View Full Version : Bipolar and ADHD--any personal experiences? Would LOVE to hear!


BellaVita
12-23-12, 09:59 PM
Hey everyone...not sure how to word this, but it's been on my mind for quite some time...

I hope these questions aren't offensive in any way, but I am truly interested in this and any info I can get in regards to this topic.

What's it like to live with Bipolar disorder and ADHD? I'd love to hear any personal experiences/stories/whatever you feel comfortable sharing.

I really look up to all of you, I myself have ADHD-C and I can not imagine what it must be like to have both. To live with both on a day-to-day basis...baffles my mind! You all are amazing!! Like I'm for real!! :grouphug:

Thank you sooo much in advance for anything you have to share.

crystal8080
12-23-12, 10:29 PM
I consider myself a student. Even though I have had both these conditions for a long time I was completely oblivious to it. Even though my life has been a string of failures, somehow I thought it all was due to my environment, situational factors. It could not be me.

I learn more from every episode. For me, its really hard to figure out if my problems are due to BD or ADHD day to day. I'm still working out a good drug cocktail and it seemed I achieved stability- then Fall came and the weather changed. Then I was good on the addition of Zoloft, but the last week I have gone back up again. Today was especially hard. I am impulsive enough as it is, but when I am manic it is even harder to contain my impulses. All I can do is try to avoid certain situations.

Memory and concentration is variable. Sometimes I'm on, I am productive, or at least I *think* I am. I'm clever. Insightful. Able to complete things at a rapid pace. But mania also makes me unable to think at all. So can depression. Its a real crapshoot.

Its my reactivity and emotional regulation that is touched by ADHD. I can have a neutral mood and be bombarded by these automatic symptoms. I cannot hide my feelings. I have these facial expressions I can't control. I do share so many symptoms with others here with ADHD but my BP is always centre stage it seems.

Does that answer your question?

sarahsweets
12-24-12, 07:12 AM
I had to manage my bipolar first before getting to the adhd. I was diagnosed with BPII when I was in my 20's and following that then adhd. Its tough. The rapid cycling for me causes rage, apathy depression mania etc. Couple that with the impulsiveness of adhd the intense frustration of adhd and the grief I experience because of both disorders and its like being on the scariest roller coasted of your life.

LizaBeth
01-03-13, 06:36 PM
Hi, I'm new here. I have told my long, rambling story somewhere here last night. You know how we do. :) Anyway, I'm 42. Just diagnosed with BP II while in my 2nd year of graduate school I think. At this point I feel like my years are running together. I went from being super "in-control" and organized to falling apart. When I no longer kept control over everything in my environment (especially my household organization), I fell apart. Spent a long time trying to figure out why I suddenly fell apart and what I needed to do to get back on track. Was hypomanic for a while, very depressed for a while.. my PCP thought I just needed a different SSRI, so we went through 3 or 4 horrible trials of those. Needless to say, each time I felt much more out of it and like I had less control over my life. Almost a year and a half ago I saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with BP II. My PCP had put me on Xanax & Ambien to chill out and sleep some 1.5 years before I saw the psych doc. Otherwise, I'd be awake a week at a time. Never even get sleepy. I wouldn't be functioning very well, but to me.. I had too much to do to sleep, even though i wasn't successfully doing any of it (mostly college work).

I took a year off of grad school, tried to get my life and thoughts back in order, (gave up on my environment because I can't control everything-- had to let something go--my housekeeping and organization). I started back to grad school after being stable on Wellbutrin XL, Depakote ER, Xanax as needed, and Ambien as needed. All of a sudden I struggled to get a B and a C, where I excelled with easy As before. I hated the lack of hypomania, but I remained compliant. I finished that semester, took a short break, and then started back into my fall semester, and fell apart the last 4 weeks. I don't want to even talk about it really, but it is bad. My entire life relies on this, I have as much debt as my mortgage in school loans. I couldn't begin to repay my school loan without finishing my degrees. Without repayment, I lose my nursing license. When I think about the outcomes, it's very hopeless, even though I know as long as I can type and get my thoughts in order, there might still be hope to turn in things that were due a month ago. I don't even have what it takes to go look at my grades. :( I have ADHD-combined type, which all evals pointed to, but was diagnosed a month ago, on top of my BP II. It's hard. I'm not quite sure how I've made it through so many years of college successfully, and appeared to have it all together so well until the past 2 years.

