View Full Version : Borderline bipolar? Or just depressing life?

04-19-04, 06:41 PM
I have never been able to answer this question, and I am not sure once more whether or not my life is depressing or I am depressed.

I look down the list of symptoms for mania and depression, and it seems like I fit just a little bit over half of them...

But they come and they go. Most days, I don't feel either... Some days I feel manic... only on rare days do I feel depressed.

But when I DO feel depressed, I feel REALLY depressed.

The trouble is, when i feel depressed, it really seems to me like I have logical reasons to be unhappy. Are my feelings blinding me to reality? I have a roof over my head, food on the table, wife, kid, two jobs, and some of the luxuries in life... how depressing can this be, really?

Two episodes set me off today. One--both my family members wanted to spend time with me again, and I just want to be alone, again. Two--collection agency called back 4 times, I could make arrangements to pay them, but we keep forgetting our appointments with credit counselling who are NOT at all ADD friendly... wouldn't have this stupid debt in the first place if I didn't have failures associated with ADD... can't get a good enough job to pay off the debt without going back to school... can't go back to school because I can't get a loan because I have no credit... sigh

Also... I've been looking at my own actions as of late through the eyes of others and wondering how they could possibly respect me. This is probably a recipe for disaster. But it hurts to be judged like that... hurts worse when its not an unfair judgement.

I dunno what I am looking for. Thanks for listening. Do I sound like any of you who have actually been diagnosed Bipolar?

04-20-04, 12:57 AM
Sorry, wwc, I wish I had something to share with you. One thing I can say is that the two points of view from which you have viewed yourself are far from objective. Perhaps you should seek out another point of view. I don't have any specific type of person on mind, acquaintance, professional, just someone whom you trust on some level and who could hold up a less distorted mirror in front of you. Does that make any sense? I hope you feel less sad soon.

Incedentally, self-isolation is one of the signs of depression. If you are asking if we think you have a valid reason to feel depressed, don't because it is neither here nor there. You have those feelings. period. Naming the cause is not as important as making what positive changes you can, if you choose to. Some of the wealthiest, most educated people in the world struggle with depression, despite all their success. I don't think it has much to do with success, although continually feeling inadequate can't help. I really wish I knew how to make your pain disappear.

06-04-04, 01:08 AM
Hi I am ADD with bipolar II. My names Rachel. Its my opinion that there could be two causes. A. YOu have ADD and are not getting adequate stimulation and it is making you crazy because you have to have more attention and circumstances are upsetting. B. You are ADD AND Bipolar. I can tell you this SUCKS. Well the thing you have to look at are how long do your depressions and/or manias last- days, weeks or months AND do you have the potential to become psychotic- have you ever felt REALLY cocky and maybe thought you had special powers or were superior or something. If your episodes last only days, depressions maybe longer than maybe you are a Bipolar II with ADD. II is not as severe as I, but cycles more rapidly. My problem right now is my shrink will only treat my bipolar when my real ongoing problem is ADD- they are worried that I may get "manic" but I haven't been manic for 9 years and my ADD is a daily struggle. If you are on meds maybe they are wrong and maknig you crash or something, or maybe you need Bipolar and ADD meds because you have both. I have both and it's pretty common but the meds for one can make the other worse. My dad and sister have bipolar , my mom, ADD. I got both, pretty screwed cuz I am never feeling right. Except when I was pregnant, the hormones helped me out, really made me normal, but I don't think you have that option. Look into Bipolar II comorbidly with ADD. Good Luck.

06-04-04, 01:58 AM
As much as I hate to admit it, WWC...your experiences sound oh so familiar! Im seeing the doc tmrw to discuss bipolar.

06-04-04, 02:11 AM
Thanks again for the responses and insights... I will look into BiPolar II...

07-02-04, 05:29 PM
FYI, my 11-year old son has both childhood onset bipolar and ADHD. The only ADD medication he can tolerate is Strattera since it is not a stimulant and does not induce mania or hypomania.

His primary meds are a mood stabilizer (Depakote) and an atypical anti-psychotic (Seroquel) which together manage the BP reasonably well.

Don't get me wrong he is not well enough to function independently but at least he is stable enough that he has a chance to go to a normal school (albeit with a full-time aide). Without the meds he would not be able to do this. We have seen enough of that state to know.

So maybe Strattera is an option for the ADD that won't upset your BP?

Good luck.

09-06-05, 06:50 PM
thank you for this thread...i've had questions in regards to if i'm ADD and Bipolar and I haven't had the doctor to help with finding out .... but with all the info from the forum and with this thread I'm about 95% sure I'll dealing with Bipolar II along with my ADD....

My "b/f" has ADHD and MAJOR Bipolar I'm not sure if it's I or II but he goes through some heavy spells...

