View Full Version : Long post- I just don't get it, almost don't care to anymore


Raye
11-22-12, 08:30 AM
This is basically just a rant, I'm tired of trying to wrap my brain around this, I'm going to ask one more question and I've decided after this post to let it rest in peace.

I've posted on here before that I don't understand the differences between bi polar mania, hypomania, manic episodes, etc. No matter how many times it's explained to me or I read about it, I just don't get it.

My symptoms are lows... my moods (before my new meds) were consistently low, every day, then severely low for several days. During the severely low days, I'd do literally nothing but work and sleep. When I'd lay down to sleep, I'd cry constantly and ruminate and have feelings of hopelessness, guilt, self pity, and just generally feel as though I'd be better off dead. No thoughts of harming myself, no plans to. Also racing thoughts and unrealistic goals that I know I can never accomplish.

My regular low days, I'd have this sick, sad empty feeling in my stomach, it literally hurt to breath yet I'd be able to function somewhat in a normal fashion, yet people always were asking me what was wrong, stating that i looked upset, sad or mad.

I've never felt good, period. I've never had any, quote me if I'm wrong but I think the word is 'euphoria' where I felt overly happy and could conquer anything, I've never went on a massive spending spree or a massive sex spree, never talked excessively fast yet in my mind I did, if that makes sense. I always thought with any kind of bi polar, you had to have some kind of 'highs'.

My last pdoc said it was bi polar depression, and left it at that. Along with ADD PI.

Sooo I'm pretty much done trying to figure out the whole bi polar thing and trying to understand it. I may just leave it as 'bi polar depression' , hell if there is such a thing. I know I could google it but I won't understand it. And the same pdoc who diagnosed me this is the same one who was trying to taper me off benzos with librium- then turned around and increased the librium for my anxiety, which didn't work at all.

I'm currently taking lamictal and risperdal, and feel a heck of a lot better. Only had one depressive episode in about 5 or 6 weeks which only lasted for about 2 days when before it would last about 5 days.

So for the bi polar 'pros'- I don't want to name any names because I don't want to offend anyone, but I have 2 names in mind right off the bat- do you think my symptoms consist of any kind of 'bi polar depression' or could it be just some kind of severe depressive order? Of course anyone with experience is welcomed to answer, as I would really like to just put the puzzle together and be able to move on.

Sorry for the long post:confused:

Fuzzy12
11-22-12, 08:54 AM
(((((((((((RAYE)))))))))))

I'm trying to get my head round it too and I'm by no means a pro on bipolar disorder but this my experience.

I can relate to a lot of what you said. I've been feeling very, very low for nearly 9 years. Before that I've had mood swings too. Feeling down, feeling normal and feeling euphoric.

It's difficult to remember what it was like to just feel normal. I think, it consists of having hope, looking forward to doing things and the future, not wanting to sleep all day long because being awake is just too painful, etc. That is what I think, might be my normal state.

You have explained depression pretty well. Mine is quite similar.

Then I've had states of euphoria, where I am excited all the time (butterflies in my stomach as if I'm in love, extremely social, extreme self confidence, need little sleep and am slightly impulsive. I don't have sexual or spending sprees either. The impulsivity just expresses itself in mundane things. I don't hesitate to strike up a conversation with a stranger, I don't hesitate to say what I'm thinking, I spontaneously decide to go for a walk or to do something in particular, etc. It doesn't have to be damaging or dangerous.

I feel euphoric during these times but I'm not sure if that's a must-have criteria for hypomanic episodes. From what I've read, it seems that when you are hypomanic you can also just feel good or normal. This is one of the reasons why it's so difficult to diagnose because most people think it's just normal happiness. I used to think it's just a welcome relief from depression. It's difficult distinguishing between hypomania and just being normal.

Another problem is that if you've never felt normal, you don't really know what a normal or a high is. Your high might feel normal. Sometimes it helps to ask others if you seem different (compared to your usual self and also compared to your peers) for an extended period of time (a few days to a few weeks or months).

