Bipolar??

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Hi all. I recent posted on here regarding bipolar but it upset one particular member. Not intentionally I might add...

I've suffered anxiety most of my life. I'm a 38yr old male. This year I have truly experienced proper depression. I also seem to have traits of bipolar. I'm wanting to ask unfortunate sufferers what I'm to expect if bipolar is something I have. How severe do things get? How often? I'm really not educated enough to go to my doctor and say I have this condition. I'm currently on venlafaxine 75mg for depression and anxiety as no other condition has been recognised.

Any info would be welcomed.

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  • Posted

    Hi Chris, I've had a quick look at your other post, and you did upset someone didn't you! I can sort of see why. I agree with sandy that if you are feeling hypersexed all the time (and have always felt like that) then it is probably unlikely that you have bipolar hypersexuality. Although I would have thought that the severe depression would have curbed your libido??

    However, I too am wondering about BP myself. I've always suffered with anxiety and bouts of depression, but it's only recently (having done some research on BP for reasons other than myself) that alarm bells have started ringing with me. (I'm 40 by the way). I've always known something wasn't right with me. The thing is, if I think about my moods over the past 20 years or more, really carefully, I can start to recognise 'cycles'. I can go from feeling low and pulling away from everything and everyone, to feeling relatively 'normal' to periods of high irritability/agitation/'highness' (not euphoric though). I also start to do 'weird' stuff when feeling like that. Like spending hours/days/weeks compiling pointless lists (such as what my favourite songs are), to buying lots of books on a subject, because that is what I have now finally decided is my 'calling' in life. Only to lose interest. Then it's something completely different during my next 'cycle'. FRUSTRATING!!!

    There is alot of other stuff too of course, but I would have to write an essay to cover it all! (although I've put a bit more in a post I wrote on here the other day) My point is...if you look back over your life and REALLY consider your behaviour, is there anything that you do/think/act like that CAN'T just be put down to anxiety/depression alone. I mean, I suffer from these too, but they can alievate or almost disappear at times. Sometimes I can't even leave the house to get milk from the shop over the road because I don't want anyone to even look at me, let alone talk to me. Other times I'll happily have a good old chinwag with a stranger on the bus. 

    So when you ask how severe things can get and how often, well I would suggest having a think about how things have been like in your past! That should pretty much give you your answer I think.

    Anyway, hope this helps with your questions a little.

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    • Posted

      Hi. Thank you for your reply. It's a weird one this.

      Is bipolar a progressive illness or can it just start? If it can just start then maybe I have the onset??

      I don't come from a troubled back ground really. My father died when I was 7 otherwise I was brought up well by my mum.

      The councillor has said it could be that that has given me the anxiety.

      I've had the anxiety on and off since the passing of my dad but have been able to get through it.

      Back in 2012 I came out of a 9 yr relationship. We split and everything was hard but ok. Normal to anyone splitting up I would say. By this time I was still on my venlafaxine.

      In 2014 I found that I didn't need the drugs anymore so I started to come off them. I came off them over a period of a year. I took my last tablet in February 2015. My mood was ok. Not depressed at all. In March of this year I sold the marital home and moved. A fresh start I thought.

      After 1 week of moving in I fell severely depressed and have been that way ever since. I've been back on the venlafaxine for 3 months now. They've taken the edge off the depression but I'm still not great. I've had 3 solid nights sleep in 3 months. Every night between 2 and 4 am I'm awake. I don't wake feeling ill and I get back off pretty quick but it's the broken sleep making me tired.

      The reasons as to why I'm thinking bipolar is if you look at the list of symptoms of bipolar, bipolar 2 to pin point, I have many of them but how strong do they have to be??

      I don't get into states of euphoria where I'm dancing around bold as brass but one minute I can be low, the very next it's like a switch in my brain that releases a jab of serotonin and I can be good. This can last from 1 minute to an hour. Then I'm back low again. This can be the case all day.

