Bipolar Disorder Community
Does BiPolar get worse with age?
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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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Does BiPolar get worse with age?

I have seemed to get worse through the years, even though, I was just diagnosed (20 years as depression before now at BP1), it does seem that the episodes got worse and worse through the years.

As my father got older, he seemed to get worse, and worse (he wasn't diagnosed or medicated), and I just wonder what it's going to be like as I get older.  What does my family and friends have to "look forward to"?

I know we can get "stable", but does it continue to get worse?  Also, I have a history of dimentia (dementia) in my family - I wonder if it's linked?

Thoughts???
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601528_tn?1224085098
Personally...mine progressed with age. I was more out of control as far as being rageful towards my family. But then learned to be more in control as an adult around friends and co-workers. Though I still wanted to rage. The flooding of anger..the hallucinations...the depressions, confusion...all of it until I finally really fell apart at the age of 38. I was a realtor and found myself unable to do much of anything, much less think clearly. So I gave that up. That's when I was finally diagnosed properly and medicated. I am not completely stable...but much more so then I was 5 years ago without meds. But anyway, yes I do believe it progresses with age.
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Avatar_f_tn
Scary, huh?  I wasn't diagnosed until this year (40), but the last year was the worst - manic episode.  It was psychotic without doubt.  I was on an antidepressant and amphetamine that apparently set me off on mania for a whole year. ....needless to say, the aftermath of the tornado was pretty bad.  

What scares me is getting older and older, being a single Mom, no real family support, etc., what will become of me and is it going to lead to dementia or something like my Grandmother?   If I can get stable (which I am more now than EVER!), I will be able to make it, but I don't want to end up in an institution.

I bottomed out at the end of 38, so I can relate.   I have a low stress job now, and I don't know how I managed to stay in banking / real estate for 20 years with BP.  
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601528_tn?1224085098
I was a single mom too for years...It was sooooo tough being BP and everything on top of it. I have the same fears as you, My grandfather suffered from demetia. But don't worry...we will make it....somehow. I am actually kissing up to my son, so he will take care of me in my old age...LOL Hopefully he will fall for it.

Thats cool you were in real estate/banking for 20 years. We seems to have alot in common.
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601528_tn?1224085098
I was a single mom too for years...It was sooooo tough being BP and everything on top of it. I have the same fears as you, My grandfather suffered from demetia. But don't worry...we will make it....somehow. I am actually kissing up to my son, so he will take care of me in my old age...LOL Hopefully he will fall for it.

Thats cool you were in real estate/banking for 20 years. We seem to have alot in common.
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Avatar_f_tn
I knew I was always ADD but have just been diagnosed as having manic depressive disorder. It seems to have gotten worse with my age, this year being my worse (49). Does anyone know of any treatment that works. Right now I'm participating in a reserach program using Abilify and Prozac. None of these stop my racing thoughts though.

Anyone with some information?
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Avatar_f_tn
OH LORD!  NO- Prozac is horrible for BP (manic progressive).  Just like you , I had been diagnosed with ADD, but it wasn't that at all.  I had been treated for depression, also.  The anti-depressant and adderall (adderrall) kicked me into psychotic mania.  

That's an experiment I wouldn't want to be involved in!  Talk to your pdoc....  

Bless your heart!
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462570_tn?1273636577
It seemed to progress with age with me as well.  Diagnosed firmly at age 38.  I just went downhill like **** on a hot tin roof!  One day I seemed to have it together and then the next BOOM - fallin' apart.  That isn't really the case - I fell apart slowly and progressively- but still - all the books I've read talk about the disorder getting worse as we age or if it has been left untreated due to something called "kindling".  Look it up - research it.  There are only a couple of known mood stabilizers that have proven to reduce kindling and one (Lithium) that actually seems to reverse it.  Studies are being done every day with the newer classes such as Lamactil and Topamax to see if they can help with the kindling but no really hard proof has come about yet.  
There are links to early dementia with Bi Polar that has been untreated but the good news is that with proper medication - we don't have to go through it.
Blessings
Tink
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks a bunch.  I haven't heard the kindling word before.  I went to the NAMI website and was looking, but didn't find a lot about relationships of the two.  It's just weird to me that there is a history of this AND dementia.

I currently take Lamactil and it works well - I feel better than I have in my while life.  I miss my mania (energy ONLY) parts at time, but overall, I feel better than I could have imagined.  

Rach
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You can read about kindling here : http://***.***

The reality is that it has not been proven conclusively yet but it does look interesting.  Bipolar is a progressive illness - the symptoms and episodes grow with age and this is one of the major reasons why early diagnosis and treatment is important - Untreated bipolar's have a hugely increased risk of early onset dementia for one.

Treatment and management are vital.  I do worry seriously about someone doing a trial with abilify and prozac - neither of these drugs is new and their affect are know - SSRI drugs are the new big thing in Bipolar treatment and thats alarming considering they can send a significant portion of patients into dysphoric mania (also know as mixed episodes) which is the most dangerous state for bipolars - most suicide attempts for bipolar's come during mixed episodes.

If you are taking any anti depressant and are a bipolar you should be carfully monitored and those around you aware of the symptoms of a mixed epsiode - MOAI and Tricyclic AD's can also cause mixed states which is why there is a lot of debate among doctor about using AD drugs in the maintenance phase.
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So true on the dysphoric mania - that is a SCARY situation.  I was in the mixed episode when I attempted suicide and wasn't even aware at the time that I was eating pills like tic tacs.  

It's a little scary to me since I was diagnosed at 40 - just got treatment - and my Dad got worse when he was at 45.   With dementia running in my family - as well as, the BP, it makes me think I am in for a rough row to hoe.    

The message blanked out the web address - can you send me a direct message with the web address?  

As always - you are the best -

Rach  
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561706_tn?1333950874
I have found my illness has stabilized a lot more the past few years (I'm 41).  I'm pretty happy with my current med regime.
My dad suffered with manic depression his whole life with only Li as treatment for a long time.  As he got older his episodes became less severe and then less frequent. He took Paxil for many years alone - luckily with only good effects.

Later a VA doc put him on Seroquel and Depakote.

He suffered episodes of depression sometimes, but never had another manic episode after about 60 years of age (he lived to be 78).
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Avatar_m_tn
i have to agree with everyone else, believe my really syarted coming out at 38-39, certainly progressed with age until i was finally diagnosed at 41, should have been dx earlier but i was in denial an refused all attempt of family an freinds for help. Sure made fore a rough 3 years , still trying to get meds an all straight its a tuff ride an i do see it getting worse with age
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I will dig up the address and email it to anyone who needs it - I have no idea why this has started happening now, blanking of website addesses.

Dysphoric mania is the single most dangerous phase for anyone to be in because you just do not realise you are there and if you do not have people around you who know its an incredibly dangerous place to be.  Ironically I am reading an article from the Australian Prescriber which is a mag for pharmacists (my pharmacist prints out interesting articles for me from it) about acute treatment of bipolars that has some interesting stats : quoting

" Patients with bipolar disorders face significant risks of morbidity and mortality and present medical practitioners with considerable diagnostic and management challenges. The lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorders is estimated at 1-4% of the general population.1   Suicide is attempted by 25-50% of sufferers2, and overall 15% of people with bipolar disorders die by suicide.3

Accurate diagnosis depends on recognising often under-reported symptoms of elevated mood. Mixed states (combined depressive and elevated symptoms) and comorbid substance misuse frequently cloud the initial diagnosis. These diagnostic complexities along with often impaired patient insight lead to a third of Australian patients suffering illness for more than ten years before accurate diagnosis is made and appropriate treatment given."

The suicide attempt figure is alarming and when you add to it that men are many times more likely to successfully commit suicide the risk factors grow more.

Interestingly the article also has this to say :

"Bipolar I involves manic symptoms which last for at least a week and are severe enough to markedly impair functioning or require hospitalisation. In contrast, bipolar II involves hypomania in which elevated symptoms are less severe but still clearly different from usual mood and last for at least four days. In both forms of the illness, depressive episodes tend to be more frequent and disabling than mania. Sufferers spend 32-50% of follow-up in depressive episodes and only 1-9% in elevated states.5   Most patients have inter-episode periods of recovery, but over 90% relapse without medications.6 "

Which goes to another thread on here where someone doubted they were BP because they were not needing meds.  Its a fools game in the end.

Article is here (add http in front) www.australianprescriber.com/magazine/31/3/73/6/
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Thanks  - disphoric is a scary place to be.  I truly think I was in that state for a whole year during the episode of me being on Cymbalta and Adderall (adderrall)-prior to my diagnosis.  That was a completely psychotic year for me and ultimately, it took a close friend to insist I talk to my medical doctor who INSISTED strongly (with the threat of hospitalization immediately), that I go back to my pdoc.  It's also where my suicide attempt happened.  

I think one of the main reasons men are more "successful" in the suicide attempt is the method.  I have seen that most women (like me) attempt overdose, however, men, are more likely to self-inflict like gunshot.  It's scary - truly.

The website you gave us on the black dog was interesting.  If you would send me the kindling website, I would appreciate it.

