Hi, your situation sounds a lot like mine, my pdoc doesn't diagnose BiPolar into sub types like 1,2,3 etc, so I find it interesting listening to everyones symptoms on here and I can honestly say I fit BP1 and BP2 criteria..when I pressured the pdoc he laughed and just said "Louise, you are multi-polar!!" I thought that was quite funny...
Like you, my symptoms and behaviours have changed over the years too, I had very little manics, but I would get resistant depression that would turn psychotic instead. My depressions would last for 3 years sometimes!
My pdoc also does not prescribe AD's no matter how hard I beg, as he says they are more trouble than they are worth to a BP patient, they are horrendous for causing rapid cycling and mania, sometimes I feel like saying so what? I'd rather have that than depression, but deep deep down I know he's right...
Over the last 2 years I have had 1 Full manic episode, about 15 Hypomanic, about 2 Depressive (lasting 3-4 weeks max) but the main problem has been Mixed episodes.. I never had those before! I don't get many psychotic symptoms now, maybe seeing things that aren't there, hearing things in my head and some paranoia, but it's mostly manageable.
I have also only had a few trips to hospital, never any long stays..I thought this was because it was soft bipolar, but my doc and nurse say it is because I am a single parent, but I have good support from parents and boyfriend, and I am good at seeing an episode coming, they say that the insight thing is the biggest reason for hospitalisation, well in the UK anyway..There are times when I should have gone into hospital I think, but with the NHS here in the UK, beds are not always available and its priority, say a 40 year old man with no dependants and no support would need the bed more than me..
I don't think it's worth analysing whether you are BP1 or 2, although I've done it myself, and feel compelled to do so LOL..
I think BP evolves, depending on whats going on in our lives and don't quote me on it but women's BP tends to be more erratic and changeable than it does with men..this could be a hormone thing, I know for a fact the hormones are a trigger for me, I've had most of my bad crisises following pregnancy and post natally..
It sounds like you need a mood stabiliser now that you're off the venlafaxine ( it was a bit dodgy of them to put you on an AD without a stabiliser but hey ho!!)
Seroquel is great for treating symptoms, I think from seeing your previous posts you already know it has mood stabilising properties and slight AD properties, but sometimes its not enough on it's own and you need prevention aswell..nothing to feel bad about, it's just like having a brown inhaler aswell as a blue one..it would definitely slow the cycling down..
Hope this helps a little, I am in loopyland myself right now so not sure what makes sense and wha doesnt!!
Bipolar disorder just cycles on its own regardless of whether you take meds or not, the meds don't make symptoms go away entirely with any mental illness in most cases, they just make it tolerable. If this was true for you then count yourself very lucky in terms of medications and consider your medication a godsend. For example, I take Zoloft for anxiety and while I'm not anxious practically 24/7 now I still think I get too anxious when it's appropriate to get anxious. I used to feel so anxious all the time my GI tract was constantly upset and I would get migraine headaches constantly. My teeth when I grit them used to (almost) violently grind themselves automatically due to tremors related to anxiety but now that's gone for the most part, for example, but there is still some there but my quality of life has improved of course where I don't feel like I'm living in hell in that respect at least. It sounds like your bipolar disorder was perhaps in its fledgling stages and now it's finally caught up with you which you could have been potentially BP1 all this time as you say and it just wasn't full blown yet. I say this because I don't really believe in mental illnesses changing in type or subtype. I could be wrong but I don't believe in it right now. Mental illnesses can worsen with age but I think they said when people get to be about 40 or 50 they found that their mental illness for some reason sometimes gets better. While this isn't true for everyone, I guess we can all always hope.
you may be right i should have tried an MS over the years. but to tell you frankly i always tried to live on the edge of the symptoms feeling or believing that perhaps one day i am free from this disease. my logic is that i think well reason well so there is no reason why i shouldn't escape it one day.
the problem with me since the very beginning is depression and the mistake of the pdoc damn him that he left me with an AD without an AP to go along with thus the big bang and the usual story mania then AP's then depression etc...But for a year i had hopes to be cured once i stop being depressed so this was the first success as i shan't be taking an AD i.e. no risk of mania. But i became sad when i felt hypomanic with no AD. So it meant i am really bipolar. 10 years ago i had OCD only but with a mistake from my pdoc i turned into BP. Of course people will tell you either you are BP or not. I still feel that AD's can turn you upside down with a syndrome shift.
So you see my hopes flew away. in 2006 i used to take 1mg of risperidone+AD. Now after i came down from my last mania i take 1mg risper..+150 seroquel and feel sometimes i will plunge into my mania again. Meaning i am bipolar.
There is nothing alarming right now, i work, but the fact that the drugs were upped torments me because there is the danger of increasing them again with all their side effects.
N.B: As for an MS, there is no common agreement about them. In Britain they are either depakine (sodium valproate), lithium or tegretol (old British school), now sewroquel is considered one. Zyprexa another atypical etc.,.. abilify...
>>It sounds like your bipolar disorder was perhaps in its fledgling stages and now it's finally caught up with you which you could have been potentially BP1 all this time as you say and it just wasn't full blown yet
the truth is i had very mild symptoms and my drugs were minimal 1mg risperidone. But because my stupid or malicious or whatever put me on an AD alone once and i was driven manic, then things changed completely i.e. i had depression (like before) and manias from time to time. But after my last mania depression is gone so i thought no need for AD thus no mania to come. But not true, i develop many times hypomania and run the risk of a full blown one so i rush to up my AP's. So you see now the reason of my sadness. I thought since i escaped depression (depression lasted for 6 consecutive years) then i am ok, but because of the 1st mania and my symptoms of bipolarity appeared on the surface and surely i could have avoided them had my pdoc being honest or had a little patience to understand me.
of the worst drugs for BP is the AD in my view but how would i know as i was new to the disease. I pay the pdoc to diagnose well. my hopes are slim now considering that without the AD's i can be hypomanic
I totally understand what you are saying about living on the edge of the symptoms.. I cannot stop myself from trying to re tune the meds according to my feelings on one particular day, I struggle to believe that I need the strength of these meds I am on..I feel that it should change daily, I know that's impossible but I still think about it..
I believe we are all very intricate(sp?) in our illness, or in just being different anyway..I think it is a lot deeper than putting symptoms and treatments in brackets..it sounds like your doctor has tried and failed to tailor your meds to you, it is good however, that you were on 2 AP'S at the time of being on the AD, that is better than not having any protection for mania, but I still think an MS would have been better with the AD..
I am on Depakote and Seroquel XR, I like the Seroquel but not keen on any of the mood stabilisers to be honest, I am terrible for experimenting with the depakote, always trying to lower the dose..I would rather have a low dose MS just enough to tick over but not too much where I am totally numb..I'd rather hammer the nasty symptoms with the Seroquel, but my doc is having none of it!
I've often tried to prove I am not BP by experimenting with non compliance of meds, taking more or less than I should,allsorts of stupid stuff but I always end up back here again..
I also thought it was just because of my circumstances, after I divorced my vile ex-husband I was off meds for 3 years and was fine..then BOOM a change in my hormones happens and I relapse, that was 3 years ago and I'm still not right..
So I have finally just accepted it! I felt there was nothing else I could do..
My primary doc was the one that started me on AD's, but at least she was smart enough to evaluate me at the next visit using a screening BP test. I think the citalopram pushed me manic or hypomanic.
Citalopram is very scary to me, I had one tablet and went crazy, i was really scared. Seroxat landed me in the ER I had a seizure.