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Bipolar? Something else?

(29 Posts)
Lovemusic33 Sat 29-Aug-20 21:26:49

I have struggled on and off with mental health for years, mainly untreated (my choice). I am wondering if I possibly have bipolar.

One day I can be really happy, loving life and everything around me, a few days later I can feel lonely useless and almost suicidal. I would say I have more good days than bad days so am mostly happy. I struggle to relax, am on the go all the time, can struggle to sit still, can’t sit through a film and struggle to stay focused when someone’s talking to me. I suffer with anxiety but mainly when I’m having a really bad day. I can’t seem to be happy in a relationship, get bored easily and overthink things too much so find it easier being single.

When I’m starting to feel down I often spend money on things I don’t really need and then regret it the next day.

At the moment I’m on a bit of a downer, feeling sorry for myself, feeling lonely and trapped like there’s nothing to look forward too. I am on my period which does not help as my hormones are all over the place. I’m questioning everything, my life choices, where I go from here whilst feeling useless and worthless. I don’t want to be medicated, I know in a few days I will feel great again and all will be ok but then I get anxious about the next time I feel low.

Most of my lows are caused by relationships, people letting me down or fear of commitment so then I find myself pulling away from everyone including family.

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Lovemusic33 Sun 30-Aug-20 08:58:19


Does this sound like BPD or something else?

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SnackBitch2020 Mon 31-Aug-20 08:37:35

I'm sorry to hear you've been experiencing this. Of course, no one can diagnose you on the internet. You should seek professional advice.

In my opinion (background: professional knowledge and personal experience) from what you describe, this doesn't sound like bipolar disorder although I can see why you might think that. Bipolar episodes tend to last longer than a day or two and can be more extreme. Have you checked out the DSM diagnostic guidelines and the bipolar uk website? These might give you some more information.

Lovemusic33 Mon 31-Aug-20 09:20:50

Thanks Snack
I seem to fit most of the traits of ADHD, maybe that has caused many of my issues, I also have PTSD after an abusive relationship. I’m now on day 3 of a downer which has been caused by a relationship that I am struggling with. I’m trying to keep busy by going out and doing things but finding the first few hours of the day really hard. I always need something to plan and look forward too, when I don’t I sink into depression and feeling like I’m worthless (which is where I am now). At the moment the main thing is feeling lonely, I have been single for 5 years and up to now I have been ok with it but now waking up alone every day is starting to get too me especially now my dc are growing up and I have more time alone. I do have friends and hobbies but when I get like this I a have motivation to do anything. I’m also in a job that I hate but feel I can’t leave (yet).

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SnackBitch2020 Mon 31-Aug-20 09:44:01

That sounds really hard. I can relate to a lot of what you say. Perhaps make a gp apt and take it from there? Would you consider/have you been offered some form of counselling?

Lovemusic33 Mon 31-Aug-20 17:57:08


That sounds really hard. I can relate to a lot of what you say. Perhaps make a gp apt and take it from there? Would you consider/have you been offered some form of counselling?

I have had counselling, CBT and hypnotherapy in the past, mainly for anxiety, was told I am possibly on the spectrum (which kind of makes sense). I work in mental health myself and find it really awkward seeking help for my own problems. I guess I put off asking for help because in the past my gp has just chucked anti depressants at me and I don’t get on well with them. Usually controlling my diet and exercising helps but covid has kind of thrown that out the window (gym and pool shut, kids at home).

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annabel85 Mon 31-Aug-20 17:59:22

What is your temper like? Are you able to control your emotions around other people?

Lovemusic33 Mon 31-Aug-20 19:29:43


What is your temper like? Are you able to control your emotions around other people?

Around other people yes, whilst driving not so much 🤣. There have been times when I have almost lost it with the kids but I have learnt to have more control (they both have ASD). I am able to walk away from most things but I do like to have the last word. Anger I can control but emotions not so much, it doesn’t take much to make me cry though I tend to do it in private.

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Advicewouldbeappreciated Sat 05-Sep-20 08:49:13

Sounds like bpd to me. The mood swings are too short for bipolar and their link to relationship problems is classic bpd. Would not want a diagnosis though it will exclude you from most types of mental health support.

Lovemusic33 Sat 05-Sep-20 10:45:21


Sounds like bpd to me. The mood swings are too short for bipolar and their link to relationship problems is classic bpd. Would not want a diagnosis though it will exclude you from most types of mental health support.