I have tried Focalin IR, Concerta, and now today got a new Rx for Adderall. My doc is giving me very small doses, I'm sure because of the BP II and frequent insomnia. I feel like I am immune to the stimulants I've taken so far, and I've never been one to take any stimulants until the last month.

Please share your stories if you have both BP and ADHD. I really a interested in learning how to manage this constant worry I have that just incapacitates me.

Thanks :) Nice to meet y'all.

Beth

PQLICE
02-02-13, 08:01 PM
Bipolar I & ADHD

Was always self medicating to help with symptoms of Bipolar I and ADHD. Used ephedrine, caffeine, and nicotine for ADHD. Alcohol and marijuana for Bipolar I.

Was undiagnosed until went into psychosis NOS triggered by sleep deprivation, stress of final exams, cipralex, wellbutrin and lack of eating in my opinion. Was taken to the hospital on my 21st birthday, after thinking 2012 was the year the anti-christ figured out who he was, felt like I had ultimate powers. Doctors opinion was caffeine, alcohol, cipralex, wellbutrin and marijuana caused psychosis NOS. Was put on seroquel, which caused acathisia. Then switched to risperidone, didn't really help with the psychosis NOS. After 1 month and two weeks of being in the hospital was finally put on 1000mg epival (valporic acid). That helped almost instantly. Was released two days before two months in the hospital.

Psychosis NOS was really scary/funny off a mood stabilizer from anxiety and mood swings. Constantly following signs I thought were for me personally, ran away from the hospital two times. Lost touch with reality. Other patients and security staff would mess with me. (mailing a package for me to pick up once out of hospital, telling me I could have any house in a real estate magazine, telling me there was money for me to collect in a different province). Was constantly PRN myself with ativan and cogentin because of the acathisia from seroquel.

Since out of the hospital was over medicated on risperidone. My psychiatrist lowered my dosage of resperidone to 3mg and upped the epival to maximum 1750mg therapeutic dose for my body (valporic acid). Still was having problems with sustained attention/impulses/distractions. Tried strattera titrated up to 18mg , which made me depressed and suicidal. The drug was working though for ADHD symptoms. After begging for 3 months was put on adderall XR, after researching ADHD drugs. Titrated from 5mg Adderall XR to 20mg. It's helping me a lot, feeling more motivated in life because I can sustain attention and limit impulses. I use 0.5mg resperidone as PRN for sleeping entire nights if I am constantly getting up or if anxiety arises.

PQLICE
02-02-13, 08:41 PM
Life lessons learned:
Do not follow signs. (EX: Advertising on a van isn't meant personally for you only.)
Do not listen to people in a psychiatric ward (Take what people say as a granule of salt)
Do not give out contact information. (Do not nickname yourself either, they'll think you have another mental illness...)
Sleep more than 7 hours a night.
Eat 3 times a day, even if not hungry.
Constantly watch spending habits and only have 1 visa card that you use. (Use pre-authorized payments for bills on the one visa)
Minimize caffeine.
Stay away from illegal drugs and non-illegal drugs.
Do not judge others.
Stay positive attitude.
Be in control of emotions at all times, learn coping mechanisms through therapy.

Idiota
02-20-13, 10:00 AM
Bipolar I & ADHD

Was always self medicating to help with symptoms of Bipolar I and ADHD. Used ephedrine, caffeine, and nicotine for ADHD. Alcohol and marijuana for Bipolar I.

Was undiagnosed until went into psychosis NOS triggered by sleep deprivation, stress of final exams, cipralex, wellbutrin and lack of eating in my opinion. Was taken to the hospital on my 21st birthday, after thinking 2012 was the year the anti-christ figured out who he was, felt like I had ultimate powers. Doctors opinion was caffeine, alcohol, cipralex, wellbutrin and marijuana caused psychosis NOS. Was put on seroquel, which caused acathisia. Then switched to risperidone, didn't really help with the psychosis NOS. After 1 month and two weeks of being in the hospital was finally put on 1000mg epival (valporic acid). That helped almost instantly. Was released two days before two months in the hospital.