I want to show him that I'm here for him and that want to be there for him in the good bad and ugly...but i'm not sure how to tell him this...he's going through a good time right now so I want to catch him before he goes back to the bad... AHHH...maybe i should just make my own thread sorry!!

09-20-05, 09:57 PM
RACHEL - I too seemed to kind of do better during my pregnancies. Actually, I have three kiddos, and between my second and third baby I had gone on antidepressants. When I got pregnant with my third (which was not planned) I went off my antidepressant (prozac at the time) and I was kind of afraid but I did really well. Now is the problem though, my kids are now 7 1/2, 5, and 2 1/2. Over the last 2 years things have gotten progressively worse and I couldn't get an antidepressant to work for more than 6 months, it was then that I was diagnosed with ADD, then shortly after, I had a major manic episode, so now, I am just baffled and looking into finding the right meds. I tried Lamictal which I did okay on for a little while but was still very depressed. As I upped my dose, I got a very rare side affect (swollen lymph node) and I had to stop taking it. I tried Trileptal but it only lasted four days because I felt so drugged and like I could not think at all on that stuff. Right now I feel depressed and very ADD. I think the depression is hardest now because during my 3 month manic stage I felt like everything was so wonderful for the first time since college I guess. I now have to face that that was mania and not reality.


By the way, my youngest daughter's name is Rachel, I love that name! As I mentioned, she was not planned, but in some ways she has saved my life!

Trooper Keith
09-20-05, 10:35 PM
These sound like situational triggers, which, while existing in Bipolar disorder, do not really imply it...Bipolar disorder is characterized by extremes varying between mania and depression. These are in cycles usually no more than a year long, though not commonly faster than 4 cycles in a given year. Less extreme versions of this are the more rare cyclothymic disorder.

ADHD/Bipolar diagnoses are somewhat rare, as ADHD makes a specific note of Bipolar in the differential diagnosis, where the hypomanic characteristics of Bipolar cannot cycle to make the diagnosis of ADHD - because of this, a Bipolar/ADHD diagnosis is more likely to simply be called Bipolar disorder. That doesn't mean it's impossible for the two to coexist, as they apparently sometimes do, but it does limit the likelihood to an extent. I imagine bipolarity may also onset as a result of the impact of ADHD in childhood, as well...

If there is a Bipolar disorder in play here, without extreme mania, it would likely be Bipolar II, with hypomanic symptoms. However, I would recommend seeing a doctor with the case history here. Bipolar disorder is a often very serious psychological disorder and should not be "self diagnosed" as there is a risk of creating psychosomatic symptoms based on the mere suggestion; "self-fulfilling prophecy" is a major possibility.

I recommend seeing a psychiatrist if you believe you have emotional cycling problems severe enough to warrant it, regardless of the circumstances.

09-21-05, 12:28 AM
I've posted this before, as has Andi in the Bipolar section.

There's actually an evidenced based (research substantiated ) "one way comorbidity" between children/adolescents with Bipolar Disorder and ADHD in that up to 97% of them will also have ADHD, while the reverse isn't true.

Andi posted the same research that I studied on a CEU CD on the subject of bipolar in kids.

It goes on to list 5 evidenced based differences between Bipolar kids and ADHD kids. i

As there are really no standardized tests that can make the diagnoses and/or diffeentiate between the two, this is really the only way right now to decide if an ADHD kid also has Bipolar.

Here they are:

1) Elevated long determines the type of Bipolar

2) Flight of ideas (racing thoughts) ADHD kid has trouble concentrating only

3) Grandiosity........ they think they're the world's leading experts on everything

4) Hypersexual behavior at an early age......overly sexually precocious at an early age

This does not imply abuse, nor does there have to be any set number of these needed to meet a criteria

5) Decreased need for sleep.

There's an anectodal one that keeps coming up frequently as well and that's

6) Destructive....but that's not research substantiated

Until these data came out, I do believe that what Keith posted had been the prevailing notion.

Trooper Keith
09-21-05, 12:40 AM
That's very interesting. The only reason it makes me wonder is that because Bipolar has symptoms which approximate those of ADHD, why say children with Bipolar also have ADHD, when the symptoms of ADHD fall under the Bipolar seems like dual diagnosis where none is necessary...

The racing thoughts can actually be symptomatic of ADHD without bipolarity...though to a lesser extent. It's not nearly the racing thoughts of Bipolar disorder...and as far as grandiosity, I don't know about that...children with ADHD tend to think much higher of themselves than is warranted, until experience teaches them otherwise...

No matter, though. As I understand it, this particular issue is actually under debate within the APA, so perhaps it's unwise to bring the debate here. I didn't intend to do so in my post, only to point out that self-diagnosis of Bipolar disorder is difficult and dangerous, and perhaps moreso when making a differential with ADHD.

