View Full Version : I might be Bipolar w/ ADD but not sure if I feel normal or manic


progressforever
11-21-14, 10:14 AM
Hello all,

I've seen multiple doctors in the past few years since starting graduate school and I am beginning to wonder if I am in fact Bipolar instead of ADD or possibly both. Ever since I was prescribed adderall years ago, I felt that my true potential was unlocked and I was able to focus and get into graduate school. I definitely felt more confident and I set very high goals for myself. After finishing my first year of graduate school, I saw a psychiatrist who informed me I may be bipolar and adderall makes me manic. The fact I made a life decision in a manic state worried me, but I can't quit now so I continued with my prescription. I had a very difficult second year and noticed I wasn't achieving the type of goals I had set in mind until finally I actually landed the most prestigious position for my second year.

The application process was essay based and there was only a telephone interview, but I was accepted and got through the program the entire summer. What if the manic state I was put in actually gave me the confidence to achieve things I normally wouldn't consider possible? I've been on Vyvanse and Lexapro most of this year (third year) and definitely feel more down to earth. However, just recently I switched back to Adderall and Lexapro for finals and removed the Lexapro to feel the stronger effects of Adderall. I don't know what manic or normal feels like, so I would ask if you could please tell me so I have an idea. Only other medication I tried was Wellbutrin and it made me pretty snappy. Thank you!

InvitroCanibal
11-22-14, 02:11 AM
What symptoms did you convey to your doctor, when you received a bipolar diagnosis? Were you just depressed?

To be honest, my biggest fear as a bipolar individual, is that when things are going well or that im happy, that it's only my mania. It can feel like a general sense of happiness is a symptom of a disorder that must be treated. However, I think though, that the real question to ask yourself is, is this really a problem? To be more specific, am I hurting people around me? Have I even thought about anyone else but me lately?

Ill give you the basic run down on mania by putting you in a manic persons shoes and you can decide if it applies.

To answer your question directly, mania feels like being unchained by life itself. You don't need sleep, you feel superhuman, you feel anything is possible. You then start to get impatient with everyone. It feels like the world is moving slower than you. You feel like only you have the "real" truth. You start to focus less on priorities in your life, after all, you're on a mission right? Maybe it changes daily, you feel like you're out to save the world, or uncover a secret conspiracy. You start becoming paranoid in your life, at your work, at home. You can't focus now. You start to feel like you need to do something but you don't know what. You pace for hours. You exercise to work off the energy as you try again for the third night in a row to sleep. You start to isolate yourself as you pursue your "quest." Your thoughts begin to overwhelm you. You want to explain how you feel but you cant. You use circular logic, and long winded self righteous speeches. You try to connect dots to matters that most wouldnt find significant. You feel agitated at all mankind because they're sheeple that just don't get you. You tell friends, family, whatis wrong with them and how ignorant they are. You make hasty choices. You feel like a different person than just a few months ago. You feel like the star of a movie and everyone orbits you. Everything you do is a grandiose adventure/ has significance to your life or future.

Thats the best I can do to describe it, I could've just parroted a list of symptoms but I thought it'd be more understandable if I just described what my experiences with mania were.

Try to understand that in bipolar depression, all of that is in almost exact opposite.

Also, mixed mania can be combinations of contradicting opposites, delusions of persecution, feeling like your always under attack, but helpless to with stand it. Mixed mania looks like generalized anxiety disorder. It's the hardest to treat and the easiest to trigger.

Most bipolar experiences are dysphoric/mixed mania but I think you were asking about the euphoric/positive mania.

dvdnvwls
11-22-14, 03:30 AM
It's my belief from what I've read (and experienced second-hand but not first-hand) that each person with bipolar shows his same signals every time he's entering each of his possible states. Having a trusted friend or two who know you well enough to recognize all your personal habits and signals, and who spend enough time with you on a regular basis that they are likely to notice when you're starting to get off track in some way and help you to deal with it appropriately, can be a huge help.

progressforever
11-26-14, 12:32 PM
What symptoms did you convey to your doctor, when you received a bipolar diagnosis? Were you just depressed?

To be honest, my biggest fear as a bipolar individual, is that when things are going well or that im happy, that it's only my mania. It can feel like a general sense of happiness is a symptom of a disorder that must be treated. However, I think though, that the real question to ask yourself is, is this really a problem? To be more specific, am I hurting people around me? Have I even thought about anyone else but me lately?