Thank you for your reply. I’m still on a bit of a downer, the relationship thing is my main issue, I can’t really settle with anyone but feel really depressed when I have to end a relationship or they end it (despite me not really wanting to be in a relationship), not sure if that makes any sense? When I’m on a downer my sex drive is really high to the point I could easily use someone, I don’t think I’m a nice person because of how I treat people and then I feel I’m better off totally alone. At the moment I have no energy but I know in a week or so I will probably have too much energy and won’t be able to even sit still.

I have a relative with bi polar and she has made comments to me before about me possibly having it due to my erratic spending and relationship problems but I have always brushed it off and put it down to possible ASD/ASDH tendencies.

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Leafypage Sat 05-Sep-20 14:39:52

Bipolar depression can last months and the mood differential is extreme. There are periods of mood stability and periods of prolonged elevated mood which can last from a week to months. It’s normal to be upset if something goes wrong but if it doesn’t allow you to function for a prolonged period of time see your GP. If you are really concerned then a psychiatrist is the best option although from experience you’ll get seen a lot quicker if you pay for one sadly.

Theodoreb Sat 05-Sep-20 20:36:57

I have bipolar 1 and my DS is has bpd you sound a lot more like her than me.

My up episodes last a minimum of 3 months and my downs a minimum of 6 months. My moods are not triggered by anything they happen I can have every reason to feel sad everyone can have died and if my head says I'm up then up I am.

My sisters mood changes regularly and are triggered by things, like feeling abandoned which can happen with a simple decline to go for a coffee, she self harms.

A big difference is I go quiet when depressed she cries and gets loud, when she is up it's very self destructive same as mine but her ups last a day or two and are not as extreme as mine which lasts 3 months plus and I just keep going up and up.

Lovemusic33 Sat 05-Sep-20 21:11:38

I have self harmed in the past (not for a few years) and have harmed myself with pills. My moods can change pretty quickly, I’m usually only down for a week, more often on a high than a low but I’m not sure what’s worse as when I’m on a high I can’t relax or sit still, I have to doing things.

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Advicewouldbeappreciated Sat 05-Sep-20 21:13:07

Theodore i also have bipolar
When you have episodes others cannot help but notice. I was hospitalized, driving license removed and social services involved. Bipolar is extreme and very serious.
Bpd is also horrible but mainly liked to a abandonment fears and the mood swings are faster and linked to relationships

Advicewouldbeappreciated Sat 05-Sep-20 21:15:07

Another thing with bipolar is that mania descends into psychosis.
This is a loss of reality without insight into the fact that you are ill.
Perhaps counselling would help

Dreamcatcher34 Sat 05-Sep-20 21:18:35

It sounds like cyclothymia to me- sometimes called bipolar 3. It’s a rapid cycling version. I started with that and it developed into 2 and then 1. You need to go to your GP and really push hard to be referred to the mental health services. You will have to lay it on thick or they will fob you off. You will then get assessed properly and asked to record your moods for a few months, so it may be worth starting that now. When you get real help, it’s life changing. So hang in there.

Lovemusic33 Sat 05-Sep-20 22:35:32

Thank you. I think I find it hard to admit there’s anything wrong, mainly because my mood changes so quickly and when I’m on a high I don’t feel as if there’s much wrong (it feels great) but each low gets worse, it’s only the fact I tell myself “it won’t last long” that keeps me going, I know how my moods work, I know I can feel bloody amazing one day and almost suicidal the next but I can tell myself that it won’t last. I really don’t want to be medicated, I have been before and it’s cases other issues, my gp agreed that AD’s are not for me but did allow me take one of the older style AD’s which helped a little. I have self medicated in the past and it’s not something I want to do again (though I have got close to it this week).

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Theodoreb Sun 06-Sep-20 08:11:32

@Advicewouldbeappreciated yes police and social services have noticed with myself as well and mine always descends into psychosis.

Advicewouldbeappreciated Sun 06-Sep-20 09:24:46

ADs cause mania in bipolar.
In mania i would not be high one day and low the next.
I would gradually ascend from having lots of plans and being excited like a kid on xmas eve. To being very angry and crying and feeling puzzled because I am psychotic.
My depression lasts 6 months where i cannot wash or function.
Medication is necessary for me to live without formal intervention. I eould not be able to work or care for my kids safely or drive without it.
You may find a mood stabilizer useful but a GP cannot prescribe these. you need a referral.
I found it deteriorated over time where the cycles became predictable and there is evidence that if not treated early the outcome is poorer over time without treatment. This is why they have early intervention teams

BippityBoppity87 Sun 06-Sep-20 16:47:27

I echo a lot of what others have said. I have bipolar and the longest depressive episode (unmedicated) was about 9 months. My longest manic episode was about 3 months until I had an intervention and strong antipsychotics to bring me back down. Also spent an awful lot of money, took over a year to get myself out of debt. Broke up with my DP and decided to travel to another city on a whim during another manic phase. It’s so damaging. Hospitalised. I can’t take anti depressants as they induce mania. I’m now on lithium and I’ve been pretty much stable since, apart from the beginning of lockdown where I had a bit of wobble, but I’m not sure if that was part of my bipolar or adhd.

