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Just been diagnosed with bipolar. Feel utterly grim about it all

(184 Posts)
LeGavrOrf Wed 14-Aug-13 18:23:10

Bipolar and elements of PTSD apparently.

Have been off work for 8 weeks and initially diagnosed by the GP as depressed, am on 225mg of venlafaxine which hasn't worked at all. Last week saw CPN and now have been given quietapine to take as well, 25mg.

I feel so low and have had suicidal thoughts mixed with feeling very down, and then other days where I am dashing about feeling as if I have had 20 double espressos.

I am just so down at having bipolar and worried about work and what this all means, I have also looked on the Internet and seen that 25mg of quietapine is a very small dose and should have a higher dose, I haven't been told to increase this at all. Plus I haven't seen a psychiatrist at all. Is it normal just to see a psychiatric nurse? I am seeing her again tomorrow, she is coming to my house as when I spoke to her yesterday I was so low and worried.

It's just a bloody horrible thing to come to terms with.

Crawling Wed 14-Aug-13 18:56:51

Only a psychiatrist can diagnose you so please please don't worry about that yet. My cpn said I have perperul psychosis when in fact I have scizoaffective bipolar type 1. Also its just a label though I understand a very scary one it hasn't changed who you are.

Also remember there are lots of different types of bipolar with varying severities it doesn't mean your life is over.

SnowyMouse Wed 14-Aug-13 19:01:34

Hugs LeGavrOrf It takes time, for meds to work, and for the right ones to be found. and for you to find what coping methods work best for you.

Quetiapine is given at different doses depending what it's for. 25mg can take the edge off things without being too sedating.

Who diagnosed the bipolar? Sometimes people's diagnoses change, lots of MH issues are similar.

Your CPN should be able to refer you to a psychiatrist if needed, but people are referred to different professionals depending on their presenting needs.

fedupandtired Wed 14-Aug-13 19:05:08

Please don't worry. Even though you feel utterly dreadful at the moment you can (and will) recover from this and feel "normal" again. It's also perfectly possible that once you've recovered you might not have another episode, ever.

It is a low dose of quetiapine but with quetiapine you do need to increase the dose slowly.

Everyone's different with regards how different meds affect them but personally I was a lot more stable off venlafaxine than on it, with most stability when taking just quetiapine. It is generally a case of trial and error with meds though although you will get there.

HoopHopes Wed 14-Aug-13 19:11:29

A nurse cannot diagnose you and certainly not if she only seen you once. Ask her to get you an appointment with a psychiatrist in her team for official diagnosis and correct medication. They will start you on a low dose and increase it but the psych may give you different medication depending on diagnosis.

So until you have an official diagnosis by a dr, which so far is depression no issue with work. Many people work with bipolar and depression. Particularly when treated with medication.

MrsWolowitz Wed 14-Aug-13 19:13:27

I have bipolar.

It's a scary label but its one dimension of who you are. It doesn't define you.

It took me a while to come to terms with it as it is big news but try not to worry. There's lots of us around to chat to and hold your hand through this.

LeGavrOrf Wed 14-Aug-13 19:29:12

Thank you everyone.

It is just a shock really to have the label. And now I just want to try and get to the root of it. I will speak to the CPN tomorrow and see if she plans to refer me to a psyhchiTrist if she thinks that is necessary. If not I might plan to see one privately.

I am wondering if the venlafaxine is doing anything at all. It just hasn't worked at all, it has before for depressive episodes. I wonder if I should try something else. I am lucky in that I can just come straight of venlafaxine and I don't get any of the side effects.

I have never felt like this, I have has 6 months of awful stress at work and in June just couldn't stop crying, shaking, feeling like the walls were breathing and feeling everyone was looking at me. It felt as if I was in The dreams in Inception! And now I have these awful periods of mad dashing about. And my mind goes ten to the dozen at night, I get to sleep then wake up at 2 or 3 with awful thoughts. And I am so ashamed to admit it but last week got up in the middle of the night and cut my thighs with a Stanley knife fgs. I just felt utterly compelled to do so and I am scared of that happening again. I have some Valium which I will take if that happens again but I just wonder why I didn't take them last week. Christ I feel like a mess, and I wonder where 'me' has gone.