Ill give you the basic run down on mania by putting you in a manic persons shoes and you can decide if it applies.

To answer your question directly, mania feels like being unchained by life itself. You don't need sleep, you feel superhuman, you feel anything is possible. You then start to get impatient with everyone. It feels like the world is moving slower than you. You feel like only you have the "real" truth. You start to focus less on priorities in your life, after all, you're on a mission right? Maybe it changes daily, you feel like you're out to save the world, or uncover a secret conspiracy. You start becoming paranoid in your life, at your work, at home. You can't focus now. You start to feel like you need to do something but you don't know what. You pace for hours. You exercise to work off the energy as you try again for the third night in a row to sleep. You start to isolate yourself as you pursue your "quest." Your thoughts begin to overwhelm you. You want to explain how you feel but you cant. You use circular logic, and long winded self righteous speeches. You try to connect dots to matters that most wouldnt find significant. You feel agitated at all mankind because they're sheeple that just don't get you. You tell friends, family, whatis wrong with them and how ignorant they are. You make hasty choices. You feel like a different person than just a few months ago. You feel like the star of a movie and everyone orbits you. Everything you do is a grandiose adventure/ has significance to your life or future.

Thats the best I can do to describe it, I could've just parroted a list of symptoms but I thought it'd be more understandable if I just described what my experiences with mania were.

Try to understand that in bipolar depression, all of that is in almost exact opposite.

Also, mixed mania can be combinations of contradicting opposites, delusions of persecution, feeling like your always under attack, but helpless to with stand it. Mixed mania looks like generalized anxiety disorder. It's the hardest to treat and the easiest to trigger.

Most bipolar experiences are dysphoric/mixed mania but I think you were asking about the euphoric/positive mania.

Thank you for taking the time to help. When I'm not on Adderall I don't believe I feel as grandiose but more in a foggy/robotic state of mind. Adderall not only makes me feel like anything is possible, but it seems to allow me to empathize with people I normally wouldn't. I made a career decision after being prescribed Adderall and pursued law school and I've noticed my goals have always been set high but some of them actually came true. I've also tried Vyvanse and it doesn't seem to put me on the grandiose mission Adderall does, but it also doesn't give me the positive feelings that allow me to empathize with people more. I'm probably going to get a second opinion and try and figure myself out before I lose control.

progressforever
11-26-14, 12:33 PM
It's my belief from what I've read (and experienced second-hand but not first-hand) that each person with bipolar shows his same signals every time he's entering each of his possible states. Having a trusted friend or two who know you well enough to recognize all your personal habits and signals, and who spend enough time with you on a regular basis that they are likely to notice when you're starting to get off track in some way and help you to deal with it appropriately, can be a huge help.

Thank you for your input. I do believe my family sees that certain meds put me in a more grandiose state, but it's also the same meds that allow me to focus in school. I'll make another appointment, thank you!

sarahsweets
11-26-14, 02:07 PM
Maybe this is specific to me but I often miss the warning signs of mania and when I'm manic I have no idea I am manic and actually get ****** off when someone suggests that I am. Following the mania is the horrible depression and it is then that I can reflect on the fact that I was in a manic state and evaluate what I said or did to/with other People that I may have to do some damage control. There are members here that have experienced me in a manic state first hand and I've sent some errrr compromising photos for without even thinking of who I was or what I was doing. IMO when in a state of mania a person does not have the self awareness to realize that that's what was going on.

fracturedstory
11-29-14, 04:26 AM
Sometimes I know when I'm manic and sometimes it's hard to tell but the times when I don't notice I end up feeling depressed. That's quite surprising because I don't often become depressed without first experiencing mania. For about three years though I had no idea I was manic. I thought this was ADHD hyperactivity, which I developed when I was 23 or 24. And I know, you can't develop ADHD when you're an adult.

InvitroCanibal
12-12-14, 02:14 AM
Thank you for taking the time to help. When I'm not on Adderall I don't believe I feel as grandiose but more in a foggy/robotic state of mind. Adderall not only makes me feel like anything is possible, but it seems to allow me to empathize with people I normally wouldn't. I made a career decision after being prescribed Adderall and pursued law school and I've noticed my goals have always been set high but some of them actually came true. I've also tried Vyvanse and it doesn't seem to put me on the grandiose mission Adderall does, but it also doesn't give me the positive feelings that allow me to empathize with people more. I'm probably going to get a second opinion and try and figure myself out before I lose control.


Look, there is a saying, it goes like this: "mental illness isn't a problem, until it's a problem."