I have some personal "man's perspective" questions that I am going to message you later.  

Thanks, John.

Rach
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Indeed the reason for success rates in men is very much related to method - men are more likely to choose a violent method such as gun or hanging or jumping than women but its also related to the fact that women are more likely to talk to friends or family and seek help - there is very much a male code of silence on health and mental health and this is especially compounded in Australia where the image of the ocker aussie man who is strong and silent and never gets hurt is built into the culture along with the ANZAC hero image that young men are still brought up on - its no joke that Australia is still in many place a country where men drink beer and dont talk about their feelings and if you do otherwise youre a poofter - no its not a stereo type that attitude still exists.

This has presented major problems for groups ike Black Dog and Beyond Blue here for reaching men - one of the big successes they have had believe it or not as signs on toilet doors and above urinals - men read them because well you dont look anywhere but in front of you at the urinal.. It works, it reaches men.  Reaching them is the hard part.

Ive lost 2 people i know to suicide - 1 of them a guy I worked with but wasnt close to who went through a messy divorce and custody battle and one day went home from work and shot himself and another an ex flatmate who tried 4 times and on the 5th try succeeded.

Asking for help is hard, Im lucky in that my suicide attempt was caused by mania and though I get suicidal thoughts now and then I truly do not think I would do it again - but that does not mean you dont take the thoughts seriously.

Kindling is here (put http:// in front) bipolar.about.com/cs/brainchemistry/a/0102_kindling2.htm
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Avatar_n_tn
I dont beleive BP gets worse with age. If untreated of course BP would symptomatically get worse. Thanks to modern medicine we don,t have to let this disorder ruin our lives. I also dont beleive that BP is totally hereditory. Maybe the genetics allow a certain suseptibility for pyschological disorders, but these are only triggered by a traumatic or painful experience, however long ago.The effects of the BP or DP for some reason doesnt manifest until adolescents or adulthood (18-30yrs). BP and DP does not come from nowhere! Therefore sufferers can lead a normal happy healthy life no matter how old u may be.
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p.s, my family has no links to dementia so in my case this theory is not valid.
Your family has a lot to look forward to, you will not pass this on through genetics, just your beliefs.You will have a strong happy healthy life ahead of you. Keep on your medication, and start looking inside yourself. You will find more than u thought.
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Bipolar has been proven to get worse with age, its not a matter of belief its a matter of medical study - all mental illness gets worse with age as our brains age too and mental illness gets worse.

Regardless of meds you cannot control BP completely, the meds act as control factors but sometimes and often over time your body adapts and meds need to be tailored.

Bipolar is not triggered by trauma and it is not trigged by psychological injury - those are both outdated theories discredited years ago - the most likely cuplrit for bipolar is a genetic abnormality if you follow current thinking and its not something you can get, you are not sucspetible to bipolar if you are born with it you will develop it - they do not talk about it in terms of catching its talked about in terms of onset because it lies dormant until early teens and adulthood and no its not just 18-30 year olds its now being seen in full cases in pre adolescents - again the 18-30 is old data now proven to be changed.

The reason for its onset is likely linked to hormonal and life changes as we grow - this is one of the theories presented for why we see it younger and younger now; doctors are seeing menstruation in girls as young as 8 these days and it may very well have something to do with all of the hormones pumped into our food these days (one of the theories I have read) but no one knows as we have not studied BP anything like some of the other mental illnesses.

No one is saying all children of bipolars will have BP nor are all BP's the children of BP's - the way it is put is there is significant evidence that in a large percentage of cases there is a familial link - that does not mean that all BPs come from a family of them but more and more seem to do so.  

As for dementia - there are factual linkages out there that show that untreated BP patients are far more likely to suffer early onset dementia regardless of family history - again this does not mean all will and it does not mean treatment prevents it.

I think people miss the point - youre not treating the disease with the drugs that are used you are treating the symptoms - you cannot treat the disease at this point.

Positive attitude, healthy lifestyle and education are important parts of being bipolar but that also has to include a sober and intelligent understanding of the realities of the problem, sugar coating it its pointless because the monster is your head no matter what - the best way to fight it is to know how it thinks and works but you are never going to beat it.

I suspect that like many people and me most of the time you have a mild and controllable case of BP - we sometimes forget we are the lucky ones - there are people I know and others who post here who fight every day for control of their lives against the disease - positive thinking and drugs doesnt always work.  At best many of the modern drug theories work in ways not really understood and the proper dosages and mix is a cocktail of experimentation and side effect hell.

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Well stated.  Especially about the reality of symptom management v. curing or "beating" it.  Excellent posting. (I was going to say essay, but I don't know if that fits for this form).
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Yes it tends to get worse, especially untreated.  For one thing, depression causes brain damage.  But for some people lithium can reverse some of the brain damage and they get better and may not get as bad as they once were.

For example, my cousin was hospitalized at 18 with severe mania to the point of being delusional (the FBI was out to get her, etc.)  She spent several months in the hospital, and has been on lithium since and has since gone to college and adopted two children.  That was about 18 years ago.  She had one adjustment in her lithium a few years ago, and I think stress may have had something to do with it, because becoming a parent, even by adoption, is a big stress.  She is one of the success stories of overcoming bipolar.

I've been under the radar for bipolar most of my life.  It became blatantly obvious three years ago with a severe mania with so much anxiety I hospitalized myself.  Probably a good thing I got so scared, since I literally stopped sleeping and was going to have to wait several more weeks to see a psychiatrist and could have died from exhaustion of become delusion myself.

Perhaps stress doesn't "cause" bipolar, but it sure can trigger episodes, which is why I got so manic when I did.  Ten years before, I could have handled the same stress without a hitch.  I think prevention is worth a pound of cure in latent cases like mine.  One of my best friend from grade school grew up with mental illness in her immediate family and goes to great lengths to take care of her own health so that she doesn't have a mental breakdown--so far it's worked for her.

But if you are like my cousin and have major episodes early on from out of nowhere, then there isn't really a way to prevent that.  Lithium works great for her as a restorative.  It doesn't work for me (right now I'm trying Tegretol.)  We seem to have different flavors of the illness, so it's no wonder we require different treatments.
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From what I've read so far most of you are older than I am. I am now 29 and have come to recognize a distinct pattern or cycle with my bi polar.  I was diagnosed as bi polar and clinically depressed at 13. I was in therapy as young as 11 for depression. Sleeping endless amounts of time seem to be the caution sign for my mother. I was also a very troubled child and seem to get into trouble at school, with the law, and with any adult that tried to control me. The two together seemed to be the reason my mother committed me to treatment centers several times. At 17 I started using heavy drugs, stop taking my medication and continued to use heavily until I was 21. I continued to use though not everyday like before. I was always under the assumption that all I had was depression and that the drugs manifested manic episodes. However after being clean for 4 years I am now completely aware of my cycles. It's beginning to become a little scary. There are people in my life that will say I have these problems with depression because I am simply lazy. I don't deny being lazy but the days I can't seem to get out of bed without a major struggle and at least one break down in the morning has to be more than just laziness. I would rather die than have to face the rest of my day at work with my son with anyone else that requires any emotional connection with me. It seems to be more than just laziness to me. I am not on any medication and have not been diagnosed in 8 years. It's hard for me to say whether it's gotten worse over the last 4 years but I'm terrified I'm going to just lose it and commit myself and lose my son who will be 3 in Jan. I need help. I don't have insurance and can't afford medication. I know there are places you can go to get help with medication but I'm scared to take the medication as well. I don't want to be a zombie. Any advice would be more than appreciated. I keep trying to tell myself if I can control it if I can manage it or if I can just get by I'll be ok. I had a friend tell me last night that was not possible and my only choice is to take medication. I'm starting to freak out. Over the last 15 years I've had at least 45 jobs. I'm scared I'll never be able to keep a job. I try so hard and no one sees it because no one really understands or knows what I deal with everyday.
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Avatar_f_tn
In my case, my BP1 has gotten much worse over the years since I was diagnosed. ( I believe there were also at least 10 yrs. of undiagnosed manic depression in my teen years before I needed to be hospitalized during my first severe full blown psychotic mania when I was given my official diagnosis.)  Looking back, I see some medical treatments which were common during the 70's and 80's and the social services back then that were not available. These improvements have led to the better rates of recovery that are seen today.  I'm not saying that it's easy for patients now but a lot of people like me didn't have the range of medicines available to make more choices.  The medicines that were around had much more serious side effects. The options I had when first diagnosed were Lithium, Haldol, Stelazine, and ECT.  They used to seriously overmedicate and mental health advocacy was unheard of.  When I gained more and more weight on Lithium, the doctors said my sanity was more important than my physical health.  I put on 100 lbs. in the first year, which I've never shed.  That did not help my mood or sanity whatsover. As time progressed and the docs decided to add anti-psychotics to the mix, I gained much more.  I've since lost some of that additional weight through hard work, but it is ONLY possible when I am on the correct medicines.  It seems, looking back, that the use of anti-depressants-esp. the MAOI's and tricyclics- might have added to the severity of the manic sides of myself and other bipolars, or at least caused more mixed states.  That seems to be what  has happened in my case.
   Since the medicines were so bad, ECT was used more. But if you were on the dole, they let docs train on you.  You are only supposed to lose the memory of the events around the time you receive the treatments.  However, I lost large amounts of long term memory as well.  Like music scores and math-skills learned long before. I can not learn in the same fashion as before. My friends have told me of trips we took together which I have forgotten about!  Very strange but even more than that, very disturbing.
   My current doc thinks that the best treatment for somebody just starting out is to find the most effective stabilizer with the least amount of side effects AND if possible, to avoid taking any antidepressants.
   Socially, there are more resources, support groups, and club houses today.  I am figuring out computers, and now look, there's this support group online!
   Although the hospitals often let patients out too soon now due to insurance problems, the opposite was true for many years. We were left staring at the cracks in the walls for weeks. I spent most of the '90's in hospitals taking whatever great new "wonder" (experimental) drug they decided to test on us. A bunch of us got diabetes on Xyprexa.
You name the drug, they guinea pigged it on us. When I moved in '02 to see my ailing brother it was the first time I ever saw a computer with a mouse (and actually the first time I had used the internet too!)
   My family has all died.  My brother died at 45 due to emphysema but he had bipolar 1 also and got very ill and was homeless for 3 yrs. Despite taking my medicines, his death was too great a stressor, and I became psychotic and became homeless for 6 months. I don't smoke, drink alcohol, or do street drugs, but still I got so ill and a lot of bad stuff happened out there.  I'm just lucky to be alive.  Our parents were dead.  I live by myself but have wonderful pets. I am too old to have children but decided years ago that it wouldn't be wise given my diagnosis and that of my brother's too.  My father believed that he was probably BP2.  They didn't know much about all of this around WWII but he believed it helped him for the most part, yet he did suffer with depression and he was very moody. Now, in his cas, he did get better with age. Maybe this was because he didn't self medicate or take medicine. I've noticed a tendency towards mood disorders-like cyclothymia and BP1-on his side of the family; with his brother and sister; none have been medicated, and they have mellowed with age.  Unfortunately, in older times, a relative or two may have been institutionalized when that was the standard practice. One, I believe, was put into a sanitarium for post-partum depression before they knew what that was.
   I hope this wasn't too negative an answer. Lots of people get better as they age. I think that once they find the medicines that work for them and get support they do can get back to doing more as time goes by.  
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Avatar_f_tn
No, it wasn't negative to me.  My fear is that I already have a history of dementia in my family on both sides (maternal and paternal grandmothers) and with my diagnosis coming at 40 - believing that I have always been this way - treated for depression and ADD (which set my mania into motion big time) for 15+ years - it's scary to me.

