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Bipolar - How Do You Know You're Better?

(33 Posts)
DiaryOfAWimpyMum Wed 31-Jul-13 11:44:52

I didn't know I was unwell so I'm finding it difficult to know if I am okay now.

All I was doing was talking too much, overly excitable, not sleeping, spending too much, I am on 300mg quetiapine XR and I'm sleeping but it's a strange sleep, I wake absolutely soaking in sweat every morning and have done since sometime last year, I have bizarre dreams but I don't know what about tbh.

I have also read a few threads on here with people taking the same kind of meds and saying they are tired, I'm not tired at all until I take the quetiapine XR at 9/10pm, then I start yawning.

I still talk a lot but how do you know if you just talk too much anyway? I can still be excitable but I've always been excitable, am I not supposed to be? confused

I see my Doc again on Monday but he asks me if I feel better and I don't know because I felt fine (apart from not sleeping) anyway, I wondered if anyone else with bipolar could tell me if they felt a definite change in mood?

I also find it difficult to talk to the psych as he makes me nervous, he tells constant jokes and I get never know when he is being serious or not but he thinks I'm a lot better than when he first seen me. I asked my Mum and he said she cannot see any change in me at all.

Sorry this a bit long!

lottieandmia Wed 31-Jul-13 11:50:59

The best people to ask are those close to you who know you well - so if your mum can't see any change then perhaps your psychiatrist hasn't got your meds right. I used to take quetiapine too and it made me sweat as well - I can relate to some of your experiences. Is your head racing?

If you can function on a day to day basis (practical things) and aren't doing anything silly or reckless and you're managing to sleep then those are the indicators of being 'better' ime. I consider myself 'recovered' because I've had no episodes for at least 3 years and I'm off meds. But tbh I never felt that the medication made me better just limited the impact of my illness.

lottieandmia Wed 31-Jul-13 11:53:10

I think I still talk quite fast but if I was ill I would talk way too quickly to understand and would change topic very quickly. I look back and cringe at some of the 'conversations' I use to have with people!

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Wed 31-Jul-13 12:00:49

Yes my mind is still racing all the time, it's a bit like being hyperactive, nothing bad just day to day things, people, I find it difficult to read, or watch TV, I am not being reckless or silly anymore and am able to sleep for 5/6 hours then I go into some sort half awake/half asleep dreaming, but it's not horrid, until the sweating starts... yuck!

My friend did comment on how I never sit down, she gets me a chair and I would rather stand, it's difficult to describe, I feel like I am going somewhere all the time, a bit restless maybe?

I phoned my Mum (quickly) yesterday and looked at the amount of time I had spoke to her it was 23 mins, I am also analsying my moods big time.

I have explained to DS1 as he asked what my pills were for, I said sometimes I'm a bit too happy, sometimes and bit sad, so they keep me level, he said he has never noticed any difference in me, so that's good.

I might ask psych on Monday if I can try something else or go up a bit more. he keeps giving me his number but I think that's for emergencies.

Thanks smile

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Wed 31-Jul-13 12:03:32

Yes, I am analysing my conversations just now, I think I do still talk over people a little bit blush

lottieandmia Wed 31-Jul-13 17:34:15

I was exactly like that - unable to sit down and just had to always be going somewhere. There were literally years where I never watched television at all. I hope you feel better soon - it's an incredibly difficult illness to live with. If your mind is racing you may need more help from your doctor - I hope they can suggest something for you.

Mirages Thu 01-Aug-13 07:14:24

The restlessness you are experiencing could be a side effect from quetapine. It is called Akathisia. I was mainly depressed but when I started queatapine I could not stay still at all.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Thu 01-Aug-13 10:26:54

Thank you I will talk to the doc again on Monday, he did say I might have to go up a bit as he can put me up to as far as 800mg, but I was hoping not to go up too much on them.

Reading about Akathisia that does sound very much like me, he checked my muscles as he said Quetiapine can do something to them, I think I am more hypo-manic than depressed but do get depressed maybe once or twice every year.