What I think is bothering your doctor is that you are getting emotional wellbeing from a med designed only to assist in focus or motivation.

However, doctors don't know the effect of being unchained has on our moods. We feel more positive and because our maslow needs are met, we want to give back.

So what's wrong with it? Well nothing...except...you really don't want the med to do all the work for you. This goes against some views but I believe personally, we should only strive to medicate our symptoms by about 50%. The rest needs to come from you.

Why? Because otherwise, your choices won't feel like your choices, your life won't feel like YOUR life. We need struggle to feel in control. If you deny that, you risk dependence. Dependence means you feel like your accomplishments aren't your own but are infact the meds.

Try to understand, i'm not judging you, this is just my philosophy but I'm by no means accusing you of anything.

For the 50 percent that isn't medicated, I use psychological initiatives,

I keep lists, I don't expect perfection but I do expect maximum effort from myself. I exercise using free weights. 2 dumb bells can get you pretty far if they are adjustable by the way. You don't need a gym membership. I use diet, I have a high fat, high protein, low carb diet except I do eat complex carbs like lentil, spinach etc. I cut out sugar, but I still drink milk. I also make veggie smoothies.

Doing the other 50 percent on your own will make you feel a sense of pride which does go a long way.

To me, you have not said or shown any dsm V symptoms that I know of. You'd best have a look in there. I'm wondering if you're omitting information though, because doctors usually don't throw around bipolar diagnosis's over just medication responses, unless they are anti depressants.

Honestly it just seems like your dose is too high. It even says on the packaging you get with your meds that it can cause states that mimic bipolar at too high of doses. Being adhd, you'll always have a hard time telling what too much is. However, feeling robotic, feeling abnormal or off emotionally, and even drowsyness, or poor focus can be signs of too much. That is according to my doctor and he is one of the best adhd specialists in the USA

Pilgrim
12-12-14, 03:42 AM
I totally agree the med should not do all the work. I think you know if you are bi polar or not. It is the extremes in mood.
I find with ADD I suffer from the Depression with all those symptoms but my mood isn't quite extreme as everyone's here. Although when i fall into the pit I've got to work hard to get out of it.
A thousand times I have thought how great it would have been to have the meds when I was at university. And overall the feeling of being able to cope and get your head around what's being given to you.
Sometimes to achieve this you have to set lofty goals. I don't think necessarily grandiose, it's when we stop having those feelings we really start to doubt everything about our ADD.
That's why a good mindfulness technique can also help.

InvitroCanibal
12-12-14, 03:51 AM
I totally agree the med should not do all the work. I think you know if you are bi polar or not. It is the extremes in mood.
I find with ADD I suffer from the Depression with all those symptoms but my mood isn't quite extreme as everyone's here. Although when i fall into the pit I've got to work hard to get out of it.
A thousand times I have thought how great it would have been to have the meds when I was at university. And overall the feeling of being able to cope and get your head around what's being given to you.
Sometimes to achieve this you have to set lofty goals. I don't think necessarily grandiose, it's when we stop having those feelings we really start to doubt everything about our ADD.
That's why a good mindfulness technique can also help.

I often find I am unaware of my bipolar. If I was manic, it was just a stressful couple of months..then I forget it ever happened. It is very hard to remember how you felt until you feel it again.

For bipolar, depression is more common than mania, but like magic and usually seasonly it goes away and you don't want to treat something that is not there anymore.

So once again, it was just a phase, im over it, its sunny skies from here. Those are things we tell ourselves.

So more often than not, we go through life unaware or in denial of our bipolar. It is why the average age of diagnosis is 25


Then stress happens. College, break up, job loss, etc and we get one of those rare manic episodes that leaves us saying...what the hell was that?

However, these rare manic episodes are once in a blue moon because it usually requires outside triggors. Once the manic episode happens, atleast once in your life, you qualify for a bipolar diagnosis. Depending on the manic severity, you get numbered 1 through 3.

My point is we are most often unaware, in denial, and terrified of the diagnosis until it becomes painfully obvious. This may not be true for everyone, but I know quite a few bipolar people (including me) and denial is there first mode of living.

Pilgrim
12-12-14, 07:00 AM
I often find I am unaware of my bipolar.

So more often than not, we go through life unaware or in denial of our bipolar. It is why the average age of diagnosis is 25

Same as ADD: I find myself envious of people diagnosed then or before.

