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Bi-polar disorder. Does anyone have experience of this?

(15 Posts)
OrmIrian Sun 20-Sep-09 10:19:22

Symptoms, time-scales of the cycles, treatment. Thanks

OrmIrian Mon 21-Sep-09 16:23:13


ChilloHippi Mon 21-Sep-09 16:34:50

Hi Orm. I can try and help, if that's ok. My DH is bi-polar, and he was told that his is a mild case (he's not like Stacey Slater's mum).
He has manic episodes about once a week, where he'll do loads about the house (sounds good, but he makes an awful mess), spend money willy-nilly, talk fast and loud and be really positive about everything. I do find the embarrassing when we are out as he doesn't realise how loud he is and he can appear to be on drugs.
When he is down, he tends not to go right to the bottom of the scale, but retreats into himself, stops talking to me and gets irritable.
He's not having treatment, as such, as he came of the meds he was on about 3 years ago, which was shortly after the last time he was hospitalised, although he does have tablets which are some form of allergy tablets that can be used to calm you down too, and he has A LOT of them.

hullygully Mon 21-Sep-09 16:38:36

There are no fixed patterns, it's one of those labels that covers a broad spectrum. My v good friend has it and tends to have quite long cycles, less extreme now that she is on medication, but still noticeable. She gets depressed (obvious symptoms) and then upswings. Warning signs are enthusiasm, lots of schemes, not sleeping, and in her case, shopping for anything from shoes to houses..

OrmIrian Mon 21-Sep-09 16:58:19


I am asking because I have been thinking about my spells of anxiety and depression. I can't bear the thought that I need to take medication on a semi-permanent basis. There is a pattern. At first I was only aware of the 'down' bit - but thinking about it it has always been characterised by increasing anxiety until i simply find it difficult to function and the depression is almost a secondary symptom to that. And the down comes after a period of months when I am as high as a kite - full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm which becomes more and more crazy until I start to get increasingly anxious and panicky.

The one time I think I experienced real depression as such was when I had PND after DD was born. It was different.

I am struggling to come off citalopram atm - I am a nasty vicious bitch - I can turn on a sixpence and have been vile to everyone in my family. I can't bear the thought that I need to take medication on a semi-permanent basis but right now I can't see how I can stop. If it is differnt to simple depression it might be that a different solution could be found.

hullygully Mon 21-Sep-09 17:03:28

Orm - I have know my friend for 25 years and it was only when she got her diagnosis after a particularly dramatic episode a couple of years ago that all her previous behaviours fell into place. She was absolutely against medication (and is still v torn), but it has enabled her to function more evenly and certainly stops the extremes. I think (on a very basic level) that her chemicals go haywire and the medication helps even them out. No different to taking medication for high blood pressure etc.

She is now getting to the point where she can assess her own moods and adjust her medication accordingly. It's worth a small investigation IMO.

ChilloHippi Mon 21-Sep-09 17:04:43

Hully is right, Orm.

OrmIrian Mon 21-Sep-09 17:06:15

Thanks hully. Between my wild ups and downs I plod along in a sort of moderately OK way but not really happy as such. I can deal with that just not the mad and the sad bits.

I need to see the GP about my citalopram - I might mention it.

OrmIrian Mon 21-Sep-09 17:06:18

Thanks hully. Between my wild ups and downs I plod along in a sort of moderately OK way but not really happy as such. I can deal with that just not the mad and the sad bits.

I need to see the GP about my citalopram - I might mention it.

hullygully Mon 21-Sep-09 17:07:35

Go for it. It couldn't make things worse... Good luck.

jadey24 Sun 27-Sep-09 12:55:41

My dad suffers frm this and is still in the low stage which has been goin on for 10 months and the high stage went on for 5 months and this was his worst ever episode which had him tryin to kill himself which resulted in being sectioned for 2 months, he has been out for a few months but has to obvioulsy see therapists, psyhochrists and councellers on a weekly basis..he isnt on meds coz he hates them as he kept gettin bad side effects so doin it without.

