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  1. #1
    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Default Bipolar disorder and cyclothymia

    I know about it on a very basic level. (The manic phases and the depressive phases.) But never really took the time to find out what these people actually go through. Can anyone tell me about the experiences of yourselves or your loved ones? Are there any non-pharmaceutical ways of managing? You can talk about the highest highs or the lowest lows, or anything in between, or about anything related to it. Anyone diagnosed with cyclothymia, and what's that like?
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    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    it's really kind of hard for me to describe I guess... I've bitched about it in a few threads from time to time, but mostly the depressed phrase of it, which sucks totally, because I kind of lose all enthusiasm for everything and all sense of energy and feel guilty about EVERYTHING

    Mania can be kind of fun for a tiny bit until you start interacting with other people... then if you're me you have lots of sex and party until late in the night because you have the energy and NEED to be around people in a way to do something like that

    Mixed episodes SUCK... I just can't get comfortable in my own skin, A high level of energy, like when manic, but really kind of pissed off and just UNCOMFORTABLE with everything

    I've had a lot of luck in treating it by making sure to always get a good night's sleep, cutting way back on caffeine and alcohol and eating a balanced diet... I HATED my meds, so I decided to take every other means possible to avoid the symptoms and have had pretty good luck for the past couple of years
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  3. #3
    THIS bitch stringstheory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortnsweet View Post
    I know about it on a very basic level. (The manic phases and the depressive phases.) But never really took the time to find out what these people actually go through. Can anyone tell me about the experiences of yourselves or your loved ones? Are there any non-pharmaceutical ways of managing? You can talk about the highest highs or the lowest lows, or anything in between, or about anything related to it. Anyone diagnosed with cyclothymia, and what's that like?
    i'm Bipolar II, I was first diagnosed at 19 in my second year of college although I suspect my first depressive episode was as early as 16. for me the "highest highs" are mostly just high-functioning behaviour (hypomania), so the more crippling issues for me have been the depressive episodes.

    For me, this manifests itself via unhealthy Fi. being literally trapped in a world that utterly tramples my value system is terrifying and demoralizing, and often contributes to a complete lack of motivation and an overwhelming wall of numbness.

    It's funny because I have some friends who were/are very anti-medication and think that the medication brings numbness, but really I find it's the total opposite. I may have been very lucky to find a good psychiatrist (he's a renegade of sorts), but my experiences have led me to believe that if you're lucky enough, medication can be very very helpful. Despite this i don't fully believe that being non-neurotypical means that there is something "wrong" with you beyond the idea that your brain does not function typically.

    As an Fi user, the problem comes for me when I become overloaded by the outside world and I sink into a depressive episode. the medication helps me stabilize and cope and move along, but it does not "numb" me or make me "normal"; it does not change me. i hope this makes sense.

    I should also note that bipolar is not the only thing "wrong" with me; I also am pre-diabetic and have an underactive thyroid, as well as some serious vitamin deficiencies. My bloodwork shows all these things to be interrelated. It's actually really fascinating.

    In addition to pharmaceutical solutions, medical marijuana (when used properly...this can be VERY difficult in a bad state of mind but it is possible) was a helpful mood stabilizer/sleeping aid/appetite stimulant. Diet and exercise have also been a significantly positive factor for me, I went gluten-free about 5 months ago and try to work out 2-3 times a week.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    it's really kind of hard for me to describe I guess... I've bitched about it in a few threads from time to time, but mostly the depressed phrase of it, which sucks totally, because I kind of lose all enthusiasm for everything and all sense of energy and feel guilty about EVERYTHING

    Mania can be kind of fun for a tiny bit until you start interacting with other people... then if you're me you have lots of sex and party until late in the night because you have the energy and NEED to be around people in a way to do something like that

    Mixed episodes SUCK... I just can't get comfortable in my own skin, A high level of energy, like when manic, but really kind of pissed off and just UNCOMFORTABLE with everything

    I've had a lot of luck in treating it by making sure to always get a good night's sleep, cutting way back on caffeine and alcohol and eating a balanced diet... I HATED my meds, so I decided to take every other means possible to avoid the symptoms and have had pretty good luck for the past couple of years
    Quote Originally Posted by stringstheory View Post
    i'm Bipolar II, I was first diagnosed at 19 in my second year of college although I suspect my first depressive episode was as early as 16. for me the "highest highs" are mostly just high-functioning behaviour (hypomania), so the more crippling issues for me have been the depressive episodes.

    For me, this manifests itself via unhealthy Fi. being literally trapped in a world that utterly tramples my value system is terrifying and demoralizing, and often contributes to a complete lack of motivation and an overwhelming wall of numbness.

