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  1. #1
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Default hasty diagnosis, or thread that used to be called by the name "bi-polar bomb dropped"

    It was quite regular thing for me to do .. arranging some bills, managing money on my bank accounts, making some calls to customer service to settle some billing issues. I've been unemployed and the money from my latest jobs hasn't been paid yet. I was under a small stress due to having to move out from my apartment in unknown time, so I paid extra attention to my financial issues. I had taken a gram of caffeine to handle the days work.

    It started slow but escalated. I went into some kind of a stress mode, searching for jobs on the web, planning to do double, triple job today to secure my finances. Then I went into some kind of small panic in my mind (behaved rationally, emotions did not go overboard), feeling increasing anxiety and alienation from my mind. I recognized the feeling - same as immediately prior, and somewhat after my major burnout few years ago.

    Now I am a much more learned man nowadays, more knowledgeable about my mind, and I was able to keep my panic very, very calm. Then I noticed after some time that even tho I was absolutely clear in my mind to do only reasonable, responsible things, my brain was like firing neurons all over the place and I realized: I was under some "silent alarm", panic mode, however relatively calm - I could not access the parts of my brain that would have calmed me completely and made me able to resume my thinking. It was like I would have been taken away the ability to trust the future for longer than 5 minutes into the future. I was unable to start writing my CV, even tho I had it almost finished from last time, as I felt something more urgent had to be done.. I could not bring myself down to the level to concentrate 15 minutes to write a resume in a calm silent fashion.

    I remembered having decided that I will consider extreme possibilities to make the best of my life that I can.

    I called my mother and asked if she knew me to have any mental ilnesses, and be straightforward with it.

    The answer: bi-polar disorder.

    I had been suggested such possibility a few times, but dismissed it as unthinkable, too terrible, too stigmatizing.. and I also had found the times of cycle changes to coincide with major life events, which I used to explain burn-outs, good times and bad times. Those, plus my then- MBTI type of ENFP.

    I've functioned at half capacity 3 of the last 6 years. I had understood that I had a major life issue, a mental disorder of some type. Burn-out was probably real. Depression has been. My high-functioning time has believably been that of hypomania.

    It's evening now. I'm starting to get calm, I do not feel the desire to use any substances, not the need to hate my life, not a need to burst into rapid, desperate action. My planning skills have come back and I've calmed.

    They project low satisfaction for spouses of BPD cases.. twice the mortality for the people themselves. I'll seek for professional diagnosis.. last shrink proposed this diagnosis as a possibility for me.

    There's nothing in the world that I object as much as taking psychoactive substances that will reduce my functioning. I am extremely happy in how my brains work for good 99,99% of the time, thank you for asking. I'm only bothered with the external-world tasks that I dont always do on time; otherwise I'm fine. The last thing I would want is to have some meds to screw up my brains. If the alternatives are living on the street and being able to support myself, I'll take the meds. If I just know it will happen. I do not want a shell of a mind where I dont recognize myself.
    Last edited by UnitOfPopulation; 11-29-2007 at 08:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I've been on a mood stabilizer for bi-polar type II. It wasn't horrible, but it was weird and I didn't notice it helping much. The worst side effect was the occasional dizziness and headache and some difficulty finding exactly the right word for what I wanted to say. Other than that, no major difference.

    If you aren't causing yourself a ton of damage during your manic phases and you are functional at at least a minimal level and not suicidal when depressed, it seems as though it could be worked around.

    If it is causing you problems with maintaining employment, can you get some kind of disability stipend? Or sometimes there are laws that protect employees with mental illnesses.
    Last edited by cafe; 10-11-2007 at 06:39 AM.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  3. #3
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    This has got to be triggered by food + stress combination. I've eaten very well during the last month, but I just decided to try candy + potato chips + fatty foods day before the panic attack.. plus the gram of caffeine, same as 10 cups of strong coffee.

    I'll probably have to take care of my diet as carefully as if the foods were medicine.

  4. #4
    Pareo cattus Natrushka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Santtu View Post

    I'll probably have to take care of my diet as carefully as if the foods were medicine.
    Santtu, they are. What you eat / don't eat can have a huge impact on how you feel and your health. And it can be cumulative. Most folk never get this message, consider yourself one of the fortunate few.

    This signature left intentionally blank.

    Really.

  5. #5
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Unhappy Need to care of yourself

    1) Depression and bipolar disorder are very real mental health issues. However, I think for everyone (except those whose disorders are neurological or genetic in nature) some basic good habits go a LONG way.

    2) Sleep well, eat regularly and well, drink plenty of water, get outside in the fresh air and sunshine, socialize to the amount that is right for you, get physical activity, be sexually active in a responsible way -- and DON'T shut yourself off or in, self-medicate with {alcohol, drugs, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, food, sex, shopping, etc.}

    3) This is not directed at you at all or a 'blame the victim' rant, but I have noticed in my friends on medication for mood disorders -- some of them make a conscious effort to improve their lives by doing those basic things in 2 as well as get therapy and make progress. And some of them have horrible habits and do not seek therapy and continue to ride the roller coaster of their depression and manic episodes.