I've read a few papers on bipolar depression and apparently there are differences between bipolar depression and unipolar depression. Some of the studies have found contradicting answers but from what I remember, sleeping & eating too much was a sign of bipolar rather than unipolar depression.

Not sure if that helps at all. I'm still tring to understand it myself and as you know I'm not sure yet if I actually have bipolar. Are you getting treatment for bipolar disorder? Are you taking a mood stabiliser? If you are and it's helping you feel more balanced, stable, more in control of your emotions and your moods, then maybe you can compare now to how you felt before.

Raye
11-22-12, 09:16 AM
Fuzzy-:grouphug:

yes, I'm currently taking 2 different bi polar meds- lamictal and risperdal and have never felt better in my life! I feel more evened out- like maybe normal! lol

Unlike you, I've never had any excessive highs, where I'm excited all the time, I never feel confident, I always have low self esteem, and my impulsivity is different than yours- My impulse is making quick, rash lifelong decisions in a matter of minutes without thinking through the consequences rather than striking up conversations with strangers, or spontaneously decide to go for a walk, jog, etc.

The way I feel now on the meds is what you said- like a welcomed relief from the depression. Maybe that is my 'high'.I think the meds make my lows a lot less low.

You said :

It's difficult to remember what it was like to just feel normal. I think, it consists of having hope, looking forward to doing things and the future, not wanting to sleep all day long because being awake is just too painful, etc. That is what I think, might be my normal state.

This is exactly how I feel too!

You couldn't have described it better!

Like I said, I sure as H*** don't get it, but it sounds like you also may be a bi polar sufferer as well. big HUGS to you on your journey, please keep me updated on how you're doing. I know how rough it is to not truly know and want to understand.

I forgot to add that the Lamictal is a mood stabilizer!

crystal8080
11-22-12, 02:11 PM
I know I'm not one of the two....but I can think of two I look to for information. In the meantime, this is my two cents.

People have different baselines. Some people spend more time up in hypomania, others in dysthymia. Maybe you just haven't experienced hypomania...yet. If you are on Lamictal and its helping, I think that answers your question.

Joker_Girl
11-22-12, 09:05 PM
Raye i dont understand it either, your symptoms sound more like me than almost anyone i have ever talked to. There are no "highs" or "manic phases" in my depression. It ranges from being suicidally depressed to depressed but still able to function normally...usually some where in between those two extremes. I thought maybe the fact that i had mood swings meant i was bipolar...i could go from mad as HELL to sad and crying, to numb to who knows what in the span of a day.

These are the symptoms i presented with when i was diagnosed with adhd.

I have had these symptoms as long as i can remember. I knew i had trouble like an adhd person would have but thought it was due to depression. I did not know at that time an adult could have adhd.

I have seen a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and two therapists in the approximately 4 years since i was diagnosed, and all have STRONGLY agreed that i am NOT bipolar. That my depression is "unipolar". I had never heard depression called unipolar before. I thought it sounds like a polar bear with one horn like a unicorn. That was the first thing that came to my mind when i heard i was unipolar.

I got bipolar and some other thing called borderline personality disorder confused, apparently because they both start with a B. I discussed this with my therapist at the time, who indicated that she was CERTAIN i was not "BPD", i did not exhibit most symptoms of "BPD" and that i was instead a very depressed, anxious woman struggling with ADHD. She said i have some symptoms of "paranoid" (i am not the most trusting person) and "avoidant" (i hate conflict, and will choose to avoid any unpleasantry if i can)....but my MAIN problems were depression and adhd.

I do not know what it is and i do not care. I just wish something would fix it, or better yet, that i didnt have to have it in the first place. Labels suck anyways.

But what you described about your depression i can relate to well.

