View Full Version : Might I be Bipolar?


ezridax
01-06-13, 01:01 PM
Okay, jumping in and getting started. This will be an ongoing thread to "explore" my past moods and what it all might mean...mostly I'm interested in hearing from anyone else who is definitely bipolar on whether or not you can relate, and to what extent. There's no way I'm going to be able to cover all the ground in one post, or even in one day. So please be patient with me, and feel free to suspend "diagnosis" until you feel you've been given all the facts. Feel free to ask pertinent questions, though they may not be answered directly.

Think of this thread as my "talk therapy," since I can't afford a psychologist:p

Fist thing, at this time-- and for the last several months-- I've felt just normal. And I still feel that way right now. And maybe I will continue to feel that way. idk. Another reason I feel like there's not really a point in consulting a doc right now because the symptoms just aren't there. And who knows if/when they might rear their head again...

I'm going to go more-or-less backward in time, it may be a bit confusing, sorry.

Ten months ago, I gave birth to my third child. I've felt pretty normal since that time. But previously, during my pregnancy, my moods were all over the place. I felt like I was on a trampoline. It could have just been hormones. idk. I never got exceptionally "high" during this time, or if I did it was very fleeting-- maybe a day. Mostly I fluctuated from just feeling content/calm to out-of-control irritable and unstable, crying uncotrollably or lashing out verbally. This went on my whole third trimester, and part of my second (hard to remember exactly).

What about before I got pregnant? I really was on a high then, I think. Four months previously, I had been weaned off the Citalopram which I had been taking for the last six months for post-partum depression/anxiety. Almost as soon as the meds wore off, I FELT GREAT. I was happy to be off meds. My second baby was now a toddler. DH and I had agreed previously that we were going to wait at least three years before having another baby, but I got careless one night and failed to advise my DH to wear a condom...I knew it was risky (I had been charting more-or-less), but I felt ready to take the plunge on another baby. So I "surprised" him.

The whole four months during this "high" I also was full of good ideas. I made grand plans. Of course I knew none of them were immediately feasible, but I spent a lot of time "daydreaming" anyway.

I did get just a little bit carried away a couple of times...I drafted a house plan (one of my recurring hobbies) and then went on to build a scale model out of paper-- spent a lot of time on it and then threw it away a week later. While I was building it, it filled the kitchen table and I couldn't be bothered to cook anything decent for my family for two days; and while I did manage to be responsive to my kids' needs, I got quite irritated at the interruptions.

I had this idea to start a "toy rental" business. Prepared a power-point presentation, figured out a lot of the details of how it would be run, etc. Talked about it incessantly for a couple of weeks to anyone who would listen. I was pretty serious about it. I thought it was the best idea ever (a bit of hyperbole there) and wondered why no one else was doing it? (turns out there are a couple online businesses like this) I knew better than to go out and immediately buy up a bunch of new expensive toys (we didn't have the funds); but I went out to all the thrift stores and bought $50+ in used toys (still in good condition), even though I knew deep down the whole idea was just a pipe-dream. I justified buying the toys because my kids could play with them; but they really didn't need any more toys and their room became far too cluttered. I've finally managed to get rid of about half their stuff and now things look (and feel) much better.

I spent a lot of time studying personality theory and made up several graphs/charts about it, made a "cheat sheet" for typing people. It was pretty much always in the back of my mind. I learned a lot, and at the time it seemd very useful and worthwhile. I still think that way to some extent, but not nearly as much as I did at the time.

As far as sleep goes, I can't really say that I slept any more or less than usual. I've always had periods of mild insomnia. It always gets worse during pregnancy. But if I didn't sleep well at night, I usually felt tired or sleepy during the next day. According to some literature I've read, the absence of this particular symptom of Bipolar-- requiring less sleep-- rules out the possibility of mania/hypomania (?)

So, there's a taste of my most recent "hypomanic" episode, followed by either mixed episode/rapid cycling during pregnancy or else just severe hormonal imbalance/shifts which leveled out after the birth.

More to come...

chavvy132
01-06-13, 01:23 PM
Wow. I'm ADD and proud of it and happy to be so. Shame people don't understand it but heh. I wonder if you are on the Autistic Spectrum some where, and its just irony if your life goes good for a while. I wonder if its worth you looking into the issue of perception with-in Autism. Do you think in pictures and video or words and numbers?

ezridax
01-06-13, 02:16 PM
Wow. I'm ADD and proud of it and happy to be so. Shame people don't understand it but heh. I wonder if you are on the Autistic Spectrum some where, and its just irony if your life goes good for a while. I wonder if its worth you looking into the issue of perception with-in Autism. Do you think in pictures and video or words and numbers?

