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Bi-polar or ???

Am I bi-polar? So as I am older now, and have lived with my wife who has anxiety/depression and was diagnosed as borderline bi-polar, she has helped me and I myself have noticed characteristics in myself that have me wondering if I might also suffer from a similar disorder. After all, my mother has a slight case of tourettes and suffers from anxiety and depression, racing thoughts, etc. Here is what I have noticed.

I have always had a self-esteem problem. For some reason when I am in a social situation in a room full of people I do not know, I feel like lesser of a person than everyone else. Like a child almost in a room full of adults. I feel intimidated or outnumbered by others and this at times has given me a significant level of anxiety, which leads to nausea, chills, and all around feeling of being completely out of place. At times I find myself avoiding or finding an excuse to remove myself from these situations altogether which does not make my wife happy. Yet there are periods of times when I feel totally at ease in social situations, and everything is fine, but most of the time it is anxiety. I will confess that during a recent back injury, I was prescribed a limited amount of some pain killers to get me through the pain. Maybe it was me but this painkiller also eliminated all anxiety and withdrawn feelings when in one of these normally uncomfortable social situation. However, I understand that this was simply the opiate in the drug making me feel this way and will by no means be a viable solution to my problem.

I also notice my own bouts of manic episodes. It seems that I am never truly happy unless I have some quest or infatuation to fully dive into. Sometimes it is simply a subject or issues that intrigues me, yet I allow it to consume me in a way that for several days, it will be all I think or talk about. Becoming infatuated with things comes very easily. This has been a big negative when it comes to managing my finances. It seems I thrive on always having my sights set on some new gadget or toy which I feel will fulfill this need of mine. I will research whatever my latest desire is, and constantly think of ways to justify myself purchasing it. And how I will just buy this one last thing and then I will be committed to saving my money. Yet when I do finally obtain this item my fascination sometimes last only several days before I find myself losing interest and wanting to move on to something else. Many times I then look back on what I had purchased and think to myself how I shouldn’t have done that and how I really didn’t need it. I am at the point now I am willing to step forward and recognize this problem fully instead of ignoring it. Obviously living this way and purchasing these items has not brought me the happiness I thought it would.  

Lastly, restless leg. Big time. Always noticed it yet never really thought about it.  If I’m sitting on the couch at home in evening watching tv, at work sitting at my desk, at a restaurant for dinner, I am shaking or wiggling my ankle at almost all times.  I also notice I have a hard time sitting squarely (i.e., both feet on the floor, knees bent at 90 degree angle). I always want to tuck one leg up and sit on it or I wrap my legs up underneath my seat. Sometimes I’ll bounce one leg rapidly on the floor like I am bouncing a baby on my knee. Other times I am just jittering and wiggling my ankles, almost like my feet are having a mini-seizure. I can recognize it and stop it, but once I am focused back on my computer at work or tv etc., I will without knowing it start doing it again.

So yeah, there is my long diatribe of issues. Obviously I am going to go see my regular doctor and see what he has to say. I am just afraid they will put me on a cocktail of prescrips that will make me feel even worse. I watched my wife go through this and it was not fun for her, or me for that matter. I just want to get better control of my life and enjoy it more from a social point of view as well as a financial security point of view. I want to find my true path to happiness as fulfillment in life.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Good news, bad news.

In my non professional opinion (this is going on how I personally am and what I have went through), you have social anxiety. and if I am bi-polar like they say, then you are too. We are really alike.

Now, for the good news. You don't need medications, I never took what they wanted to give me, and I won't lie, sometimes it's hard, but it is doable. You already have the wisdom (pun intended) so just get the knowledge. There are natural means to help out with our condition, if it is bi-polar.

Oh, and restless leg syndrome, I am not saying you don't have it, but RLS is not the same as what you were describing, it's energy that makes us do that. RLS is when you are trying to sleep and HAVE to move both voluntary and involuntary. RLS is a curse and when you go through opiate withdrawals you get it really bad.

Anyways, you should be okay and not need medication. Feel free to message me if you want to know more or just want to talk.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the response and information. I am hoping also I won't require medication, however I'm not too confident as one of my problems is I have recognized this in the past, but have never been able to stop it once the mania or whatever takes over. In doing some more reading online last night I also believe I might possibly have a little bit of disassociative disorder. It's almost as if another person takes over at times. It as if I am having an internal conversation in my head with two different people. One minute I recognize my mania, and know what the correct path is, but then suddenly the next my internal dialogue flips to convincing myself to take the incorrect course of action. I need to learn to control that internal dialogue and stop my mind from racing. More and more recently I find it hard to sit down and just relax and turn my mind off. It is constantly racing, daydreaming or obssesively thinking about things. My mother has the same problem to the point her life is consumed with worry. My brother and I can never completely divulge to her what is happening in our lives as the smallest events or occurances cause her to worry for days on end. I definitely do not want to live my life like that.  
Avatar universal
Update: Last night and this morning were horrible. Awoke at 3:00 am to a mind full of confusion and fog. Couldn't get back to sleep, so basically tossed and turned until I figured I had might as well get up and just go to work early. Got out of bed and the mental confusion continued then turned quickly into a anxiety attack. Rapid breathing, nausea, coughing, gagging. Not fun. Felt like crying my eyes out. Wife gave me one of her Ativan pills which has helped calm me down a bit today. Still real spacey though, can't remember anything, and am having a heck of a time focusing on my work. Going to see the doctor next Tuesday.
Avatar universal
I would ask the doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist if possible. They are the 'experts' at diagnosing things. Although some won't diagnose you until they see you for a few times. Now they will also try to put you on a medication. It may help to do some reading before you get there. I for one would not take an antipsychotic as a first line medication but it is being prescribed more and more. They have a lot more side effects than say lamotrigine or even lithium. But this is just me and you need to research these things and come to your own conclusions. I do take an antipyschotic but it was a last resort and is a med that really worries me. I go on crasymeds for my psyc. med info. I find him really reliable. If you google it - it is usually the first or second one up.

Exercise is still the best mood stabilizer out there. Cardio. I know I do a heck of a lot better when I do 20 minutes of cardio and 10 minutes of stretching. I need to get strength training in there too but I am nervous about going to a gym and learning how to use all of those machines. The other thing I find very beneficial is omega oils - 1000 EPA a day. I notice a big difference if I run out.

I agree that the leg thing doesn't sound like restless leg syndrome and more a symptom of the disorder. I get the leg thingy when my moods start to get out of control. Its one of my signs now that I need to take care of myself.
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