My family (immediate family) isn't supportive because they have to deal with the issues that have surrounded many in my family and the guilt for not suggesting I get help (very much a hush - don't discuss it family).  I do have 2 wonderful children (all be it a challenging 19 year old at times), and a ex-family that's very supportive of me and my issues.  My friends are wonderful and I can't imagine life without them.  SO, I understand the lonliness of not having immediate family, but family is what you make it.

I am cautiously optimistic that since I am the first in my family to be diagnosed with my BP1 - I will escape the family legacy of dementia.  Who knows - I hope to be a healthy old broad that bugs my kids and spoils grandchildren.  My fear is that I will be the old woman in the nursing home that doesn't remember anyone and no one comes to visit anyway.  

Thanks for your comments!  You will love this community - I am glad you found us.

Racheal
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It sound like I have a similar history to yours.  I was diagnosed with depression when I was 11 after a suicide attempt, but meds were not offered at that time ('77").  I was in counseling for two years without much progress as I recall.  At 17 another suicide attempt and hospitalization for several months.  

I was given Lithium and a tryicyclic.  But really struggled for many years.  With psychotic manias, and depressions that destroyed relationships and jobs and my first shot at college.  Been homeless brieflly.

And I'm also without family and I'm single. I'm just sharing all this to hopefully make you feel a little less alone.

Now for the positives:  I've been able to work at a good job in my profession for 10 years.  I've been hospitalized twice in that time for manias, but was not fired from my job (partly because I had a good record due to my stability).  I've been on a lot of medications and what I've been taking the past ten years has really been a godsend.  

My meds were not that great for the first 7 years I was able to work again, but after a hopitalization 3 years ago, my meds have been been awesome.  I'm one of the lucky ones that does not have a lot of bad side effects.  I pretty much have none at this point.  I did suffer a long depression after my dad died a year ago, but a new psychiatrist finally tried me on Prozac this summer.  I am on two mood stabilizers, whic is critical if you're BP and taking anti-depressents.

The Prozac helped eliminate my near-constant suicidal feelings and plans.  My main problem now is some residual depression.  I like my job but when I'm home alone I'm not very motivated to take care of things.  But I'm used to this.

So, my point is that meds are clinically proven to help and they've helped a lot of people on this forum.  I'm not a big fan of Pharma, but these newer meds have helped me in a way the older drugs couldn't.  I'm sorry you're afraid.  Remember you can try and if you don't like it you don't have to take them.  But there are a lot more options now that in the 70's and 80's.
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561706_tn?1333950874
Just re-read your post and I think I got a little confused between your post and someone else's on here.  So I hope you won't take offense.  But the part about us having things in common is still true, and actually it helped me today to read your story (not the other way around).  I never had ECT though, but it was offered.  Thanks and sorry for being confused.
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Mine definitely has gotten worse with age.  I am no longer able to tolerate some things as well like before.  I would just hide what was going on with me and just deal with it.  If I went a little delusional and insane, then so be it, at least people wouldn't know I was bipolar.  Now I tell my husband if there is something I can't handle and he gets it.
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I know that mine progressed over the lat 10 years - like a roller coaster.  I finally got diagnosed a few months ago and got on the correct prescription - along with a good therapist.  I feel better now.  I hope it lasts!  

Like you, I hid my real symptoms from everyone - I was so afraid to actually be bipolar (even though I was anyway and most of my family and friends already suspected it).  I would completely isolate myself and I know now that isn't healthy - and it really hurt my boys.  My 9 year old tells me now that he is glad that I feel better - I know he was worried a lot.  My 19 year old struggles with the realization that he actually was my caretaker throughout his whole childhood - and I struggle with that too.  He told me yesterday when I was helping him with a grown-up problem that it was a different role for me to be there offering good advice.  I took it as a compliment.  

My biggest fear is that I am going to get stable and then in a few years have dementia since I have discovered that untreated bipolar can lead to severe damage - and sometimes dementia.  Hopefully, getting treatment now will keep me from deteriorating further - I have seen good reports on that issue.

Since I have been diagnosed - those close to me that I have trusted with my diagnosis - are watching for signs and that helps me to not feel all alone with this Hellish disorder.  I told a friend of mine it's like looking at me (from my perspective) being the white picket fence Mommy and wife, and then getting up to it and seeing that there's barbed wire around the fence.  
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I was about 49 when I was diagnosed. With all the things that happened in my life, I don't know why I didn't break down before. I can look back now and see some of the things I did and realize I had symptoms. Right after I went to the dr for depression, which he must have realized I was bp because of the meds he gave me, but never told me. I took the meds a while, then stopped. Needless to say, when I hit the 4th day off meds, I was put in the hospital. Now I'm nearing 59 and I did get worse, though I have avoided the hospital. I felt myself going to the edge and told my dr. He changed a medication and had it been 2 days later, I would have lost it.I started the meds right away, but could feel myself going down fast and at the end of the second day I starting leveling slowly but enough to stop the fall. Then I got better. I thank God I had an appointment when I did. So I would have to say it does progress, but when you start to feeling that downfall, which is not the high and low, it is deeper than that. Because I had that episode, I know the feeling, I knew to tell my dr to prevent it or I would have totally lost it. The episode I had was beyond words. My condition was explained to my husband that I was lucky to come out of it because a lot of people don't. It nearly caused me to have a stroke. So I have learned to be very careful.
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I had that experience last year and it caused me to attempt suicide - with the intention of succeeding.  I was horrible, terrifying, painful, the list goes on and on and on.  I feel lucky to have finally been diagnosed correctly, and my meds are working pretty well.  I can see episodes coming on - now, I just question events that I have always experienced in my life - if they are linked to my BP and if they can be "fixed".  

My fear is that after being diagnosed and being on meds, my family history of dementia and Alzheimer's will kick in and have another issue.  I know that my paternal Grandmother was BP - they just didn't know what it was - I know that my father was BP.  My Grandmother suffered with Alzheimer until her death and didn't know anyone.  Actually she remembered me - but as a 12 year old girl (my kids were a HUGE mystery to her!).  

I don't want to EVER go to that place again.  
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That's just it - there's no way to tell. Some people get worse. Some stay the same. And some people get better. A few people even stop having symptoms completely, even without medication.