      I have racing thoughts when I'm ok about plans and things to look forward too.

      I bought a £30,000 car that I couldn't afford. I took it back 3 months later.

      I get angry very easily too. The slightest thing makes me want to bite. It's only my own self control that helps me.

      I can also be ok and depressed at the same time. It's a very weird feeling. It's that switch thing again.

      I want to help myself by getting to the gym or on a bike but have zero motivation. I really want to help myself but just can't get myself out there.

      I talk fast and loud. I can hear myself do this too.

      The hypersexuality too. Not a nice subject admittedly but one minute I have no labido, the next I feel incredibly horny. I just want sex and sex now sort of thing. I'll masturbate furiously and several times. It's something to do with the chemical release this gives you that my brain is short of as an orgasm seems to lift my mood.

      None of this is intense though. Nobody is telling me to seek help regarding bipolar so it's not that obvious I'm just wondering if it's the onset.

      I'm not very good at taking meds either. I live alone and the side effects scare the wits out of me. I'm wondering whether to increase the dose of my venlafaxine but the side effects bother me. The bipolar meds are a totally different beast. I don't think I could take them alone.

      I just feel like a zombie most of the day nearly every day. The doc won't give me anything to help me sleep which isn't ideal. Here in the UK the NHS is totally squeezed and the only way is private health care and this is really expensive.

      Just to clear from the other posts you read, sandy irrationally flipped without thinking as if you look at the other replies, she agreed with both of us. It's a common trait but he didn't read the whole picture. Thanks.

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    • Posted

      Hi Marie. Just to give you some feedback on your post (how selfish of me to rattle on just about me lol), it sounds as though that's a trait of OCD you have regarding your lists etc. your other symptoms are classic anxiety the same as me. I have gone in and out of cycles much the same as you. I can be totally level for a few days then dip for no reason. You seem to suffer much the same as me. I wish it was as easy as plugging something into your head and having some results given to you that way. You can't see this and nobody pays you enough attention here. It's sad.
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    • Posted

      Hi chris, that's ok, feel free to rattle on about yourself...I do it! Well, I'm not sure how much help I can be to you really. I'm not overly convinced I have BP either, it's just that it seems a 'reasonable' explanation for me, that's all.

      My 'symptoms' if you can call them that, all seem rather vague too. I know someone who has BP1 and so I know I clearly don't have that. I actually started researching it as I wanted to be more aware of how it affects them. Also, my daughter has been suffering with depression of some sort for a few years. She is only 15. She has tried counselling which didn't work, and she recently told me a couple of things she hadn't previously, that made me think it's more than depression alone. And my mum actually shows some BP traits now that I've been thinking and reading up on it. Infact my mum is a whole other story!

      It's very hard to self-diagnose. But if you really feel that 'something' isn't quite right then it is probably worth mentioning a few of the things that concern you to your GP. I haven't, till now. I never really thought they were relevant before. But I'm starting to think otherwise. And I'm not going to mention BP2 or anything (not yet anyway), I think I'll just let her know that there are a few things that 'bother' me and let her know how they have affected me, and take it from there.

      As for the OCD thing. It's odd, because the intensity of it comes and goes with the 'cycles' I mentioned. The 'physical' ones were more prominent as a child, but they were really nothing major. Nowadays it's definitely more 'mental', as in OCD type thoughts. I can get very caught up with thought 'loops' and the harder I try to break them, the worse they get. But I definitely overthink everything most of the time anyway!

      You asked if it can come on suddenly. Well, I think it can get worse if left untreated, but as far as I can gather it usually starts in adolescence. (but I really don't know!) So for me for example, I felt quite depressed at high school, then when I left I went on a bit of an odd high for a while (which included suddenly thinking my childhood friends were 'boring' and cutting myself off from them for good sad, as I needed a more 'exciting' life) before crashing horribly for months. And life has been a bit of a struggle ever since then. 