He is really down in the dumps, very depressed still etc etc. His happens when he gets a huge shock like me gettin married triggered it of as he has social phobia and he couldnt bear to find the confidence to walk me down the isle so didnt come but the guilt of that and stress leading upto the big day set him off, he was mega mega stressed on the day but of course i forgave him but next day he was behaving a little weird like REALLY HAPPY the most happy i have ever seen him it was odd going from one exsream to another in the space of 24 hours.
Hr started goin out clubbing every nite which he never did not even went to pubs and hated drinking but nw was drinking spirts frm the bottle then goin on his motorbike so behaving very erratic but he couldnt understand what all the fuss was about, he would get back frm clubbing at like 2am then wake up at 5am bouncing of the walls with tons of energy blasting music out the windows till late at nite before he went clubbing, he wouldnt eat and all of a sudden he was on a big mission to get laid he has been single for years and as never been the sort to hunt for women but it was the young 20 somthings he was after which was highly embarrasing as he is nearly 50 yrs old. He would talk really fast like on speed and behaved like on speed with all the racing about he did etc plus he would talk in ryhmes and find eveything funny, get into fights up town and after years of saving about 3 grand he blew the lot in a week so is now broke.

If he didnt get his own way he would throw temper tantrums which and had me in tears yet normally my dad would be very sensitive to other people's feelings but he didnt give a toss about anyones feelings and thought he was really important and behaved as if he was, he had tons of confidence and wasnt his normal shy self no more, certainly didnt have a fear of social for those 5 months.
Its really upsettin esp as we knew the down would happen and his doctors wouldnt help us cpz they said he had to ask for it but he throught he was fine.

So all in all its been goin on for 15 months nw in total and still not over it

EverySingleStar Thu 01-Oct-09 21:42:34

My mother has been a sufferer of bipolar for the last 22 years (i.e. ALL) of my life. As a child I remember violent mood swings and she didn't have nearly as much 'mania' as she had 'depression'.

Her mania tended to manifest itself in the form of boyfriends, having up to 3 on the go at once and swapping over every week for a new one. I can't really remember if she did the crazy shopping but she probably did as we were on benefits and in council housing my whole life. She could never hold down a job but always blamed it on various other things.

Mainly I can just remember her sleeping loads. I woke myself up, got myself dressed, fed, off to school, and when I came back she'd still be asleep. She would put thick blankets against the windows and earplugs in and never get up. Not even to use the loo.

She has varied with medication, sometimes hailing it as the be-all, end-all of success and other times throwing it away and drinking her troubles down. If she didn't sruggle with alcoholism she probably would have more success as far as medication goes.

She still to this day goes through very weird phases and has lots and LOTS of self-pity, has never once said anything's her fault and blamed it on everything else. Myself and my younger sister were taken from her when I was in my early adolescence and sis was only just 3 so we have different memories. I haven't spoken to her on the phone since I was about 17, haven't seen her in person since 16. She sends very weird e-mails that I tend to just delete without reading.

Sorry to have rambled on and on, just wanted to give you a perspective. From the way you describe things it doesn't sound to me as if you have bipolar but rather a generalized anxiety.

malfoy Thu 01-Oct-09 21:49:10 support thread.

chocolatefudgebrownie Thu 01-Oct-09 21:53:36

My mum also has bipolar depression. She has had it all my life. When I was born she had puerperal psychosis (sp) she is well managed on medication. But she has episodes of spending vast sums of money and I think it has put a strain on her and dad's marriage. They are still together, but there were lots of rows about money and my mothers deceipt about her out of control spending. I don't know what would have happened to me if dad hadn't taken. I fear I would have ended up in care as she found it very difficult to look after us.

MitchyInge Thu 01-Oct-09 23:16:20

I have the diagnosis (bipolar I on the basis of hyperthymic traits), have had some moderately severe episodes in the past (requiring hospitalisation) but only one truly bad depression which is not the norm. Most people with bipolar spend more time being depressed than elated, possibly because it is difficult to treat bipolar depression or because the antimanic medication pushes mood down too far?

My mood cycle is long, if nothing major is happening in life then it's about every 3 years. Even at its shortest I would have one mood swing a year - two when I was taking antidepressants. (By mood swing I mean bad enough to warrant intervention, usually an admission.) On the whole antidepressants were very destabilising, although as I live in absolute fear of ever being depressed again I have a tiny sub-therapeutic dose of reboxetine. Haven't been taking my meds for a while as research seems to be pointing to treatment of acute episodes rather than the high maintenance doses, think this will become the norm soon. What I should be taking is lamictal (which I preferred to lithium although it's not quite as effective), quetiapine (an antipsychotic) and the reboxetine.

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