09-21-05, 01:49 PM
I'll be glad to post the reference.It was a psychiatrist presenting to a group in Texas.

I can say that Russ Barkley brought up the "one way comorbidity" point at the 2003 Medical College of Wisconsin's Door County Summer Institute.

I believe I've seen the "max" % listed as "up to 92%" and again at "up to 97%."

Either way thats significant. As far as the diagnoses go, they are being diagnosed together, when appropriate.

The really difficult thing is to try and keep up with all the changes in the research.

I appreciate your insights and will post the reference asap.

I did post it once before but it was quite some time ago.



09-21-05, 02:17 PM
Mary, I had the same experience with pregnancy -- it was the best most stable time ever for me. I have kids in the same age range as you do -- 3 and 7. I've seen several of your posts in different places and it sounds like you're struggling -- for what it's worth you're not alone. Since I miscarried our baby this summer, I haven't been able to snap out of it or get back in balance. It seems like hormones plus having the confining responsibilities of raising young children can take quite a toll on an ADD mom. I hope they can find a medication you can tolerate that is effect in managing the bipolar symptoms. I unfortunately don't have any answers, since I haven't even been able to dig myself out, but I thought I'd sent a hug over! (((Mary)))


09-21-05, 07:53 PM
Scattered, thanks for the support. I had a psych visit today and after trying Lamictal and trileptal, I will now be trying Abilify along with Prozac. We'll see. Hopefully I will get some results. I have a bipolar aunt and it took her almost two years to find the right combo of meds. I just bought a a book today about Patty Duke and her life with bipolar. It's so crazy that our brains can just not function right. I try so hard with the self help stuff, but never have much success.

WAYWARD - the one thing you mentioned, that you can usually trace your depression to specific logical reasons may mean you just need a little boost. I say that because my depression gets so bad that every situation could be fixed and perfect and at this time, I don't think it would pull me out of the depression. I myself have not dealt with a whole lot of mania accept in the forms of extreme irritability but a lot of times I just shut down before I even get to that point. A lot of what I am reading in the Patty Duke book, I can really relate to though. She mentiones not being able to make even the slightest decisions at times. That is how bad mine has gotten lately. I sometimes just won't even eat because I can't event think about what to eat or what I want to eat. I've lost weight, but I think I'd trade it for contentment with life anyday.

09-21-05, 08:53 PM
Hope the Abilify and Prozac work for you -- it'll be nice ifthey can narrow all this down one day to a blood test to see which would work best for you without having to try all the different combinations. It seems like I remember reading somewhere recently that the difference between ADHD depression and Bipolar was that Bipolar was not situation dependent whereas ADHD induced depression was very much related to the current circumstances. I know what you mean about just having quiet and contentment inside -- quite a gift.

Take care!

09-21-05, 09:01 PM
The way I've heard it explained is not so much about depression as it is elevated mood vs hyperactivity.

A Bipolar disordered person would display episodic mood swings for discrete periods of time, followed by depressive symptoms, whereas a hyperactive person would display those (hyperactive -impulsive ) symptoms all the time.

For someone with both, there would be distinct periods of elevated mood, followed by depressive symptoms. In between there would be the ADHD symptoms that are present all the time.

It's more complicated than that due to types and cycles, etc.,but I think that's the drift.

Trooper Keith
09-22-05, 01:25 AM
The way I've heard it explained is not so much about depression as it is elevated mood vs hyperactivity.

A Bipolar disordered person would display episodic mood swings for discrete periods of time, followed by depressive symptoms, whereas a hyperactive person would display those (hyperactive -impulsive ) symptoms all the time.

For someone with both, there would be distinct periods of elevated mood, followed by depressive symptoms. In between there would be the ADHD symptoms that are present all the time.

It's more complicated than that due to types and cycles, etc.,but I think that's the drift.

From what I've read, that's about it. The hyperactive-impulsive symptoms should be present regardless of cycle or type. If the symptoms at any time abet (especially such that they are not shown consistently for at least 6 months), then an ADHD diagnosis is not warranted.

I'm not arguing that the two can't coexist, I'm saying it's not a likely diagnosis because in many cases, ADHD symptoms are better accounted for by the Bipolar, and therefore only a Bipolar diagnosis is warranted. In some cases, there may be comorbidity, as we've been over in this thread. :)

09-22-05, 06:20 PM
That was well said. It's very difficult to sort out. I do, however, see some kids with both.

What happens is when these kids cycle, they go from hyperactive to beyond rageful.

Some examples from over the years range from coffee tables splintered, broken tv screens, broken plate glass windows as the result of flying furniture, all the way to chasing family members with butcher knives.

I recognize that there are other things that can look like that, however, I'm deliberately describing children whom I know have both.

Of course all of these episodes were connected with a definite cycle of elevated mood for some lenght of time, follwed by depression.