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Does anyone have experience of Bipolar?

(48 Posts)
annabel1972 Fri 20-May-11 17:24:32


I've been "officially" diagnosed today as having BPD. This term has been mentioned to me before about 8 years ago, and then 4 years ago - but only that I "may" have it. I don't really agree that I have this at all. I have had 2 "hyper - manic" episodes (supposedly - not sure I agree with the terminolgy as may have just been anxiety). I also had 1 depressive episode ten years ago (was post natal) and 4 years ago was suffering from grief but this has been classed as depression on my medical file. So all in all I would say my mental health is pretty good as I have managed for the last 8 years with no medication at all. I have 3 wonderful, happy children, an OKish husband a lovely home and work full time as an accountant so I'm doing pretty OK (in my opinion).

What happens now? Will I go into some kind of system and be forever monitored? Apparently I have to infor DVLA so that means I will have no job! No job means I will also lose my home!!! Do social services get told? Is there any chance I could lose my kids?

Sorry - rambling a bit but am really worried about all this and would love to hear from anyone who knows more about this.

dontrunwithscissors Fri 20-May-11 20:29:54

Hi, I'm not sure I understand how you've arrived at this diagnosis. What was it that made a 'may be' into a 'definitely'?

I've also been told I 'may' have bipolar. I'm afraid I can't answer your questions, other than I'm as sure as I can be that nobody will take your childen away unless they are very clearly in danger or neglected. Having a mental health illness does not = child neglect, of course. Hopefully somone else will be along soon to help answer your questions.

annabel1972 Fri 20-May-11 22:07:32

The definitely came because I had the second hypomanic episode. Apparently 2 hypos and 1 depression make you a BPD.

All I can say is that in my opinion there is fuck all wrong with me. My husband, friends, boss - even ex-husband all agree that i am absolutely fine - just a bit "quirky". I will not take mood stabilisers.

My shrink has said to me that "if i get any worse" it will no longer be my choice and that I will be sectioned!!! And will be injected!

midnightservant Fri 20-May-11 22:32:36

BPD usually stands for borderline personality disorder. Bi-polar mood disorder is the term for what used to be manic depression.

I informed DVLA after my last hospitalisation and got a form to fill in. Had to have a medical and urine test as I admitted to cannabis use in the past (would have left it out tbh, but didn't know what psych had put). Then 3 year driving licence, now restored to an ordinary one.

I doubt they would have gone to those lengths without that particular admission.

I have a diagnosis of bi-polar but am dubious about it. Suspect Aspergers + depression + cannabis psychosis in the past.

annabel1972 Sat 21-May-11 00:39:19

Sorry - didn't realise about the different abbreviations.

It's interesting that you say you are dubious about the bi-polar diagnosis. My own GP made the comment "yes - it's very fashionable to diagnose BP these days".

Whether I have bi-polar or not is probably irrelevant. I've had the grand total of 2 episodes in 8 years and i've been threatened with being sectioned and being injected with shit against my will. How the fuck is that ok? I have a bloody life - and a good one at that. How is it ok that someone who thinks they know better can dictatate to me?

annabel1972 Sat 21-May-11 00:41:00

Sorry went off on one there - what's a 3 year driving licence?

VforViennetta Sat 21-May-11 01:07:11

I honestly think if you have been diagnosed with this and threatened with being sectioned, you maybe don't have the self awareness to decide that you are fine and everyone else is wrong. If you happened to be in the midst of a manic or hyper-manic episode, then you would not be in a place to decide that.

You have obviously been diagnosed by a psychiatrist, who threatens sectioning if you get any worse.