Mental illness is not a constant. It waxes, wanes, or may even disappear completely.
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I don't think the symptoms disappear completely - there is no cure for BP.  I think we learn to live with the illness and that can mimic the systems disappearing.    I haven't heard of anyone stopping having symptoms without medication.    That's a dangerous statement since a lot of bp's in a manic state think they/we don't need meds and suicides can result as a result of that type thinking.

BP is a medical condition that requires medication and doctors care - just like diabetes.  

Mental Illness is definitely not a constant and fluctuates, but it doesn't disappear.  
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Bipolar does not dissapear .
Bipolar does not cure itself
Bipolar cannot be cured.

Ask any psychiatrist if it can and you will get those answers.  Psychiatrists being medical doctors with additonal study (10 years total study here in Australia to hang out your shingle as a Psychiatrist) as opposed to therapists who have variable at best qualifications depending on the state or country (hell in some states down under you can do a 3year degree in psychology and hang out a shingle as a therapist with no experience at all and start playing in peoples heads...)

Mental illness does NOT dissapear and there are people on this forum who are seriouslly ill and coming here for advice and support, there are members here who have attempted suicide and watched others here go through hell and frankly telling people mental illness does not need treatment and can go away is like a ticking time bomb to some people - its attitudes like these that result in patients stopping taking drugs because they feel fine only to rebound and hurt themselves or others.

Part of the problem is that there are many doctors out there who read a few journals or do a few psychology courses and think this means they can make a diagnosis - Ive seen plenty of bipolars who were not anything of the sort.
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Increase with age? I didn't even know I had it until a few years ago and this year (age 44) has been the worst year in my life - deeper and longer bouts of depression than i knew possible. Reading though the posts here for some time I've gotten the impression that a lot of folks that write in to say they were finally diagnosed in their 40s. Mine went - ADD, Severe Depression, and the BP. And just like a lot of other people on this site I wasn't showing any noticible manic symptoms untill I went on an antidepressent (Effexor) which brought around the diagnosis. Has much research been done on this phenomena? I sure think our combined testimonies support the idea.
  Oh, and cowgirlnerd, keep on thinking up these interesting questions!  
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Monkey, thank you as always for your well said comments.  It's a dangerous place on this forum to offer opinions that aren't founded in fact and that those comments can be taken as hope to those of us that would love nothing more than a "cure".   We look for a togetherness in dealing with our illness and have to be careful (as you always are) about stating facts and insight into our illness.

LetaB,  Girl, you know we are from the same skin.  Same history - ADD, Severe Depression, and then FINALLY BP.  My suicide attempt happened after taking a Cymbalta / Adderall (adderrall) cocktail for a year.  It cycled out and hit me like a ton of bricks.

I think mine has worsened with age and that was leading up to taking the correct drug cocktail.  I seem to be leveling out - but still have episodes - we never stop having those!  I can just see them coming now and that is at least a little comforting.  The episodes still hurt - but you can brace yourself, if you are treated with your pdoc's advice.

Love you guys!
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In my personal, not professional, opinion, if untreated, it gets worse with age.  I watched my ex-MIL struggle for years w/o a diagnosis, until she became untreatable.  It was tragic and sad.  Now I am pro-active with my daughter's treatment.  It is a disease you have to stay on top of, and you can manage but you have to be vigilant.
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I have definitely gotten worse with age. I have had near 60 jobs in my 15 years of working. I'm scared to death that I'm just going to lose it and commit myself. What do you think about getting SSI for this disorder? Is the easy way out or should I submit to my illness and accept that I may not ever be able to hold a long term job. My lows are so low that I would rather die than have to wake in the morning and take care of my son and get us both ready to go to work and school. I'm scared. I would love it if someone with the experience of going through the SSI process for this disorder would talk to me outside of this forum. I feel like I need some one on one time with someone who understands. I love this forum because it helps me feel so not alone but sometimes I feel like to need to just talk about me. Anyone willing to go there with me. It could be a trade off. One time about me and another time about you? Anyone?
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1st time i'd heard about kindling too. just went on lithium and i gotta tell you, i haven't felt this "well" ever in my life. i don't know whether i'm BP, ADD, or what (different Rx from different Drs) but whatever it is i'm taking (prozac & Li) is working. don't despair cowgirl, it may just be that you haven't found the right combo yet! peaceout...
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I learned about the kindling from MonkeyC - I had never heard of it either.  I feel better than I have ever felt, too.

The only thing that I wish I didn't have at times was a greater sense of my illness - I know that's weird.  At times, I miss the not knowing and even though I don't miss the aftermath of the tornado - I almost feel like there's one of me that muddles along while watching the behavior of the BP part.  It's hard to explain.

I can't take antidepressants - according to my pdoc.  I was on Cymbalta and it didn't work well....made my mania worse.  I couldn't come down from the mania.  I talk Lamictal 200mg now.  I do feel a lot better - had a manic and a depressive episode recently, but it didn't last as long.  
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I was confirmed to have bp a year ago (but clearly had known myself for 10). I have tried a few different things but my moods are getting so rageful and tearful again. 20 mg of ambien isnt keeping me alseep for more than 5 hours or so. My mood swings come on quickly throughout the day. i can feel myself changing. I take 150mg of Lamictal. I'm so tired of trying for fear nothing will ever take this mental pain away. It's affecting my wonderful marriage. He doesn't understand. Some advise please. Thank You, Pinky
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I need help bad... I really can't figure anything out. I know I am gifted in many ways. I have made tons of cash at times and other times I can't focus enough to pay my regular bills. I constantly think of dying but my 4 kids keep me from going there. I really can't wait to rest. I need guidance. I know one day god willing I will be free of this torment. My mind races and I can never get the chance to think clearly. I must have stated 10 businesses by now all of which would have made a ton of cash but I lose interest in them. I sleep for EVER and usually don't wake up untill absolutly nessisarry to not get fired from my job. I really can't stand it any more. I was in recovery for 10 years and never felt like the rest. I hear you feel like people finally understand you when you get involved in the program. Not me. People are always nervous around me and I them. I have alot of Charisma but I can't stand to be around people even for a little while. I was diagnosed bipolar and started taking depakote. At first it helped but I startyed drinking again. It feels good to be in normal social situations. I enjoy getting drunk. The depakote seemingly cut alot of my ideas down to a managable size but at a cost. Now I feel as though I am emotionless. Please help. Cause I rally don't want to die before I know peace. I struggle everyday to go to work. My kids keep me going.
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I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and it's really out of hand and I'm only 22.  I know I have to have had it for at least seven years and it definitely was nowhere near as bad then as it is now.  I think stress has something to do with the rate of it's progression.  I think mine only got as bad as fast as it did because I've had a "chaotic life" according to people.  You can lose so much contact with reality so easily once it progress to a certain point.  Not only will you have severe problems with mood but you'll have problems with psychosis to where you'll start doing stupid things like putting bread in the sink and not realizing it and hallucinating like you'll see people who aren't even there or have really bad paranoia or bizarre delusions.
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drewvilla - you seem to have very much the same experiences that I have had lately.  I tried to explain my suicide attempt to someone one time as "needed to rest - just wanted to rest without the noise in my head - stopping the exhausting of being me!"   I understand.  What are you taking now?

Corlenspar- I feel for you so much.  I feel like I have always been bipolar.  I didn't get diagnosed until 40  but struggled for YEARS!  I did well until I got to be about your age and then it progressivley got worse.  I think a lot of it was because of stress, and a lot was because I was taking the wrong meds and it spiraled from there.  Just hang in there.  Getting stable could make the difference in you haveing a productive / stable life.

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Hey guys,

I am only 29 years old and recently got diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I. Initially I too just like most of you got misdiagnosed as having depression. My PCP started me on Prozac which really messed me up, I had those mixed episodes and one evening I completely lost it and tried to commit suicide by overdosing with alocohol while my husband was in the living room, just a few feet away from me! It was after that ER episode and going to see my primary care physician again that she told me to stop and go see a psychiatrist so they could properly diagnose me and give me the correct meds. So it's been almost two weeks on Lamictal now but I still feel sad mostly and have no desire to return to work at my engineering company. Although, I realize it's a really good job and I need it for the health insurance. To top it all off, what makes my case even worse and more complicated is the fact that I am originally from Pakistan, all my family except for my youngest sister are back in Pakistan. My husband is American (caucasian), we have no family here and no friends really either. The only few friends we have are from work and they're all his friends.
I haven't told my parents about my condition either because I don't want them to worry about me, they already have tons to deal with and I don't feel that me returning to Pakistan and living them for a year or so is the best option. I believe my condition comes from my dad and his side of the family. My two sisters haven't gone to the doctor for a diagnoses but I'm almost certain they suffer from some kind of depression as well. I really don't know what to do these days since I'm scared stiff about returning to work at Boeing and dealing with feelings of anxiety, lonliness, and depression all over again. I'm currently on a leave of absence from work (it's been 3 weeks now) but I need to figure out my uncertain future soon.