Psychosis NOS was really scary/funny off a mood stabilizer from anxiety and mood swings. Constantly following signs I thought were for me personally, ran away from the hospital two times. Lost touch with reality. Other patients and security staff would mess with me. (mailing a package for me to pick up once out of hospital, telling me I could have any house in a real estate magazine, telling me there was money for me to collect in a different province). Was constantly PRN myself with ativan and cogentin because of the acathisia from seroquel.

Since out of the hospital was over medicated on risperidone. My psychiatrist lowered my dosage of resperidone to 3mg and upped the epival to maximum 1750mg therapeutic dose for my body (valporic acid). Still was having problems with sustained attention/impulses/distractions. Tried strattera titrated up to 18mg , which made me depressed and suicidal. The drug was working though for ADHD symptoms. After begging for 3 months was put on adderall XR, after researching ADHD drugs. Titrated from 5mg Adderall XR to 20mg. It's helping me a lot, feeling more motivated in life because I can sustain attention and limit impulses. I use 0.5mg resperidone as PRN for sleeping entire nights if I am constantly getting up or if anxiety arises.

Okay, I guess i should ask for straterra since I'm going to be depressed because my lack of concentration and mental energy doesn't allow me to do anything.

I'm getting screwed over since because I had a manic episode and graduated from college, my psychiatrist dismisses any claims of ADHD.

Rebelyell
02-20-13, 10:27 PM
Its been a wild ride thats for sure.When Im manic I could drive 110 mph and not feel like Im going fast enough then theres dys when im so depressed I cant even get out of bed to function,its like being kid rock w out the drugs.Im both adhd and bp2,I never knew there was bp 2 and one before I was dxed a few years back. Years ago Id here about people being sex nuts ,have sex until there legs gave out and I just thought they enjoyed that but seeing what I go thru sometimes I wonder if nymphos are bipolar to be that way. Years ago at my last job I was always up and on,very chatty and hyper and had my boss tell me that isnt good or normal to be that way all the time ,hell it beats being beat the hell down in bed all day.

manmia
03-21-13, 02:25 PM
Bipolar and ADHD kinda really sucks I look at other people and I see normal but I don't feel normal. I am on a lot of meds to make me feel semi normal. I take abilify that does work wonders for bipolar and the doc just switched me from adderall to ritalin because the adderall stopped working for me. I still don't feel 100% :(

Fancygirl
07-27-13, 04:28 PM
Both bipolar and add are difficult. I have impulse issues that cause me deep mortification, regret and sadness. I actually am bright at some things but I've been called dumb and lazy on many occasions. Basically, my brain just gets overwhelmed and shuts off. I start daydreaming or excessively talking, it's hard to sit still. I have zero filter and just say whatever comes into my mind which causes me more embarrassment and shame. If this keeps up, an episode of bp will kick in and I'll go manic/depressed/manic. The psychosis is so scary. I'm terrified of it. I take the medications but I never feel normal or like I fit in. I'm always making these stupid impulsive decisions, like quitting jobs I like or spending money I don't have. Why do we go through this? Why can't there be a medication that actually works? But self pity doesn't help, either, does it? Just keep going and hope for the happier days. When it all works (medication/cognitions) it's good. Until I make another impulisve decision. Hugs to all of you that had the courage to reply and share here!

sarahsweets
08-24-13, 06:28 AM
Bipolar+ADHD= cluster*****.

Rebelyell
08-24-13, 02:26 PM
Oh itz a debacle cluster **** n circle jerk all rolled up into one.Years ago I had a co worker tell me I was spicolli w out the drugs.At the time I didnt know who jeff spicolli was til I watched fast times at ridemont high n thought holleee **** boy is that really really bad to have someone compare me to that! And w out the drugs to boot, wow just wow!

fracturedstory
09-02-13, 01:03 AM
Even though you know doing (drinking) something will just make your bipolar worse you do it anyway.

BellaVita
09-02-13, 01:13 AM
Yeah, bipolar + ADHD is utter hell.

