Bipolar Disorder Community
Overwhelmed and alone. Is there some hope?
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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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Overwhelmed and alone. Is there some hope?

I am wondering how and/or if I will ever come out of this depression?  I am a 61 year old divorced female who has such a confusing combination of confirmed illnesses, it is difficult for me to determine which one is causing which symptom.  I feel like the little child at the dike...I don't know which finger to put in which hole first.
Here's the crux of the situation:
      1,  I have unstable "brittle" insulin dependent diabetes (it is very dibilititating and causes extreme mood swings (depression) [Blood Sugars range from  25 to over 500 frequently],
      2.  Multiple Sclerosis that causes extreme fatigue, leg weakness, loss of balance, forgetfulness, depression and loss of concentration and I have memory loss. I was recently taken off Copaxone because of the the expense.
      3.  I have a moderate case of OCD;  I am more compulsive but in certain situations I am also obsessive.
      4.  I am manic/depressive with, some dissociative behavior, I have been clinically depressed since I was in my teens.  I tend to isolate when depressed.  I can stay in my apartment for 10 to 14 days at a time and not talk to a soul for the entire time, except for my two cats.  I actually begin to enjoy being alone.  I also feel like I need to hide from people.  
      5.  I also suffer from PTSD.  I was abused as a child and have had two near-death experiences.  I still haven't been able to work through them sufficiently without  withdrawing.
      6.  Recently, I have had several teeth extracted (including my two front teeth) and am working with my dentist to get both upper and lower partial dentures. It has left me with only a few teeth to chew with.  I cannot go out in public to eat.  This has thrown me into a self image crisis where I feel repulsed when I look in the mirror.  I don't want to go out and let people see me.  When I do go out, I try to become almost invisible.  I hardly talk to anyone and keep to myself.
     7.  My anxiety/panic attacks have gotten worse over the last two years (since I went on disability).  This last year my anxiety/panic attacks have increased to the point that this December I was in Emergency two times for what the doctor's thought was a heart attack.  It turned out it was just panic attacks.  It happens at least 3-9 times a day.

My meds include: I currently take 150mg Effexor  XR, Lexapro 20 mg, for my depression.  I take Insulin for my diabetes and because I do not sleep at night, I take Temazapam.  The  I have to take anywhere from 1 to 3 .5 mg Clonazapam pills a day.  I get a racing heart, heart palpitations, chest pains.  There are times when I cannot get out of my bedclothes for days at a time, fearful of everything.  I do see a therapist twice a month, when I can get myself outside, but it is becoming harder and harder for me to make it to the appointment.  I don't know if my meds are enough or the right ones.  I have tried so many, these have worked for the last year or so.  I don't know if I'm just asking them to fix too much.

I am on disability because I cannot work and everyday is so unpredictable, I do not know if I will be able to get up, dressed and go out, or stuck on my sofa.  My doctor, neurologist, endochronologist, psychologist and psychiastrist have finally agreed that they are not certain what is the most debilitating illness and have acknowledged that all of them affect the other.

I am estranged from my family except for my grown son, who lives out of state, so I have very poor support system. I've tried to join support groups, but I can't get there on a regular basis.  Over the holidays, I took some photos of myself and realized that I've aged so much I am now repulsed at how I look and how wrinkled, blotched, and sagging I look. I feel I have aged 20 years in the last two.  I don't want to go out and am horrified at the thought of people looking at me.  I don't want to seem vain, but I just cannot get over how terrible I look.   I have, for the most part, always taken pride in my looks and how I appear to the world by dressing well, having my hair and make-up done.  I don't feel that any amount of make up or clothing will fix this situation.

I am going to add one more component to this situation.  Like most people today, I am facing a very severe financial crisis.  I don't know when I can pay my bills each month and this only adds to my anxiety.

  I realize I have many complicated and inter-related issues.  This new issue of feeling like the oldest wrinkled ugly woman in the world is beyond my ability to deal with on my own.  I am in tears all the time if I am not asleep during most of the day and stay up at night.  When I do get out, I try to do it at night, so that I won't be seen.  

I really am scared of these new feelings and attitudes.    I am a religious person, believe in God and pray every day, but all of these issues seem to overshadow my prayers.  Please give me some insight on what I can do?  I feel like I am really losing my mind. I don't expect a miracle from this forum, but I guess I need to feel like I am not alone in my struggles.

Thank you to anyone who responds.
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9 Comments Post a Comment
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672839_tn?1305796547
complicated.
you need to simplify a question to get response.
we'll help if we can.

I can also spend time alone when depressed.  That's ok.

can't help with meds as I do not take.

Hope you feel better, and you give this group a chance.  Simple questions first.  Once you know people, they may feel more comfortable with this question.