Any ideas or help will be greatly appreciated.
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Because of the potential of a rare rash and a slow titration level Lamictal takes about a couple of months for a person to build up to a proper dose. Although you will have to follow your psychiatrist's rate for raising the dose of Lamictal it will take a while to build up to a proper blood level. I was on it and had the same frustration but once it got to a working dose it was quite helpful. Give it some time.
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Hello,

Thanks for your comment. I am on week 2 of taking Lamictal now and am currently taking 50 mg with the dose eventually growing to a max of 100 mg. Pretty much as soon as I got on this med, the confusion and fogginess from Fluoxotine (generic of Prozac) went away (thank God for that!). However, I still have my depressive days where I don't want to interact with anyone, no interest in anything, and don't feel like getting out of the house. Today I was surprised because it was one of those days where i'm feeling suicidal again. Maybe it's because I see my psychiatrist tomorrow to go over my leave of absence documents.

I just feel at a complete loss these days and don't know which way my life's heading or if I have any control over it. I never thought I would end up like this but unfortunately this is the reality and I have no hope it's ever going to get better but thanks for caring.
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I think I have had 4 or more depressions and I was diagnosed with bp first was my divorce, then a relationship with a girl freind, then a job loss. It seems to me that their are triggers. I never took meds until this last 1 I am 48 and have been on lamictal, wellbutrin,lithium,zyprexa, and klonipin (klonopin). I still have a hard time in the mornings but I have kept my job as a fire fighter. I am worried that I may have been missdiagnosed. 1 shrink said I was bi polar and another says I have major depression.
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It would be essential for them to make a conclusive diagnosis so that they could know specifically how to treat you. Besides the mood tracker here its good to inform yourself. If you go to the welcome page there are websites linked up for informational purposes about mood disorders and their treatment that you could then discuss with your psychiatrist. For myself I know today my moods will be a bit elevated as it is the last day of my Catapres application but that mood stabilizer is rarely used because of its side effect profile but it also treats my physical disability. Some forms of bipolar do have a stronger aspect of depression and a psychiatrist should be able to provide a diagnosis based on how a person's mood swings vary and what they experience. What I did when I had difficulty with finding specific treatments was to see a psychopharmocologist and at one time accepted a referral to a mood disorders specialist but each person is different in their needs and specifics as regards diagnosis and treatment.
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I am over 60 and been on Lithium for 27 years, I am beginning to get thinning hair, tremors and memory loss. I do not know for sure whether to put this down to BP medication or old age. But what can come from advancing age or time with BP is awareness and the possibility of knowing when I am getting ill. After repeated episodes and having a carer who spots the warning signs, hopefully things will not be so bad if I take notice of what carer says!. It is also encouraging to read that someone that was over 60 never had another episode....hope I am the same.
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I agree with mental illness progressing with age. I have pal mal sezuires and skiterzerfrainia and bipolar disorder i am 31 i was dianosed when i was 16 i have kids and married and they are terrified of me at times.

I tell them i feel fine then snap for no reason at all . My mind is a fluttering mess i never can think clearly and when i am stressed i have seizures and skiterfranic fits to the point i committed suicide 3 times on my own life the voices told me to. i was hospitalized 4 times the 4th time i was hospitalized they litterly strapped me to the hospital bed ralls. i was forced to take pills i told the dr i did not want and placed on suicide watch for the 30 days i was at the state hospital for .

The age part i agree it is making mental illness the worse for anyone the older you get the more memory loss develops.

I am on sirquil and lithium  the maxium doses that the fda allows. I am not able to work anymore the last time i worked i lunged at my boss with a pocket knife.

People who don't know think we the mental illness community are freaks this is not out fault we are the way we are. I blame stress and daily life my self the demand and stress of us to be perfect to act a certain way to remind us we are not in the normal as normal people like to lable us to them we are mentally ill we are the losers on their toteum pole. Employers claim they don't discrimmante against us . Go into any place like walmart and tell them oh by the way i have skiterfrania or bipolar they give you the look of denial and tell you NO to your face.

In the mean time we have to suffer being poor and less fortunate because we have a mental illness. People never let that stop you . Get a hobby get a activity you like fpr exsample like painting pr gardening things like that and prove to the others you are better then them. Denial is only a passage of life . Don't let the so called normal folkd bring us down that think like we do no matter what !
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I have a son that is 13. I dont know if he is bipolar or ADD, Im so confused on what to do he take adderal 20mg ER, and WAS taking abilify 2mg but nothings working. He gets outraged screams throws things cusses at me, he doesnt get in trouble at school but at home he's on a roll. I dont know what to do. I know I dont want constant cocktails giving to him to figure this out , but somebody please tell me what I'm in for. Im scared for him, Please give me your feedback
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I'm nineteen and I know that seems very young since most of y'all are older on here. I'm living up in a household who didn't know how to raise a BP child, I went this summer and visited my birthmom and half-brother, who also suffer from BP. I'm currently on Lamictal also know as Lamotrigine... yes it's an anti-seizure medication but it also works fatasic for BP... I know this is an older thread, but I hope this helps.
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Hello there, having read all your posts i am amazed how alike we all are. im bipolar but have only been diagnosed the last 7 years, i had been treated for depression before this from the age of 16, i am now 53. My story is much like all of yours, bouts of manic episodes followed by major deppression afterwards. I too have attempted suicide many times & been hospitalised a few times. I have a wonderful psych doctor now who has me on a stable road with a combination of meds, im very lucky, but only got to see him after a manic episode where i thought it would be a great idea to take some lighter fuel & burn all the weeds in my garden at 3 o'clock in the morning, burning my arm in the proccess & being put in a mental ward for my efforts! That was when i was properly diagnosed, i had hidden all my maddness quite well up to that point, a neighbor had seen me & called the police lol. It does get worse with age, i am proof of that but i am also proof that it can be managed. i have been episode free for 2 years & although i miss the highs i dont get so low that i cant function. I often complain that i feel rather flat but better that than doin the things i did lol. Im new here & just wanted to share a little of myself with you, i will continue reading this thread with great interest, i hope you dont mind me sharing in it? Oh one more thing, i am taking Quetiapine 400mg, carbamazepine 1000mg & sertreline 150mg, i cannot take lithium it affected my liver. My med combo is really helping & monitored so my psych doc can alter it if i show any signs of change  :)
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    After my first semester of law school, at the age of 39, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on lithium. I did not accept the diagnosis at first, and had some issues maintaining compliance with the medication, but three years later my life has been ruined: I was unable to complete my education, amassed $96,000.00 in student loan debt, alienated my relationships with the people closest to me, have not been able to work, etc., and I have not been able to leave the living room of my home since Oct., 2010.

My questions are: did the lithium do this to me? Or do I in fact have bipolar disorder? Was the stress of law school responsible for the onset or exascerbation of this illness? If I have this illness, will it continue to get worse? etc.

I am extremely frightened by my circumstances. It seems I have exercised tremendously poor judgment on the lithium, and I can not function at all. I am afraid of the condition worsening, being alone, and dying in very unpleasant circumstances in the future. I am seriously contemplating ending my life for these reasons.

Any help is appreciated. Thank you.
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  Its very rare for lithium to worsen mania (unless there is an interaction with any other medications you are taking its always best to let your psychiatrist know about any other medications you are taking or any other diagnoses) but like any medication sometimes it doesn't work as it should as each person responds differently to each medication. However when a person with bipolar is not responding to treatment its not that uncommon for the concerns such as you discussed (which I have experienced when I wasn't responding well to medications) to occur. It would be worthwhile to discuss this with your psychiatrist and they could decide to best adjust and/or change your medications as appropriate.
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Wow...I was diagnosed with bipolar in 1984 at the age of 14 and am now 41 years old.  I guess I am lucky because I went from 1989 until coming off my Depakote to try and get pregnant in 2004 without a major episode.  I had my son in 2005 and have been back on Depakote and am doing well.

I thought because my episodes became few and far between that the illness improves in time.  At any rate, mine has and i am grateful and I usually stay away from these sites because the more I think about bipolar the more I anyalyze it, and I refuse to let it define me.

Peace  
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Thankyou for all the information you are sharing...I am 51 and have been fighting this battle since 1991, with a doctor, and alone since I was a young teen.  I feel I have found a place to share and ask questions of others living this strange and misunderstood life.  I have only begun to understand the small things.  I can see the same symptons in my 24 yr old Son.  He has no health insurance and I want to help him...but all I can do is pray
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I am scared my son is eleven they have been telling me since he was five know they say bioplar with mixed areas I dont know what to do they cant get his coctail ritr
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I was a nurse working in psychiatric nursing for 20 years. I was the nurse that could do three times the work of other nurses. I did everything to perfection. When I was at work I was non stop. I grew up in a family of abuse. Well when I turned 42 I became so depressed, psychoticand suicidal. i had psychiatrists that treated me for depression and anxiety. No longer could work. I was in the worst darkness for 7 years. I ended up on a psych ward and that's where I was diagnosed as Bipolar. I've been on every med there is! I was very hard to treat. Now I take Cymbalta 120mg and Lamictal 400 mg. and Xanax prn, and Ambien CR for insomnia. I finally am getting to where I can function at my best. I know I will never work, but at least I can be somewhat content with my life and not drive my family nuts! I think you know what I mean. Hope this helps. I think finding a Psychiatrist that really cares and isn't all about pills. Usually there are other issues that need to be faced, like me with my abuses. Blessings.
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What about meditation? And what kind of Dr. Should one see about BP.? Why does it get worse? Define worse.
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Meditation is a useful tool but you have to be somewhat stable to begin it. Can't meditate when your mind is racing non-stop. A personal should ideally see a psychiatrist about bipolar. The first appointment is usually at least an hour long, and it may take a few times seeing someone before you get a diagnosis unless it is obvious you are either manic, hypomanic, or depressed.

