Bipolar Disorder Community
Bipolar or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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Bipolar or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A loved one has been through many, many traumatic experiences in their life such as rape, abduction with threat of them and their child being killed, a national disaster, pregnancy loss, divorce, many thefts and threats, etc.  One of their attackers even went to prison and has been out and stalked them.  They have seen the evilness of the court system.  Not just their word of mouth--actual facts witnessed by many.  

They are very empathetic and willing to go the extra mile for someone whenever they can, even if they are sick.  I believe that they could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  They get flashbacks triggered by certain circumstances.  They are under a lot of legal and financial strain and invalidation.  Also, they now have medical problems causing extreme daily pain and also a possible auto-immune disease and peri-menopause problems.  Even their psychologist told them that their life was s#$%.  The counselor said that they had no suggestions or solutions for them.  

They sometimes get extremely anxious and fearful.  They talk fast much of the time.  Of course, they were instilled with talking fast/taught to talk fast as their parent says come to the point fast or they get brushed-off.  It is very difficult to get a word in edgewise with their only parent.

I see no real evidence of psychosis or delusions with them.  I believe just a lot of well-grounded fear, PTSD, and family and friends invalidating what they went through.  When they are suffering extremely bad migraines they need morphine for relief as none of the preventatives or other migraine meds or other pain meds work.  They get them for months on end and most of the time try to incorporate them into their life.  But, when other health and social issues start getting the best of them they tend to reach a point in the pain and stress.  They seem to have the need to talk to let off steam.  If they do that they are okay.  But, if they do not get pain relief or get to talk to someone or cry to themselves at a certain climax, they become very irritable or cranky.  Sometimes, their pain and/or other illness or perimenopause causes them to get brain fog or become forgettful.  With the migraines they can get to where they are too sick to do anything.  Prior to that they get anxious and jumpy and start talking fast because of pain and forgetfulness/cloudy thinking.  With IV meds they become relaxed and happy.  Without them, before starting to vomit they get very anxious and irritable or crying.  

They have near genius IQ and have always been able to multi-task and solve problems at the same time while others are still trying to figure out what the problem is or that there is one.  I think that they are so smart that their brain works too quickly.  Perhaps when they are at the end of their emotional rope from the pain and everything their emotions or brain transmission start to go haywire because their brain can work so fast.  They have been clocked to type at over 100 words a minute and have such good finger coordination that people cannot see their fingers move at times:  They are a blur.  So, I am wondering if all these problems can make them appear bi-polar.  Someone told me that my dear friend is bi-polar; but, quite honestly if they did not get upset over some things that are going on I would think THEN that they would be psychotic.  I do not think that most people can even comprehend the level of work and stress that this person has to go through on top of everything else.  And yet, they are so loving and forgiving of people.  They are easily mistreated because they are so kind.  Since the escalation of their pain and suffering and constant financial problems (close to losing home and lost vehicle and utilities and phone) they are more easily upset.  Can this be PTSD and can PTSD mimic bi-polar at times?

I love this person.  Any advice is appreciated.
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293964_tn?1200417469
boy, that sounds bad.  IMHO, she should strongly consider being evaluated by a psychiatrist who knows the medicationss needed.  Is the psychologist able to perscribe Rx?  Sometimes they are not licensed to do so.  I hope your friend's situation improves.  shawn
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, PTSD can be mistaken for Bi polar!  I have Chronic PTSD " diagnosed 13 years ago " from being abused for years as a child and some other traumatic events.  They had a hard time figuring out if I had just PTSD or bipolar or both.  Till this day, I'm still diagnosed with the PTSD.  One thing to remember, when someone has PTSD, especially chronic, they can also have other conditions that stim from it.  I have Chronic PTSD, Panic Disorder, and Dissociation*.   Normally people with PTSD will avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event.  Like me, I don't do crowds and I'm considered anti-social/weird because I'm on guard 24/7 and I don't know how to relate to normal people " or I should say normal people don't know how to relate too me. "   However, you can have PTSD without people using you and running all over you.

* " Dissociation is a state of acute mental decompensation in which certain thoughts, emotions, sensations, and/or memories are compartmentalized because they are too overwhelming for the conscious mind to integrate. This subconscious strategy for managing powerful negative emotions is sometimes referred to as "splitting", as these thoughts, emotions, sensations, and/or memories are "split off" from the integrated ego. This use of the word "splitting" here should not be confused with references to splitting mentioned with regard to borderline personality disorder or family relations theory. "