Interesting thought. I do have a brother who believes he has aspergers but has never been diagnosed. If he has undiagnosed aspergers it's also likely our father does too. My dad also has a cousin with aspergers so you could say it potentially runs in the family. I don't believe I have it, though. As far as thinking in words or pictures, I do both about equally.

sarahsweets
01-07-13, 07:03 AM
Are you saying you've been diagnosed with bipolar?

Fuzzy12
01-07-13, 07:21 AM
Difficult to say. Your behaviour during your high could be a sign of bipolar or it could be something else. I guess mood swings during and post pregnancy are normal. Did you feel euphoric? Racing thoughts? Increased talkativeness and increased speed & pressure while talking? Did your family notice that you were acting differently?

It would be best to see a specialist. I saw a psychiatrist when I was in a fairly normal state. You don't need to be hypomanic or depressed during your assessment. In fact, you might be able to present a more accurate, less biased picture if you are not.

ezridax
01-07-13, 06:05 PM
Are you saying you've been diagnosed with bipolar?

No.

It would be best to see a specialist. I saw a psychiatrist when I was in a fairly normal state. You don't need to be hypomanic or depressed during your assessment. In fact, you might be able to present a more accurate, less biased picture if you are not.

Maybe... I did see a counselor for three sessions during my third pregnancy. I did a pretty good job of convincing her that I might be bipolar...But then, she was also pretty quick to label me as "most definitely depressed" after our first session because I sobbed uncontrollably the whole time (even though I'd felt pretty good before I started talking about personal baggage). But then things went nowhere, as she left this town to practice in a larger city where she could get more money :mad: I had only initially met with her in order to establish a relationship with a therapist before my next baby was born in case I suffered from post-partum depression again like I did with my second. When she left, I just gave up on that, and fortunately I have not felt like I needed help this time around.

As for presenting a less-biased, more accurate picture, I guess that's kind of what I'm trying to do right here...I know none of you are therapists. But it helps just to present this all to somebody, and if enough people (it really only takes one or two) say to me "I think you could be bipolar," then I'll know I have a good enough "case" to take to a doctor, and that it's actually worth the money to go (we have to pay out-of-pocket for non-emergency visits).

But another reason I hesitate to go to a doc when I am asymptomatic is that I don't really trust my own memory, yk? I'm doing my best to recall the actual facts as I type them here to share with you all, but there's still some guesswork involved particularly concerning the timeline as to when certain moods started or ended, and how severe they were. Moving forward, however, I now have the "education" I need to be more aware and if I ever have a major depressive or hypomanic episode again I'll be better able to recognize it for what it is.

Lightning
01-07-13, 06:55 PM
You may be in the bipolar spectrum, but I don't think you are bipolar. And yes, go for a 2nd opinion.

ezridax
01-07-13, 06:59 PM
I'm going to diverge here from relating my "personal history." I was reading online yesterday about a couple studies that indicate that when Bipolar patients are in a "euthymic" or "normal" state (not depressed or manic/hypomanic), they still retain some of the cognitive impairments, sounding very similar to the attention-deficits/executive dysfunction of ADHD.

Could this explain why I feel like I have somehow developed "adult-onset ADD"? Even though I know there is no such thing...I never felt like I really had any trouble with inattention or executive function until after having kids. Pregnancy/birth is also a common time for bipolar women to experience their first bipolar episodes. Coinicidence? Or something more...?

Would love to type more, but DS1 is clamoring for the computer :p

ezridax
01-07-13, 10:55 PM
You may be in the bipolar spectrum, but I don't think you are bipolar. And yes, go for a 2nd opinion.

I've been looking at cyclothymia. Though I understand even that can worsen over time and possibly develop into a more severe bipolar illness. On the other hand, maybe what I experienced before/after my second baby is as bad as I'll ever get. Maybe it depends on whether or not I end up risking another pregnancy in the future...

Lightning
01-08-13, 04:54 AM
You should analyse your life, not the mood itself, because both depression and hypomania's damages are easier to track than mood itselft. Try to think about your job, college edication, relationships, routine experiences, the way you feel about something though the last ten year or so, like a sport or social activity.

I believe hypomania is really hypomania when it makes you blind to reality, irresponsable, when your mood makes you high enough to put your job, relationships, plans all at risk. If it shows up being chclotimia, you are fine, don't go for bad news unless your life is a mess. Lithium, Depakote, Lamictal, and etc... all have terrible side effects, to rely on them is not cool.

Go get 2nd, 3rd and as many opinions as possible. If you feel happy, good, or qt least in control, take it easy on meds.

chavvy132
01-08-13, 07:35 AM
Interesting thought. I do have a brother who believes he has aspergers but has never been diagnosed. If he has undiagnosed aspergers it's also likely our father does too. My dad also has a cousin with aspergers so you could say it potentially runs in the family. I don't believe I have it, though. As far as thinking in words or pictures, I do both about equally.