Thanks for listening to my witterings.

LeGavrOrf Wed 14-Aug-13 21:34:37

I must admit I am feeling a bit drowsy with that level of quietapine and think if I take a higher dose I will be half asleep all day! Does the tiredness feeling wear off?

The tiredness does wear off yes, although I always found it helpful to take it at night and it did seem to help me sleep. 25mg is a low dose but I think they try to keep you on a low as possible dose, as you have only just started it they will probably tinker with the dose a bit once you get used to the 25mg. I was on 50mg of quetiapine for a bit and it did the job.

It is always hard getting a diagnosis, give yourself time to process it and it is normal to be upset and angry about it. I try to remind myself that I am still the same as I was pre-diagnosis, only now there is something that helps explain how I feel and more specific stuff out there that can help me. The Mind and Rethink websites are useful for information.

You can talk to your CPN about your feelings about the diagnosis. How often do you see her? It is worth writing stuff down before hand so you don't forget (I know this is stating the obvious!!)

I would def ask to see a psychiatrist for a chat about the diagnosis and long term plans. It might take a little while for the appointment to come through though.

Take care of yourself.

lissieloo Thu 15-Aug-13 10:09:02

Oh lovey, I understand feeling a bit blindsided, but this is good. Now you can get yourself back. I completely understand the compulsions, even though I have no experience of bipolar.

Anyway, I'm just wittering. What I really want to say is: you're ace and <<squeeze>>

anna891 Thu 15-Aug-13 15:22:46

I have a family member with bi polar.
Anyone got ideas on what causes it, is it inheirited, is it caused by enviroment?

Silverfoxballs Thu 15-Aug-13 15:31:28

There is a genetic component but no one is certain, one of my dsis has bi polar and we have three diagnosed schizophrenics within our family. We did have a very chaotic childhood though and that is being kind about it.

I can't remember but there is some model regarding your natural risk of conditions like this coupled with life experiences that can be triggering. Stress often brings out people's physical and mental ill health issues

Don't be scared op but do push to see a consultant.

LeGavrOrf Thu 15-Aug-13 17:34:37

Thanks everyone.

The CPN came today and has referred me to a psychiatrist, she has said for me to up my dose to 50mg. Said it rather off hand but will give it a go until I see the psychiatrist or GP. She did say it would be a couple of weeks to see the psychiatrist which is crap, I might ask to be referred privately anyway to have a discussion about what drugs to take.

I just feel as miserable as sin today, I don't know whether that is bloody better or worse than hearing noises or dashing about from room to room.

I have also been thinking about my upbringing which I try not to do, but was speaking about some of it last night when watching who do you think you are. I try not to even think about it, sod that, but certain memories are coming up today. I just want it all to stop, be me again and go back to how I used to feel.

LeGavrOrf Thu 15-Aug-13 17:37:39

And I am not eating much. Which started when I went on venlafaxine (it always c,pletely makes my appetite go for a bit at the beginning) so I eat very little. Every loss on the scales feels like an achievement which is stupid I know but it feels like a challenge now. And I know I am too thin, 9 stone 2 and 6 feet. Still look fat though, FFS. I feel like a complete nutcase.

RegainingUnconsciousness Thu 15-Aug-13 17:55:28

Hi, I've not got a lot of value to say, but wanted to offer sympathy and good vibes.

A good friend of mine has bipolar. She's had it since her teenage years. She was well for a long time but in the last 5 years has been unwell several times. She's needed to be strict when she's well to make sure she has a team in place so when she feels she's becoming unwell (it's taken a while, but she's learned to recognise the early onset symptoms) she can be seen and start the medication as soon as she can to minimise the episode. The last one was only 3 weeks in total! (A huge improvement!)

She has had sufficient understanding from her employer and colleagues to enable her to maintain her professional position. But she does still need family support when she's ill.

What I mean is; let people help you, and as far as you are able, insist that people pay attention and get everything in place to help you maintain wellness. It's just a chronic condition (like a physical one) that flares up and requires you to have time off and help. You should be able to continue doing what you do.