I'm sorry but I would trust the diagnosis. Your friends and family may describe you as quirky rather than mentally ill, I think a psychiatrist has a little more experience and insight, along with less of a drive to minimise your behaviour and smooth over any arguments.

midnightservant Sat 21-May-11 09:38:10

3 year licence - one that runs for 3 years, then you have to reapply for it.

annabel1972 Sat 21-May-11 11:19:04

I understand what your saying midnightservant but when I say that nobody else thinks there's anything wrong with me I do include my ex-husband and boss within that group. Neither of them have anything to gain by placating me. My boss, I'm sure, would want me to have treatment if I was acting inappropriately as I'm an accountant and have to advise people all the time. I also have access to quite large sums of cash. I feel that if my boss had noticed anything at all he would not want me at work. He was honestly "stunned" by the diagnosis.

The most reckless thing I have done is spend about £300 (of my own money) on ebay. Half of this was for things my daughter needed. So I "splurged" £150. It's hardly reckless behaviour - my friends spend more than this on a regular basis. And that is honestly the most "reckless" thing I have done. And I've had insomnia for 2 weeks now.

I think my words have been misinterpreted. For example, when asked about reckless spending I mentioned the ebay thing but didn't mention the amount involved so maybe he thought I was talking about a lot of money. Also he asked if I ever thought I had special powers and mentioned, amongst other things, the abilty to read someone's thoughts. I said "yes I am quite intuitive" but didn't expand on this. What I meant by this was that I often know what people close to me are thinking just by looking at their faces. I can tell instantly if my children have had a bad day as it shows in their faces. I would imagine this is true of most people though. Also, with clients, I've sometimes predicted what their next move may be. I don't think I have special psycic powers - I just think I pick up on body language quite well.

Also when he gave the formal diagnosis he said "along with the family history of bipolar". There is no family history. What I actually said (too flipantly, I know) was that my mum was just like me. She has had a couple of incidents of depression and 2 of anxiety where she had to have valium. One of the periods of anxiety was after she was held up at gun point when armed robbers came into her workplace to steal the cash for the wages - but I didn't explain this. I also said that she spent a lot of money on "crap". But it's only "crap" in my opnion - it's obviously not to her. Also she is quite rich so to her it's not really a lot of money.

Sorry - I know this is very long - but I wanted to explain fully the content of the conversation between us.

midnightservant Sat 21-May-11 13:44:00

I think your comments may be in reply to VforVienetta.

Can you elaborate on your 'hypo-manic' symptoms? Living on little sleep, and/or little food? speaking fast? strange beliefs/ideas you acted on? long sessions doing something (often houswork)??

annabel1972 Sat 21-May-11 14:47:04

sorry - you're right it was VforVienetta

The first episode was originally diagnosed as pshycosis (sp) and it was frightening at the time. It was 8 years ago. I went to Barcelona in a group of around 10 people and we drank a lot of "green fairy" absinthe. On the 3rd day I was on a tube and there was a man sitting opposite me. He looked a bit rough - a bit "odd", and he kept staring at me. I felt convinced that he could read my thoughts and if I didn't get off the tube straight away he would kill me. I also became very preoccupied with the terrorist threat (it was 1 year after September 11) and started talking about emigrating to Canada. I had the same "antsy" feeling that I have now. A feeling of dread almost. It was my husband at the time who was worried as I was pretty freaked out about the tube thing. He thought I was depressed though - he wasn't worried I was manic. I saw a pshyciatrist for a short while after this. I researched green fairy absinthe and found that it was known to contain some kind of hallucinogen. I wondered if this had caused this episode and my Pshyciatrist said "it sounds like a reasonable explanation". So I just put this experience down to this. There were no other problems - I was sleeping as normal, no impulsive behaviour or anything.

This time I've felt "hyper" for about 2 weeks now. I am sleeping but not very well. I am struggling getting to sleep and wake early. I normally like to have (ideally) 8 hours sleep but at the moment am getting maybe 5/6 hours. So not a massive difference. I'm not tired either.

I am eating less due to feeling "butterflies" in my stcomach. I feel as though I'm about to sit an exam or have an important interview. I feel nervous but I'm not sure why. I am a bit worried about money as since having my 3rd child my income has almost halved so it may be this. Also I can't face looking at my "budget" spreadsheet so probably is money worries.

