I am a middle-aged male with a history of GAD, OCD, Panic Attacks, bouts of depression here and there (mostly situational), Social Anxiety Disorder and at one time, I used to be a huge hypochondriac although that seems to have gotten better over the years. I have also suffered from a tic disorder for most of my life which I (and others close to me) have grown up believing was Tourette's Syndrome.
Over the years I have managed to live a normal (and for the most part) happy life and have been able to accomplish many things. Life always seemed normal and I was always able to cope. None of my issues ever got in the way of doing whatever I wanted to do.
However, over the last 3-4 years I have gone through some periods of pretty intense stress brought on by various life circumstances. With each new stressful event came what appeared to be a decreased tolerance to stress until it finally reached a point where it seemed that even the smallest things became magnified and blown way out of proportion. In other words, with each new major stressor, I became more and more stress sensitive until any little thing (ie; an appointment, going somewhere, checking the mail, someone coming to see me, a knock at the door, a phone call, etc) would be enough to trigger the fear, worries and "what if's". Sometimes my mind would race and start conjuring up all of the "horrible" things that could possibly go wrong. Then came the dread and panic, sweats, strange dreams, etc. Sometimes depression would set in (or insomnia). Sometimes I'd be awakened several times during the night by adrenalin shooting through me (not fun!).
Fast forward to a few months ago. I finally got around to being diagnosed with Tourettes which cleared up the life-long mystery of what was causing my tics. That was great. I also got diagnosed with OCD and Panic Disorder again as well as GAD. However, this all came with an unexpected diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder which I had never been diagnosed with before.
At first I was thrilled to finally have a diagnosis of Tourettes as well as a treatment for it but then it hit me the next day that the Doctor had also said that I had Bipolar Disorder and had prescribed medication for that too. I soon looked up Bipolar Disorder online and was horrified at some of the things I read. While many of the symptoms (when taking into account my own history) made perfect sense and I was able to relate to them, all of the really bad ones I can't relate to at all because I've never been psychotic or had hallucinations or heard voices or done anything harmful, had delusions, etc. I'm not in denial or anything either. I just simply have not had them (thankfully). Just reading all of this stuff had me really scared - especially when I read things like "bipolar is a very serious disorder" and "people with bipolar are at a very increased risk of (I've left this word out)". Does this mean that even though I've never had any of the severe symptoms and live a pretty normal life, I can be put in a padded cell by some doctor on a whim at any time simply because I've now been labeled?. That would be even scarier!.
A few of the symptoms that make me think that maybe I do have Bi-polar are...
* Bouts of depression here and there (mostly situational). I do have "highs" as well but not very often.
* Doing as much as I can on days when I "feel good" or just in case I start feeling bad again.
* Planning for all the "what ifs", preparing, taking notes at times, trying to "protect" myself from future stressful events, etc.
* Many people with Tourettes also have Bipolar Disorder.
* I also had ADHD as a child and was put on Ritalin.
* An extremely high intolerance for stressful things.
* Stressful events in life seem to be huge triggers for bipolar and I have been under tremendous stress for awhile now with multiple stressors going on at once.
Anyway, I was put on Depakote. I've read this can cause some really serious/scary side affects but almost everyone I've read about has said it was a wonderful drug and "life-changing". I'm not even sure what type of BP he thought I had because he never mentioned it. Do they usually put people on Depakote for type 1 or 2?. I'm just so confused and freaked out by all of this. It's not at all what I was expecting and I feel like I now have the mark of Caine and will be judged and stigmatized for the rest of my life because now I have been "labeled".
Finally, for the last few months my mornings have been especially bad. I can't remember if I have ever gone through anything like this before but I might have (or something similar). I also have no idea what is causing it (bipolar?...stress?). Below, I've included a sort of illustration of what my nights have been like and what I experience. Perhaps someone here will be able to recognize this.
Here is how last night went...
* Skipped all medications (to rule them out), just listened to soothing music and felt "ok" when I finally went to bed at 2:00AM.
* Fell asleep after about 10 minutes and slept good until about 6:00AM or so.