My friend has recently learned that as well as needing a regular sleep pattern and low alcohol, she should be aiming for a constant level of hydration. Apparently the recent super hot weather was a contributing factor. Also, it's usually stress and emotional changes that send her over the edge.

You'll get through this. Remember if you're in a depressive phase it's hard to believe, but you will get through this and you will be well again. And the diagnoses and medication and support that is being put in place for you will keep you better for longer in future.

And everyone here is here for you whethe well or not.

(I hope some of that rambling is useful!)

LeGavrOrf Thu 15-Aug-13 17:58:00

Oh thank you so much. That is a lovely post. I really appreciate it.

I am sure I am just blindsided at the moment.

Dd is being ace about it, I am very lucky.

BIWI Thu 15-Aug-13 17:59:44

Oh bloody hell, LeGavrOrf - I'm so sorry. I haven't any experience of this, so can't say anything helpful, but just wanted to say I'm thinking of you.

cake
wine

PicturesofParadise Thu 15-Aug-13 18:02:02

Hope the psychiatist will do a review of your meds, I was on 300mg venlafaxine had a spectacular breakdown weaning off them and got a fast track referal to see specialist mh services.
My psychiatrist started me on 25mg titrating up to 100mg of quitiapine and started on clominpramine (sp) to take together.
I feel fantastic but somewhat cross that it took a different gp to the one I usually saw to make the referal to the cmht .I had been hideously depressed for years!
I am sorry things are so difficult atm for you, if you can afford to do the private option then i'd go for it, no point waiting around.
Fwiw, different situation and circumstances but my psychiatrist said that he didn't like prescribing venlafaxine there are other and better drugs around.
flowers

LeGavrOrf Thu 15-Aug-13 18:10:05

Bloody hell where did that cake emoticon come from? grin

Thanks biwi. It's a bit bloody grim but thanks for your kind words thanks

God that sounds promising pictures. I think I will give the Nuffield a call tomorrow, they have a psych there who also is a NHS psychiatrist as well. I just hope that they can refer back to the NHS, iykwim. I don't want to pay private forever.

Waiting list for NHS psychotherapy is 6 months and the CPN said I will need that, but not yet until she comes out of what she calls the psychotic stage. That's a crap word to have to use about myself. That's what I shout at the cats when they run around and/or bring in another headless bird.

LeGavrOrf Thu 15-Aug-13 18:10:45

cake
[crown]

Eh?

BIWI Thu 15-Aug-13 18:12:20
LeGavrOrf Thu 15-Aug-13 18:14:10

Oh bless her, I did post on that thread but haven't looked lately, will have a read, thank you.

vitaminC Thu 15-Aug-13 18:20:24

I know it's a shock to be "labelled" with a condition, but it doesn't define who you are and it may turn out to be a relief to finally have a diagnosis and access to treatment. You will hope fully find it will improve your quality of life in a big way.

I would really encourage you to get into psychotherapy ASAP. IMO, the meds are there as a band-aid to get you over the worst flare-ups, but psychotherapy should help you treat the cause and develop coping techniques, which over time will hopefully reduce the frequency and severity of the manic/depressive episodes!

Just be warned that starting psychotherapy will feel like opening Pandora's box! You will get the most benefit if you're willing to delve into the most traumatic elements of your past, but it also means putting yourself in a vulnerable position for many weeks/months/years.

Make sure you have a good support network around you and be kind to yourself flowers

MinnieBar Thu 15-Aug-13 18:23:46

Well the 'good' news is, that once you have a diagnosis (whatever it ends up being) then you will get the right help and the right meds.

Can you afford private therapy?? You've mentioned a fair bit on here about your difficult family (not a stalker, honest) and it sounds like it might be time to think about looking at that stuff. (When you feel up to it.)

If you get the urge to cut again, what I suggest to clients (I'm a counsellor) is to try safer alternatives, e.g. pinging an elastic band against your wrist, or holding ice cubes in your hands. It hurts, but without the infection/scarring risks.

Good luck

RegainingUnconsciousness Thu 15-Aug-13 18:33:13

Oh, my friend also finds it helpful to keep a diary. She finds it easier to spot symptoms, and later patterns.

There may well be an app to track mood, etc, these days.

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