I think you might need to check the frequency of both types of thinking. I believe you can be Autistic / HF Autistic / AD(H)D / Asperger's and think in words and numbers ( although its v. rare )
However you can't think in pictures and video and be neuro typical.
I believe Autistic / HF Autistic / AD(H)D / Asperger's think in pictures and video.
In general if a child is autistic then there is a 40% chance that either or both parents might be autistic.

mrs. dobbs
01-08-13, 09:51 AM
I think you might need to check the frequency of both types of thinking. I believe you can be Autistic / HF Autistic / AD(H)D / Asperger's and think in words and numbers ( although its v. rare )
However you can't think in pictures and video and be neuro typical.
I believe Autistic / HF Autistic / AD(H)D / Asperger's think in pictures and video.
In general if a child is autistic then there is a 40% chance that either or both parents might be autistic.

So because I think primarily in pictures & video, I am likely on the Autism Spectrum? (I am not asking rhetorically or attacking you, this is a real question.) Is this the kick in the guts you were talking about?

chavvy132
01-08-13, 11:53 AM
So because I think primarily in pictures & video, I am likely on the Autism Spectrum? (I am not asking rhetorically or attacking you, this is a real question.) Is this the kick in the guts you were talking about?

No, but you were close :D you remind me of my dog (i don't mean that nastily). Like most people that are "Different" and don't "Fit in" i have a searching persona, so i have gained a reasonable amount of knowledge (so modest) about autism, and i have also drawn my own conclusions to what i believe. I hope this helps :)

mrs. dobbs
01-08-13, 12:03 PM
No, but you were close :D you remind me of my dog (i don't mean that nastily). Like most people that are "Different" and don't "Fit in" i have a searching persona, so i have gained a reasonable amount of knowledge (so modest) about autism, and i have also drawn my own conclusions to what i believe. I hope this helps :)

I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understand. I was close to what? That the Autism part is the kick in the guts? Or....?

chavvy132
01-08-13, 12:21 PM
It was the fact that when my dog (Einstein :D) gets a bone you won't get it off him again capiche? :)

mrs. dobbs
01-08-13, 12:26 PM
It was the fact that when my dog (Einstein :D) gets a bone you won't get it off him again capiche? :)

Oh, I thought it was pertaining to my question. I thought I'd ask since the topic of visual thinking came up and I've often wondered if I had some AS features since I can close my eyes or just gaze inward and see things very clearly. I can search for a thread about it instead. Thanks anyway.

ezridax
01-08-13, 12:30 PM
I think you might need to check the frequency of both types of thinking. I believe you can be Autistic / HF Autistic / AD(H)D / Asperger's and think in words and numbers ( although its v. rare )
However you can't think in pictures and video and be neuro typical.
I believe Autistic / HF Autistic / AD(H)D / Asperger's think in pictures and video.
In general if a child is autistic then there is a 40% chance that either or both parents might be autistic.

chavvy-- I am familiar with the words vs. picture thinking and its link to neurological disorders (autism, dyslexia, etc.), having attended a workshop on it last summer. My understanding of it is different than yours, however. You are suggesting that all NT people think only in words and numbers, that they are incapable of visualisation. It was my understanding, however, that most people fall somewhere in between word thinking and picture thinking, and that to be on either end of the spectrum is rare.

I recently came across a disorder called "non-verbal learning disorder," which is basically on the opposite extreme from autism. These are your people who can't think in pictures at all. And it is not "neurotypical."

ezridax
01-08-13, 05:59 PM
Back to the history...Where was I...Wrote about how I might have experienced a hypomanic episode for a number of months prior to (and a little bit during) my third pregnancy, and after weaning off of citalopram (in January of 2010).

Rewinding to when I gave birth to my second baby, I didn't recognize it at the time but it's pretty apparent now I was suffering from baby blues which never quite went away, though some weeks were better than others. Prior to the birth, I had my one kid and I was loving being a mother. I was doing everything right (or so I thought), I was so excited for baby #2. My house was-- while not immaculate-- well-cared-for, I enjoyed almost daily outings with my toddler, baked bread 2-3 times a week and made my own yogurt weekly, was taking a couple classes at the community college...I felt confident I could continue to do all these things (except the classes, those would be done before the baby came) after the birth. After all, I knew (or believed I knew) other women who managed it, so why couldn't I? I was ready to be "Super Mom."

Once the baby was home, however, the walls came tumbling down. I couldn't keep up. I had a high-needs baby who nursed constantly and spit up a mouthful after every meal. He wanted to be carried all the time, and for a while I tried and it did help; but he was a big baby and too heavy and I have a weak back. So I found myself stuck on the couch with a fussy baby...My bread would burn in the oven, the yogurt on the stove would scorch...My toddler would be trying to demand my attention while I was trying to put the baby down for a much-needed nap, and on top of it all the toddler was still not potty trained so I was changing diapers/pull-ups constantly. More and more I resorted to "canned" dinners inferior in nutrition and boring to the tastebuds. I hated it.

