off a list of people like Virginia Woolf who'd all killed themselves!) made me feel better.

Think it is probably quite normal to be scared and ignorant actually!

babbas Sun 02-Dec-12 13:45:36

I had to reply. You really hit a nerve when you said you don't want your kids to grow up knowing or being affected by a mum with MH issues. Your children need you well more than anything in the world. Please be kind to yourself and look after yourself. Do not worry about what anybody thinks. Fingers crossed you feel better soon.

Valdeeves Sun 02-Dec-12 09:07:56

Anxietyschild - give her a break, she is ill and has a lot to come to terms with. She needs to see mental illness in a clear light, it takes time.

AnxietysChild Sat 01-Dec-12 19:45:45

Felt sympathy when I first read your post, but now can only hope that this diagnosis will enable you to address your prejudices about mental health conditions and reassess how you view those of us who you consider to be "weak", "vulnerable", "burdensome", "unattractive" and "crazy". Do you always insult those who you ask for help from?

Alameda Sat 01-Dec-12 15:17:51

am not a very good ambassador for the cause as I mostly hate everything about bipolar and feel misdiagnosed (unless it suits me otherwise) but went for years and years and years without telling anyone, that is definitely possible, but obviously friends and family will want to support you and be helpful and educate themselves

have you thought about joining the MDF or whatever they are calling themselves now? Their helpline used to be good and the magazine can be interesting and also there are (I don't know if these are still going) self management courses which can be really really helpful in terms of keeping your mood fairly stable with/without meds

MaxineQuordlepleen Sat 01-Dec-12 13:09:31

Also, with regard to your family - you are still the person they love. You've been given an idea to work with and getting a diagnosis is sometimes scary, sometimes a relief and often both at the same time. But that diagnosis is not you - you are a whole person and your mental health challenges are just a part.

MaxineQuordlepleen Sat 01-Dec-12 12:46:19

We are all vulnerable and weak, it's part of being a human being. You have done nothing to cause this or anything to be ashamed about. Take some time to process it all - it's a big thing to be told but is perfectly manageable to live with- before deciding who to tell what to. Try looking here for a start.

Good luck, you will be okay.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sat 01-Dec-12 12:34:12

I agree you don't have to tell anyone your diagnosis & medical history if you don't want to. Please remember it is a medical condition that effects brain chemistry rather than a 'weakness'. It's nothing you have done & can be difficult to spot in the early stages of an episode.

I have quite a bit if experience with bi-polar. It is far more common that you think, although you wont necessarily know as its not obvious. The majority of people with mental health issues don't stand out at all.

Pleased you are getting some treatment. My mum had mental health issues and refused all help or to acknowledge it was a problem. Her not helping herself made my childhood difficult, not the illness itself.

Don't feel you have to 'show your face' at the Xmas do if it will stress you out. The less stress you have right now the better.you wouldn't struggle in if you had the flu. I would also try and get as much sleep as possible & rest as much as you can. Good you feel better soon smile

superstarheartbreaker Sat 01-Dec-12 08:59:22

You don't have to tell anyone your diagnosis. My mum had bipolar and she did tell everyone; completely unecessary and I was embarassed. The doctors knew she was ill but we never got taken away from her. I think her ownership of her illness affected me more than the illness itself so don't own it. Treat it but see it as a chemical imbalance rather than madness.

I can understand where you are coming from, it is scary to have to see yourself in a different way, I think time helps with that.

I have a CPN, she is really nice and really normal and we meet every week for a chat and a catch up. It feels very informal and very much on my terms. It was a relief when I got my mental health team, I felt so much less alone.

And honestly, honestly nobody has treated me differently at all for my mental health problems and they won't treat you any differently. You look the same, your husband and children still love you. Your husband obviously cares very much for you.

One of the best pieces of advice I have had was that nobody would choose to be mentally ill, nobody would choose to feel like this, and you are trying your very very best for things to be different. (I don't think I am explaining this so well smile). You are trying and doing the very best you can, what more can anyone ask of you? You are not weak or a burden.

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