I have been told that I speak fast. This isn't a recent thing though - I've always spoken fast. I do have a lot going on in my mind. Ideas keep coming and goiing. It's not weird stuff - just normal things like "I must remember to pay X", "I must remember to do Y". There seems to be a lot going on at the moment - both with work and in my children's life. I am feeling a bit fazed to be honest and I know I need to start writing things down and then I can stop "carrying it all around in my head".

I don't think I have had any strange ideas or beliefs. I do think I'm very intuitive. I think I'm very good at my job too. Sorry if that sounds arrogant - I don't go round saying this to people in RL though. Also I think my children are exeptionally bright and wonderful and do show off about them a bit, but I think this is just typical of being a proud mother? The things I think about and talk about are all pretty normal boring things to be honest - work, kids, current events, moans about petty crap - all usual minutae!

Unfortunately, no long sessions doing anything! I spend at most 3 hours at a time doing housework. I really should do more than this but I'm quite lazy - I know. My sons bedroom really needs decorating as he's 10 now and it was last done 4 years ago so it's really babyish. I keep putting this off and saying i'll do it next bank holiday. And don't even mention the ironing...

The only thing that I spend long periods of time on is work. I do this through necessity though and not choice!

I do feel a bit better now as the nurse called and said I could be discharged on Monday and my care can be transferred to my GP. I'm really hoping my GP will "remove" this label from my file. I don't know if this is possible or not. I know I probably sound pathetic but I just don't want to be labelled as being mentally ill. There is so much prejuduce around mental health and I am very worried about the implications of being labelled bipolar. There's the obvious wory about the dvla plus things like health insurance and my career.

midnightservant Sat 21-May-11 16:35:17

I agree (although IANA psychiatist) it doesn't sound like classic hypomania, where the person feels great, gets lots done, and takes no notice of those closest to them who tell them they think something is wrong.

With regard to your 'special powers' thing, I am reminded of something I heard about people with Aspergers being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia because when asked if they heard voices, they said yes! They meant they could hear the voices of people who talked to them! So with your honest answer it sounds like it could well have been misconstrued.

My initial hospitalisation with psychosis was put down to cannabis, I have had two further episodes which were again associated with the same thing. The most recent one (2003) was put down to my anti-depressants making me high, and I got a diagnosis of bi-polar 2. My latest psychiatrist read my notes thoroughly, and concluded I had bi-polar 1 because of the first episode.

I get overwhelmed by things and find it better to write things down, otherwise I have a neverending list of things to do going round in my head. I have in fact found that I can't manage a job and run a household at the same time - the job takes over my head, and the housework and stuff to do still nags at me but I don't do it! I am full of admiration for all the younger people on mn, yourself included, who manage to do so much.

dontrunwithscissors Sat 21-May-11 21:29:59

annabel: it does seem like your answers have been misconstrued. I'm a little surprised that s/he didn't explore them further. I'm very surprised that being sectioned was mentioned. I suppose either a) you really don't realise how ill you are, which is possible or b) your psych is crap. You are entitled to ask for a second opinion. You can also ask to see your medical records.

midnight: as I understand the guidelines for bipolar diagnosis, none of the episodes you mention count as episodes of hypomania/mania. They specifically exclude instances of anti-depressant or drug-induced episodes. (I think that's the case, anyway.) I experienced hypomania when I started taking antidepressants for postnatal depression. My psych told me that such a thing makes it quite likely that you're bipolar, but it's not 100%. They prefer to see a case of hypomania that arises independently.

If you don't mind me returning to the DVLA issue - how long after your hospitalisation did you notify the DVLA?

midnightservant Sat 21-May-11 22:48:56

I think I contacted them fairly soon after. Can't remember what prompted it though I'm afraid. Told insurers too I think.