He asked about my whole life and thinks I have been bipolar for years, bizarre!

mouses Thu 01-Aug-13 15:41:36

i do everything you described and my doc says i have severe depression?

ive told the gp i think its bipolar or similar? - ive been like it for years. after a yr on fluoxetine (only taking the edge of things) ive finally been refered to a psych.

i'll be watching with interest as i dont know if/when im better or not? sorry i could add any thing helpful, but you've made me feel a little less alone with it x

lottieandmia Thu 01-Aug-13 18:34:19

GPs often prescribe anti-depressants for bipolar people and it's not a good idea because if they can make you manic if you take them alone. The same thing happened to me until I was referred to a psychiatrist.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Thu 01-Aug-13 18:41:17

I thought I had depression too, then I went to doc telling him I was having some sort of breakdown, (last year) he said it was PTSD - vivid nightmares and mind racing, hyper vigilant, not wanting to see my xh and going for days without sleep, jumping at loud noises (I still do this but not so much but don't like noise) even my dog sounds louder. So I have seen a psychologist for PTSD for 9 months and now they don't know if I have it and say it's natural the way I feel about my xh.

Then the GP noticed my rapid speech and said he thought I may have some traits of bipolar, took me off Mitrazpine and I couldn't sleep much at all, he put me on another anti-psychotic but it didn't do much at all.

Then I seen the head psych for this area for an initial 1 hr appointment and asked me everything from when I was 16/17 until date (I'm 39). I have dwindled away a lot of money and debt is/was a problem too, I said to the psych doc that I thought people with bipolar slept a lot when they were depressed but he said 'nope quite the opposite just like you they cannot sleep'.

My brother is/has bipolar, my uncle has it (dads side), and my grandad suffered with something and had ECT many years ago.

My biggest problem is sleep, pre something happening to my brain last September I could sleep for hours, go for naps, now I cannot sleep at all without medication. I am also a bit hyperactive. as you can see from my big long posts

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Thu 01-Aug-13 18:42:14

x posts yes, the Mitrazipine were making me worse

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Thu 01-Aug-13 18:47:32

I was on fluoextine for many years and felt very low last September so had some in my cupboard and starting taking them alongside Mitrazipine, 3 day later my brother sent me away from his house for talking too much and asked what I had been taking, so I stopped them, that was when I became unable to sleep too.

ArkadyRose Thu 01-Aug-13 18:50:42

I knew I was better when I wasn't swinging between deep, crushing depressions in which I couldn't even get out of bed and everything just seemed grey with no point to anything; and elated moods in which my thoughts were like a runaway train, couldn't keep still, couldn't sleep, andcouldn't keep track of money to save my life. At both extremes I was non-functional. When I was no longer swinging between the extremes and was functional again, I knew I was getting better.

When it got to the point where I'd been stable for 7 years and off all medication of 3 with no relapse and the psych team discharged me back to the care of my GP, I knew I was recovered.

I know there's a chance that I may relapse again in the future, but right now I am stable, sane and functional.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Fri 02-Aug-13 09:12:35

thanks you, that's good to read that you are better now, I would hope whatever happened to my brain last year will fix itself and I wont need the medication either. I have zero support with this and my parents constantly on my back to get a job and my head cannot concentrate.

I've realised I'm not sleeping properly at all, I tried to work out last night what I was dreaming about, I wasn't dreaming, I'm still thinking in my half sleep state, basically half dreaming abut the things I'm thinking about during the day.

Roll on Monday

Mirages Fri 02-Aug-13 09:33:24

I mainly get mixed states. The medication helps but I can still feel it going on. I know I am fine when I am not thinking suicide every so often. Not there yet.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Mon 05-Aug-13 14:44:30

Sorry Mirages I totally missed your comment, I hope you start to feel a bit better soon.

I couldn't sleep last night so took 475mg (1.5 pills) and still couldn't sleep so upped it to 600mg at 3.00am and finally fell asleep.

Seen doctor today and he said I am hypo-manic and 'not drugged up' confused so to double my dose (which I had done) and go back in 2 days and if the 600mg isn't working he is going to add something else.

I asked if he was sure I was bipolar and he still seems to think yes.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Wed 07-Aug-13 10:49:05

I feel very unwell now, totally drugged up but if it's like yesterday it will wear off and my head will be racing by evening and I will be unable to switch off so I have to take the quetiapine again.

I'm also very low and finding it impossible to eat.