Daydreamin22
09-07-13, 03:10 AM
I had to manage my bipolar first before getting to the adhd. I was diagnosed with BPII when I was in my 20's and following that then adhd. Its tough. The rapid cycling for me causes rage, apathy depression mania etc. Couple that with the impulsiveness of adhd the intense frustration of adhd and the grief I experience because of both disorders and its like being on the scariest roller coasted of your life.

It's so encouraging to me to know that you're still in love with your hubby.
I have had some relationship issues with two boys I loved. One was soo painful. I just kept pulling away from my first love. I didn't know why I loved him so much bynight and by morning I didn't want to think about him. Then comes the adhd-I and I would always be thinking about him and major daydreaming about him in class. Then he asked me if he should get over me and I said yes thinking it was nothing and all of a sudden he was gone and I cried for four years and still am not completely over him. It was an unusually long heart break and I don't know why. I definitely didn't heal right because I didn't learn anything from it and believe tat I'll never love anyone else that much in my life. And i'm completely ok with that now for some reason. I'm bipolar ii rapid cycle every day. I'm hardly hypomanic. I don't know what it looks like. I can't think of anytime i've been hypomanic. I just know that I have depression and instant mood swings every once in a while bc of adhd. That being said Adderall cures my depression for the most part, and with bipolar meds I'm ok on adderall.

fracturedstory
09-19-13, 10:14 PM
Sarahsweets sure said it all.

Sammy2013
11-25-13, 09:17 AM
I dont remember a time which I a havn't been attention deficit. Since the age of 3 I've always been a little wacky around other kids. I found school hard and easy at the same time. Sometime it would be the longest grind and others I'd be the peepiest.... and in hindsight.. the most outspokenly enthusiatic kid. That was always me. I could and still do not read. I've read a handful of book in my life. I also find it VERY hard mataining focus listening and doing tedious work; much like the friction of a grinding stone. Funniest thing was my parents told me that my high school though i was the special kid. Well in many way.

First Signs

When I began high school, I started a film society ( that got disbanded in 6 monts)and was the president of my class for 5 years. Really because i was the only wacky kid who wanted the resposiblity. When I was 15 years old, my parents marital confict threw me into an irratic depression. I was off and I didn't know why. I couldn't sleep and I had to protect my parents from killing each other. I declined quickly and was angry, guilty and depressed and was hospitalised for the first time in chirstmas. The hospital help me cool off;wierd that being away from my parents(stressors) help me pull myself together. I was diagosed as Authority Defient, which in hindsing is an excellent marker for ADD and Bipolar. Looking at it then, I was kinda ****** that i was diagnosed with angry kid disease.

Bipolar Diagnosis
It took a year in a comunity collge to find out that i wasn't dumb, or dumb in the way others treated me. With some support from saner and more supportive family member; they convinced me to apply to a real university.

My first year away from familial support was...... turbulent. My first year's grades where ok with all the letters of the alphabet. I started doing dumber and dumber things in school. Like growing pot in my dorm which i was caught for. I didn't like smoking it i just wanted to grow it.

I got kicked out of residence and i believe i had my first hypomanic episode. no sleep, risky behaviour, feeling great. But it wouldn't end then it did. Moderate Depression.... long and consistent and chronic. Whenever i get depressed i wish i was dead.... just so i could get a good night sleep. I would streetch from weeks to sometimes months. With ever progressively failing grades and inconsistancy with mood. My GP sent me to a mood clinic and in 3-4 months they had me diagnosed with Bipolar II. I was a relief.

Stability
Fast foward 4 years and I'm 24. I've droped out of school the previous year and started working. I learned to put up with pressure and for 5 months am the most consistant in my life. Strict sleeping and eating scheduals and medicine taking (Lithium) and (Seriquil) for sleep. I get fired and fall into a bit of a depression, can barely hold down a job or pay the rent but living around close group of friends helps.

A few months later i was recomended strattera by a friend and the change was instatanious. I could listen to people and empathise with them. I couldn't really do that before and I still don't do it 100 percent but the best way to explain it was it could see when priviously i couldn't. I was patient, kinder and much more attentive to my friends. I also started exercisng allot and allot harder. I've put on allot of lean bulk since and I'm going to try and compete in my city's bodybuild circuit. Its just been a stupid dream for the last 6 months, I want to show the bodybuilder in my country that you can do it natural and do it better.