Untreated bipolar has been shown to get progressively worse with time. More episodes and more severe episodes. The theory is that the brain pathways get strengthened each time someone has an episode so those pathways are easier to access with each successive episode. Since the pathways are strengthened it takes less for a person to become manic or depressive.

They believe that treating bipolar means these pathways aren't strengthened and thus there it is less likely to get progressively worse over time. Lithium has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and can actually reduce some of the damage that was previously caused.

If you are doing research this is called the Kindling Effect.
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I just don't understand it... my wife also was prescribed adderal and SSRI and she fell into a hypo manic episode. She admitted herself into the hospital and we had to put her in a hospital until she was 'weened sp?' off it. Why do they keep trying that combo? People talk about a cure for aids or cancer. What about a cure for BP? My heart goes out to all of you directly suffering from this condition.
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Yes.

I saw a chart of somebody's pre-lithium BP in an old scholarly article. The phases got higher and higher and closer and closer till they were continuous and the person died of exhaustion.
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I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 when I was 48,and ADD at 55. My life is so much happier,  ut I know that if I had been diagnosed earlier I would not have gotten as sick.
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I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 when I was 48,and ADD at 55. My life is so much happier,  ut I know that if I had been diagnosed earlier I would not have gotten as sick.
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My husband was diagnosed bipolar a few years ago, but he can't admit he has it and it is ruining our marriage.  He's been to two doctors and both prescribed seroquel but it doesn't seem to work and neither doctor followed up to make sure it was working.  He is going to a new doctor in 2 weeks and I am wondering if there are some meds I should ask about.  How can I get him to understand he has this and that he needs help?
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i am 17th yare girl i tahnk madec for deprecen  i thank i have bipolar what sing of bipolar  hoe can u tell if ur bipolar i thuor sulfe i cry for noronze at all i whant to sellp all the time  i am  deprost all the time i get mad at pople for no reze at all
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Hey all
I do not have BP but was in a relationship with a man who does. He left me a couple of days ago - I'm pregnant with his child, but he's cut me off entirely. He has significant stress financially and from a previous marriage.
He claims he brofe it off because we are incompatible. What I don't understand is that he has vascillated between 'You're the love of my life, I can't wait to be a family' and 'You're manipulative like my ex wife, you're sick. I wont put up with it'. I would like to go on record as saying - yes  have my flaws, but l am nothing like his ex wife, based on his opinion of her.
Here's my question. Is the bailing because of bipolar and he really can't help himself or take on the stress of a child? Or is he - and I'm sorry to say this - using it as an excuse? He's generally quite functional. Holds a steady job, makes decent money. I have seen his episodes, but somehow he manages to put on the act when he needs to get things done.
I have been super supportive of him, have done tonnes of research on it, have made lifestyle changes to manage his symptoms and even went to counselling with him.
He is out of my life and has made it clear he will have minimal involvement with the child, if I choose to keep it. He has in fact suggested I put it up for adoption.
I dont understand the sudden switch, the total cut off and the emotionless way in which he is managing this.  
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Yes the difficulty in expressing emotions appropriately and having difficulty relating to people can be part of bipolar at times.
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If you are in a study, you would have to drop out to add more medication. I am surprised that the study does not include a mood stabilizer, unless they are trying to show that Abilify stabilizes mood... I take it and it doesn't stabilize my moods.
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The pdocs don't follow up unless YOU make an appointment and go in. Follow-up starts with your action.
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Please try running/jogging for 15 minutes to half an hour every day in a park with trees. If possible find a jogging companion. Don't worry about getting jogging gear. Just run for the fun of it. do it today, now!

It will help more than you realize.
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Exercise, especially running/jogging during daytime increases serotonin naturally. Running/jogging/brisk walk in a park with greenery and trees has the same calming effect as meditation. Don't worry about gear, just do it in a relaxed, non-stress way.

Run to lower BP! Run for your life! Run for your health and peace of mind!
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im  bipholar and adhd  and i have tiny bit, of skitzafrania this is something you don't just make up everday as a just a disease  it's  through  not  just through what we've been through but also trying to remember or move on to the future not what happend in the past i was diagnosed from birth to 3days old  with bipohlar adhd alpesia  and amenisia  disease called short term long term memory loss  and  asthma  and adhd  and bipohlar and    a lil bit of autism and skitz afrania speech probs since  birth to age 14 in a half which is how old i am now  and people think it's just a made up believe or myth were making up  and they act it out on television it's making not just our lifes or feelings but those diseases worses  think  about the people who have it and what they must be feeling in  their everyday  schedule and life proposales with these type of disabilaties and functional diseases they may go away and sometimes they never do so its not funny at all.  you have to take risks and alot of  things in your life serious  theirs time for the happy sad emotional moments and then theirs    times to worry about what's going to happen to us  when wer'e older and how much more time do we have before it can be healed  coming from someone like not just me angelrayejohnson but alot of people in your everyday night and life  and your surroundings with the same not just issues but who live with  some  of the same symphtoms  or  diseases  or diff  more far  uncontrollable  diseases and   are afraid to face whats  infront of them  in their lives  ik i still am  trying to face whats in store for me and everyone else day to day i'm yea i;m overprotective sure but   if u  saw  how much a family or firend ro someone close to you goes through  nm what symphtom or disease or disabilaty might be  maybe  you see our gifts inside our out of our  everday and nighteveryday*  lives and maybe you wont  hate or critize. everything or anyone  with diff or   higher disaabilaty confirmation   u seen in rl maybe u won't  take advantage of us anymore   look outside the box even if you dont see one  at   livestakes or if isa broken or stuck lockt o open your heart please look  healing comes and goes to heal some uf but does it heal us all  love angelrayejohson123   with all of most of the symphtoms   since birth aand 3 days old with friends with diff ones looking for hope jsutt like evryone us and   do they heal us all or treryt o even if it can or cant be done im  14 ina half  since  3 days old and  birth iv'e deal t with no  just biohlar short term longtermmeory loss h
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Lithium settles my mind down so I can sleep. You chould look in to that. Anti-depressents and bipolar proceed with caution!
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I am so happy to have found this thread - so many nice and well-informed people.  I just returned from a trip to see a relative and had a major episode. I left the home, drove around a large city - in dangerous places of the city for 11 hours.  Then, I was at LAX for 7 hours waiting to get a plane at 6:00 a.m. It was also a dangerous place to be.  This episode was caused by my guilt over my treatment of a close family member who I continue to disappoint. I take Lamictal.  I am 60 years and seem to be getting worse. I have run up debt again - $80,000 7 years ago and then, bankruptcy. Now, about $15,000 and I am becoming successful in paying it down. I haven't told my husband.  I am so tired of being mentally ill. I don't feel suicidal - just tired and like I am not worth anything to anyone. I feel so sorry for my family. I have no more friends. I will read this thread, hoping for new posts and will make every effort to be of support to others. This is a very lonely disease.
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I have been diagnosed with BP and have struggling with impulse control, even though I am not manic right now. A therapist recently told me that he thinks I'm in a mixed state, however, I'm having trouble understanding what exactly is a mixed state. I know that you show both symptoms of depression and mania. I am having trouble identifying the symptoms. Everytime I decide how I'm feeling it seems to change. I do have an appointment with my pdoc today and hope I can explain it to him. I'm taking Cymbalta and Abilify and thought it was working pretty well but then started doing things impulsively that I know I shouldn't but do anyway. I just want to know if anyone else suffers from mixed states and how they know that that is what is going on and how they deal with it.
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I totally understand you! I am 28 years old and a US war veteran. I began noticing my symptoms towards the end of my first deployment at age 21 but because I had deployed, I was diagnosed with PTSD because of combat. I noticed the constant mood swing. I woke up one day and wanted a divorce, I became more and more impulsive, very irritable, detached, I couldnt sleep. I was a mess. I racked up debt, lost my apartment, my cars, the savings and pretty much ended alone. I had access to good doctors through the VA system but I felt bad and useless as a young man. I couldn't keep a job and the only reason I didn't commit suicide was because they taught me at church that if I did, I would burn in hell for ever and that scared me more than my pain. Coping with my symptoms has not been easy. Im currently married and I see the effects in my wife and our marriage, in the life of my step kids and in my own. I have very productive moments when my mind is functioning at high levels and its hard for me to sleep with all the racing thoughts and my depression gets worse and worse. I could be driving and happy like a dog and someone could cut me off and I can go into rage. I know all this sounds bad, but its not that bad. I learned that one of the first steps is to realize that we do have a condition just like if it were cancer, a broken bone or something visible. I learn to recognize my mood and find things that calm me down like music or my pet chocolate lab. Pills and more pills are not the only treatment, they go hand and hand with our lives. I find ways to keep my mind busy but in a productive way like taking classes, interacting as much as I can even if I dont feel like it and it irritates me because I realize that it is a battle of the mind. Everyday for me is a battle and sometimes I get discouraged because I just turned 28 and I think about the future a lot even more when I feel like my condition worsens. But I know I must continue everyday like when I was deployed in Iraq. MIND OVER MATTER!!! Find ways to fight even if people don't understand you, even when you want to give up,keep fighting. I joined a military community help group of people with mental health conditions and in someways it has help. Find people that are like you and are productive and they will be an inspiration. I just want to tell to simply not to give up. Stay blessed    
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I Am glad to hear a positive response and perspective about this.  My mom was diagnosed bipolar at onset, then unipolar.  She took so many meds and her worst episodes occurred in her late thirties, forties and fifties. I believe God spared her in a sad way by giving her cancer.  She passed at the age of fifty seven.  Strangely, she was more herself and rational during chemo and as the cancer spread.  My fears were always that I would also get sick, but I suffered severe depression at age 35 and since, I have been on antidepressants that seem to work.  Unfortunately, my 16 year old daughter did get the gene.  When I was 37, my husband was in an accident, almost died, and became permanently paralyzed.  This traumatic event coupled with genetics set the stage for our then 13 year old.  She has struggled without meds for two years, and at age 15 we started her on meds after she attempted suicide.  It has been triple turbulence in our home before and since.  She has gained over fifty pounds, lost all self confidence and worth, took on a bf with lots of co dependent issues, drug abuse, and, she has rages once a month for weeks at a time that usually end with calling the police or taking her to the er if we can take the beating long enought to get her there.  
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I'm 21 years old and I was diagnosed BP at 19. I am ADD as well. I struggled in school with serious concentration issues. When I hit preteen years i knew something was wrong. I found myself to be constantly up and down to the point to where i was ALWAYS emotionally exhausted. I constantly found myself drawing conclusions with people, taking things things wrong, randomly becoming enraged by the smallest things and I was never able to sleep bc my mind would run at night. I'm still not sure whe I have episodes. Everyday of my life since around 12 I have felt an exteme high of explosive happiness and be extemely hyper then crash and wind down really fast and want to cry. This happens at least 4 times a day. I hide it well. I was always scared of what people thought of me so I tried to behave to get accepted. I'm only 21 and mentally and physically im 17. I started working at 19 bc i was nervous about struggling to hold a job bc of my emotional problems. I've read all these comments an i can relate in some sort of way. I'm nervous about the future bc i feel like I'm not gonna be able to support myself :( any advice?
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   It would be worthwhile to see what effects you in the workplace and see if you can set up a reasonable accommodation that could help you be able to cope with it.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have just started to believe i am bipolar and it is because my moods have gotten so much worse. I'm 35 and until 4mo ago never connected my moods to bipolar. I'll admit I'm scared to death of being bipolar. Even scarier is if I'm not. I don't understand my rage and can't control myself at all sometime. I have lows beyond anything remotely normal. I have just started my process, call mental health today, waiting for a reply. I have know idea what to expect, I just know I can't be normal.    
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Avatar_f_tn
love your post, i have bipolar II disoder and i agree the meds are side effect hell for sure,
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Avatar_f_tn
love your post, i have bipolar II disoder and i agree the meds are side effect hell for sure,
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I have bipolar II and my illness has gotten much worse with age (I'm 47). I just found out, though, taking SSRIs may have been causing it to get worse, so I'm coming off my citalopram and going to be put on lamatrogine.