I am depressed, anxious, restless, nervous, distrustful, afraid, pessimistic, and every other thing i dont like. I am crazy and like a fart in the wind. I love to do drugs so i dont have to feel anything. I havent done them for quite a while, but i would like to. If i wasnt married and didnt have kids, i would undoubtably be on drugs. Alot of drugs. I didnt even care what drugs. I preferred coke and meth, but i also enjoyed weed, and hallucinogens, and would basically pop any pill i could get ahold of just to see what it would do. I really didnt care if it killed me. I tried ecstasy once, i sure wish it would have worked cause i was very curious about it. About all i never did was slam dope, but i thought about it.

I dont know what will ever help. I am sorry you are hurting Raye. I feel ya.

Abi
11-22-12, 09:54 PM
I've posted on here before that I don't understand the differences between bi polar mania, hypomania, manic episodes, etc.

Hi Raye,

On the terminology, "bipolar mania" and "manic episode" mean the same thing.

Hypomania is simply a milder form of mania. The distinction is largely more quantitative than qualitative. One exception to this is the fact that full blown mania may come with psychotic features (hallucinations, hearing voices) whereas hypomania never has psychotic features.

Qualitatively, both mania and hypomania come in two types.

[1] Euphoric - These are the "highs" you talked about in your OP.

[2] Dysphoric - This type is somewhat less common or at least less documented; they are manic or hypomanic episodes characterised by irritability, rage, and sometimes anxiety and paranoia. Sarahsweets and myself are two stereotypical sufferers of dysphoric hypomania - I'm sure you've seen it on forum. ;) :o

My symptoms are lows... my moods (before my new meds) were consistently low, every day, then severely low for several days. During the severely low days, I'd do literally nothing but work and sleep. When I'd lay down to sleep, I'd cry constantly and ruminate and have feelings of hopelessness, guilt, self pity, and just generally feel as though I'd be better off dead. No thoughts of harming myself, no plans to. Also racing thoughts and unrealistic goals that I know I can never accomplish.

My regular low days, I'd have this sick, sad empty feeling in my stomach, it literally hurt to breath yet I'd be able to function somewhat in a normal fashion, yet people always were asking me what was wrong, stating that i looked upset, sad or mad.

Your symptoms seem consistent with major depressive disorder, possibly combined with an anxiety disorder.

I don't know enough about your past experiences and present symptoms to really offer an accurate opinion, but it is also possible that you may have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, whose conditions can closely mimic MDD, chronic anxiety and/or bipolar.


I've never felt good, period. I've never had any, quote me if I'm wrong but I think the word is 'euphoria' where I felt overly happy and could conquer anything, I've never went on a massive spending spree or a massive sex spree, never talked excessively fast yet in my mind I did, if that makes sense. I always thought with any kind of bi polar, you had to have some kind of 'highs'.


In order to qualify for a bipolar disorder diagnosis, you do need to have EITHER euphoric manic or hypomanic episodes of the type described here OR dysphoric manic or hypomanic episodes of the Abi/sarahsweets variety that I explained above.

If you do not have either of these, you are not bipolar.


My last pdoc said it was bi polar depression, and left it at that. Along with ADD PI.


"Bipolar Depression" technically means a depressive episode suffered by a patient who has bipolar disorder. If you have never had a manic or hypomanic episode, you do not have bipolar disorder, and therefore cannot have "bipolar depression". You should be diagnosed as having "a major depressive episode" or "major depressive disorder".

Two points:

[1] There is a subset of clinicians who believe that some or all patients with major depressive disorder are actually on the bipolar spectrum. In other words, they believe that you can be bipolar even if you have never had a manic or hypomanic episode. This point of view is NOT consistent with the DSM criteria for Bipolar, and, in my not so humble opinion, pretty silly. I suspect your doc might subscribe to this school of thought.

[2] It's also possible (tho' not likely) that your doc is using the term "bipolar depression" to highlight the fact that your depression is more responsive to bipolar meds like Lamictal and Risperdal as opposed to traditional antidepressants like SSRIs, SNRIs and tricyclics/tetracyclics (Lexapro, Celexa, Prozac, Imipramine, Remeron etc.)


