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Avatar universal

I think I might be a rapid cycler please any advise.

Hello I am a 28 year old male and I am starting to wonder if I might be bipolar.It all stated about 4 months ago it began with the inability to sleep along with extreme agitation and irritability.The agitation and irritability seemed to have no cause other than some stressfull life circumstances they just appeared out of nowwhere and were very unusual.Then came the terrible insomnia heart racing head spinning very irritable pacing around for hours etc.After about 4 days of no sleep I wound up in the ER because I was beginning to hallucinate due to lack of sleep they put stabilized me with a hefty dose of Ativan and it helped me sleep after a few days they discharged me saying it was stress over life circumstances.I was okay for a few days then the cycle began all over again wich landed me in the hospitable again,and again they attributed to anxiety and insomnia just to get me out the door because I have no insurance.To make a long story short I have been on an emotional roller coaster for the past 4 months and beginning to think something more serious is going on besides depression and anxiety.The doctors just dont seem to be listening to me,the thing is I cannot recall ever having a positive experience,if I am manic my episodes have always been negative,irritable,confusion,fear panic etc.Is it possible to be bipolar and not experience the positive highs??I have been to the hospital over 4 times and they just keep sending me home,I have a appointment with a psych doc wich I am going to pay out of pocket for,I am just afraid of being ignored again.I have been researching online trying to find answers and it seems to be rapid cycling bipolar but I am no expert so Im not sure,I have had blood test for thyroid and vitamine defiencencys and they all came back negative.I tell them I am on an emotional rollercoaster and my mood is all over the place and they just seem to want me gone because I have no insurance so its a stabilize and out the door situation.Sorry for the rambling any input from any experience or expertise would be greatly appreciated.I have a primary care doc that I see and I even told her that one of the nurses in the ER thought I was manic because I had been up for 3 days tested negative for any drugs,was given 2mg of Ativan and still managed to stay awake for anoth 7 hours before finally falling asleep,yet she still just shrugged it off.
8 Responses
Avatar universal
The best advice is what you already did, made an appointment to be seen by a psychiatrist. It's hard to call it, whether you are bipolar going through rapid cycling or going through an anxiety disorder or a couple of other disorders and conditions that come to mind. Honestly, the psychiatrist who you are going to see will be the better diagnostician  because he will see you and get a more indepth assessment than on this forum.

What you went through in the ER is pretty typical. Personally, they should have advised you to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, especially since it was 4 times that you went there for the same problems and this has been going on for months. They can only treat you for what is going on now. They usually don't treat over a period of time, because they cannot be your personal physician.

It sounds like you are very distraught, worried and anxious. Yes, bad life situations can cause extreme stress, but for what you are going through, it sounds like you could use some support through therapy and even meds.  

I am puzzled why you don't have insurance with the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act. A few other people in the forum mentioned that also. Are you in the States?
Avatar universal
Well right now I am unemployed and if you do not have a job you are not eligable for the affordable care act or at least thats what I have been told.I have suffered with anxiety and panic attacks along with depression my entire life and I know that stress can make things worse but what I am going through is something new.The episodes that I am going through are highly energised but negative so I figured mabye a mixed state or dysphoric mania?The only thing that has me confused is I have never had a positive manic state or never felt euphoric.At any rate it seems that all they want to give me are antidepressants and I heard that those are dangerous for people that are possibly bipolar.I tell them its like a roller coaster,I feel in utter dispear one minute normal the next,then then confused irritated and energized.If you have ever seen that old movie The Fly after he goes through the teleporter and cant sleep and starts to act funny thats how I feel and after the episode is over my entire body aches all over and I feel exhausted.I have family members who are concerned and some money saved to help with getting care I just hate when you go to the doctor and you tell them whats going on and they just dont hear it because they are the experts I guess and dont like to be told whats what.I also get an extreme tension headache before one of these epesodes come on.Anyway thanks on the advise.
Avatar universal
No problem. However, I don't know who told you that you need a job to come under the Affordable Care Act. It also addresses people who don't have a job. I suggest that you call or email your State's Public Health department to find out the story behind how your state is implementing the federal law. You can also contact your federal or state representative by email or call their local office to ask.