I would definitely get in contact with your gp though, as it sounds like you’re struggling, especially with your DC’s also, that can’t be easy flowers

SecretOfChange Sun 06-Sep-20 23:30:29

I can relate to a lot of your original post @Lovemusic33 but I am currently going through divorce and leaving abusive relationship so I attribute quite a lot of my moods to these challenging circumstances. Abusive behaviour leaves you so confused at the best of times - how on earth do you know if you're ill or just sad?! So for example if you have a bad day and you know that you will get through it - isn't this within the norm of simply having a bad day vs some condition whatever that is?.. How did you come to a conclusion that it's more than that?

I've been to GP with a suspicion of Asperger's but because it was in relation to one relationship (marriage), GP suggested relationship counselling (which my partner wasn't going to entertain) and felt that there wasn't enough evidence that the struggle is real on more than one front, so to speak, to justify a referral.

I have almost no doubt that I will find life as a single person easier than marriage. And yet divorce hurts like hell all the same.

I think I'm going to start a diary to help me with seeing the situation more clearly over a longer period of time - I find that recording voice messages is easier than writing, and you can also do it on the go (whist walking for example) so it seems less of a chore on those days when you seemingly have no time for it.

@Dreamcatcher34 - when you mention 'real help' what do you mean?

Dreamcatcher34 Mon 07-Sep-20 03:46:32

@SecretOfChange I mean acknowledgement and a proper diagnosis from the mental health services, as opposed to a GP sticking you on a waiting list for counselling and giving you some generic anti depressant. They also assess whether it is external influences causing problems or whether it is down to more than that.

IAmFleshIAmBone Mon 07-Sep-20 04:10:04

I have BPD OP, and I identify with a lot of what you said. My moods are often extreme, usually I have massive mood swings all through the day. Up down up down up down. The littlest thing sets me off. I don't usually have the same mood for days, but I'm sure everyone experiences things differently.

As for the spending, I can completely relate, I spend money I don't have all the time, to fill up the emptiness I feel inside.

No one here can tell you if you have bipolar or BPD, but it's definitely worth investigating to see if you can get some sort of diagnosis, in order to make sure you get the treatment that would benefit you the most.

I'm not an expert in any way but if you ever need to vent feel free to PM.

JimLaheysWhiskeyBottle Mon 07-Sep-20 04:54:51

Hmmm, it's a tricky one. I've been with partner for 21 years, he has bipolar 1. In those years it has had some common features that you read online, but also features that are different.
Anti depressants for him were a nightmare, they would send him into mania, which is when he would self harm. He rarely self harmed during depressive episodes. During the mania he was agitated, full of self importance, irritable but never "happy". A depressive episode could start very quickly and sometimes only needed a small trigger, like a tiny "normal couples" argument.
He has had many, many years of therapy, medication etc. Only now things are clearing as he has been prescribed Lithium. He's like a different person. He currently takes Lithium (monitored by blood tests every 2 weeks), orfiril, Quetiapine at night, atarax to help with anxiety and Disulfiram to prevent alcohol consumption.
He started showing symptoms of bipolar disorder when he was 18/19, it's only in the last 6 months that he has been "properly treated" with the right medication. He's now 37 and feels like he's missed out on a calm life.
I wish you the best of luck.

Lovemusic33 Mon 07-Sep-20 17:04:17

Thank you for your posts.

It’s often small things that send me over the edge, in past relationships I probably blew tiny things out of proportion, now I have been single for a few year I find it really hard starting new relationships because the smallest thing can really upset me and I now just end up walking away or not taking the relationship any further. Sometimes the slightest thing makes my cry and other times I feel like I have no emotions at all.

I have been battling PTSD after a abusive relationship so I assumed most of my issues regarding relationships were down to that.

I actually work in mental health, I know quite a lot about medication, the side effects and the benefits. I am not keen in taking medication myself and I do feel I have some control, no mania as such and I’m not suicidal, I manage to talk myself through each episode, telling myself that it’s ok to feel down for a while and that things will return to normal soon. I guess I control things by exercising a lot and becoming engrossed in hobbies (keeping so busy I don’t have time to think) and I guess avoiding people getting to close to me or me getting close to them.

I have had therapy/counselling in the past but not found it very helpful.

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