* At about 6:00AM woke up feeling pretty good, went to the bathroom and crawled back into bed.
* Some time after I laid back down and was in the process of trying to fall asleep again I began to experience these strange noises in my head like a faint echo or "drumming" factory-type sounds accompanied with what seemed like a strange vertigo-type feeling (bipolar?...tinitis?). I began to panic and thought I might be about to faint or somthing but finally fell asleep.
* Woke up again at about 7:30AM, got up feeling very dazed/dull, made coffee and began my day. It's almost 1:00PM and I still feel strange in the head (although less so now), lump in throat sensation, lower lip quivered for a few minutes and had panicky feelings.
Here's how a few of my nights have been...
* I get to bed between midnight and 3:00AM. No trouble falling asleep.
* I wake up at about 6:00PM-7:00PM feeling pretty good, go to the bathroom, lay back down and just as I'm trying to get to sleep again, these huge surges of adrenalin/cortisol go rushing through me and I feel extremely panicky.
* I finally fall asleep again and then wake up feeling dazed/miserable/exhausted and it isn't until that evening that I begin to feel anywhere near "normal" again.
And finally, here is how most of my nights have been for the past month or so...
* I get to bed between midnight and 3:00AM. No trouble falling asleep.
* Some time in the very early mornings I have very stressfull dreams where I am performing some impossible and very arduous task (searching, escaping, sorting, arranging things, creating new things, getting confused about where things go, losing or forgetting things, solving some impossibly complex problem, etc).
* Finally get up and am dazed, spaced out and exhausted and feel miserable until that evening again. These are very stressfull dreams (not really nightmares) and the aftermath of all this stays with me throughout most of the day.
Does any of this sound familiar?. Is any of this what most of you go through as well?. Can anyone here relate?. Again, I apologize for how long this turned out to be. I have never posted in a bipolar forum before and have no idea what to expect or what is in store for me. I could really use some help and support in navigating my way through this whole thing. I will be very grateful for whatever input or advice I can get here.
Yes I was on Depakoate and I did experience sedation from it and also sleep disruption. Its important to discuss these concerns with your psychiatrist. Also in general as I was told by my psychiatrist Depakoate is generally more helpful on the manic then the depressive aspect of bipolar though each person responds differently to each medication. There are still other choices as regards medications if you dont obtain the response you need and you could discuss that with your psychiatrist.
Its essential never to change the dose of any medication or especially discontinue it without speaking to your psychiatarist. As Depakoate is also an anti-convlsant if you experienced any sudden changes when stopping it even for a day it would be best to inform your psychiatrist.
Thank you so much for the very detailed and helpful reply. I really appreciate it a lot!. I had been seeing a Neuro for about a year to find out what was causing the tics I've had since childhood. After tons of tests, questions and 5 visits, I was told that I had the whole spectrum of comorbid disorders that often go with tourettes syndrome including GAD, OCD, Panic Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. I was put on Depakote, Respiradone and Keppra. It's been quite a ride. My main issues lately are the anxiety, panic and depression I have been experiencing lately because of numerous stressors in my life right now. It's so good to know that places like this exist. Thanks again!.
Thanks again for all of the wonderful replies. It truly means a lot to me to have such really fantastic support!.
When I think back in time to many years ago (like maybe 25-30), I can remember that a psychiatrist once diagnosed me with bipolar and put me on lithium. It seems to me that I had side affects and was eventually taken off of it. Not sure what happened after that because it's been so long ago so it looks like this isn't my first time getting a diagnosis like this now that I think about it.
It seems like this whole thing (at least for me) is very much stress-based and activated by various triggers. For example, over the last year I have had numerous major stressful events occur in my life which shook me to my core and nearly resulted in a nervous breakdown. With each of these major stressful events came what seemed like a decreased tolerance to even minor stressful things until it reach a point where I would practically have a meltdown over something as simple as a routine Doctor's appointment.
I also worry about things way off into the future. Things that are months or even 3-4 years away to the point where I am in an almost constant stressed out and overwhelmed state.
