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Messages By: domerdude

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February 23, 2006, 6:54 pm CST

Where do I go from here?

Bipolar disorder is a devastating illness. My life is proof of that. It took five years to get my meds right, but by that time it was too late. The illness ruined my marriage, my career and my finances. I had eight hospitalizations in mental institutions. 

  

At 30 years of age I've found stability, but at what cost? The meds keep me from being able to hold a job. I'm very distractible and can't concentrate, I fatigue easily and my social skills are horrendous now. I can't date or have a social life. The life has gone out of me. I'm dull. I feel stupid and inadequate in many phases of my life. This is what the aim of treatment is? I know some of you out there function well on medication, but I would like to know how you do it. I will keep taking my meds.  

 
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February 24, 2006, 7:50 am CST

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Quote From: blazes06

Have you trried to get on SSID. or are your meds not working properly. sometimes the meds just mess everything up and one cant funtion. i am sorry you lost everything due to this illness. I had to quit working due to it. one isolates themself then one is not around people and get scared of going out. i know that feeling. Are you in therapy? or have a pdoc. that you go to. Hang in there. thats good you want to keep  taking your meds.  

  

blaze  

I got sick on military active duty, so the VA covers me with a disability pension. I applied for Social Security too, but I feel awful about taking it. Part of me is still in denial, like I couldn't possibly have an illness that is this disabling to me...you know? But at the same time, every time I venture out I experience some sort of setback telling me "Yes, yes you are disabled." It's frustrating. 

  

I hear what you're saying. Isolation is the worst thing. You take for granted little things like going to the grocery store, going to church or going to the movies, but when you've been isolated for a long time those things become monumental obstacles. I am in therapy and I have gotten better about being out in public again. I am active in my NAMI chapter and I tried going back to school, but that was overwhelming. It's just a daily struggle. 

  

I don't get as depressed about it as I used to. Part of it I credit to the Lamictal which has been a wonder drug for me. Part of it I credit to time and getting used to my situation. But without a doubt I do not enjoy the same quality of life I did before I was diagnosed with this illness. Not even close. And my previous message speaks to the things I have lost. 

 
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February 24, 2006, 8:05 am CST

Hi Woodfam

Quote From: woodfam

Hi I'm woodfam and i've recentley been diagnosed with bi-polar and their are gonna be days where your sad happy depressed, anxious Today I've been all of the above . I almost ended my life month ago, i will not say but the best thing for me keep up with my meds do things i enjoy, go to the gym, go tanning,  have a hot bath , read a book do what you want to do . Does your employer know your bi-polar cause that might make a difference right they might be able to accomodate you. Today I've been depressed My mom is ill and my mother-in law is getting a lung transplant so. Also Bi-polar support group you can talk to people who have the same disorder . And also coming here has helped me talk to people who deal with same illness okay .. I'm on Lithium 900 mg  and 0.5 of closansapam , I was on reprodil and another but they did'nt agree with me.Lithium  done well for me so far , have great communication with doctor and phychiatrist . What meds are you on and also maybe there not the right strength . Talk to your doctor please maybe they might have to be changed over 5 years . You have been threw alot . Talk to your doctor okay....   woodfam who cares                                 

My form of the illness is very resitant to treatment. I have no idea why that is, probably just something about my makeup, but that is why it took so long to find something that would stabilize me. I currently take 1500 mg of Lithium per day, 375 mg of Lamictal per day and 30 mg of aripiprazole per day to give you an idea of the amount of medicine. My mind is clear for the first time in a long, long time, but I still feel overmedicated. But I know from experience that I'm on the amount I need to be on to stay clear, if I take less than that I get into trouble, so it's sort of a no-win. Well, I shouldn't say that. From where I have come from I have a lot to be thankful for, but it is frustrating to know that other people are living good lives while mine rots away. I wish I could go without meds, but I'm wise enough to know that will only lead me down a road I don't want to go. 

  

As far as psychiatrist/psychologist relationships go, the two that I have are top notch. I think they have done as much as they can do to this point. I would love to be on the Dr. Phil to share my story with America. I think people need to see how normal we are while appreciating the struggles that we face. I just don't think a lot of people who don't have the illness understand. 

