Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

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Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by Psychocandy »

I am trying to find a balance in my life where I can handle juggling between these phases. It's been around close to a month where I've been out of my Depression Phase. For the first couple of weeks I was very Manic with being super hyper and jumping on all tasks and hobbies that I shut down for close to year long Depression phase. I feel myself not as hyped up now and feel anxiety or fear that I will drop back into deep depression again. I don't want that. I am currently enjoying being able to live some and not sleep all day and night and cry non stop. It's hard to describe but it feels like I have so many creative ideas just flowing non stop right now. I get bored incredibly fast as well which could be good or bad however you look at it .. I guess. Last two weeks I have had minor mood swings but nothing to where I was hurting myself, panic attacks, or being uncontrollably upset.

Sorry, I am just rambling on here and losing focus I guess what I am trying to say is I wonder who else suffers from depression and manic phases and how do you work on trying handle the in between time? Like I feel myself not really leaning on depression or manic just balanced right now. But I fear that something could trigger to set it off to where I lean on one phase more. I don't want that. I want to be able to have more control and be ME. I have been focusing on hobbies because that brings me the most joy in my life especially reading and drawing. Before I felt better out of deep depression I found myself in a constant battle of picking up the same book with intentions of reading... looking at the first page... then closing it and putting it back. It was incredibly frustrating and I cried because it felt like too much focus and pressure for me at that time. I probably did this every single day as a routine. I can't explain why. Maybe I was trying to push myself out of depression.

I don't know if any of this is making any sense perhaps I just wanted to vent some and share my struggle with mental health. So if you're reading this and identify with anything I wrote then I hope you are surviving the journey and making strides to also do the best you can to be the best version of you. You're not alone.

Have a good day and thanks for reading.
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Re: Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by lulugirl765 »

Do you see a psychiatrist and use medications? I’m not suggesting anything, but if you’re suffering please consider seeing someone. Meds can take a number of trials and tweaking to find what works but it’s worth doing for many people.

I live with an elderly housemate who has had Bipolar II for nearly 40 years and he’s lived with my family for 15 years off and on. I also have a close friend with Bipolar 1. The two guys couldn’t be more different in how their illness goes. My housemate has massive manic phases with full-blown psychosis lasting 10-12 weeks, followed by depression phases lasting years. My other friend has more day-to-day mood swings, a bad day for him he will describe as a feeling of impending doom and anxiety. He takes a number of medications and feels immensely relieved by them.

Both guys have what I guess you could call a "rescue medication." This is something they take when the manic side is out of control, but it’s a temporary medication used for days or weeks and then discontinued. The medicine is very sedating for those times and so they wouldn’t need or want to take it full time. My housemate uses a rescue med exclusively. He would definitely benefit from regular meds but he doesn’t want that. He’s done ok on the rescue med when he uses it, just takes maybe 3 days to start coming out of the mania, in two weeks he’s back down.

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Re: Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by Psychocandy »

Thanks for the feedback! Yes, I do see someone and no medication. I've always been scared to take meds and try to deal with it on my own. When my depression comes it hits hard and fast and most the time it's rare for me to generally be a happy person without faking it. I am very much an introvert so I typically don't need to fake it often as I don't see many people face to face. The last ordeal was extremely hard on me physically as I became very sick to the point I was being told to drink and eat. When my mania comes most the time I am aware I am not acting normally as I should and will get confused in conversations or what transpired in the recent past which frustrates me as I am mostly critical of myself to always try to be "normal" and sometimes I forget the right words I am trying to say or lose my thoughts. I've been having issues with extreme night terrors and sleep paralysis for a few years too along with insomnia to avoid them. My psychiatrist has help me with self harm and suicidal thoughts which thankfully is in control.

I am glad to read that your roommate and friend are able to get better assisted with medication!
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Re: Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by lulugirl765 »

I’m glad you’ve got a doctor in place. My housemate doesn’t have one now, and I wish he did. The main reason would be to have an advocate in his case. He gets picked up by the cops a lot when he’s manic, and then it’s more of a risk getting tossed into a locked ward and ending up in forced situation, worse meds, and having no choices. Whereas a regular trusted psychiatrist can step in and assume the responsibility and get him out as needed. Because he does calm down and goes years without any problems.