      Well, I've probably rattled on enough now!! I'm off to town to meet my muum and spend money I don't have. Haha! I was practically skipping along the road on the school run this morning. Where'd that come from?? Jeeez.

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    • Posted

      Hi Marie. Your symptoms sound the same as mine and your uncertainty to bipolar. I reckon our anxieties are running away with us and thinking the worst. Classic anxiety trait. Do you keep in touch with many folk about your daily anxieties etc? The biggest issue I have is never getting the chance to speak to anyone who knows what the hell yours on about lol. Have a good day with your mum.

      Chris.

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    • Posted

      Good evening Chris, I did have a good day, thanks! Hope you did too.

      No, I don't really tell people my anxieties, but then again I don't go about feeling continually anxious! It's very confusing. I think when I'm feeling low and therefore lacking in confidence (which is quite often!) that's when my anxieities increase. They seem to very much rely on how I am feeling within myself at that specific time, if that makes sense? And I don't think it's my anxieties that come first, rather I think they are driven by low moods. Because when I'm not feeling low, or as low, then they aren't as bad. I mean I definitely DO have anxieties which stop me from doing things I either have to do (like something as simple as making a phone call), or want to do...but they aren't a problem ALL the time. Sometimes all those phone calls get made no problem! So that makes me wonder...! I mean take today for example. I was having no trouble interacting with people when I was out and about. I was chatty and happy and feeling a bit silly at times. But just a few days ago I was feeling paranoid that people were looking at me, and I was rushing to get back inside to shut the world out. No reason for feeling either way! Argh! I don't understand!!! I never know how I am going to be feeling from one day to the next.

      I'll stop rambling in a minute. Just wanted to add something about hypersexuality. I thought I hadn't experienced it. But I think I have. About 3 years ago when I had been feeling VERY low (due to a whole heap of things that had happened) I went through a period of maybe one or two weeks where my (ex) hubby couldn't keep up. I honestly can't remember how else I was acting at that time. My mood must have altered though, because I went through the best part of 20 years with him feeling 'frustrated' with me! And what really doesn't make sense about it was that one of the reasons I felt so bad was because of all his womanising, which he had stopped hiding from me. Makes no sense. But for a short while I was insatiable. It was a completely overwhelming feeling and it was ALL I could think about. I can't believe I've only just remembered about it!! 

      Oh who knows! Maybe we are both reading more into our situations than is actually there. Do you think you will speak to your doc? If you will, I will! Only joking biggrin No really, this site is probably a good one to offload on. Lots of people who have been to hell and back with good advice, and willing to 'listen'. If you have no-one around you to confide in, then it's probably a good thing to keep posting on here.

      xx

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  • Posted

    Hi Chris, are you still wondering whether to speak to your doc about BP? It's just that I thought I would tell you that I finally mentioned it to my own doc today and she didn't dismiss me. (I really thought she would!). But instead she has referred me to a psychiatrist to try and 'sort out' the 'problems' I have as they are so jumbled!

    Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know that she didn't laugh in my face, so hopefully yours wouldn't either if you still felt like you should mention it.

    Oh and just as an aside...I'm starting tomorrow on a very low dose of citalopram as the last time I took it I got panic attacks and racing thoughts...so we'll see how I get on this time.

    Hope you are doing fine.

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    • Posted

      Hi Mari. Thanks for your message. I've made a private appointment with a psychiatrist for next week. I'm hoping this will put this paranoia or reality to bed of BP. I'll let you know how I get on.

      I think citalopram is an SSRI. I've struggled with SSRI's in the past. Venlafaxine is a SNRI and has less physical side effects. I'll let the experts decide!

      Hope you're doing ok.

      Chris.

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    • Posted

      Hi Chris, looks like we've both plucked up the courage! I think it's probably better to find out either way...that way I/we can maybe stop worrying about it and start worrying about something else instead! rolleyes

      Good luck for next week. 

      Mari

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