There's some research now that SSRIs and SNRIs can exacerbate bipolar and if you're BPDII it's often misdisagnosed as depression and SSRIs prescribed, which can lead to rapid cycling and a worsening of your symptoms over time.
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Avatar_m_tn
You might find a benzodiazepine such as diazepam would help with the racing thoughts...

Obviously I would never recommend this but I was self-medicating bipolar symptoms with heroin for years and wondering why the methadone didn't work for me (I felt depressed out of my mind on methadone). Eventually I gave up heroin but became psychotically manic. When I did take heroin on top of mania the one therapeutic thing it did was to make my crowded brains suddenly feel crystal clear ~~ in effect the racing thoughts had stopped.

I'm thinking maybe a benzo would do a similar thing. Drs don't like prescribing them as they're addictive if used every day for any length of time. Also if you do take them every day they become markedly less effective, so they're much better retained strictly for PRN use.

Hope this maybe has helped...
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Does BP worsen with age? I read that it does, in my case it has, and in my sister's case it has. Of course, two anecdotes and a vague remembering I read something somewhere isn't all that definitive.

My last mania (which was about three years ago) included delusions, which was a first for me. I also went AWOL (from work not the military) for two weeks and ended up across the country. But I soon crashed into a mixed state and really didn't require any intervention. No lasting harm done, except for maxed out credit cards.

My sister's most recent mania (a month ago) resulted in a 10 day hospitalization, a first for her. She also lost her apartment, car, and came very close to a 6 month commitment. Also bear in mind she was on Tegretol and high doses of benzos at the time.



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My mother is 78, is a unipolar manic. She has manic episodes that last from 6-9 months with little to no depression, about every 3-4 years. I can't go into all the details (would be a book). She never admits what she has, although was formally diagnosed in a hospital where she admitted following prison for calling the police nonstop. That was about 20 years ago, she was put on lithium and cleared right up, but of course stopped after she was released. My dad is a co-dependent, just moves away when she is bad. She is also a servere alcoholic. Now she is in a manic episode, going on for about 3 months, living in her house in Tahoe with 4 other homeless people she says she is "saving", including my brother who is also BP. She has been smoking and drinking throughout her life.

My sister and I have given up trying to help, we have gotten verbal abuse over it for over 35 years, you can only take so much. If my dad passes first, it will be a living nightmare for my sister and I since my mom as never paid a bill in her life, my dad handles all their finances.

It is so sad, she would have been an awesome mom if not for the BP.
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I am not sure why but I feel like even waking up is a struggle. I am bi polar and I don't take my medicine like I should bc I can't afford it. I am so tired of this lonlely, empty life I am 42 and I just ready to sleep.
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585414_tn?1288944902
    There are still options as regards coverage for medications. If you dont work you might be Medicaid eligible. ff you do work and your state has it you could be eligible for the Medicaid Buy in for Working People with Disabilities. Also there is the Patient Assistance Program where the specific pharmaceutical company can provide the medication without cost dependent on eligibility factors. There are other insurance options as well. There are agencies that could help in this regard. It is worth finding out about. When a person experiences the depressive aspect of bipolar a sense of hopelessness and sleep disruption are common concerns. There should be a way you could get the help you need.
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In my opinion, he ejected because he's bipolar.  Deep down, he knows who or what he is and thinks you will have a better chance on your own, especially with a child.  I am 51 years old, and was diagnosed with BP2 last week but I've had suspicions for years. At age 30 I was diagnosed with depression.  Your ex-boyfriend's behavior sounds identical to mine.  That's the biggest frustration.  We can fake it most of the time, especially at work, but not all the time and we take it out on the people we love most.  It burns up energy and we're only human.  I hope you can forgive him and yourself.  I want to be "normal", just realizing it probably won't happen.  And the worst is that I have a son and I'm learning I may have passed this on to him.

I don't know if you'll read this or if it helps but I wish you the best.  Thanks for listening, or if you don't read, then thank you, Universe, for letting me say this somewhere, somehow to someone.
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In my opinion, he ejected because he's bipolar.  Deep down, he knows who or what he is and thinks you will have a better chance on your own, especially with a child.  I am 51 years old, and was diagnosed with BP2 last week but I've had suspicions for years. At age 30 I was diagnosed with depression.  Your ex-boyfriend's behavior sounds identical to mine.  That's the biggest frustration.  We can fake it most of the time, especially at work, but not all the time and we take it out on the people we love most.  It burns up energy and we're only human.  I hope you can forgive him and yourself.  I want to be "normal", just realizing it probably won't happen.  And the worst is that I have a son and I'm learning I may have passed this on to him.