 
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February 27, 2006, 1:08 pm CST

Good Advice

Quote From: catrina

Hi 

That is really good advice.  But it is hard to even get out of bed.  I do agree with you and have had success getting out of the serious depression.  ( with my meds ).  I found that even if all I did was one thing, like dishes in a day that it helped.  After a few days of this I would do two things...and so on.  It took a while ( months ) to finally get back into rutine and back into my life, but I did it.  And now I atleast have a system or plan for when those rotten feelings start comming back, for whatever reason..So I know this works....I believe having some good friends to talk to is great help.  Ya know maybe people that understand you can't get the housework done this week.  People who can joke around with you about you being crazy.....Light hearted people....It helps me feel more comfortable about myself.....and I have a little fun...life isn't so bleak for a while...I will admit though, my medication helps me so much, it makes it possible for me to see the reasoning to help yourself... 

So great things!   

Catrina 

Without meds I tend to be more manic, but with meds it seems like I hold in a pattern of mild depression. It is often really hard to get out of bed and it does help to do one little chore at a time. I agree that relationships are so important. This illness is a reserved person's worst nightmare. You can feel so isolated and alone. 

 
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February 27, 2006, 1:21 pm CST

Hi Eeyore

Quote From: eeyore33

This is my first time on here - I've been "living" with Bipolar for over ten years now and with each new year feel like I can't do another one...but I do...somehow... 

  

I've been reading a lot about the disease lately because it does seem to be talked about a little more.  My main problem is that the facts don't always seem to be reported.  There is so much emphasis on other diseases and I can't figure out why this one is so taboo.  I agree whole-heartedly that people need to see that we are normal and that we are trying to live our lives like everyone else.   

  

It's exhausting trying to maintain a daily routine, trying to remind myself that life is worth living - that there are things to look forward to each day, that I'm not really a burden to other people when my moods swing so drastically.  My Mother was diagnosed after me - on her 58th birthday when she took a bottle of pills and did her best to end it all.  The same woman that ridiculed me when I began my current treatment.  She is doing much better now but I wonder how I am suppose to believe life is so great when my own Mother obviously doesn't see it that way. 

  

Anyway - I just wanted to introduce myself to everyone and hopefully start a new chapter in my healing process. 

Eeyore, 

  

I agree with you completely. This illness is underrepresented in the media and it is more taboo among people. I'm so glad Dr. Phil is doing a show on it. I'm looking forward to watching it. 

  

It can be hard when you don't have positive support of those who love you. Remember, you are your own person and her outlook doesn't have to color yours. Hopefully, you can bond and help each other out both of you having the illness. That could be a positive to work in your favor. 

  

Best wishes... 

 
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March 2, 2006, 9:47 am CST

Meds

Quote From: mensan

It sounds like the shopping thing is that you don't think you are important enough to have people wait on you to make up your mind--that's something you will just have to work on. You'll just have to deliberately slow yourself down and make sure that you have carefully made a choice. Anxiety can play a part in this too. Just be sure of  yourself and your choices. 

  

Yes, the drugs we take can often cause weight gain. Not always. Depakote, for example, is an example of a drug that nearly always causes one to gain weight. Lithium, too. Topamax can cause you to LOSE weight. But, since it also causes sanity, it is worth the weight gain. I weigh 140 lbs. Before I was medicated I weighed 99 lbs. So I had to buy a new wardrobe. But it is better than being crazy. Any old day. 

Weight gain with a particular drug depends on the person. When I took Lithium alone, I actually lost weight. I also became very manic so the increased energy and activity could have contributed to that. I have also been on a mix of Ziprasidone, Topamax and Lithium that worked for me with weight control. The Topamax definitely is a weight loss drug. The Ziprasidone seems to be weight neutral, at least at low doses. 

  

Antipsychotics cause weight gain. I've had bad luck with Zyprexa, Seroquel, Risperidone and Abilify. Ziprasidone is the only one I was able to lose a significant amount of weight on. 

  

Like I said, Topamax works for weight loss and some of the other anticonvulsants are supposedly weight neutral, like Lamictal for instance. I've been on Lamictal for about a year, and although I've gained weight on it, I don't know that it isn't another one of the drugs I am taking that is causing it. But Lamictal has protected me against severe depression for some time, so it's always a trade-off. 

