Chronic fatigue and Bipolar?
by Beeboo, Jun 17, 2011
Ok. So I was given a dx of Bipolar 2 a year ago. Insite and meds have helped with my moods (although I am cycling every few weeks as ever).Leathergy and unbelievable tiredness(16hrs sleep) along with aching joints and foggy head and others. These have just got worse not better. Most days I cant even cook a meal. Although I have felt like this for years I have thought it to be part of depession.My family have been on at me as it is so extream. I have kept telling psych after psych about this and they have just ignored me so much so I stopped going for 6 months. I went to see a new psych this week as these same symptoms are worse than ever.He said it is not up to him but would like doc to check me out for Chronic fatigue syn. My bloods have been checked for everything already but going for more. I have read up and it looks possible.
Has anyone gone through anything like this and do BP meds make CFS worse? Im on 125mg Lamotrigie and 10mg Escitalopram. Thanks   ;)
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Member Comments (9)
by adel_ezz, Jun 18, 2011
I wonder if there such illness called CFS, i believe people may have a persistent fatigue for some reason, or there is a group of illnesses correlated to general fatigue. Because there is no diagnostic laboratory test or biomarker for CFS. For instance BP makes pts have fatigue on and off due to fluctuations in their dopamine. So you feel exhausted but then suddenly you feel alive etc... depression is one for instance. i bet escitalopram called also lexapro or cipralex for the brand must help, also lamotrigine got some AD properties. Make sure you are not anemic or perhaps your family is so demanding that you feel exhausted.
by naynay182, Jun 18, 2011
I went to the Dr. 9 days ago for what I thought was severe depression and anxiety, and I was told I may be bipolar.  I share ALL of your symptoms...extremely lethargic, absolutely NO energy AT ALL, joint pains, upper back pain, difficulty makin deisions and just like you most days I can't even cook a meal either and on top of all this i wake up with a racing mind and dry heaving for about my first 4 hours of the day. I'm REALLY confused about the bipolar diagnosis because from what I have been reading....there are hi's and lows in moods and all i am is LOW... lethargic and fatigued =(. I am on a "starting dose" of Paxil 10mg and Xanax .5mg but i try to only take the xanax at night so I can hopefully fall asleep and STAY asleep past 3hrs. The paxil seems to be starting to work because i feel kind of "numb" but it beats feeling devastatingly sad and crying all the time I hope someone here will be able to help us.
by adel_ezz, Jun 19, 2011
All psych illnesses share what you describe: depression, fatigue, exhausted, numb, zombie, etc... but BP especially is not only characterised by depression but also mania. Since you didn't get manic then you don't manifest the main complication of BP. In the USA especially where i suppose you come from it's the easiest thing for pdocs to say BP it's like the fashion of the day. up to 4% of the population are dx BP. Since most people go to see a pdoc at least once in their lifetime then it's very probable the majority will be dx BP. It's not only ups and lows. Everybody does have ups and low, this is why some pschy books say everybody has BP in a way. But it's the manic phase and psychosis along with sometimes etc... which label pts with BP. I know an egyptian  worker who works as a smith and is only tired from his job but doesn't complain psych.. but he takes lamotrigine and feels much better. I bet all psych illness share the same drugs. What you take both of you can be taken by any other psych illness for instance i know an asperger pt (branch of autism) who takes zyprexa and citalopram (cousin of escitalopram) a combo very suitable for BP or schizo...etc... it isn't like you take insulin thus you are diabetic.

pdocs are not magicians. They don't know much and their drugs is trial and error.

my modest advice for both of you, be patient with your depression. You will improve by time. just hold on to what you have and sure God will come for help.

Cade (the australian dr who introduced lithium) once said: the brain heals like any other organ  

take care
by looloo141, Jun 19, 2011
I agree with adel-ezz that a lot of people are being diagnosed BP, it has become somewhat of a fashion, a glamourous thing that people are not educated enough about. The main criteria for a diagnosis of BP is MARKED  difference in moods, i.e from one pole to the other.

I am not belittling your illness, I hope you don't think that, I'm agreeing that Bipolar is being misdiagnosed too much.
It has taken 12 years to get a diagnosis for me, because my illness is so complex, just like yours..I think everyone's depressions are different, nobody's is worse than anyone else's and we don't need a term from a Pdoc to quantify our feelings.

I think you should keep fighting to find the right treatment for you as it doesn't seem to be right for you right now, depression is an illness and you should get the treatment you need to assist you in getting better..

by lindahand, Jun 19, 2011
I have some of the symptoms you describe. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia which is in many ways similar to chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue is the unending fatigue. Fibromyalgia is more body pain and fatigue, but the fatigue isn't as severe as CFS. If you get sent to a rhuematologist you'll likely get checked for both (and probably lupus as well). Some days it is tough to make a meal. I can work part-time but it takes all my energy for a little three hour shift. I come home and fall into bed. Often without eating lunch. I need a 3 hour sleep in the afternoons to stay upright in the evenings.