Mania always involves a "high," even in hypomania, which is what I go through. My depression episodes are the worse part of my cycle and the deadliest. I will give my thoughts, brainstorming and suggestions with some of my experiences and what I have learned so far. It's my story. Everyone is different, as I know yours is your own.

There is a possibitlity you could be suffering from PTSD, and there are a whole range of disorders and conditions that you could be going through, or even a combination. As I said before, I have bipolar disorder and PTSD in other posts. With PTSD, I can had symptoms that you described, including hallucinations. I cannot take antidepressants with my bipolar disorder.  I have psychosis with my bipolar disorder. There are people with bipolar disorder who don't. So, you are talking to someone who knows what you are talking about.

I also know that anxiety and depression can make you overthink things and spin them around nonstop and to extremes. In hospital, there were a few people with major depression that did that, and they weren't bipolar. I did it too. Bipolar disorder doesn't have a monopoly on that. There was a time when I thought I was schizophrenic, a hypochondriac who is making her own symptoms manifest, and that I had a bad case of Premenstrual syndrome when I was going through mood swings. I also thought I had a brain tumor...and that there was a possibly I could be possessed. When I was psychotic with hallucinations, it didn't occur to me that I was hallucinating and no one could convince me otherwise. A few nurses, doctors and health professionals I know personally, have told me that they didn't think I was bipolar, but they've never seen me when I was in the throes of my bipolar disorder or visited me in a psych ward.

That's the problem with self diagnosis. Even doctors won't self diagnose themselves and if they do, they usually like their opinion validated.

Who are "they" that want to give you antidepressants? I also don't particularly like being discounted or brushed off. If you feel you are not being treated adequately, than move on. Unless you have a condition like Munchasen, which they will usually tell you that you have, because that will need to be addressed and treated because it is a very serious mental disorder.

Yes. Insomnia can do that. That is why sleep hygiene is really important in treating any condition, mental or physical. Just like eating. I went through mania and didn't feel the need to sleep for 3 weeks, and I felt glorious. I was forced to sleep.

At times, ativan can not make you sleepy and you don't have to be bipolar to have that effect. There are cases of people  who were on a high morphine and ativan IV continuous drip and it didn't even touch them at ridiculously high levels. You can also build up a tolerance to ativan or any anti-anxiety med, especially when you take them long term.

Psych drugs, treatment and psychiatrist visits are usually expensive. There are a lot of people without jobs being treated for mental illnesses. Sure, there are a lot of people without jobs who don't get treated also, but I would definitely look into what is available to me. You could be overlooking or discounting a resource. As you have gone through with your ER visits, mental illness is not exactly a "one visit cure." I don't know how you were treated for your depression and anxiety for years, but it doesn't sound like it was adequate.

I would suggest before you see a psychiatrist, bring a journal list of what you are going through and the circumstance that you went through it, or anything you can manage. In the beginning, my psychiatrists and therapists had me track my moods, and if you are a rapid cycler that would be helpful. They didn't have to see my list when I was rapid cycling right in front of them.

An initial interview with a psychiatrist is not 10 minutes. It is long. They don't only listen to what you have to say, they also look at your body language. When I was faking being well to go back to work, my psychiatrist knew I was faking, and I thought I was doing a pretty good acting job. He is a practicing psychiatrist for years, and nothing really escapes him...he's seen it all. He threw me off by digging deeper and really paying attention. He really clued in. I always knew the game was up when he raised his eyebrows. I read body language too. Lucky for me he is so honest, I can read him without opening the book.