Sooo I'm pretty much done trying to figure out the whole bi polar thing and trying to understand it. I may just leave it as 'bi polar depression' , hell if there is such a thing. I know I could google it but I won't understand it. And the same pdoc who diagnosed me this is the same one who was trying to taper me off benzos with librium- then turned around and increased the librium for my anxiety, which didn't work at all.


Doc sounds like a bit of a quack.


I'm currently taking lamictal and risperdal, and feel a heck of a lot better. Only had one depressive episode in about 5 or 6 weeks which only lasted for about 2 days when before it would last about 5 days.


That's great.

Ultimately finding the right meds is key. Labels are less important. Neurophysiology and neurochemistry are extremely complex fields, and scientists and doctors truly understand very little about what's going on up there.

Do try and change your doc if it's viable for you though. :)

Raye
11-23-12, 08:39 AM
Abi-


:thankyou:

sorry, I always have trouble using the quote button :doh:but you said :

full blown mania may come with psychotic features (hallucinations, hearing voices)....I have never experienced this.


Dysphoric - This type is somewhat less common or at least less documented; they are manic or hypomanic episodes characterised by irritability, rage, and sometimes anxiety and paranoia...

.I BELIEVE I have experienced this. I get so irritable at times, I don't even want my kids around me! Rage at all the lost years and regrets in my life to the point I feel so destructive I could break everything in the house. If I get stopped by a school bus in the mornings on the way to work, I get so angry that I'm banging my fists on the steering wheel of my car yelling for the bus to hurry the f*** up. It's so weird, I don't understand it. For years I was able to just hold the anger inside, I was quiet and shy, like an introvert I guess, but it built up and I would eventually explode. But for a while and now I've had spurts of rage where like I said, I could break everything in sight. I'll kick laundry baskets when I'm mad, slam doors, peel out of the driveway, rip clothes off hangers, I've ripped blankets off my bed in fits of rage and shoved my dresser so hard against the wall it left damage. I feel so guilty after all this, like I'm a spoiled brat.
My anxiety is almost always through the roof and the paranoia extends to I always feel as if people are talking about me, and/or trying to sabatoge me.

So with all that and the 'lows' I have, plus the ADD PI symptoms, it's made my life and other's lives around me a nightmare. I just want to put and end to it. I'm so sick of being depressed, angry, anxious, paranoid, disorganized, distracted, not being able to process any thing that doesn't interest me, unmotivated, forgetful,hopeless, helpless, useless, unworthy, racing thoughts to the point that my body is physically exhausted, impulsive decisions, ruminating, self exhausting acts, I'm just... plain tired of living this way. It's hard to believe that one person can have all of these feelings it's almost frightening to me.

It's also possible (tho' not likely) that your doc is using the term "bipolar depression" to highlight the fact that your depression is more responsive to bipolar meds like Lamictal and Risperdal as opposed to traditional antidepressants like SSRIs, SNRIs and tricyclics/tetracyclics (Lexapro, Celexa, Prozac, Imipramine, Remeron etc.)..........this could very well be true, because I've tried all of the meds you listed above faithfully and not one of them worked for me. the bi polar meds are a h*** of alot more responsive than the anti depressants.

So no one has ever said 'you seem like you're in a good mood'...I never am. Trust me, I am not hoping nor looking to be bi polar.. I've heard it's one of the most difficult impairments one could have. I'd love to just be officially diagnosed, even if it's major depressive disorder, possibly combined with an anxiety disorder.

maybe it's major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder and I just need anger management?

Anyways, thank you all who read this- I know it was long.

harveybirdman
11-23-12, 11:28 AM
One thing to keep in mind with respect to all mental health disorders is that the labels such as "bipolar" "hypomania" "ADHD" are merely guide posts used by clinicians to describe the general sum of a patients symptoms. The majority of us don't fall neatly into any one diagnostic categorization, or even several.

