I think you're right, we do have a lot in common with our symptoms. I have serious problems being productive due to fatigue, depression, lack of energy, no motivation, etc. Fortunately, or for me, mostly unfortunately, I can feel this way and still look pretty good such that my ex used to get really pissed at me for not doing the things that I should be doing.
At the time I didn't know that I was bipolar, all I knew was that I was often really tired and unmotivated to do anything. Part of me thought that I was just lazy, but another part of me knew that I really couldn't help it. I remember regularly falling asleep in class all the way back in high school. I generally wouldn't last more than 15 minutes trying to study in the library before I was asleep on the table. Drank coffee and smoked cigarettes all day for 20+ years to try to compensate.
Wasn't bad off enough for long enough to think I needed help, plus it really never crossed my mind that what I was experiencing could be a mental illness. I thought that I was just f'd up and inadequate, bad character or something, and that I was just lacking the discipline to get my s*** together. Thought that if I'd just be disciplined enough to do that, I'd be okay and it'd all go away.
Went through a pile of self-help stuff trying to get it right, some of it helped a bit, in some areas, for a while, but the tiredness, fatigue and sleep problems never went away.
I feel like I have to watch myself a bit now because it's a bit too easy to just say f*** it, I have bipolar so I can't do anything anymore. Not a helpful attitude, but hard to resist because sometimes it IS true, I am really unable to do much of anything.
I have been having headaches every day for months and found that I was also unable to read due mostly to fatigue, plus it was painful for my eyes when I tried to read. It does seem strange, but I know what you're talking about. I usually didn't want to read more than a short paragraph or so at a time - not too productive. At the moment I am thankfully able to read again.
In regards to relationships, I've hit the jackpot - I don't know if I'd be around at all if it weren't for my wife. We have been together for 15 years as best friends too - its been a real blessing for both of us in that way. Its kind of strange that in spite of all the pain and things "gone wrong", I've always felt lucky or fortunate at the same time. Not a happy type feeling, just a feeling of being fortunate that I have what I do and how it could be so much worse than it is I guess.
Hi and Welcome aboard!
My mania comes in waves, the days I'm not in physical pain, I'm buzzing around, though I can never get anything done, including cleaning, now my place is a serious mess. I found that celexa and cymbalta both made me want to jump out of my skin and I hated being touched.
I, like you wonder if I am ever going to have a sweetheart. As soon as I mention BP, whoosh they're gone. I've tried to educate, but it doesn't really matter. At this point I've given up. It's been years since I've had a serious relationship, but with this diagnosis on top of being a bit overweight, my chances are slim to none. I have let go of that aspect of my life. Not that I don't think I'm worthy, but I'm being realistic in my situation. I'm glad that some folks have a partner, it's much easier when you have someone batting in your corner.
SSRI's gave me agonzing headaches, it was only until I switched meds did I realize much of it was from the meds. I didn't have a day w/out a headache. I get maybe 2 a week now. I also used to drink piles of coffee to stay awake, I was drowsy all the time.
I only have rough days now usually when it's colder outside as I have osteoarthritis in my lower back. I've stopped having tenssion headaches, my neck doesn't hurt anymore, and that's been going on for 15+ yrs when I started Luvox as my first ssri. I can cope more with lower back pain 90% of the time, when my pain is at a level 8+, I don't do well.
I also know that pain at that level triggers my depression. The brain is such a complex thing isn't it?
I totally disagree. Your life and how to live it and everyone's here is their decision but I don't think that hearing that someone has bipolar should scare people off. Its a matter of how you disclose. I know it sounds a bit arch and politically correct when I say I am a person with a psychiatric disability but when I put it factually and with that stance I haven't alienated anyone. The truth is the people who are the most hateful of people with psychiatric disabilities are often hiding aspects of their lives they don't like. As for my physical disability that has kept me apart from people and homebound but because of the impact of crowds and lines as well as autonomic stimuli in a way that's hard to describe without taking up a whole page lol although I take a full walk outside daily and interact with the people I see in a normal fashion.
But I am connected through people online and I do get out to see them more than before and hope to increase that but require a fair amount of treatment with side effects of its own. Osteoarthritis is harder to cope with than what I have by far and you have my sympthy but I had a great aunt with severe arthritis and part of her difficulty coping with it we now believe was bipolar that never was treated (she had rampant moodswings) and that runs in my mother's side of the family though half of the people didn't realize it until I pointed it out to them and some of them are now getting help.