Hope this helps, Ann
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675923_tn?1296241611
Being in the bipolar community myself I am going to refer to the meds you are on for depression and sleeping. Are you seeing a regular doctor or a phyc? Personally, I trust a phyc over an MD because phyc's are specialized in depression and medications. I am a bit surprised that you are on a combination of anti depressants and sleep aids. This is only my opinion and I do agree with GeorgiaAnne, one issue at a time. I believe you will have a better chance at more answers. I know it is difficult when depressed to come up with one or two at a time because everything seems so "heavy" right now. I hope this info helps. Don't give up ~ El
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Avatar_n_tn
I too struggle with bipolar and have many of the same issues you have.  I don't know anything about the inter-relationship of the other health problems, but I know with me bi-polar issues directly affect my physical self.
I was diagnosed in 2000 but my doctor and I realized that I most likely had it all my life. I go to a psychiatrist so because they can prescibe meds and do therapy.  It does take some work to find the right one for you unfortunately.  I know you are religious, but you must have professional therapy in addition to the meds. My doc works on a sliding scale as I have no insurance, I also buy generic meds or if not available, I get them from Canada.  I am self employed and I too am under much financial strain.
I go through stretches of good and stretches of bad. I have been in a bad stretch since November. Some of issues I share with you are:
Disassociating and holing up in my house where I also work.  It's a struggle to return phone calls or email or even shower, brush teeth, and take pleasure in nothing. I am 46 and have always looked younger. but not now.  Face sags and wrinkles exaggerated in a depressive state, my lips start to look like grey liver and have a perpetual downturn, dull eyes, etc. Based on past episodes, I found that when I stabilized, everything perked up again, well as perky as a 46 and 61 yr old can get :)  I am a designer, so I too usually like to keep a decent presentation of myself.  It's not vain unless you are unrealistic and I see that you are not. I am more natural and simple, dress with clean lines, hair is natural silver, wear light make-up.  This all doesn't happen when I'm in a bad state and I can't stand the sight of me either, feel like a bag lady. I am estranged from all my family for years and have no kids, but 1 excellent cat. I have friends but no one close and since I usually have no desire to go out, it's hard to really keep them.  As you said, having a support group is necessary for good mental health. You prey but you may need to get to your church social functions, etc. I am not religious, so if that helps great, but it's not for me.  Some mild exercise is also essential, but I can't make my self do it.  You are probably really restricted with your phys problems, but you must find something.
As far as the sleeping meds, I need sometimes too. Good sleep is essential for mind/body repair.  Some of the other meds may disrupt your sleep or just the stress of all your going through.  Since Nov, I have been barely sleeping.  I fall asleep right away, the wake up at around 2:30.  My doc just added Trazadone for me at night.  It is an anti-depressant that makes you sleepy. Not sure if you know, but anti-depressants can make bi-polar worse, but in smaller doeses with a mood stabilizer, it seems to work for me.
I take 100mg Zoloft, 300 mg Lamictal (this is an anti-epilepsy drug, but is also effective for bipolar, it changed my life when I began taking it), the newly added Trazadone, and Rispiderone also newly added 1 week ago.  I think it is really helping.  The doc wanted to use Lithium instead of Rispiderone, but it can cause acne, and I have been plagued this past year with terrible acne on top of all my other self loathing!
All of these are now generic.
I am starting to get a little grip on things just this past week. Aside from the possibility of the new meds helping, I am trying to set very small goals.  I decided even if I don't leave the house, I will smooth my hair and put on eye make-up and a little cover make-up.  I added wearing shoes instead of slippers while I am working. Then this past Saturday, I had dinner with a friend and spent the night after chatting late.  She is also 61:).  I related to her many of my feelings that I am sharing with you, she was so supportive and she has been emailing me to check-up.  I think that helped too, it was a real hard push to get myself to go and I had a very nice evening.

Boy, I have been rambling on here and I must get back to my paperwork.  My best to you and please do 2 things: 1. Therapy  2. Check out Lamictal (Lamotragine).
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your words of understanding and kindness and sharing.  It's comforting to know that I am not the only one out there that is experiencing strange and dibilitating conditions.  I know that several people suggested that I separate my issues so that I can ask specific questions. I have done that in the past and unfortunately a solution for one issue sometimes makes one or all of the others worse.  I have troubled my previous doctors including my psychiatrist, therapist, neurologist, and endochronologist in trying to determining what is the primary or most impactive illness.  They were not able to really do that with the time I had with them.   The unfortunate thing is that these are mostly auto-immune / hormonal based or affected. I thought I had a great team of docs, but when I lost my insurance, I have been forced to deal with a local county hospital.  Now it is a good facility, a teaching hospital, in fact, but I am still in the process of getting my first appointments at the individual clinics.  They are computerized, but seem to work independently and don't really communicate with each other. What's more, if I have a medical issue and no imminent appointment, I have to go through their Emergency Room.  I have waited up to 18 hours to see a physician!  They do eventually take care of you and refer you back to your clinic, but it's not like regular doctor offices.  In fact, I have been experiencing an MS exacerbation the last 5 days, but I am not scheduled to see the neurologist until Feb. 17th.  I just don't have the energy to sit and wait in the ER all day or night.  I am trying to just deal with it as best as I can.