    4) So if you know certain things which are very controllable trigger you -- i.e. salty foods, caffeine, being around a particular neighbor -- cut them out of your life. These small steps help you avoid dependence on medication and lessen your dosage.

    5)I don't think there should be a stigma for chemical imbalance. I think it takes courage for you to talk about this even on a semi anonymous online forum. And it definitely takes strenght to start taking care of it and yourself, so good luck!

    Just my 2 cents. I'm getting off my ENFP soap box now.

  6. #6
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I've been on a mood stabilizer for bi-polar type II. It wasn't horrible, but it was weird and I didn't notice it helping much. The worst side effect was the occasional dizziness and headache and some difficulty finding exactly the right word for what I wanted to say. Other than that, no major difference.

    If you aren't causing yourself a ton of damage during your manic phases and you are functional at at least a minimal level and not suicidal when depressed, it seems as though it could be worked around.

    If it is causing you problems with maintaining employment, can you get some kind of disability stipend? Or sometimes there are laws that protect employees with mental illnesses.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, and for the advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    1) Depression and bipolar disorder are very real mental health issues. However, I think for everyone (except those whose disorders are neurological or genetic in nature) some basic good habits go a LONG way.

    2) Sleep well, eat regularly and well, drink plenty of water, get outside in the fresh air and sunshine, socialize to the amount that is right for you, get physical activity, be sexually active in a responsible way -- and DON'T shut yourself off or in, self-medicate with {alcohol, drugs, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, food, sex, shopping, etc.}

    5)I don't think there should be a stigma for chemical imbalance. I think it takes courage for you to talk about this even on a semi anonymous online forum. And it definitely takes strenght to start taking care of it and yourself, so good luck!

    Just my 2 cents. I'm getting off my ENFP soap box now.
    It's good that you wrote.. rock on with the soap box

    Good advise, I think that bipolar person needs good life habits more than other people, and benefits from them more. Fortunately, good life habits aren't anything terrible to maintain.

  7. #7
    Member Hypomanic's Avatar
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    Wow.. that post reminded me of the main character from Fight Club.. if anything you could write novels on your life and I'd be entertained.

    Anyway.. I've been diagnosed as Bi Polar a few times.. it sounds like you're having panic attacks. Do you remember feeling like you were dying? Bi Polar meds are risky in my opinion and Zoloft is ideal if you are having panic attacks several times a week.

  8. #8
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    Yes, I agree that sounds exactly like a Panic Attack. That in and of itself, of course doesn't indicate Bi-Polar but please seek professional help. Perhaps you just need a small dose of a mild tranquilizer when you start to feel this way?

    I get PA and they really suck to say the least. Good luck to you.

  9. #9
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Thanks. This was a rare experience one time 3 years ago, and then recently, and it hasn't repeated after that. I think I made a misjudgement in taking so much caffeine. Wikipedia tells that 300-400mg can give an acute caffeine overdose, tho that's what I've been using daily. Even if I am accustomed to that amount, 1000mg is far too much.

    In the year 2004, the panic attack was due to overwhelming amount of work, failed expectations, stress, and other combined environmental factors.

    So I have the least reason to suspect that there was something neurological with this, now that I've been made aware of the pharmacology of caffeine.

    Now what I need some help for, is some kind of depression, or after-effects from burnout.. which seems to repeat with times when I get so stressed out from certain kinds of tasks so that I am unable to finish them.

    The reason why I don't want to believe in the previous suggested diagnosis is twofold. First of all, if I'm in no way dysfunctional or irresponsible when I'm in seemingly happy, energetic mood (which I call normal), what's the diagnosis for? It's the tiresome times when I can't handle stress, that's the problem. Second of all, depression meds seem to support better quality of life than mood stabilizers for both the up- and the down-phase of the cycles (edit: according to what I've read).

    In the end, I have to make the decisions what I want and how I want it. I'll proclaim that it's okay to be in an upbeat, energetic mood, while allowing myself to calm down for the more serious issues in life and to be empathetic with the sad. Unaltering moods can't, by definition, take into account situational needs. I have recognized what is healthy and what I'll aim for.

  10. #10
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    Caffeine is very bad for those of us with PA. I have eliminated it except for ONE cup first thing in the morning, then it's decaf for the rest of the day. Did you know that physical exercise is very effective for anxiety and PA? Something to do with releasing feel-good brain chemicals, I believe.

    Perhaps your periods of happiness and lots of energy is the 'real, normal YOU' and you are merely over-stressed and anxious? Of course it could be BP but if you tried mood-stablizers and they didn't work, perhaps that's not the real diagnosis? Anyhow, it's been explained to me that long periods of stress can change your brain chemistry and give you anxiety, PA and depression. The longer it goes on the longer and harder it is to treat. Everyone (well, at least many) gets stressed and burned-out but most people recover smoothly when the stress is over- but not those of us you are unlucky to be prone to this. Personally I have chronic stressors in my life, which can't really be cleared up, so I'm always living with heightened stress.

    Let us know how it goes!

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