I might not take any meds tonight and just stay awake, I could be feeling like this because I couldn't sleep as much as I wanted as DC had football first thing this morning.

Whoever said this illness is awful was right, I wish I could just goand lie down

lottieandmia Wed 07-Aug-13 14:36:42

Diary I am sorry you're not feeling well - poor you. Do you have family support?

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Wed 07-Aug-13 16:26:10

Just at weekends really, I could have asked if mum could have had DS2 but he likes playing with his friends here in the afternoons after his football just now so I had a shower and something to eat and feel a little bit better, I was supposed to go see my friend this morning but felt completely drugged up and low and didn't want to drive.

I am a bit worried about my mind racing and why 600mg doesn't stop it, it's not as if its working overtime about anything important just day to day life, although my xh contacted me over the weekend so that may explain the quetiapine not working as I was so stressed out I was shaking.

My brother was sectioned when like this, so I worry but have spoke to the doc about this fear and he has assured me I will not be locked up anywhere, I just need to go see him every 2-3 days.

I'm sure he also said he can give me something to combine with the quetiapine tomorrow, my mum is having the dc on Fri night then they are going to their friends on Sat so hopefully whatever the doc gives me will shut my mind up and let me sleep for a long time, without soaking the bloody bed in sweat.

Thanks for answering, it's so strange how my mood has swung to such a low, not suicidal just low.

lottieandmia Wed 07-Aug-13 16:54:06

It sounds like perhaps your doctor hasn't got your meds quite right yet. Quetiapine is supposed to have a sedating effect but everyone is different and I guess different things suit different people. I had an admission once and it was fine and the staff took good care of me and were very caring. Another time I had the home treatment team visit me at home every day.

I understand how stressful it is when your mind races - I never felt comfortable anywhere and I was also desperate for the day to end because it wasn't going as quickly as my head was if that makes sense!

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Wed 07-Aug-13 18:39:13

Yes that makes a lot of sense, I do exactly the same, I start feeling better about now as I know bedtime is nearer, I go to bed, take meds, try read but cannot as my mind is too busy processing what I have done today, hopefully psych can give me something else tomorrow to make me a little more settled.

My mind is also playing tricks with me, I looked at the grass this week and thought it needed cut, went to bed, half awake/half asleep dreamt I had cut the grass...confused Then woke the next day to expect it to be all nice and short...I hadn't cut it at all.

This is only an example, I am getting RL and dreams mixed up a lot.

Are you better now? I guess I mean without medication?

lottieandmia Wed 07-Aug-13 20:04:55

Yes, I'm much better and I'm off meds and have been for 2 years. I know people say that with bipolar you can't usually stop taking medication but I don't seem to need it any more. In my case what helped me get better was 2 years of quite intense psychotherapy. It seems to have changed the way I think. I do still have my anxious days but my life is normal, where before I was totally out of sync with everyone else. I remember waking up at 2am with a desperate urge to leave the house and I would pace up and down until about 6am when it got light and I would then rush into town and walk by the river. It was awful because I knew how ill I was and I didn't know what to do to get better. But it is possible to get better and I am sure you will too - you're just having a bad patch right now.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Thu 08-Aug-13 09:41:10

It's good to hear of someone else not on medication, I think I was doing okay until my xh started stressing me out.

I don't feel all drugged up like I did yesterday morning

Hopefully now my xh cannot contact me at all along with some meds for a while and I might get better and not need them anymore, my brother doesn't take any medication anymore either, so that gives me hope I might not need them someday, right now I realise I do.

ArkadyRose Thu 08-Aug-13 09:49:23

lottieandmia In my case I think it was CBT that did the trick. It wasn't a magic wand - but it has been a very valuable tool that has enabled me to be the one in control, not the bipolar disorder. You do need to have a pretty high level of self-awareness in order to make CBT work for you though - and getting to a stable place does take work.

If you want to beat bipolar, you need to keep on top of it and keep yourself educated. You need a good partnership with a psychiatrist, and you need to take an active role in choosing how you're going to treat it - you can't just sit back and passively take whatever medication they prescribe, but actually have a say in what to try. Read up on the different medications, how they work and the side effects; if one drug isn't working, suggest others or maybe a combination. Read up on therapy, find a good therapist you can work with.