As far as my meds, I certainly plan to ask for a new regimin of RX's, but it looks like it is going to take some time.  The one thing I am learning about experiencing all of this is that I need to "keep the faith", have patience  and hope that someday I will get this figured out.  Linking with this community and others do help me pass the time as mentally healthy as possible.  I appreciate any input, sharing and/or suggestions.  I will keep these on file and will refer to them when the occasion presents themselves at future clinic/ER appointments.  You are all wonderful to take the time to connect with me.  Bless you!
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I have been struggling with bipolar for the last 7 years I am now 41.  I understand depression and like you my first instinct is to socially isolate.  The one thing that struck me when reading your messages is how articulate you are in getting your thoughts down.  

You took a big step to reach out, ask for help when you posted to this forum.  You are not alone and there are lots of us out there trying to do the best we can with the resources we have.

When I am really low the saying "This too shall pass" keeps me going, even when I am barely hanging on with my fingernails!

Be kind to yourself.

T
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I'm not surprised your confused with so much going on health wise.  It must be a difficult balancing act with the medications, making sure one doesn't interact with another or that one med for one condition doesn't exacerbate another condition.

The thing that struck me the most when reading your post was you poor self-image.  This is something that many of us go through in varying degrees.  I expect having your teeth removed has compounded this low feeling.  We are always more critical of our own appearance than others.  What we see in the mirror is not what others see.  The problem is, is that when we are feeling so down on ourselves there is nothing anyone can say to convince us otherwise.  

You also sound very lonely and I can empathise with your isolation as it is something I also do when I am depressed and even when I'm not!

Coming on here will give you support and friends who can relate to what you are going through.  I would suggest that you seek professional help though to get you through this deep depression and feelings of low self-worth.  You need to discuss with a psychiatrist that your anti-depressants are not working as well as usual.

Financial stress is also not good, especially when you are trying to cope with it alone.  I know that here in the UK there are help numbers we can ring to discuss debt and financial worries, that are free of charge.  It would be worth checking in the phone book to see if there is something similar where you live.  Over the telephone you do not need to worry about "facing" anyone and they should be able to give you solid advice.

One step at a time is my advice to you.  I'm sure that once you have your teeth sorted that in itself will help a little towards your self-esteem and you can work on from there.

Big hugs for you.
:-)
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599945_tn?1240385954
hi. i too am impressed that you got all your information across in such a clear concise manner while dealing with depression and all your other illnesses. well done to you. sorry to hear you are having such a rough time. maybe when you get used to your new medical care and the docs there get to know you better they will have a clearer idea on your treatment. we all isolate sometimes. at the moment i leave the house only when i absolutely have to. it is the nature of the disease. sometimes the smallest task can feel like climbing that mountain. do you read? there are some excellent books out there about self esteem issues etc.. prob associations to that could help, even over the phone with some of your illnesses. keep coming on here. the support is invaluable.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for all your responses.  I cannot tell you how invaluable your input, caring, suggestions and general kindness has helped me.  Nothing has changed with my physical condition, but on the psychological side I am trying to focus on "better days" and "this too, in time, shall pass".  I think it has helped a little.  I'm still not up and doing much, but I don't feel alone anymore.  I do little things and consider them "baby steps" and more importantly, giving myself permission to feel good about doing what little I did.  I am the hardest critic of myself and your thoughtful words have helped me immensely.  That is a priceless gift and I thank you all.  

I don't want to sound like I want  more sympathy or to sound incredulous after telling you all of the things I did above, but I wanted to mention that your words have translated over to what now seems confirmed the loss of my best friend of 33 years.  It's a long story, and she got really mad at me because I unplugged my phone for a week because I was not feeling like talking to anyone and she couldn't reach me.  (We've gone for weeks at a time not speaking to each other many times over the years and it was never a problem.  When I plugged it back in, she was the first to call.  She was so angry at me she thought I had done it intentionally to her.  She questioned whether I was "blowing her off".  It wasn't about her.  I knew she was going through enough of her own stuff, so I couldn't add mine on to her, so I didn't tell her.  When she got through yelling at me, she wouldn't let me explain and told me she couldn't talk anymore...that she would need some time.  It's been three weeks, she has not answered my email, my letter to her that arrived Saturday (in which I did explain what happened) nor did she answer my call tonight.  I don't know what to think, but I feel like there has been a death in my family.  I am really greaving at what I feel is a lost friendship.  

Thankfully, reading your words of comfort, is helping me cope with her silence and possible loss.  I am gong to continue to hope for the best and keep in mind that although we have never had a situation this bad, there is a lot of love there and hopefully I will hear from her someday soon.

Everybody take care of yourselves and the ones you love!
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599945_tn?1240385954
i too hope you hear from her soon. i too have lost friends during that last year, one with whom i was friends with since we were about fifteen. she just cannot understand this disease and i have to let her be about that. a male friend, i had considered one of my closest friends, (actually my daughter's godfather) told me the other day that what i was doing was 'just silly' so no support there.

again i hope she gets in touch., it is difficult to lose good friends. glad to hear you're doing better in spite of it all.
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