It's been 5 months since strattera(40mg) and what i can say is that it's changed my life. Much of the attention benefits from straterra have dissipated but I feel more like what i ought to but there's still work to do. It gives me much much more control over mania and depression has not been an issue. Which is still amazing. I'm back in school studying full time but i find it very very very hard to focus. I want to beable to focus and to commit to a task. I want to achieve personal projects, I want to be as close to 100 % as possible.


Now I'm seeing a psychiatist and he and I are trying to find out what we can supplement without upsetting mania. He was thinking on trying me on Ritilin next month after he observes more consistancy in mood. As frustrating as that is he is right. Now I'm thinking that he might put be on modafilnil/provigil instead as it might be the safer alternative with greater effect.

But for now, I'm happy, not depressed.
Good luck
will respond back
PM anytime

Sammy2013
12-01-13, 05:53 AM
I've started a baby dose ritlin (5mg when needed)for the last 3 days.

It feels like i've grown up. I rember saying about 10 years ago I felt like a 8 cylinder car forced to dive at 3. When force to go faster, the machine would simply break.

I'm on a mini dose of ritlin and so far it helps trendously with studing and impusivity. Studying for two hours now gets as much work done as studying for 5 days....... I feel like i can get to my 8 cylinders when i need to.

I feel sharp but I also know I have to keep to strict structure; add is like the antithesis to structure. The crash is a bit to get use to but what the medication proves that the realm of significantly better exists.

Now, the gauntlet is to see what else i can try safely while maintaining and in possible imroving my symptoms.

Will post again next week

sabotender
03-22-14, 05:12 AM
I was initially diagnosed with bipolar disorder, for some years before another psychiatrist who saw me changed (or add on) the diagnosis to ADD. Despite my inability to sleep (I fluctuate from sleeping all the time to zero sleeping for days) but I wasn't very enthusiastic with my bipolar treatment and started to skip my visits until I went quite crappy and unable to function normally and went to the doctor to 'continue' treatment. After the interview, he decided to put me on concerta, even though my initial complain was I couldn't sleep for days (to the point that my head is losing all forms of concentration) and obviously the medication is known to cause people to suffer insomnia. A month after that I told him I was functioning very well, but I still have sleep problems (although concerta made me able to concentrate it doesnt take care of the headaches that lack of sleep gives, nor does it eliminate occasional hallucinations; I used to think they were real, but I begin to realize that not all that I have heard or seen, were actually real - and I know that lack of sleep usually triggers them; the ability to acknowledge/recognized that they were hallucinations wasn't that easy either) eventually I was prescribed concerta and ritalin in the day, and seroquel to help me sleep in the night. What do I really have, I don't really know already. Perhaps due to a part of me not sticking the ADD label well enough, and the other being I don't know if bipolarism or something else was the reason for my insomnia and occasional hallucinations.

argentvortex
04-16-14, 11:00 PM
While both conditions are untreated, every decision you attempt to make in your life is like trying to hit rapidly-moving targets while standing on a moving platform using a shoddy bow, and you are oftentimes surrounded by people talking about how they successfully hit immobile targets from solid ground.

scsams
10-16-16, 03:16 PM
Hey everyone...not sure how to word this, but it's been on my mind for quite some time...

I hope these questions aren't offensive in any way, but I am truly interested in this and any info I can get in regards to this topic.

What's it like to live with Bipolar disorder and ADHD? I'd love to hear any personal experiences/stories/whatever you feel comfortable sharing.

I really look up to all of you, I myself have ADHD-C and I can not imagine what it must be like to have both. To live with both on a day-to-day basis...baffles my mind! You all are amazing!! Like I'm for real!! :grouphug:

Thank you sooo much in advance for anything you have to share.

Hi, Bellavita,

I am here for similar reasons as yourself; I'd really love to hear stories from folks who are both Bipolar and ADHD, like me.