Then stress happens. College, break up, job loss, etc and we get one of those rare manic episodes that leaves us saying...what the hell was that?
We sort of do to but it's not exactly mania. I see it's benefits now.

However, these rare manic episodes are once in a blue moon because it usually requires outside triggors. Once the manic episode happens, atleast once in your life, you qualify for a bipolar diagnosis. Depending on the manic severity, you get numbered 1 through 3.
We just got ADD. Can't find a way to cope. Depression sets in.

My point is we are most often unaware, in denial, and terrified of the diagnosis until it becomes painfully obvious. This may not be true for everyone, but I know quite a few bipolar people (including me) and denial is there first mode of living.
ADD people will deny for years and you can slip under the radar. Maybe because of less extremes. Just forgetting basic things. Paying bills.

fracturedstory
12-13-14, 12:00 AM
I often find I am unaware of my bipolar. If I was manic, it was just a stressful couple of months..then I forget it ever happened. It is very hard to remember how you felt until you feel it again.

For bipolar, depression is more common than mania, but like magic and usually seasonly it goes away and you don't want to treat something that is not there anymore.

So once again, it was just a phase, im over it, its sunny skies from here. Those are things we tell ourselves.

So more often than not, we go through life unaware or in denial of our bipolar. It is why the average age of diagnosis is 25


Then stress happens. College, break up, job loss, etc and we get one of those rare manic episodes that leaves us saying...what the hell was that?

However, these rare manic episodes are once in a blue moon because it usually requires outside triggors. Once the manic episode happens, atleast once in your life, you qualify for a bipolar diagnosis. Depending on the manic severity, you get numbered 1 through 3.

My point is we are most often unaware, in denial, and terrified of the diagnosis until it becomes painfully obvious. This may not be true for everyone, but I know quite a few bipolar people (including me) and denial is there first mode of living.

I disagree with much of what you say. For some they can learn to notice when they are manic and even not go too far with it.

My own personal theory is that people get diagnosed around mid 20s because this is when they have a lot of alcohol and drugs which can trigger mania, even having more responsibility can lead to a lot of stress that can trigger a manic episode.

The trigger for me was Ritalin. I already had PMDD which I now know is a mood disorder. Even on 5mg Ritalin would make me manic. Anti-depressants do too. The strange thing was that took 3 weeks to have my first manic episode on them. If it wasn't for Ritalin and the states it put my mind in I would never know what it would be like to feel empathy for other people that I would almost be weeping, and that went towards me developing more social skills. It was a horrible thing at the same time. I've got bipolar now. I may be able to talk to people more but I'm so non-functional that I can't even work.

InvitroCanibal
12-13-14, 06:57 AM
I disagree with much of what you say. For some they can learn to notice when they are manic and even not go too far with it.

My own personal theory is that people get diagnosed around mid 20s because this is when they have a lot of alcohol and drugs which can trigger mania, even having more responsibility can lead to a lot of stress that can trigger a manic episode.

The trigger for me was Ritalin. I already had PMDD which I now know is a mood disorder. Even on 5mg Ritalin would make me manic. Anti-depressants do too. The strange thing was that took 3 weeks to have my first manic episode on them. If it wasn't for Ritalin and the states it put my mind in I would never know what it would be like to feel empathy for other people that I would almost be weeping, and that went towards me developing more social skills. It was a horrible thing at the same time. I've got bipolar now. I may be able to talk to people more but I'm so non-functional that I can't even work.

I tend to think the biggest mistake I see bipolar people make, is having the belief that they can control it on their own, without help. Im not sure if that is what you were saying, but I only bring this up because I used to think that too, but that was just another resource of denial.

I agree that life stressors max out at around 25 with college, kids, carreer, or feeling lost in those years. And yes, definetely the experimentation, but I must stress, I used to take many hard drugs when I was 16. It wasn't that they caused the mania, it was my mania that caused me to take them and actively search for them.

I went from being a timid person to being loud, crazy, (probably annoying) and going to parties and watching people do coke off mirrors. To say meds caused my mania could blindside me from catching and treating my mania before it starts kindling.

The big thing I find is keeping a yearly mood chart is the way to track it early. I have a 1.5 year manic cycle. The pattern emerged the same as I tracked it over my life. However, at the time I thought they were just life stressors, but in fact it was a mood change that was making me poorly adapt to the stressors.

Thanks for your reply by the way. I always think it is harder to say you disagree than agree. Most people just disagree quietly in their heads and never say a word. I will continue to think about this. Thank you.