Re the bi-polar diagnosis - as I mentioned in a post above, I seriously doubt my diagnosis, and have asked to be assessed for Aspergers. To the little list above, I would add inattentive ADHD, tho I didn't say that to my psych.

Although he agreed to refer me (at my own expense) he was quite dismissive of my thoughts on the matter. I was quite shock that he felt he knew me better from seeing me for a cumulative total of an hour, in his office (not even in hospital) than I did myself after 58 years of puzzling myself out.

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack.

tiredlady Sat 21-May-11 23:55:24

I am sorry to say, but it is quite hard to get rid of a mental health diagnosis once one has been attached. That said, you could always ask for a second opinion, but this time make sure your answers are more explicit.

Your first episode sounds very paranoid, but nothing else you have described would particularly lead me to think of bi polar just yet. Your current lack of sleep, feelings of anxiety and worry can all be normal responses we all have when feeling a bit stressed. Should these get worse with increased energy, racing thoughts, grandiose thinking and reckless behaviour then of course bi polar becomes more likely an explanation.

Unfortunately Mental Health professionals do prescribe bi polar much much more readily than they used to, the main reason being that the big pharmceutical companies have pushed and pushed to have the diagnostic criteria widened so that more pople fit into the category and therefore more drugs can be prescribed.

Keep a mood diary to help monitor how you are feeling and ask your dh to point out times if he ever thinks you are not yourself.
Did your Dr prescibe any meds?

aceofcakes Sun 22-May-11 07:58:04

Could it be a diagnosis of Bipolar II..? A less severe form of bipolar where you experience mania as opposed to hypomania.

midnightservant Sun 22-May-11 08:51:33

hypomania as opposed to mania <pedant, but important>

aceofcakes Sun 22-May-11 09:07:14

Opps! Sorry, early morning post and somewhat bleary eyed! And yes, very important point! grin

annabel1972 Sun 22-May-11 10:04:06

I've never experienced mania - it was hypermania I was diagnosed with but I just don't think it fits.

One of the nurses mentioned a mood diary and I could do that. DH has never thought that I wasn't myself. He just thinks sometimes I am "arsier" than others.

I've been taking kalms tablets for 2 days now and I feel so much better - slept like a baby last night and ate a HUGE indian meal. Surely, if I was genuinely hyper manic I would need something a bit more "heavy duty" than a herbal remedy.

The psychiatrist offered me the choice of 4 different anti-psychotic drugs but I refused. That was when he made the comment that at the moment it was my choice but if it got worse it would be his choice.

I'm really hoping my doctor will help me "remove" this label. I saw her 4 years ago when bipolar was first mentioned and she was very dismissive about the word "bi-polar". Her exact words were "it seems to be a very fashionable diagnosis these days". If she's not able to reverse this diagnosis then I'll just have to go higher I guess. The last time I saw a pshyciatrist I saw the consultant (who was the head of the department) and he didn't think I had bipolar. This whole experience is turning into a complete nightmare. I will never, ever, contact anyone in the medical profession in relation to anything to do with mental health.

annabel1972 Sun 22-May-11 10:30:25

Dontrun - I have considered the possibility that I'm not in the right frame of mind to see things objectively. This is why I've been speaking to people close to me to ask their view.

Both my boss (who I work opposite from) and my sister hadn't noticed anything at all. My mum said that she'd noticed I was getting upset over things but put it down to stress as a lot of things happened at the same time (my son fell over and broke 3 adult teeth, my daughter had cystitis, was very busy at work, have a lot of bills that fell due at the same time, was pissed off that my garden had been a building site for the last 12 months - just usual irritating trivia but quite a lot of it).

My ex husband said that he had noticed that I was becoming increasingly aggitated but said he genuinely didn't know how I coped with 3 kids, working full time and doing all my own cleaning and stuff. He said I just needed a break. I do have a very good relationship with him and he is an excellent father. He said to me that if he had any worries about by mental health he would go for full custody (which was nice) but then went onto say that he thought I was a really good mother and the thought hadn't crossed his mind (?).