Don't get caught up in the labels. Focus on the symptoms you experience and how they impact the quality of your life. Remember, it's only a disorder if it's causing disorder in your life.

If you mentioned that you have "racing thoughts" to your physician, I'd wager that's why he used the label "bipolar depression" and not just "depression." Bipolar disorder is generally thought of as a spectrum:

<-- Depression -- Mild depression -- "Normal" -- Hypomania -- Mania -->

When one is experiencing symptoms of depression, it's called a depressive episode. When one is experiencing symptoms of mania, it's a manic episode, etc. Hypomania, as the word implies, is less severe than mania and does not encompass psychosis.

If the only symptoms present are those of depression, a likely diagnosis would be depression. If symptoms of depression are accompanied by symptoms of manic /hypomania, the diagnosis would likely be bipolar.

However, despite what the spectrum model implies, persons can experience symptoms of mania and symptoms of depression simultaneously. These episodes have been dubbed "mixed affective episodes." The symptoms you describe sound like one of these, but are mostly characteized by depressive symptoms.

I hope my response has given you some clarity. Feel free to ask more ?s

Lunacie
11-23-12, 01:10 PM
A couple of therapists have mentioned the possibility that I have bipolar.

Rather than euphoria, I also have rage episodes that come out of nowhere.

For about a year I've been taking an antidepressant to treat my anxiety
and I've only had maybe 2-3 episodes of rage, which weren't as severe as
previous episodes.

Someone here mentioned PTSD which my Connor's report showed a high
score for, and certainly Anxiety and Depression.

If it was really bipolar, I don't think the low dose of antidepressant would
be as helpful as it is. So I don't think I do have bipolar disorder.

Just sharing what my journey to treatment has been like.

crystal8080
11-23-12, 01:30 PM
It is sooo true...we don't fit into boxes. We are not cookie cutters. I don't know if I'm up or down sometimes either. Irritability could be depressive or manic.

I had those times of explosiveness. The medication has helped, so I'm happy with that. I really don't think anger management would help me so much as I needed medication. Labels are for doctors. Now that I have a diagnosis, I haven't talked much more about it with him. He may have changed it, or added others by now, but I haven't asked. It would just be more for me to distract myself with instead on focusing on getting better.

sarahsweets
11-23-12, 03:06 PM
Come, come to the dark side. ;)

Raye
11-23-12, 11:14 PM
Thanks for the invite Sarah ;)

peripatetic
12-23-12, 04:36 AM
i suspet i may be one of your two and i defo do have some thoughts ifyou'restill checking this thread.

first off, there are several things you note that are quite consistent with a bipolar diagnosis,i thinkyou justmightnotbe seeing them as such because the criteria are...somewhat nebulously written.

that you're on a mood stabilizer and an antipsychotic is also consistent with treating the symptoms you describe. i'll take a minute to look over the thread, but i can delineate what's not inconsistent with bipolar shortly,if you're still checking this.

i will say, if nothing else, that "auditory hallucinations" (voices) are not the sole indicators of psychotic features. perceptual distortions (not just auditory, butalso visual,olfactory, tactile...i've not heard of gustatory,but...sure) are one possible element, yes, but "delusional thinking" is equally considered a psychotic feature and some of your descriptions of your experience in your thread start might be described as "delusional thought processes" and could warrant treatment/respond to treatment with antipsychotics, such as risperdal.

major depressive disorder can have psychotic features as well,but despite your moods not being euphoric,youdo describe things consistent with cycling. your anger, racing thoughts, unrealistic goals...whilst not "euphoric"...those are consistent with non depressive mood concerns. you don'thave to have a sex spree or verbalize your racing thoughts for mood disorder to be present and not be depression. your doctor might be citing a particular episode/event as part of a depressive phase of cycling. bipolar depression as an overall diagnosis would makesense in the context of being descriptive of your current status...like...you're currently swinging down.

one thing that might help you make some sense of your not having euphoric hypo/mania is looking at descriptions of mixed episodes as well.