I am 28 years old currently, and was originally diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 8. No treatment was pursued. When I my parents encountered extreme difficulty with my behavior around 13-14, I was taken to a psychologist again, but this time was diagnosed with Bipolar II. Again, no treatment was pursued.

I wound up dropping out of high school, and eventually (to make an extremely long story short) went to community college. I transferred to Clemson University for engineering at age 24 (worked my way up from three classes below college level algebra, and was immensely proud of myself), and decided to check in with the campus shrink because of my inability to concentrate.

He diagnosed with me ADHD. I dropped out of Clemson because I was so terrified of such a large, intelligent student body (no self confidence academically), and returned home to resume classes at the community college.

My primary care doc prescribed me 40mg of Adderall/day (I am 95 pounds) in order to help the focus issue. Well, instead helping, she sent me into one of the deepest depressions I have ever encountered. I became suicidal, and fantasized so much about dying that I was scared for my own life.(many, many strange things were happening to me. I was hallucinating, losing muscle mass, becoming more OCD.)

I quit Adderall cold turkey (bad idea), and less than a week later, in the middle of a semester, packed up all of my backpacking gear, put it in the car, and drove off at 2am. I drove all the way from my house in Gainesville, Florida (at the time) to Aspen, Colorado.

I fell in love with the people in Colorado and moved there, only going back to Florida long enough to get my things(all happening inside of 3 weeks).

I failed all of my classes in Florida. I had had a 3.84 GPA, and in one swoop, it fell to 2.23. I lost all confidence in my capabilities. I took two years off of school after moving.

Now, I'm in school again. And, I've tried treatment for my ADHD again (which was nerve-wracking given my experience), and again, kept hitting dead ends. Finally, I switched docs and was diagnosed with ADHD and Bipolar II.

All in all, I feel like:
1. Meds are never going to help because no one can find the right cocktail. In addition, they make me feel like crap. I have headaches, abdominal pain, and nausea all.the.time.
2. Generally, I feel caught in a state of identity crisis. My BD moods cycle fairly quickly, and I have ADHD mood swings in between. I'm either extremely on[I] or completely [I]off. In my normal state, I'm an incredibly open minded person who is very accepting of others and self confident, in other states I am petty, jealous, and nasty. All of which leave me feeling ashamed of myself.
3. I am aware of my intelligence and instability, and I'm also aware that the two together have led to my being undereducated and underemployed. It's a point of tension for me.
4. My mother was diagnosed with BD in the 70s, but was never treated. Growing up with her (she was also an addict) was turbulent, dark, and wild to say the least. It makes me wonder if I actually have BD or if I am "mirroring" the behaviors I learned.

I don't really know where things are headed for me yet. I'm still working with my docs to find the best med combo for me (though Lithium is wonderful). I'm also still trying to learn whether or not behaviors ABCD... are caused by BD or the ADHD, but something tells me I'll spend my whole life wondering.

Sam

unstableAngel
03-07-17, 12:25 PM
BP1 w/psychotic features & ADD...fun stuff :/ Initially I thought pfft ADD trouble focusing disorganised..eh, no biggie. The BP scared me, i researched endlessly, but wondered why this remission was not happening. I've just recently realized ADD has caused more problems than the BP. This was why i never felt normal/in remission due to ADD. Also having both makes each condition worse...so yea...fun times.

unstableAngel
03-29-17, 04:44 AM
:eek:BP 1 w/psychotic episodes, GAD, PTSD....FUN TIMES ! When I was dx BP i was glad that i wasn't just a wackjob who could'nt handle life aka self medicating for years! Which has made my BP worse. Also BP & ADD have many of the same symptoms, memory loss, impulsivity, executive function impairment, anxiety...so having both sux as BP makes the ADD worse & vice versa. I used to wonder why i never experienced this so called "remission" from BP where you have normal mood. This was before i knew the extent of problems ADD caused. We all have crosses to bear, i can see, hear, walk etc. things can always be worse. And my sense of humor helps a great deal! Making fun of my behaviors and being able to laugh at the absurdity of it all rocks, if i couldnt do that i think id never be able to stop crying. So yeah, it blows, but you just have to accept it is what it is, and try to make the best of it!