I am Bipolar II. I am 51 and have had it as long as I can remember. I was the difficult child then teenager. Even then I just knew that I was and felt different than others. Back then mental illness was a taboo subject. I was finally diagnosed in my early 30's. Frankly I hate being Bipolar. It helped caused a lot of bad decisions when younger, caused 5 hospitalizations and 3 suicide attempts. The depressions are dark and deep. There has been a lot of hypomania as well. I also have OCD and panic disorder. These all have caused for much misery. What does the hypomania cause in me? I have been known to spend money, when I knew bills were due. I get an inflated sense that I know everything. I will get to talking and no one can get a word in. I become very irritable, have zero patience and have extreme anger inside. I have had multiple jobs. Friendships that have never lasted. I will multi-task. Having a number of things that I am doing at once. All I end up accomplishing is feeling such frustration. What are my triggers? I really don't know. Somedays I wake up and that is just the way I am. I think stress is one of my possible triggers. The depressions I can feel and see coming in myself, more than I can the hypomania. My husband says I am like two people. At what point am I at now at 51? I see a good person down deep, that was intelligent enough, to have been anything she wanted to be. And this is not hypomania talking in me now. This is the real me, that is feeling from the heart. Being bipolar does not improve or it did not for me anyway. At this point I am only very tired. The weariness reaches to my soul. I have done all the counseling. I do believe in counseling and the meds. But, those things cannot fix for me now, what has already been damaged over the years. Now, I live with extreme guilt and regret. I have become housebound pretty much. The world no longer holds any interest to me. My paranoia took the interest of life away for me. I now trust no one. I have been diagnosed in Oct. 2007 with COPD..Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder. Due to the OCD, I am afraid to get out in the world. I am terrified of germs. With COPD a person gets ill a lot. A cold turns into bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurisy, etc. When you have COPD there is much loss of breath and the fatigue is overwhelming. Anymore, I can have hypomania and just not have the energy or breath, to keep up with being hypomanic. Depression creeps in more and more. It is hard knowing you have a disease, that is one day going to kill you. Being bipolar was bad enough. I have been on many meds in my time. Some only made me worse, some took the edge off and some did nothing. I cannot tolerate the antipsychotics. And I won't be so doped up, that I am like a zombie. I have been there. I am not at a good place right now. There is no one to talk to. My family loves me, but they don't really get me. I don't blame them. I don't get myself. Things are not going to get better. It all is what it is. Please don't let my story discourage anyone though. Hang in there and strive for what you want in life and your dreams. I let all mine pass by. Now, I am just an aging unhappy lady.
Yes well hypomania is something for me to cope with but before I was on the experimental psychotic glycine I had full psychotic thoughts. Its a matter of getting a good mood stabilizer and I've been through 30 of them. Truthfully I am aware when I am hypomanic. Even when I am manic. With the experimental antipsychotic I am on I redirect the energy. If I feel manic I may work on a creative project to keep from doing something destructive. If I feel persecuted by the world even in a sense that's not abnormal I'll do something to change things and not grandiose, I mean such as recently when I wrote to the boro president where I live about there being a traffic light on the corner because of the number of car crashes and it got a response and will be acted on. And when I feel depressed I try and work with someone to help them so I stop feeling sorry for myself. Look it took me a while to find an antipsychotic that mitigated my psychotic thoughts. That seemed impossible. But studies bear it out. If I find a mood stabilizer that works that well in development that I can get access to I'll try it. But with any mood stabilizer in addition to the glycine (again this is a Phase II experimental antipsychotic, not a natural remedy) I can redirect all of those annoying manic feelings.
And I've known some people with cylothymia who can't. Its complex. I remember when I was first recovering and the voices I heard (that's gone of course) stopped being angry and psychotic and said once "I know you are manic. What are you going to do about it?. Do something constructive with it". I don't hear voices anymore but I think and act in that manner. And it does work. And I don't think someone needs to make a medication change to use this strategy.