It is possible to beat it. It's not easy, and it does take time, but it can be beaten.

Juneywoony Thu 08-Aug-13 10:23:47

Hi Wimpy Mum, following this thread out of interest as I want to know myself.

Since being diagnosed earlier this year and being on meds I feel like I have been worse, I just keep getting really low and having mixed states, I feel so wary of new meds and changes as I've had some awful side effects from some, I'm on Depakote now but it has made me so flat and low, recently had the dose lowered and a low dose of ad introduced so really hoping that does the job. I hate living like this as I don't know who I am anymore I find myself questioning myself constantly is this me or the illness making me feel this way etc..

Interesting to hear that people have got better and are med free as I was under the impression I would need to take meds for life, I'm on the waiting list for psychotherapy and hoping that once that starts something will just click back in my mind.

Wish I had some helpful advice for you. xx

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Thu 08-Aug-13 15:34:37

Sorry you are not feeling great either juney

Psych said I seemed okay and I think he was going to just leave me on 600mg quetiapine (with bad sweats dreams) and at the thought of that I promptly started crying and told him I couldn't cope with my mind racing blush

I've to try 7.5mg Olanzapine and he said 'they might make you want to eat chocolate' and I've came home and googled and sure enough I'm no doubt going to put on more weight. I will try to control 'eating chocolate urges'.

I also have Nitrazepam to take if the Olanzapine don't work. He may put me up to 15mg on Monday if 7.5mg doesn't work.

To go to bed later he said, and take Olanzapine at 10.00pm if not sleeping by 12am take the Nitrazapine and he apologised in advance if I feel like a zombie when I visit him on Monday. hmm

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Thu 08-Aug-13 15:37:57

Oh and yes psych agreed I could be med free one day after I'm calmed down a bit and we had a bit of a laugh at me saying when I felt 'normal', I also asked if he thought it was xh or stress of moving house which flicked the switch in my brain.

He couldn't say but did tell me has a patient who was 'fine' until she became unwell recently after she turned 92 and she is now being treated for bipolar.

Mirages Fri 09-Aug-13 08:32:23

wow. Your mind must really race. Hopefully those meds help.
How does it feel when your mind is racing? I have bipolar and have been frequently asked if my mind races.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Fri 09-Aug-13 09:25:55

I just cannot stop thinking, I think about everything, when people are speaking I'm already thinking about my next sentance or something else that I think I know about the subject they are talking about.

When I talk my word sometimes get muddled, as Im trying to concentrate on what I say but part of my mind is already thinking about something else.

When I try to read, say it's a magazine, I often turn several pages and realise I haven't read a word, as I've been thinking about something else and not taking in the words.

When I'm not on anything, my lips also move sometimes and I think out loud. I can get away with pretending to sing in the car but have to make a conscious effort for my mouth not to move when I'm in the street.

Even my bloody typing is affected I lose words, so have to spell check, even then I miss words out.

I thing is I don't do a lot, so I tend to tell people the same things over and over again.

My mum can only handle around 30 minutes of my company then leaves, my dad is better but often tells me to 'shut up and eat ffs, you never shut up'!

I have been like this since last September/October.

I took 7.5mg of Olanzapine last night and 10mg of nitrazipine and woke up every hour on the hour, but I slept, I just woke a bit, sweats not as bad.

I have a home team to call too, phsyc said my pills may try play tricks on my mind and I may feel suicidal between now and Monday.

I feel okay. Spending the morning with family so will see how my talking is. Basically I talk way too much and think way too much.

Are you feeling any better?

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Fri 09-Aug-13 09:28:26

*on anything - i.e on valium, then chlopromizine to slow thoughts down but down to 10mg now on diazepam as detest the addiction to them

Mirages Sat 10-Aug-13 13:32:42

Interesting your description of racing mind. I am not sure if I have ever had it but definitely some points you mention sounds familiar.

When I was hypomanic I could not sleep either. Sleeping meds or some mood stabilizers did not work. When I started lithium, I started to sleep well (and a lot).

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Sat 10-Aug-13 17:59:12

I had a great sleep last night, no sweats, only woke up once all night, then finally got up around 10.00am which is unheard of for me. ~I don't feel too drowsy or anything

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