It is actually more common for people with bipolar to have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue than the rest of the population. They don't know why this is (as they don't know so many things about bipolar). Stay away from lyrica unless you check with your pdoc first. Lyrica works on the seritonin system and seritonin and bipolar can be bad news together and flip you into hypomania or mania.

I found lamotrigine helped my fibromyalgia symptoms. Neurontin also helped but I stopped taking it when I started the psyc. meds.

I find chinese massage helps the fatigue. It hurts like a bugger while she is doing it. I wouldn't call it relaxing, but afterwards I have much more energy than before. Too I found someone new in her practise so she only charges $30. I imagine that will go up as she finds more clients.

One thing you may want to check is here the hospital runs a program where you can buy healthy frozen meals. Then you can just pop one of those in the nuker and it is healthy. Because diet does make a big difference. It is so hard to do though (I am speaking from experience as sometimes I just don't have the energy to cook healthy).

The other thing I found helps is to have some somewhat healthy options. For example one of my meals was to stick a sweet potato in the oven to bake (they are so good that way) (350 for an hour for a small to medium size potatoe - I poke it with a knife to judge doneness) and ate that for lunch or supper. It wasn't balanced but it was better than take-out. Also having cucumbers on hand and bell peppers. Thing I don't have to think about. Stir fries are also good if you are low on energy. You can buy the stir fry strips so you don't even have to slice the meat. Throw in some frozen veg, and pour a sauce on top. Very high in salt but again better than fast food. A stir fry like that takes about 15-20 minutes to make. Another staple I have is to take a frozen chicken breast, throw some sort of sauce on it and put it in the oven to cook. If you use parchment paper to line the dish you will barely have to run water over the dish to clean it afterwards. Steam some veg and that is another meal that is under 20 minutes to make.

And maybe family can help with the grocery shopping. Some places now you can phone in an order and have them deliver it to you. I live in a small city so we don't have that option yet. They will load it into the car for me and that helps. I find grocery shopping an enormous task to try to accomplish. A lot of times I don't eat healthy simple because there is no food in the house and I can't bear going to the grocery store. I find it so overwhelming.

Sorry this is a lot about food and perhaps not as helpful for the CFS.

I hope you find out the source of the pain and I hope it is something that can be fixed rather than endured.
by looloo141, Jun 19, 2011
Thankyou for those idea's with the cooking, I too struggle with making a meal and I have 3 boys to feed, I like them to eat good wholesome food but it's not always easy. I find it hard to focus on cooking unless I am really hungry, and I feel so guilty about it.
They are really good ideas thanks again :)
by Beeboo, Jun 19, 2011
Wow everything said has given me food for thought. ( sorry there goes my terrible humour again) No really I find the advice from others having to go though this so very helpful. I dont really care about the lables that are stuck on us but more worried that I am doing everything in my power to improve my situation without going back to my old ways of self neglect and nasty nightmare cycles. I get very upset when I am laying here aching and going in and out of sleep and my emotions are just fine. All I want to do in these times is get on with the beautiful life I have with my kids but my body and mind say no. If this is just part of my BP I will accept as it doesnt do any good to fight it. This much I have learned!
@ naynay182- Good luck, keep me posted
@ lindahand- you are a star** I struggle so much for quick easy healthy meals. These will be used!
And thank you to you all. This gives me a better picture. Everything is related in the end. Just wish I could function just a little
by naynay182, Jun 19, 2011
Wooooow!! I'm a newbie here and would just like to say thank you.....THANK YOU to everyone for your different perspectives, ideas and advice. I really didn't know what to expect when I joined this site, all I know was that I needed answers n I wasn't expecting the quick support that I received and I thank u all from the bottom of my heart.  It gives me hope that maybe I can be "fixed" after all. It's very relieving to talk to others that truly understand what you are going thru.  

Today my emotional status seems ok.....but like Beebo I just want to get on with my life instead of keeping myself isolated due to no energy and back and joint pains.  I've tried a vit B Complex, Multivitimin and Krill Oil as I read this was supposed to help but maybe I'm not taking enough? At least the dry heaving seemed to be in check today finally @ day 10. I try to make it a point to find something positive to focus on if ONLY i could find a way to improve my energy...maybe all this other stuff would just go away?

Feel Better Everybody
by MDFUR, May 16, 2013
I have just been diagnosed with cfs, i have bipolar, and i was told the correlation is massive.  One doesnt cause the other but they are indeed very much correlated. Im on meds for bipolar, they play no factor.  CFS is the brain making you tired, bipolar is a mental illness.  I have been stable for 4 years, so no issues with mood but cfs can still run alongside it with no interaction.  CFS can be bad whilst bipolar is fine and vice versa.  I am only just learning but assured there is a very direct link between the two. The fatigue is very real and the symptoms are phsyical but caused by the brain, almost like how parkinsons in the brain causes tremors, rather than because of a blood disorder, cancer etc. Just seen a specialist!! Hope this helps xx