As George Clooney said in Oh Brother Where Art Thou, you are in a tight spot. After reading your post I feel like a real whiner - and more appreciative of what I still DO have!
A couple of positives in your post really stuck out for me. First, "I see a good person deep down...". I know exactly what you mean, that "good person" is always good no matter what is or isn't going on. To me, this is the "real me", the part that is not changeable, unaffected by circumstances, and according to teachers that I particularly like, the part of us that is eternal or timeless: the part that was there before we were born and will still be after physical death.
Second, "It all is what it is.". This totally reminds me of Eckhart Tolle's teachings. One thing that he said that I wrote down and has stuck with me ever since is, "Allow, what is, to be...It seems too simple, but that's how it works." In other words, it already is as it is, why cause oneself more suffering by arguing with, and fighting against, what already is?
I used to strive for what I wanted, occasionally still do, but like you, I have finally let most of it pass by, partly because I could see that it was no longer possible, but more importantly for me was seeing that almost all of what I was previously striving for was of no real importance after all. What is most important to me now is doing my best to honor that goodness, and to BE that goodness, that resides down deep.
That goodness knows that there is no need for guilt, how could there be? We do the best that we can do given the cards that we've been dealt. We've always done the best that we can, even when it seems that we could have done better - if we could have done better, we would have! We are not to blame for our genetics and conditioning resulting from our upbringing, schools, other people, societal expectations, etc. We've always done the best we could at any given moment, given all that we are, and that goodness down deep knows that.
So, I have to disagree with your last sentence, you are not just an aging unhappy lady, you are really that goodness down deep.
All the best.
Iladvocate: I haven't had any psychosis. Yet. Thankfully. I have also been lucky as far as a mood stabilizer (lithium was the first and only). I understand the guinea pig issues you've had, as I've been on numerous different antidepressants. Finally settled on Effexor XR. We change the dosage as needed at different times.
Daledude: I feel like you and I have alot in common with our symptoms. I wish I was as eloquent as many of the ppl on here.... I also seem to not realize a LOT of things I thought were just weird quirks may actually be a part of my BP. Like the painful skin-crawling feelings & now, the feelings of isolation and giving up. Which brings me to....
Lynnkay: We are doing the best that we can with what we've got. If we knew better, we would do better. Platitudes, yes. But it is the truth. I can relate to your feelings. I too, have isolated myself. Mostly I feel like there is so much more to me that's stuck inside and just can't get out. I wish desparately that I could fix it because I have the potential and I'm young enuff to go to school, but the motivation and the ability is no longer there. It's like it was sucked right out of me. It's the same with making new relationships.
I feel like I'm going to be single and on disablity forever. And boy does that hurt.
There are ways around these issues once medication is adjusted as you say it it. There are dating sites for people with psychiatric disabilities. I know nolongerlonely.com is a reputable one. As for disability, if you mean SSDI, there are work incentives programs associated with it and I know each state has vocational training programs for people with disabilities so that even if you couldn't do your past work, you could try for something else. As well with SSDI there is a limit called Substantial Gainful Activity but if you earn below that, that is do minor part time work you could still be able to collect. That's in the United States and I noticed that you live in Canada so perhaps it works differently there but they must have something similar. Regardless you could find out at an independent living center and they do have those in Canada as well:
Regardless being on disability doesn't mean not being productive as I can personally testify.
Thank you. I do have many resources here in Canada. And I have been using them as I am able. I am having a problem being productive. Except in the small things. I even do things for my family members and I can't always be as reliable as I want to. They, thankfully, do understand that I am not unreliable on purpose, and they also know that I don't take on too much so that I render myself useless. But in the real world, it doesn't work.
Sometimes, it's so hard to read (my favourite hobby) because of my innability to concentrate, my memory problems and fatigue. Can you believe that? I mean, really, how is it possible to be too fatigued to read? Even one magazine article....