  

While the medications may cause an increase in appetite or may be sedating leading to decreased energy and exercise, our weight is ultimately decided by the calories we consume vs. the calories we burn. The only way to achieve a desirable weight is to watch what we put in our mouths and to get up an move, regardless of what medicine we are on. I know that is easier said than done, but that's the reality of it.  

 
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March 2, 2006, 10:07 am CST

Just Gotta Do It

I'm tired of feeling awful. I dragged my butt outside yesterday and walked four miles. Lately, I've been changing my eating habits. I still feel awful, but I feel better about myself for giving it more effort. I can't make the illness an excuse any more. 

  

I go to Voc Rehab too and have for almost two years. I'm still not any closer to working and I'm sick of it. I feel like I have to just get up and do it. Make my mind up that the illness isn't going to beat me and just do it. 

  

Hopefully I can sustain this momentum. 

 
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March 4, 2006, 8:01 pm CST

Characterization of Bipolar Illness

Cathy goes from zero to psycho in 15 seconds? I sincerely hope that the Dr. Phil show does not sensationalize this illness on national television. First of all, the term "psycho" is pejorative. To your average viewer that means out-of-control angry and violent. To be responsible, Dr. Phil must explain psychosis in a way that dispels the notion that we are violent and dangerous to others. Otherwise he runs the risk of making people fear us. 

  

This is a serious disorder, but it has been my experience as someone with the classic form, bipolar disorder I, that it manifests itself in altogether different way for many of us. I exhibited a great deal of delusional thinking and behavior when I was manic and sometimes when I was severely depressed. I saw secret meaning in movies, songs, books and other external media. I thought The Today Show was being produced specifically for my benefit and that Katie and Matt were speaking directly to me. I thought a lot of peculiar things. But I was never "psycho." Most of my fantasies were just in my head and were harmless to everyone but me. I think terms like "psycho" and "crazy" are going to upset a lot of bipolar people watching your show if that is what takes place. 

  

Are these people taking medication? Your show needs to touch on the difficulties of bipolar people who take their medication...not just those who don't. What about our prospects for love and acceptance? I don't know, I haven't watched the show yet, so I will reserve the rest of my comments for later, but I just hope so much that the illness will be characterized accurately. The Dr. Phil Show goes out to so many people and just sensationalizing the illness could do more harm then good in the way we are perceived. 

  

I will write more when I've actually watched the show. 

  

  

  

  

  

 
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March 5, 2006, 9:25 pm CST

A Reply

Quote From: missmouse

  

My son who is 6 has it and was diagnosed 2 years ago.  And he can go from perfectly fine to, well I don't like the word "Psycho" either, but exhibiting very disturbing behavior like the switch of  a lightbulb, he has had very delusional behavior and it just breaks my heart.  He is on some "antipsychotic" meds right now that help even out his highs and lows better than the Lithium did, so while the term is not really accurate, at my house some days it seems like it!  Not to make light of this disorder, believe me, I've spent the better part of 19 month reading almost every book I can on childhood bi polar and just bi polar in general, as a mother I have to be my son's voice best advocate.  One his really bad, highly manic days, he can seem to others (who don't understand what bipolar is, or who are just plain ignorant and don't believe it can happen in kids that young) he may seem "psychotic". Hopefully the preview is not actually Dr. Phil speaking, but just part of the video clip..... from the shows I 've watched since the beginning, Dr. Phil doesn't seem one sensationalize or trivialize anyone with a mood disorder or any other type of illness.   

  

I wish you luck on your journey.  If you can offer any advice to this lost mom for dealing with  my son, I would be eteranally gratefuly!  Oh, my son also has co curring ADHD, which makes it even more of a challange... but I digress....  He sees a very good psychiatrist, who prior to moving to this area, headed up the Harvard Children's Mental Health Facilty, he also has a degree in Pharmacology, so I trust him with the medications he recommends, I also have a child psychologist and an educational pyshologist for my son.  (along with about 15 books for me!)   

  

Take care, and we'll "chat" after the show! 