There were times in the earlier months especially where I would be on the couch nursing my baby, crying, and DH would lovingly suggest that I needed a break and would try to take the baby. I would scream at him and yell something like "He needs me! Leave me alone!"

The one break I had from it all was Thursday nights when my MIL would watch the boys and DH and I went to rehearse together with the community Chorale. We'd been in this choir for three years, but I didn't even enjoy it any more. It felt like a chore most nights. We talked about it and decided we'd have to quit after the season was over, but we were committed to stay in until then.

My anxiety was up to the roof. I found myself experiencing meltdowns every 1-3 weeks. I'm sure I was absolutely miserable for DH to live with. I wasn't sleeping well, and often up in the middle of the night even though my baby was a good sleeper. But what's worse, I found myself starting to regret having DS2. I felt guilty on the one hand for not being able to be my idea of a "good mother" to him and DS1, and on the other hand resentful that this needy, constantly-fussy baby had been dropped in my lap (even though my pregnancy had been completely intentional). As DS2 passed 6 months and became more mobile/squirmy, it was all I could do not to pommel him during a difficult diaper change. I eventually got to a point where I would have vivid flashes of images of me hurting my own child. DS2 was 8 months old, and it was at this point that I finally decided that I needed help. I reached out in an online forum for mothers, and was urged there to see a doctor for post-partum depression and anxiety.

So I did. I saw a GP who prescribed me a 6-month treatment of Citalopram. I took the medication faithfully. It's difficult to say whether it really helped all that much. In some ways, it did-- it certainly "fixed" the anxiety. I found I was able to live in a messy house without getting too upset about it. I also employed a few non-medical strategies, taking more time for myself, keeping a journal of something good that happened each day to help me focus on the positive...I let go of a lot of unrealistic expectations, and was more able to take life one day at a time. Though I can't say I felt particularly good while on the med, I didn't feel that bad, either. I was just...living. Meeting the demands of everyday life, but not much "extra." Normal. But normal is boring. I was so glad to finally see the doc again six months later to start weaning off the med. And as already recounted, that's when I started to get really motivated and productive and creative again. It was like a fog lifting. I could think again.

ezridax
01-10-13, 12:56 PM
Did you feel euphoric? Racing thoughts? Increased talkativeness and increased speed & pressure while talking? Did your family notice that you were acting differently?


It's difficult to answer this. In some ways, yes. That is, I felt more euphoric than I had in a long time (but maybe that was just from coming out of the previous depression). I always always have a lot on my mind, but I found myself acting on those thoughts more. I was very talkative, but I can't say the urge was overwhelming. I did spend an insane amount of time chatting in internet forums (the modern world equivalent, perhaps?) and would check back several times an hour to see if anything new had been posted and feel a great deal of ennui if there was nothing interesting to read/reply to.

Did my family notice? They definitely noticed the depression/anxiety. As for the upswing, my DH did tease me about my "manias." But not so much in an alarmed way, but more in a "you're so attractive when you're like this" way :cool: Occasionally he did have to talk me down when I started to go over the edge of rationality in planning/carrying out one of my projects.

My DH grew up with an ADD mother who also had a lot of "mood swings," was easily overwhelmed and irritable; so to him, all of my behavior has just been "normal" par-for-the-course. That doesn't mean others would find it that normal in his place, but others don't live with me 24/7, yk? And I don't have a whole lot of people I hang out with regularly outside the home, so it would be difficult to get observations from anyone else.

ezridax
01-10-13, 01:40 PM
Continuation...

This is probably important to note, before I got pregnant with DS2, I experienced an early miscarriage from a blighted ovum. I will be honest, while it was a little disappointing at the time, I was not really sad or worried. I'm not one to become immediately attached to an embryo in utero, and since they never even found a fetal pole I figure there wasn't really anything there to even get attached to. And since I'd already had one successful pregnancy, I wasn't worried about miscarriage in general. As soon as possible, we conceived again, and DS2 was the result. Looking back, I am immensely grateful that God gave me those extra six months before bringing another child home.

Okay. A little over a year before conceiving DS2, our family bought and moved into our own home (DS1 was a year old). We had been previously living in his parents' basement for the last year and a half. As can be expected, I was ecstatic at finally having my own home again-- particularly my own kitchen. My own rules. My own style. It was a golden time :) I can't recall ever being happier or more productive. Interesting that the happiest time in my life would soon be followed by the darkest time in my life.

And I think that's as far back as I'm going to go, since my moods are more difficult to recall after that.

ezridax
01-10-13, 02:41 PM
Thanks for following me through all this, Fuzzy :)