Hey, just stopping by during another sleepless night.
My mother has severe BiPolar as well as many of her brothers and sisters. I feel i may have it too. To describe my self socially... seems impossible. I have periods of social recluse, awkwardness, outspoken high self-esteem, and what at first appears to bottomless sense of motivation followed by suicidal depression and everything between. Sometimes it feels like existence would have to implode just to phase me, like i can take on anything and other times even the simplest remark or expression can leave me filled with anxiety. I feel I have lived lifetimes in my head, playing past and non-existent events of my own design. It's difficult sleep. All i know to do is just live on, Ive given up on seriously considering suicide (though i entertain the thought daily) as I would rather just not exist, to never have existed-- but that's not an option now is it? Heh.
My life differs radically from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour. I could leave for school during one of my high self-esteem/motivated moods and be plagued by an unfathomable sense of emptiness by lunch. To clarify, this is nothing new. I've been experiencing this for as long as i can remember and have learned to function to the best of my ability. I'm almost proud of how well i can hide it, the only people who have the slightest idea what's going on are my friends. Explaining whats going on feels ineffable, nor am i one to whine.
I've seen a psychiatrist but it was with my dad, thus i felt pressured not to say anything that i really felt needed to be said. Then they scheduled me a therapist-- whose only advice was exercise and sleep-- and gave me a list of drugs to choose from. I left the whole ordeal feeling like what i experienced was entirely unprofessional waste of time and money.
I suppose what I'm asking for is clarification, does anything i described remind you of your own experiences?
Yes much of what you describe sounds like what I experienced before I started medication. I did have social isolation and phobias and rapid cycling. I did have feelings at times that life was worthless or not meaningful but rarely suicidal ideations. That alone (whether they are active or not) would be reason enough to start seeing a psychiatrist again. What you have does sound like bipolar but only a psychiatrist could provide an exact diagnosis but it is essential for you to explain all this to them. Keeping a mood tracker here and printing out the results for them can be helpful as well. Its best to see a psychiatrist by yourself so you can discuss personal issues in confidence and they can better understand what is going on and how to help you.
What i am most afraid of is how they intend on 'helping' me. I would just leave it be, but I'm moving on to college and such. And i don't feel entirely competent that i wont fall into a another deep depression and **** up. Hell, i just broke out of a two week depression and was finally able to complete a paper for my writing course, late-- of course.
I saw how my mom was on medication, i'm sure they did worse for her than if she had left herself unmedicated. I know you're not a doctor, but i just need to be relayed some first hand experience. How do they go about medication? Are they costly (The last thing i need to do is be a further burden on my father)? Is there anything i should look for that would be evident of mispractice? Like them prescribing me solely due to the medications name being posted on every conceivable object in sight?
Also. In the case of a mood chart, is there a designated spectrum of moods? Or would i just write down platitudes that barely shine light on how i feel; as i stated in the post above... one of the hardest things is to put how i feel into words.
The medications they may suggest depend heavily on what your exact symptoms/ current mood state is. The "gold standard" mood stabilizer is lithium, the levels of which needs to be monitored by monthly blood tests. This is what I was put on first while in hospital, and I personally didn't mind it at all. However, I know a lot of people experience problems with lithium, so it really comes down to the individual's biochemistry when you look at side effects. If lithium isn't used, then there are many, many other mood stabilizers out there, again with varying side effects. Sometimes an anti-depressant will be added onto the mood stabilizer, or an atypical antipsychotic (or both). Ultimately, there are hundreds of possible combinations, and your doctor will most likely start with the ones that are most proven to deal with your exact manifestation of the disorder. While there sometimes is a concern that doctors push the drugs that they receive the most gifts for or something like that, treating BP typically follows a distinct pattern of trying a mood stabilizer first, then reevaluating its effectiveness as time goes on, changing the drug or adding others on as you and your doctor see fit. I would definitely recommend doing some of your own research on the potential medications, and on whatever meds your doctor ends up suggesting in case you feel skeptical. For me personally, I am now on Lamictal (a mood stabilizer), and Prozac (an anti-depressant) was recently added to treat a depressive episode. I am also prescribed Xanax (a benzodiazepine) to treat anxiety and to help with sleep. This combo seems to be working for me, but again, it's really a matter of each individual's personal chemistry.
As for the mood tracker, you need to make some sort of subjective evaluation of how elevated or depressed your mood is, and though it might be hard to determine at times, you might be able to spot a pattern. You can also put in whatever symptoms you're experiencing to help describe what's going on. I hope this helped a bit! Good luck!
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