I don't know if you'll read this or if it helps but I wish you the best.  Thanks for listening, or if you don't read, then thank you, Universe, for letting me say this somewhere, somehow to someone.
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Avatar_f_tn
hi almost30, I am 34 and I am having the same trouble as u, I was diagnosed at 18 and I havent taking any meds since 21.... I thought I could handle it too.... but now more than ever I think I need help .... I have been on the edge of a breakdown for 3 years now... and I am scared and dont know what to do... please msg me and we will talk more
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Avatar_f_tn
hi almost30, I am 34 and I am having the same trouble as u, I was diagnosed at 18 and I havent taking any meds since 21.... I thought I could handle it too.... but now more than ever I think I need help .... I have been on the edge of a breakdown for 3 years now... and I am scared and dont know what to do... please msg me and we will talk more
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Avatar_m_tn
To the readers,

This is a blog where posts are made by people who are not doctors.  I notice there is an urban legend growing here with Rach as leader that the disorder gets worse with age, but there is no relevant age range mentioned.  My experience of 45 years is that as my body has aged, my ability to sustain mania has diminished.  My first psychotic episode was at age 24 and the last at age 50.  I am 63.  It is important to follow a medication schedule, but also to learn and then avoid your triggers.  Mine was sexual affairs outside of marriage.  It also helps to avoid alcohol and drug abuse.
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I have been on Lamotrigne for 5 years, a psychotic medicine that is a generic, 400 miilirams now for my manic. My psychiatrist has been raising my dosages, slowly in that time frame.  I was also on cymbalta for depression.  Because of the sexual problems it can cause e.d. and such, He lowered the dosage, and now take it when needed.  One of my symptoms is I cannot manage money very well.  That gets me depressed because I cannot support my family.  On a daily regiment, the cymbalta elevated my heart rate.  So I take only when needed.  To tone down my rages, i take a mild tranquilizer known as clonozapam once a day. It evens me out quite nicely.  When the daily aggravations of life hit me, I go into a tail spin. These drugs have helped me. I just hope I can keep on supporting my family without going into the poor house.  I have learned to accept what is, my wife and daughter love me unconditionally.  Married 17 years, have a daughter everyone loves and says she is an amazing kid.  So I try to look at the good side which is very good, and I exercise almost daily and that takes my mind off mysef, plus I watch a lot of old detective shows on netflix and spend lot of time with my family which helps me feel safe.  My 12 year old daughter thinks  I am king, despite my disorder.  Keep on the meds and see your psychiatrst when he reccomends it.  Even if you cannot afford it. They will work with you. He may have some contacts.  Mine is very good he knows what he is doing with me.  Do not try to get treatment from your primary care doctor.  They just cannot help, but keep him informed when you see him.  I am 52 and was diagnosed at 40 or so.
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I just found this site today because I was searching for information of how my Bipolar disease will affect me as I get older.  I was correctly diagnosed in (98) at  40 yrs old. I am 55 now. My Psyc. told me years ago that it would get worse as I got older and that's why it was important to keep a long term treatment plan in place.  I was notorious for missing appts. and ending up in the Psyc. wards.  Medication therapy will change over the years as my condition changes.  
Several years ago I was able to get into a program at the VA Hospital that has given me a full time case manager who is responsible to insure I have medication and that I go to my appts.  He also does home visits.  My condition has improved greatly since then.  However,  my thinking and agitation plus depression has been changinging.  I've started to rage on people for things I think they have done to me and these episodes have increased over the last 2 years.  All my symptoms has seemed to intensify lately.  My Psyc. is aware but can only adjust meds.  I'm afraid that the Psych.Ward will be my Retirement Home.
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My dr also said it would get worse with age. I have gotten worse with age most definetly.
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As I take inventory of the last 22 years since I knew about my bipolar. I think it is harder to deal with. Never took meds, had lots of consequences, and I am having a harder time coping. I don't know if I'm worse or I have more responsibilities and less youthful strength. It's been awhile since I had a full type 1 delusional experience, though I cycle more now. Better, worse, or different? Hard to say really. The brain is like other organs in that it does wear with age bipolar or not. I am finally going on meds, mostly to protect my family. I will rethink this later, but at 42, it seems to have changed, but I can't say the bipolar is worse. I can say life is worse, I still can't rely on myself and have not been able to live my dreams to the fullest. Disappointment and legit depression are always there right now, which makes the hypo mania less fun or productive. So far, I think the bipolar has stayed the same, while my life has changed a lot, making it feel worse. It probably is worse, I'll enjoy this denial as long as I can.
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I was coming off a combo depressive/manic episode a few years ago and was put on Risperdal.  After reading about it, I understood why my doctor put me on that specific drug.  As I said earlier this evening, don't let it throw you when you find out it's an anti-psychotic.  Initially that didn't sit well with me because, well, psychotic really implies different things.  Yet, I've been on the Risperdal, 1 mg in the evening, for 7 years.  He led me to believe it would be a temporary solution but I seriously believe I can't nor want to go without it.  The way I describe it is that it helps me think more clearly, not be in a fog as much, particularly on those really down days and in the evening, it can relax you and help with sleep.  I think sometimes it helps with the irritability.  When I was prescribed it, my main symptoms that bothered me was irritability and not being able to concentrate, i.e, racing thoughts.  Maybe you can ask your doctor about Risperdal (generic is Risperidone).  
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I just turned age 63 @ only found out about a year ago I have bipolar. Wife said doc said I had Bipolar 1 @ 2 but I thought 2. Doing very well with my meds so far. No longer drink any, and gave up cigs. Taking RISPERIDONE, DEPAKOTE, CITALOPRAM, & TRAZODONE. Hope I do not get worse with age.
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26 year old college student; studying IT with absolutely no interest in it. What you said; bless the fact you have kids, is something I can COMPLETELY relate on. Atleast from this standpoint; and my moodswings and depression is getting worser and affecting me professionally.

Alcohol allures us into chasing away the demons,
I have run many different side businesses, quite lucractive; but despite any progress I can get up, I ruin jobs, relationships, friendships, and have no family. What is money without love?

The depression is so overwhelming, fear can be so overtaking, and failing to concencrate has been horrible.

My mother dealt with these things, once a successful poet and editor in chief, now a lost soul on food stamps with no love from anyone. I am fearful of ending in her path.

Now, her issues are creeping into my head and honestly DESTROYING my capability, freedom, and ability to laugh, you know? to see my own color in my eyes again.

I have given myself to god, a higher power, to hopefully open doors to medication or actual SOLUTIONS so I can take on the world. If anyone can relate or speak to me about this please let me know, Merry Christmas.

Anyone who deals with this pain I understand; but our forums are about SOLUTIONS.

Currently on:

Wellbutrin XR 300 mg
Prescribed to God.

Looking to break free-If you know what I mean by this, then let's get working.
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Avatar_f_tn
I enjoyed reading your post. It was well thought out and very insightful. I am one of those that have progressed with age. My entire life was ripped apart because of this "monster" I have started being treated 20 years ago. I have had two episodes so severe that it lead me into the hospital for a nice long stay. AND that was while being on medication.

I have been on a cocktail of meds with several doctors who at times throw there hands up saying we can't do much else. Up the dose, lower the dose or trying something new or go back to something previously tried etc.. Medication for me keeps the monster from going to extreme. Sometimes. But it is a daily and I do mean a daily fight to recognize that I am out of my "close to normal" personality range.

I was able to get disability for BP (thank God) to avoid losing yet another job. I am lucky, I have good support group. Friends I have had since I was 13 that have stuck with me even after watching me struggle with this when none of us understood it. Support in new found faith. And support in a wonderful guy in my life who wouldn't walk away even when I told him too.

Thank you for listening.

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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Tami - you need Seroquel to calm the mind and racing thoughts. It's an anti-psychotic, but has use in treating bipolar.  Ask your doc.

I know your post was from 2008, just wanted to add this as a current post.  Maybe someone can get some relief from those racing thoughts.  (and grinding my teeth for me)

Pauly
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Avatar_f_tn
Seraquel works for some people really great. For me Seraquel caused me a tremendous amount of rage and did nothing to help me. Everyone is different.

As for teeth grinding. I have experienced this only on certain meds. Once the med was stopped, the teeth grinding went right away. Many people do not realize that certain meds cause this.
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my personal believe is that every kind of bipolar disorder can be controled. you should try and i am sure it will help.
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Avatar_f_tn
Please find the money to get medication at a local country treatment center.  It's like finding money when you were using drugs and alcohol.  It is an inherited disease, whether family members - even distant, were diagnosed or not.  I am 12 years sober and had my first mixed episode at 25 in need of hospitalization therefore, Bipolar type I.  I attempted suicide and 19 and played with an overdose at 13.  Read "Acceptance is the Answer" in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous if you subscribe to that treatment of your alcoholism.  We can't deal with things appropriately until we accept that these are the cards we have been dealt (some people have cancer or disabilities, this just happens to be ours - through NO fault of our own).  Symptoms can be largely relieved often and it just takes trials with medications.  Do NOT be discouraged.  There is a better life waiting for you out there!  Don't give up hope.  It will get better.  An AA group and program can be very helpful IF you don't buy into the fact that the symptoms of your mental illness are character defects.  The character defect is only to find a way to accept the cards you were dealt.  Then move on, take responsibility for them and get treatment.  I wish you the best!  LT
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Avatar_m_tn
Can I ask what meds you are on? I'm 40 and been on effexor for 11 years now. For a few years before I had my kids I took it with topamax and that was a good combo except I could not work due to the memory problems from the topamax, so I did not go back on it after my kids. But now I have lots of problems with anger, but at least I'm not suicidal. So I'm looking for a good combo. All my dr can suggest is topamax but I need a job to support my kids. I'm a single mom too. What meds are working for you and what is your low stress job? I didn't know there were any? LOL Thank you
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