Thanks for the welcome. I should have mentioned that my headaches were around even before I started taking my current meds. At first I thought that it might have been from the Adderall, which, by the way, helped me more with severe depression than anything I had taken before. I stopped taking the Adderall because I suspected that it might have been causing the headaches, but no luck, they continued. Then I thought that it was caused by sinus issues because it hurt more when I bent over, or coughed, or the worst is sneezing - any internal body pressure causes extra pain. After mucking around with the sinus theory for many weeks, taking antibiotics, etc., I finally figured out that it was caused from problems in my neck, went back to the chiropractor and I'm finally feeling like I'm turning the corner on the headaches.
This is what seems to keep happening to me over and over again in various ways. The things that come up are always hard to figure out, the pain or whatever comes from the illness or injury seems to sap my energy and trigger depression just like you said.
It seems if everything is doing well physically, there is a much greater chance that I won't be depressed, but now I'm about 75% of the time depressed and/or completely energy depleted & fatigued. And it's a bit scary too because as I'm getting older, there are naturally more physical issues arising, at the same time as my mental capabilities seem at least at this time to be on the decline, making it more difficult all the way around to stay well physically. However, for the time being, at least the depression in regards to feeling worthless and wishing for death have not been happening.
Also, when I've felt well physically and had hypomania, it feels really good, and I've been quite productive, but now, I think because of my headaches, I'm still fairly worn out and relatively inactive while hypomania is present - at least for right now...
The difficulty is how to handle mania, even hypomania more than depression. When depressed, the key is to keep occupied and do something that will bring you out of the depression so you don't fixate on it. That's my strategy. But when hypomanic, over activity is part of the problem. You just can't focus. As for physical disabilities I look at the people in the family who had severe conditions such as cardiac conditions and strokes and just kept going to the end. I try to devote a minimum of my time towards self directed thinking unless its for a specific reason. I've toned people down who say "I feel sorry for you" and I ask them "how does that help?" and I try to refocus their energy into online research for treatments for me, some of which has been quite productive and the e-mail I hated the most was someone who said "you were victimized by medication". I gave the person a send off but in a polite way. Its funny because I don't need to get into a negative frame of mind about my physical disability and negative thinking overall because I have a whole crowd of people I know willing to the work lol and often I have to change their perspectives and motivate them and then I end up feeling better about myself.
I find your experience very interesting, it's somewhat reversed to mine.
I am feeling like I WISH my difficulty was in handling the hypomania. When I'm hypomanic I can finally do things again, like today I went to StarBucks, sat and read a book for 45 minutes or so while waiting for my wife and son to meet me - and enjoyed it! I felt like a relatively normal person again.
When I'm depressed, I enjoy practically nothing, and there's not much I can do to change that, at least nothing I've discovered. I become barely functional when depressed, completely sapped of energy and motivation to do anything except the absolute bare necessities, and I basically duck everything else as best I can. Anything slightly stressful just puts me over the top in terms of being able to emotionally and energetically cope. I often remain this way for months on end.
I'm with you on anyone saying that they feel sorry for me. I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me; I don't want to feel sorry for myself either, I just want other people, when necessary, to understand what is going on with me so that they have a clue when I don't do things they expect. And likewise, I like to know how to most effectively deal with the issues that I'm facing.
I used to go into negative thinking a lot, feeling sorry for myself and stuff, but fortunately I don't go there too much anymore unless I go down to the very bottom of the pit. I can now accept the fact of this depressed existence while it is going on - and why not accept it, it IS going on, and there's nothing I can do to stop it, complaining just compounds it. I still don't like it, it causes problems, but I don't fight against it.
I have a great deal more success in controlling the hypomania by limiting my engagement in obsessive activities, making sure that I stay in bed for at least 8 hours each night, even if I'm wide awake for some of it, taking lithium. And more often than not, my hypomanic episodes are mild enough that I don't (nor does anyone else) know for sure that I'm even having a hypomanic episode. They generally feel to me like I'm finally getting better and can be productive for a while.
The worst things that I do while hypomanic, generally, is to buy more books than I can read, spend a bit more money than I should, start projects that after the episode become completely unappealing, drive my wife a bit buggy talking my head off occasionally, get worked up and say some things that I wish later that I hadn't. And again, these things are mild, and if you didn't know my usual nature you wouldn't think much, if anything, about what I'm doing or saying.
So, for me, it's bring on the hypomania...except for one thing: I know that there is depression at the end of the hypomanic road, correspondingly as (or more) deep and long as the hypomanic episode was. So I do have motivation to keep the hypomania in check, even though it's tempting to just let 'er rip.