My husband said I'd been "moody" for a few weeks. I have been nagging him a bit but that's because I'm really pissed off with him over the state of the garden. He ripped it all up last easter and now a year later still don't have a garden for the kids to play in - I think any woman be a bit annoyed about this.

I really think I'm just a bit stressed. I am struggling to cope with everything at the moment I know. I'm sick of being skint and having absolutely no time to myself. My husband works away Monday to friday and everything falls on my shoulders. I get up everyday at 6.30 and don't stop until 9.00pm. Weekends are easier but during the week I find myself getting increasingly stressed with it. I'm getting older and to be honest I'm just getting tired.

aceofcakes Sun 22-May-11 10:52:06

So sorry that you're feeling this way and I can totally understand your anxiety about this label and agreed that the diagnosis is becoming more popular. I'm not medically trained so can't speculate as to whether you have bipolar but I do have a sibling who does and who when the diagnosis came was in a complete state of shock, me too!

Like you, my sibling had been treated for anxiety and depression for many years that had been put down to life events but towards the end of their diagnosis their behaviour changed; spent more money than usual but not huge amounts, speech became rapid, at times I'd struggle to keep up, decreased need for sleep, agitation, can remember just not getting through to them at times but there was no great mania. Looking back I could identify when we were younger that they went through a similar phase. Actually to an outsider you'd of probably thought that they were just a very enthusiastic, energetic, confident person.

I think I've confused you... In Bipolar II disorder, the person doesn’t experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression. Might be worth reading up on this, as possibly contacting Mind and having a chat with them.

But what I will say is that if this diagnosis is correct, it certainly doesn't mean that your life is over or that you'll lose your children.

annabel1972 Sun 22-May-11 11:43:28

Thanks for sharing your experience aceofcakes.

I have reserached Bipolar and bipolar 2. It was first mentioned 4 years ago so I've researched both quite a lot over the years.

The reason I saw a shrink 4 years ago is that I had a baby who died a few hours after giving birth as she was very premature. I was very sad (obviously). My GP said it wasn't depression - just normal grief (which I do agree with). I actually pushed her to refer me to a shrink due to the earlier pshycotic episode. I just couldn't stop crying and just wanted to feel normal again. The first shrink I saw thought that I may have bipolar and so I was monitered for a year. Then he left and I was seen instead by the consultant who was the head of the department. He didn't think I had bipolar. The only reason I was monitored for so long is that I had another baby and they wanted to see how the hormonal changes would affect me. A few months after giving birth I was discharged.

I don't suffer from depression really. I did have a short period of depression about 15 years ago when I was studying. Then again 10 years ago I had postnatal depression. That's it really. I was absolutely devasted when I lost my daughter, and again a year later when I lost my father, but I wasn't depressed. I still worked, never stayed in bed, showered daily, looked after the kids, ate properly etc. I was just very very sad. (All my family were).

Thank you for your advice. It's very much appreciated and I will contact Mind.

handmedownqueen Sun 22-May-11 17:27:53

I have recently been diagnosed. Like you I have amarriage kids and a busy profeSsional job in mental health services in a senior role
I tried to rationalise everything away in terms of streSs, marriage probs etc. But I got persuadede to take a v low dose of seroquel. The results were magic and I could see I had actually been ill
This illness has a. Way of wrecking your life eventually. But its treatable. Give meds a go???

handmedownqueen Sun 22-May-11 17:29:31

Sorry on blackberry and typos do make me look mad !!

annabel1972 Sun 22-May-11 17:54:41

Seroquel was one of the drugs I was offered. If I am genuinley ill then I will take them, but the side affects sound absolutely horrendous.

I think what I will do is try and get a second opinion. If I get the same answer then I will have to seriously consider that I am wrong.

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