It takes a lot of work, time and effort besides drugs to get over a mental illness. Just taking a drug and thinking it's going to solve everything isn't realistic. I did that, as well as many others I know, and we always ended up relapsing. Like others here, I found Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helpful and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. I also meditate, yoga, exercise, watch my diet, and keep up the positive thinking and stay attentive when I get into bad coping mechanisms like negative thinking, all or none, blaming, etc. I had to learn how to do that through group therapy, therapy, and reading and practicing it. It takes a commitment to get better, and "better than this" is want I wanted. I don't think I ever will stop advocating myself or fighting for better anything. I also don't like to be completely dependent on drugs. i have on occasion had to go without drugs for a couple of days because I didn't have any. So, I depended on the mental skills, healthy regiment, nonmedical practices I do to fortify myself against bipolar cycling or mental ill health in general. The psych meds helped me alot, but they are not the "cure all." They are also pretty hard on the body, and I prefer to take the least amount of psych medications out there.

Avatar universal
I appreciate your help and advice the episodes that I go through definitly feel like a high but not a good one at all I am irratble confused angry,but never feeling good at all.My history is anxiety and panic disorder so when I tell them my symptoms wich I am actually having they usually look at my history and brush it off as being a hypocondriac when I am being dead honest about my symptoms.I am just like you I really dont like to take medicines if I dont have to I just wish there was something out there that could stop the damn rollercoaster of emotions.Did it feels like my mind is damn tornado with me stuck along for the ride.My primary doc almost suggested lithuim on my last visit but I heard that is no good if you have rapid mood swings.I have had some group and talk therapy,I have also done the midwest center program wich is basically CBT but self taught.That is a very good idea to bring a journal and document all your moods and symptoms.I really dont think meds will be a cure all I have just put my pride aside and realized I cannot do it on my own Anxiety and panic I have had in the past is nothing compared to what I am dealing with now this is a whole new monster I cannot slay on my own.I really appreciate that you took the time to respond to my post.Its nice to know there is someone out there I dont even know that is willing to talk and listen.
Avatar universal
Lithium actually helped me with my rapid cycling. I had misgivings when It was put on the table for me to take, and I only agreed to it when he said it was a low dose and after a week of considering it and having a few questions answered. It worked for me. I did have some side effects with it when the dose was going up and I wasn't completely stable. I was on it for about 12 years. This is the first time I heard about it aggravating cycling. Some people don't have a good response to it.

I have fears too about taking medications. It's generally not a good idea to be cavalier about taking any kind of drug. It is also not exactly a great idea not to take a drug based on solely on fear. I have to say that I have taken meds where they were pretty new and there was not much info or experience ith them, but I did weigh all the possible risks and benefits, or I didn't care and just said, I'll risk it...that was usually when I was suicidal. When I was like that, my psychiatrist raised his eyebrows again, and just told me to think about it some more. He wasn't going to let me take a med because I didn't mind dying from it..that was just not a good reason for me  or one he could live with if something bad happened. Informed consent is exactly what it implies.

I truly hope that things work out for you. I can relate to your frustrations with medical,care. I've been there myself quite a few times. i obviously trust the psychiatrist I have, and that really makes a big difference. It doesn't mean I don't question him or say I'll think about it. I have a favorite saying, and that is that anything is possible. It opens up options and it expands even further that maybe, there are more options out there that I don't know about. I like it when my doctors apply that to their practice, and they do.
Avatar universal
I guess I deleted another bit that might help you.

There is a mood tracker tool that you can use on your My Medhelp page and set the privacy settings on it as you wish. I believe it can make a graph with your input. Someone had suggested this a few postings back, and for you, I think it would be a good idea. I have never used it myself but lots of people like it and found it very helpful. You can probably print out you results and show it to your psychiatrist.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the advice.Last night was one of those nights again just could not sleep at all and mind was racing was very irratable.I called my primary care doc and told them that the anti depressant they put me on was causing me to feel hyperactive agitated and irritable and I stopped taking it.I have been on just about every darn atidepressant on the market and had bad side effects.They said they will get back with me and mabye send something new to my pharmacy.Thanks for the advice on the tracking tool aswell.I really dont want any narcotics because I surley do not want to get addicted to anything,I just want something that will level me out and stop the roller coaster.If you dont mind me asking what have you found that helps you?
Avatar universal
I have rapid cycling.  What your going threw sounds like what im going threw. Im in therapy. It helps .
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