Then, there's the stressful dreams that come early in the morning. When I am able to remember these dreams, they make no sense at all. For example, it could be a news story that gets the ball rolling. I start to stress over it. How it might affect me. How it might affect someone in my family or my friends. It builds momentum and turns into fear and dread and then suddenly I'm having these nightmare every morning and feeling drained the next day. I know these dreams are stress-based because once the stressful event that caused the dream is dealt with or passes, the nightmares go away each time.
I was feeling really great a few mornings ago. I felt perfectly normal. Had a great and productive morning. Then, I sat down and read the news and there was nothing but really horrible and depressing things that really bothered me. Things that could affect me personally at some point in the future but probably won't. Still, I began to look at what I'd read from every angle. Analyse. Worry. Run through a million different scenarios in my mind until I was a basket case. I was so depressed and worried that by the time I sat down to relax and watch some TV, I couldn't even concentrate. Instead, I just sat there and fretted and worried most of the time. Then, the very intense nightmares the next morning. Sigh.
I do see where I actually have mood swings but most seem to be related to various stressors that pop up here and there in my life and act as triggers to start me worrying about every little thing. Not sure if others with bipolar have this as well or if it's just plain old GAD/OCD. Anyway, it sure can ruin and otherwise good day.
Well, just thought I'd share a little more. Thank you all once again and may you all have a very blessed and peaceful Holiday season :)
Depakoate is very sedative i hated being on it. my family called it my stupid pills because it made me have an inablity to think, concentrate, and respond at normal speeds. anyways...
ive been dignoased with bypolar 1 disorder since i was 13. im 22 now. i will say its a ride, but im sure youve noticed when reflecting. the main point i would like to bring up is self blocking. you meanted the "what ifs", which can be very frustrating. self talk is a big part too, along with anger control. the best thing you can do is find ways to stop them when they come to mind. replace them with positve reasuring thoughts. it takes practice but is an excelent destressor.
i dont think youll have to worry about the haulcinations and voices. it sounds like you have bp2. but your disorder can evolve so try to monitor your perspective. mine went to bipolar schizophrenia at its worst point.
a good tip to a newbie would be to creat a list of your symptoms: insomina, mania, depression, grandous diseres, elevated emotions, mood swings, loss or gain of appetite, etc. then if your haveing a bad day you can print a copy of them check the ones that are ocuring and try to difuse them one by one.
oh and becarfull with the anit depreasents. they can trigger manias. zoloft made me feel homicidal a lot, at the drop of a hat. anyways, be sure to take your antipsycotic or mood stablizer with your anti depresant. if you leave one out make it the antidepresent.
"megalomani": is a big symptom of mania. becarful with it. it will make you feel untochable and in control of your surondings. its a good confidence booster, but can make you slightly disisional. exp. the (girl, boy) may not of been as in to you as you think. nothing personal, just example from my adventure with bp. it can also make you feel like you dont need any assitance with medication. which may be true but can be a delision. if went of meds seveal times and have even dtayed off for over a year, but i typicaly feel better while im medacated. at least in the long run. and if you do decide to go off taper off. cold turkey can effect the way your brain produces and regulates nerutransmitters such as seritonin, dopimine, and Norepinephrine.
my 2 cents. thanks for reading. i hope i can help you with other tips if you want them. thanks
thinkin about the future can be dangerous. i use to dwell about the future all the time which only lead to more stress and worries. try to avoid doing this. it rarley if ever works to your benifit. my experience with "future thoughts" were chaotic if described in one word. especaily when it lead to looking at things in all 360 difrent angles (people involved, time it happened or will happen, events prior to event, how they felt at time, what each word said means, undertones, facal expesions, etc.
try to never forsee things that are farther then a couple weeks. times are fickel and it is impossiable to know what will happen a month from now and most defently a year. when it wears at you try to think of the thoughts as avoidable stress. then distract yourself to get away from that kind of thinking. exp. exercise, rent movie, go grab something to eat, smoke a cigarette while listning to music.....
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