    It's funny because I have some friends who were/are very anti-medication and think that the medication brings numbness, but really I find it's the total opposite. I may have been very lucky to find a good psychiatrist (he's a renegade of sorts), but my experiences have led me to believe that if you're lucky enough, medication can be very very helpful. Despite this i don't fully believe that being non-neurotypical means that there is something "wrong" with you beyond the idea that your brain does not function typically.

    As an Fi user, the problem comes for me when I become overloaded by the outside world and I sink into a depressive episode. the medication helps me stabilize and cope and move along, but it does not "numb" me or make me "normal"; it does not change me. i hope this makes sense.

    I should also note that bipolar is not the only thing "wrong" with me; I also am pre-diabetic and have an underactive thyroid, as well as some serious vitamin deficiencies. My bloodwork shows all these things to be interrelated. It's actually really fascinating.

    In addition to pharmaceutical solutions, medical marijuana (when used properly...this can be VERY difficult in a bad state of mind but it is possible) was a helpful mood stabilizer/sleeping aid/appetite stimulant. Diet and exercise have also been a significantly positive factor for me, I went gluten-free about 5 months ago and try to work out 2-3 times a week.
    Thank you guys. These are exactly the kind of experiences I was looking for.. Medicinal marijuana has been approved for use in bipolar disorder? That is very interesting. I wonder if some people who are bipolar have tended to self-medicate with marijuana in the past. (That sounds like a dumb statement, of course they have...) Are they using the marijuana to curb any of your other illnesses? Now that it's been approved in some states, I bet they are finding a lot of new stuff about it's health benefits. Do you guys find that after a manic episode follows a depressive episode and visa-versa? Are there any outside triggers for these episodes? Or are they just kind of random?
    06/13 10:51:03 five sounds: you!!!
    06/13 10:51:08 shortnsweet: no you!!
    06/13 10:51:12 shortnsweet: go do your things and my things too!
    06/13 10:51:23 five sounds: oh hell naw
    06/13 10:51:55 shortnsweet: !!!!
    06/13 10:51:57 shortnsweet: (cries)
    06/13 10:52:19 RiftsWRX: You two are like furbies stuck in a shoe box

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  5. #5
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Have you seen Stephen Fry´s documentary The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive? Worth watching.
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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  6. #6
    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    Have you seen Stephen Fry´s documentary The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive? Worth watching.
    No, I've never heard of it.. Will definitely try to find it though
    06/13 10:51:03 five sounds: you!!!
    06/13 10:51:08 shortnsweet: no you!!
    06/13 10:51:12 shortnsweet: go do your things and my things too!
    06/13 10:51:23 five sounds: oh hell naw
    06/13 10:51:55 shortnsweet: !!!!
    06/13 10:51:57 shortnsweet: (cries)
    06/13 10:52:19 RiftsWRX: You two are like furbies stuck in a shoe box

    My Nohari
    My Johari
    by sns.

  7. #7
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  8. #8
    THIS bitch stringstheory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortnsweet View Post
    Thank you guys. These are exactly the kind of experiences I was looking for.. Medicinal marijuana has been approved for use in bipolar disorder? That is very interesting. I wonder if some people who are bipolar have tended to self-medicate with marijuana in the past. (That sounds like a dumb statement, of course they have...)
    Medical marijuana has been approved for many, many things.

    i know I self-medicated before being diagnosed. As i said, being in a good enough state of mind for use to not be abusive is IME really difficult. Granted, i don't think i really knew what was going on and why i turned to it in the way I did, but now being able to differentiate my previous abuse and my current non-abuse it's easier to make that judgment.

    Are they using the marijuana to curb any of your other illnesses? Now that it's been approved in some states, I bet they are finding a lot of new stuff about it's health benefits.
    Yes, although they're not so much other illnesses as they are symptoms. chronic insomnia and anxiety are both huge for me. With the former I use a strain that makes me sleepy. With the latter, i use a strain that acts as a mood stabilizer, but without the groggyness that my Rx gives me. Additionally, it helps me with my appetite. when I'm depressed, I've been known to go up to 3 days before noticing I haven't eaten. As someone with thyroid issues, this is very very bad.

    For more info: The Use of Cannabis as a Mood Stabilizer in Bipolar Disorder:

    Do you guys find that after a manic episode follows a depressive episode and visa-versa? Are there any outside triggers for these episodes? Or are they just kind of random?
    A manic episode is usually what follows, but it's kind of hard to tell because I'm hypomanic. Usually this just looks like high-functioning behaviour, so there's little distinction between being hypomanic and settled on my medication.