  

Victoria 

Hi Victoria, 

  

Thank you for your response. I can't imagine having this illness as a child. To have it sometimes feels like someone has the remote control to your mind and is changing the channel at a rapid rate. It happens so fast and your thoughts fragment and twist off in every direction. I can't imagine how frightening and confusing that must be for a child. 

  

Can he articulate to you how he is feeling? An advantage I have as an adult is I can observe the thought patterns and the different types of feelings and react, learning all the time about the illness and how to combat it. Plus I can explain it to my psychiatrist. My psychiatrist and psychologist are awesome. It's great that you have great professionals working with your son. 

  

I think bipolar disorder mimics ADHD for a lot of people. That's because the disorder makes it difficult to concentrate. They thought I had the same dual diagnosis for a while, but it turned out to be just the bipolar disorder. I'm not saying that your son's diagnosis isn't correct at all, I'm just saying that the two illness are similar in a way. 

  

I respect Dr. Phil and I don't think he would sensationalize the illness, but the intro on this site concerned me which is why I wrote what I did. It is a tremendous responsibility to do a show like this and it isn't often that the illness gets this kind of exposure. 

  

You take care as well and I will write a follow-up after the show. 

  

  

 
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March 6, 2006, 7:11 pm CST

Type II Bipolar Disorder

Quote From: janejr

I was diagnosed bipolar II last year.  After several medication trials, we finally hit on the right combo. of Trileptal, Wellbutrin, Topamax, and Lexapro.  My doctors made clear that the "type" I have does not require hospitalization, does not cause hallucinations, etc.  At my worst (undiagnosed), I was having rages - but these were ONLY directed at my husband (poor guy), and only escalated to physicality once and at that, it was unintentional.  Yes, I threw things when I really got angry, yelled a lot (I am normally not a yeller), etc.  I knew something wasn't right and immediately sought help.  I had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression before but the bipolar II diagnosis threw me for a loop.  Again, the doctor was very clear that bipolar II was very mild compared to bipolar I (manic-depression).  And that has been the case.  I have required no hospitalization, have NEVER been abusive in ANY way to my young child, have no trouble keeping jobs, have no manic episodes, deep depressions - though I have had a few deeper depressive episodes, triggered by changes in meds. and/or marital problems.  But never suicidal ideation, inability to get out bed, etc. 

  

I am sure hoping that Dr. Phil presents accurate information tomorrow, as he always seems to.  I am surprised by the postings so far, though.  It seems that the people who are posting with bipolar II are more severe.  So does the woman who will be highlighted tomorrow, although the commercial did say she was off meds.  But again, even off meds., I was never like her.  Makes me doubt my diagnosis - her diagnosis - some of the other posters here....?  I will be very interested to watch tomorrow's show.... 

I took this quote directly from a reputable Web site about bipolar disorder: 

  

Hypomania and Bipolar Disorder Type II. Bipolar disorder type II is characterized by at least one episode of hypomania and at least one episode of major depression. With hypomania the symptoms of mania (euphoria or irritability) appear in milder forms and are of shorter duration. They do not affect social or work life as dramatically, and hospitalization is not generally required." 

  

I'm not a doctor but based on what you are saying and what I have read it does not appear that Type II is as severe as Type I.  How can this woman claim to go from zero to psycho if she never experiences true mania? Is psychosis even possible in hypomania? I found that in a hypomanic state I am more charismatic, often times more productive.  And if she is irritable, it would be a milder form as the quote suggests. I hope Dr. Phil sheds some light on this for us. I'm curious to know if he thinks this is the illness or this lady has serious anger problems separate from the illness. 

  

I was watching the trailer today and he asks her if she thought she would kill her kids? You should have seen the expression on my face. I can't believe they're going to put that on the air. I have Type 1. I have been hospitalized 8 times and I have experienced all manner of oddities as the result of mania and sometimes depression. But never in my most manic of manic experiences did I feel homicidal. Especially towards my loved ones. And they know that. So I have a difficult time believing that this woman is stuggling with urges to kill based on her form of this illness. I just can't believe that that is possible. And I hope Dr. Phil makes that clear. 

  

Again, I'm not a doctor and maybe off her meds anything is possible. But I still have real concern that this episode will show the worst extreme of this illness and not truly characterize what the illness really all about. 

 

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