I'm not sure what you could do to help them.  The only way they can be helped is if the want it.  If they don't want it, then they will never change.  Once you experaince so much trauma, you'll never be normal or the same.  All we can do is get help, have people to talk too, be around people who understand and care.  Unfortunatly, most people in the world are not understanding, caring, or any of the above.  All you can do is be there for them, listen, & help in ways that you can.  I'm sorry that your friends are having to endore this kind of treatment from certain people.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your input.  My friend just has very little family and the ones that they do have always relied on them and are not willing to accept anything that my friend has been through, although some of it has been for the betterment of the family.  I know that they have hardly anyone to turn to.  This person tries to help others so that they do not have to go through some of the same pain.  And it seems that either my friend has extremely bad luck or other people are sometimes actually using the fact that my friend is helping others to do damaging things to my friend.  I just do not get it.   I guess I can understand some of what my friend is going through because I suffer extreme migraines.  It just seems that if anything can go wrong to my friend, it will.  I see people that leave their cars and homes unlocked and do stupid stuff and purposely mischievous things to people and it seems bad things do not happen to them.  My friend tried to seek medical help for their migraines in the ER and the people were very unsympathetic.  My friend was at the end of the rope with their pain and just having something taken from them, again.  The hospital tried to call my friend delusional and locked them up.  Later they found out from another person that what my friend was saying was true and that there was documentation to prove it; then, it was like oh alright then you can go home.  Then they wanted my friend to pay thousands of dollars for what just served to further invalidate my friend's situation.  My friend never was even given the chance to speak fully with a mental health counselor in a caring and helpful manner by someone that they could feel secure with.  I can understand that my friend's story is just so hard to believe; but, there was no apology or offer of free medical assistance to my friend after they totally invalidated my friend and hurt my friend's probable PTSD situation even more.  It has been over six months and my friend is first getting over their fear of seeking medical attention from that.  It is just so sad.  Instead of helping my friend they did disservice and created more anxiety and more loss of self-confidence and self-esteem.  Shame to those people in the medical community who do these sorts of things to people.  I understand the difficulties for the medical community in dealing with unknown people.  But, this center should know my friend by now as this doctor has treated them for pain many times.  This was more harm than any good.  My friend is now afraid to see a counselor or any mental health professional and I really cannot blame them.  So, I thought I would come on line to find out what I could.  With everything else going on, I believe that my friend may never forget this incident.  My friend has already lost their family and health besides having been kidnapped, robbed, and assaulted more than once.  Now, this hospital has served to help further strip my friend of what confidence and self-dignity and belief in themself that they had left.  They feel so invalidated that they feel that noone will believe them about what has happened in their life. It is as if my friend's plea for help has done nothing but serve to cripple them more.  Now my friend feels that they cannot even go to the police or anyone for protection because people will think that they are crazy.

I, also, am of limited resources and just do not know what to do other than offer support and understanding and encouragement to help them get better and move on in their life as best as possible.  Any additional advice would be welcomed.

Again, thank you for all your input!      

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Avatar_f_tn
I read your thread about this other person with a great deal of interest.  This person is in need of getting into a group therapy program through the mental health.  If the agency does not provide for this service, then the person needs to contact the inpatient hospital psych ward and talk to a nurse or social worker there.  They can refer this person to a group counseling situation.  If this person has never been to one of these, please tell him/her that people meet at a mental health facility.  It is run by a licensed counselor.  Everybody has an opportunity to talk about what has happened to them and what is currently happening to them.  The group and the counselor can give good feedback and be a good sounding board.  Everybody is treated with respect and it does not matter what any person's background has been.  Talking freely is necessary when one has been through trauma in their life.  It helps a person stay grounded, and it also makes it possible for the counselor to determine if anybody needs more intensive care or hospitalization.  Talking is cathartic and should be a healthy outlet for stress and loneliness.  As for the psychologist not knowing about any groups available, this is not the time to settle for less.  This person may need both the individual counseling and the group therapy.  Most insurances cover partially or entirely for these services.
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Avatar_f_tn
I should also stress that when a person is suffering a lot of stress, as this person no doubt does, this can cause migraines.  Working through those issues and getting them out through talking may relieve the migraines over time as the stress level decreases.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your comments.
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Avatar_m_tn
First off I'm going to say I'm not a doctor or anything and she might not have PTSD but it's always a possibility and that I'm just typing this so you know I experience similar things and have been diagnosed with it so it would be a good idea to go get a check up.

I had a life like that and have flashbacks from it and such almost like I'm reliving it which can cause me to get sad and/or have panic attacks.  And so they diagnosed me with PTSD so, yanno.  They even said something like her psychologist when I was a kid that my life was "chaotic" and they didn't even know half of what was going on even when saying that haha.  I also have problems with family/friends invalidating what happened to me and yeah it causes the same reaction in me as you described with her.  Migraines will typically cause symptoms like that because it basically causes the body to go into alert mode on top of being in pain.  Bipolar disorder doesn't necessarily always cause psychosis but it can.  A lot of people I know with it including all the family members I talked to who have it never experienced psychosis except while pregnant or something but then me and my uncle some how ended up with schizophrenia and schizoafective disorder instead respectively.
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