    Stress plays a huge role, as does the status of my brain chemicals. Case in point: almost a year ago the US stopped producing my thyroid medication "until further notice". I had to switch from using a natural thyroid product to a synthetic one. this fucked me up bad because natural thyroid product contains T3 and T4 hormones that I need, while synthetic contains only T3. I gained back almost all the weight i lost, and to think that I really had no control over it stressed me out considerably. Not to mention the alteration of my body and brain chemicals as a result of having to switch medication so suddenly. I've since been able to find and purchase my medication from Canada (for fucks sake), so I've slowly been adjusting back to my preferred state of being, but like the leaps between mania and depression, it's very much a gradual trend and not a sudden "snap" as it can often be portrayed.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stringstheory View Post
    Medical marijuana has been approved for many, many things.

    i know I self-medicated before being diagnosed. As i said, being in a good enough state of mind for use to not be abusive is IME really difficult. Granted, i don't think i really knew what was going on and why i turned to it in the way I did, but now being able to differentiate my previous abuse and my current non-abuse it's easier to make that judgment.

    Yes, although they're not so much other illnesses as they are symptoms. chronic insomnia and anxiety are both huge for me. With the former I use a strain that makes me sleepy. With the latter, i use a strain that acts as a mood stabilizer, but without the groggyness that my Rx gives me. Additionally, it helps me with my appetite. when I'm depressed, I've been known to go up to 3 days before noticing I haven't eaten. As someone with thyroid issues, this is very very bad.

    For more info: The Use of Cannabis as a Mood Stabilizer in Bipolar Disorder:

    A manic episode is usually what follows, but it's kind of hard to tell because I'm hypomanic. Usually this just looks like high-functioning behaviour, so there's little distinction between being hypomanic and settled on my medication.

    Stress plays a huge role, as does the status of my brain chemicals. Case in point: almost a year ago the US stopped producing my thyroid medication "until further notice". I had to switch from using a natural thyroid product to a synthetic one. this fucked me up bad because natural thyroid product contains T3 and T4 hormones that I need, while synthetic contains only T3. I gained back almost all the weight i lost, and to think that I really had no control over it stressed me out considerably. Not to mention the alteration of my body and brain chemicals as a result of having to switch medication so suddenly. I've since been able to find and purchase my medication from Canada (for fucks sake), so I've slowly been adjusting back to my preferred state of being, but like the leaps between mania and depression, it's very much a gradual trend and not a sudden "snap" as it can often be portrayed.
    I wonder if some of the symptoms of bipolar tie in with your hypothyroidism, (giving thyroid hormones may bring you "up" and changing them or the disease itself may bring you "down" and so on.) When did you first realize that you may have a problem?
    06/13 10:51:03 five sounds: you!!!
    06/13 10:51:08 shortnsweet: no you!!
    06/13 10:51:12 shortnsweet: go do your things and my things too!
    06/13 10:51:23 five sounds: oh hell naw
    06/13 10:51:55 shortnsweet: !!!!
    06/13 10:51:57 shortnsweet: (cries)
    06/13 10:52:19 RiftsWRX: You two are like furbies stuck in a shoe box

    My Nohari
    My Johari
    by sns.

  10. #10
    THIS bitch stringstheory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortnsweet View Post
    I wonder if some of the symptoms of bipolar tie in with your hypothyroidism, (giving thyroid hormones may bring you "up" and changing them or the disease itself may bring you "down" and so on.) When did you first realize that you may have a problem?
    I have no doubt in my mind that they tie in...it's honestly really fascinating to look at my blood work with my psychiatrist and see how it all is explained through physical symptoms that i'd never imagine as being "related".

    high cortisol appears to be the biggest culprit. It is linked with the blockage of thyroid hormone and bipolar depression, as well as the fact that the thyroid hormone cannot be properly absorbed without normal levels of iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin D (all are supplements I must take). High cortisol levels are also linked to my poly-cystic ovarian syndrome and my pre-diabetes: central obesity (belly fat) is the physical symptom of both of these things. Additionally, less than regular periods appear to be my body's way of preserving the iron that I so desperately need.

    There's actually a lot more, and i could go on but I think you get my point. It's ALL inter-related. this way of thinking does not appear to be too common in the psychiatric field. When looking for hypothyroidism, many psychiatrists will not test for cortisol, T3 or T4 hormones; only TSH. to me this is a big problem because if so many different issues appear to be tied together and people are continuing to look at them as separate problems, it concerns me how many people are out there not being properly treated. I'd recommend reading the book "Kids in The Syndrome Mix". it's mostly concerning children, but it's a very good intro to the phenomenon of "co-morbid" disorders (bipolar, Asperger's, ADHD, Tourette's, etc.). This is not a simple issue.

    The weight thing has been always been a problem for me. Even as a very physically active kid/adolescent, weight loss was not easy for me. My first depressive episode, looking back, was at 16 in my junior year of high school. However, many of these other problems I can pinpoint as early as age 8; emotionally, I've never felt "normal", i never fit in and it was always pretty obvious that physically, mentally, emotionally, I was different from a lot of my peers.

    sorry for the long posts, but this is a very complex issue that greatly fascinates me, as well as one about which I am very passionate as someone who has to live in this body
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