I have been classified as "depressed" for a long time. But im starting to wonder if maybe I am more so bipolar than just straight up depressed. I have tried to research bipolar disorder but I just dont get clear answers. I am always either very happy, or very depressed...I have extreme mood swings. But when I look up bipolar, it says highs last weeks or months, and same with lows. For me it can last anywhere from an hour to just a couple days...does that mean i cant be bipolar? I am also extremely impulsive and often feel things to the extreme....meaning im never just a little sad, im suicidal...and im never just in an ok mood, its almost always one extreme or the other.
You may have cyclothymia, which is not quite full-blown bipolar but still on the spectrum. Basically it's like bipolar but with less extreme emotions, and which don't last as long. The only problem with that is that it sounds like your depression is quite extreme - but if your only symptom in your happy phases is that you're really really happy and impulsive, that's not considered really extreme (i.e. manic) but still abnormal.
On the other hand, this could just be a variation of depression. How long has it been like this? Was there a long period of straight depression beforehand? If it's been consistently like this for months and months, then that would suggest cyclothymia.
In any case, I think you should discuss this with a psychologist (rather than a counsellor, who probably wouldn't have the training to make this kind of diagnostic decision).
I am not a doctor but what you describe could be borderline personality disorder which includes mood fluctuations that lasts hours or days and suicidal thinking and impulsive reactions. I strongly suggest seeing your local doctor and get a referral to a psychiatrist as this condition can be incredibly hard on a person and it needs treatment so you can feel better. Also if you see a psychiatrist then you can get the right diagnosis and treatment no matter what it is that is wrong.
You certainly can have bipolar disorder. My own is so ultra-rapid cycling that I can change mood every day, and at my worst, cycled a massive 22 times in one day, needless to say I was hospitalized. Wasn't pretty. It was physically draining.
It's exhausting, isn't it? The rapid and intense mood swings really sap the emotional strength, and make coping much more difficult.
The "hot & cold", "right & wrong," "black & white," it's telltale of several disorders, but definitely bring all your concerns to a qualified Dr- I prefer psychiatrists, as they can prescribe medicine. There is no point trying to do talk therapy if you're unstable. It tends to go in one ear and out the other.
All meds are trial and error, unfortunately. If you get the diagnoses for bipolar disorder then be prepared to be patient until the exact med cocktail is found for you. It's like that with any medicine regimine, really. Be diligent- you'll get help, and results.
Thank you all for your responses and input.
When I decided to seek help for severe anxiety, I was very scared and upset to address my issues. It is getting to be the same now for this...I am scared to address it. I definitely will bring this up to my doctor though because if I can be treated.
Is bipolar disorder, or disorders on the spectrum treated with anti-depressants? Or is it a different kind of medicine. I am currently taking anti-depressants in order to help my anxiety.
Hello, when I read your post my first thoughts were cyclomythia and Bipolar2. Bipolar 2 typically has severe depressions that can be resistant to treatment, and a lesser form of mania called hypomania, when you say you are really happy do you find that you need less sleep, get lots of jobs done and get a buzz out of doing them, talking very fast, lots of spending etc? they are probably the main symptoms, but as someone else said, it is a spectrum disorder.
You need to be more specific about your symptoms, even something that you might think is irrelevant could be a very important symptom..keep a track of your moods and write everything down, this would help massively when you see the doctor, I know what it's like, the anxiety kicks in as your in the waiting room and as soon as you see the doctor your mind goes blank...the fear you describe is very common, but remember you are dealing with this every day and eventually the illness will force you to face it...
My doctor doesn't diagnose people as Bipolar 1 or 2, he just says that it is a spectrum disorder and because of environmental, social, biological factors etc symptoms can cross over and one person's depression is so different to the next persons..I don't know whether he is right or not but I think I have characteristics of Bipolar 1 and 2...and then there's the psychotic symptoms as well..
A lot of us don't get diagnosed for quite some time..I have been under the care of our mental health team for 13 years but was only formally diagnosed 2 years ago, before that, schizophrenia and other disorders were mentioned but basically they tracked my moods and behaviours for years before making a decision..all doctors do things differently though..that's why its important that you give them as much information as you can..
As for the anti depressant thing, that again is quite a complex question.. AD's are contraindicated with BP as they can cause mania and rapid cycling, but some doctor's do prescribe them, although without a mood stabiliser it would be very risky..
Bipolar patients are usually prescribed mood stabilisers, and anti psychotics, sometimes meds for anxiety but it is tailored to each individual..
As for your original question about moods fluctuating, anything is possible really, my doc says I am multi polar LOL
Hope this helps a little!
Hi there! It also took years of symptoms, different opinions, drugs and hospitalisation to get me to this stage. It IS scary when you're faced with 'I'm different, I have hectic mood swings for nothing, I'm so worried all the time, I spend too much that I can't tell my husband, I smoke too much' thoughts. Unfortunately and fortunately we have medicine to help us- it's an art and a science, my doc told me. Theres no clear cut case. What I do know is that I would never have acknowledged my 'stuff' without my doc and pshycologist. Also I've had counselling for 5 years now with the same lady and have gone through 3 pshyciatrists. The latest one is brilliant. My meds have changed alot over the years. Like looloo says each person is different and needs different stuff. The chemical parts of your brain needs work AND the thoughts in the brain.
I was dx as depression also and didn't think Bipolar until recently when a psych dr told me; I'm questioning that and went to a new dr who had no clue about it so I'm on dr #3 in a couple of weeks.
Sometimes, it's difficult to know what it is until you find the right doctor and delve into the whole situation - I mask things and won't let others see or know what's going on which makes it difficult. I got tired of playing games with myself and just said - girl you need help.
good luck in finding a doctor you can trust and who understands what you're going through
hi j, I just joined this forum a few days ago and have read so much stuff my head is spinning.When I came across your comment all the bells and whitsles went off! I too was dianosed with depression , have all the symtoms you describe, was on anti-depress for years with no change,still cried all time for no reason.still laughed from the heart uncontrollably,still sat in the dark ,still was unable to talk too people because I just could not find it within myself to muster up the strength to do so,all this within hours sometime minutes of each episode.
finally began talk counselors,to no avail what so ever! found a phycoligist that I adore and been seeing for 2 yrs now.Began seeing a phsy for meds,first thing she put me on was a mood stablizer call "limital" its for BP disorders (although she insist that I'm not BP).I have to admit it did help tremendosly.that is until I began having one heck of an ugly stomach churning rash.(one of the side effects from this med,possibly deadly) it only took about 3 months before it started,Oh I forgot to mention that when she put me on the BP med she took me off the anti depressants.
On a new med now called "geodon" been using for 4 days now don't know if I've seen results to early to tell.I can tell you this, what ever you do don't give up the fight!!! and just outta curiosity are you "gemini"? cause if you are you know there are several diffirent people in there (mind/body)that could be causing some of those mood swings!!!! LOL
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