It’s truly a situation of biology and genetics in his case. The fact that his son is also bipolar proves the biology. His son decided early on with the jails that he was going the way of his dad and didn’t want that. So he got on the meds early, and went on to college and a career.

All of us can benefit from wellness strategies for sure. I just hate to see it when my housemate gets himself tangled into the old idea that mental illness is a "moral failing" when it is so clearly a medical physical issue. He’s over 70 though, and has all that moral failure thinking and some days I feel that’s more devastating than just taking the damn pill. But it’s his life.

He is immensely talented and a joy to be around most of the time. My son was very afraid of him at first, but has come around now. Our housemate’s last episode was just over a year ago, most inconveniently at the start of the pandemic. He was unable to comprehend what was going on. My son just said "oh, he will calm down and go back to himself." I was so proud of my son for that, seeing the person rather than the illness.

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Re: Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by Psychocandy »

Sounds like your roommate is lucky to have a good living situation with good people that are understanding of his mental health and supportive. I hope his golden years are much better than the past.
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Re: Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by lulugirl765 »

I can tell you one thing. I am the safest I’ve ever been with him around. He’s so scary businesses literally ban him when he’s manic. My local community has some rough people, and I never worry about someone untoward coming to the house, it’s them who would have a worry. :D

In all seriousness, though, the suffering he has when his brain is on fire is nothing to make fun of. I read somewhere that bipolar is at the heart a sleep disorder, the brain doesn’t get the rest needed and the damage manic episodes causes is not worth the cost when he doesn’t take the medicine. Each time he spends more time on the couch recovering during the lows, and it’s months before he can do anything other than sit and watch TV. His legs swell to double a normal size from standing for nearly 20 hours a day talking and yelling non-stop. They are giving him a lot of grief. On the plus side, the well periods are longer as he’s gotten older. An older person also needs smaller med doses as well.

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Re: Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by Psychocandy »

Hehe sounds like he is a good guy to have around! It warms my heart to hear that it is working out. I hope to have close friends at some point in my life one day.
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Re: Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by lulugirl765 »

Yeah one thing I’ve learned is anyone becomes family and to be open to that idea. His family won’t go near him, and my family is too dysfunctional for me to be around. He’s what I call family.

Something you seem to have is a lot of personal insight. You’re aware of how you feel and detailed insights about your cycles. That goes a long way toward doing the things to feel better and avoid the damage.

My housemate doesn’t have that, or if he does he doesn’t want to admit it unless a judge is sitting there saying "say what you have," which I’ve actually seen happen.

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Re: Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by Psychocandy »

Thank you! I've been sick or began showing signs since I was around 16 and my family was never supportive about it just told me my concerns were not real and basically suck it up. I remember begging them to find me help because I was suicidal and nothing came of it. I was very popular before and it was like a switch one day and I lost all my friendships and connections with people I grew up with. Fell down further with severe depression and waking up everyday hoping it was my last. Being an introvert I spend lots and lots of time sitting alone and thinking about things and trying to figure things out so I assume that is how I am more self aware. I only recently got help for it because the last time I was self harming and lost my will to fight. I have other traumas and things that are wrong with me but my biggest hurdle is the depression because when it kicks in it's very hard to get out of and I admit I do a lot of self pitying and self hate. I think everyone hates me and I constantly apologize for everything because I think I just fuck everything up even when there is no possible way I did. Trust me though it's way easier to chat online and express myself versus in real life where I lose focus and cry unable to speak.
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Re: Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by lulugirl765 »

One other thing I would add is only for people who are biologically female, is keep track of anything mental/physical on a calendar, do for years and look for any patterns. There are a lot of rough things that are related to female cycles and menstruation that can start days before, during and just after a period. I wasn’t aware how bad it was for years and years until shortly before menopause. The cycles may be normal but they can make other conditions worse around that time. Journaling is never a bad idea and then it’s a record to show the doctor if need be.

That’s just a general thought I have, not related to anything said here.

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Re: Bipolar - Depression Phase and Manic Phase

Post by Psychocandy »

All good info!

I have begun to write notes to myself when things are bad so I can get it out and vent. Not hold it all inside. Drawing also is very therapeutic for me and listening to music. Music can really effect my well being if I am at a low and help me.
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