Jump to content

Menu

Manic depressive questions, if anyone with experience can answer...


Recommended Posts

1. Can manic depression be managed without drugs?

Is there natural ways someone can manage it through diet, exercise, sleep?

 

2. How much tolerance is appropriate from family members?

When the behavior is harmful at what point is it unexcuseable? (is that a word?) I guess what I'm asking is if you are manic, what do you ask of your family to help you? If you deal with manic behavior, what is your breaking point?

 

Is it reasonable to ask a person with manic depression to manage their illness? What if they don't want to medicate?

 

Does a manic depressive need someone to run their life for them? Take care of all of major responsibilities? (For example, manage finances, take care of home care- anything that requires a focused effort?)

 

What if the manic depressive person refuses treatment or management?

 

Thank you for any input, I think I've read here before that a few have manic depression or live with someone who does. I will be talking to a pyschiatrist (sp) tomorrow about this but would like to hear about personal experiences that may help me sort this out beforehand.

 

:bigear:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother was manic. She would agree to medicate, then come off her medication for a while until things got so bad that she would agree to medicate again. It was a rollercoaster.

 

When she came off her medication, it was h*ll for the rest of us. My sister, who had just gotten married, had to spend most of her time back at our house. I was a young teenager during the worst time, and I basically was on my own because she needed so much attention from my dad.

 

I would not live with someone who was manic and would not medicate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother was manic. She would agree to medicate, then come off her medication for a while until things got so bad that she would agree to medicate again. It was a rollercoaster.

 

When she came off her medication, it was h*ll for the rest of us. My sister, who had just gotten married, had to spend most of her time back at our house. I was a young teenager during the worst time, and I basically was on my own because she needed so much attention from my dad.

 

I would not live with someone who was manic and would not medicate.

 

I don't think I would either.....based on my experiences with my brother. He was diagnosed 3 years ago, 20 years after eratic behavior began--disguised as drug and alcohol addiction. Turns out he doesn't have addiction issues he is/has Bi-Polar. He is a different person now that he is diagnosed and medicated.

 

I also have a fairly close friend whose husband is BP and he has nearly put them in the poor house due to his mismanagement of money and manic spending. He is diagnosed and medicated but he hates his meds and goes on and off of them making their life very chaotic.

 

Thankfully, my brother doesn't mind his meds. He didn't like the manic phase like so many manics do. He described it to me one time like this--

 

'I think oh I need to weed-eat so I go start the weedeater and then think, Oh! I'd love some ice tea, so I go put a kettle on to make tea and I think well, while that is boiling I will scrub the tub out and meanwhile I"ve left the weedeater running.'

 

:tongue_smilie:

 

My disclaimer is that I think BP comes in different degrees...and also the younger a person is when diagnosed *I* think the easier it is too manage...in part because so much damage gets done to a person like my brother in 20 years of self-medicating in various ways.

 

PM me if you like Jessica.

 

Edited to add: My brother wasn't diagnosed until he had a total breakdown and was hospitalized. Thankfully, at this time in his life he was clean and sober and so it was clear it was not an addiction problem. I would not wish that eventuality on anyone...he was suicidal. I would hope a person would choose medication over that possibility.

Edited by Scarlett
Link to comment
Share on other sites

An "acquaintance" of mine is a wonderful person while medicated. Un-medicated, she ignored her small children and bankrupted the family, along with other destructive behaviors, leading to quite a long hospital stay.

 

On the other hand, my sister does fairly well un-medicated. She's still very difficult, but she doesn't present with incredibly destructive behaviors. She's much more enjoyable while medicated, though!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bipolar disorder CAN be handled without medication....hmmmm....let me not state this wrong.

 

SOME bipolar disorder can be handled APPROPRIATELY without medication. However, sometimes it is not reasonable or desirable. And it can actually cause brain changes in time if MISMANAGED regardless of medication usage or not.

 

Also, bipolar disorder is one of those things that are being WAY over-dx'd but is WAY under-dx'd also. And there are several physical issues that can cause bipolar to present. It is VERY common. And unfortunately, we don't have a lot of doctors in this country that care for the WHOLE mind and body so this gets broken up between specialists usually which isn't best for the patient.

 

During a crisis time isn't the time to get worked up about this problem though. Sometimes, we have to use medication until other options are helping/working.

 

But people with bipolar CAN live normal lives. They HAVE to be held responsible! It is very dangerous to be "too understanding." People making excuses for someone with bipolar is dangerous and leads to more illness and more problems. By holding someone responsible, they won't be enabled regarding poor behavior or choices. They'll be encouraged to make better choices and behave acceptably.

 

Anyway, both ds and I are dx'd with bipolar among other things. Ds was medicated short term many years ago. I have been medicated short term several times in my adult life. For us, proper management is necessary and we work as a family to acheive that. But excuses aren't allowed. Natural, Behavioral and Medication treatment are things that must be balanced in times of unrest (either direction). But now that we're mostly stable, things are pretty good most of the time (like usually years at a time...ds usually has "something" for a time every other year. I had 6 good years before 2008's junk and am not awesome again). This IS possible and what everyone involved should work towards.

 

Hope this helps a little.

 

ETA: Most people do not realize that psychological science is just NOT an exact science. In fact, it's less than that! The MAJORITY of people taking medication are NOT stable. They have HORRIBLE side effects that are just as bad, often worse, than the bipolar itself. This is partially explained by the mind-body connection mentioned above. But also just because there are so many meds and it takes so much TIME to figure the right dosages and combinations. IN the meantime, the patient AND family is just MISERABLE.

 

YES, people with bipolar need to get appropriate help, but it isn't as simple as go to a doctor, get medication and live happily ever after. It's not like an antibiotic that generally works well quickly and easily.

 

Anyway, I was just a bit frustrated with some of the posts above. Medication is just not what people make it out to be. It is necessary to some degree or another for most people with bipolar, but there are REAL reasons most bipolars don't want to try or continue with meds.

Edited by 2J5M9K
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mom is bipolar.

 

It's hard for me to imagine her being able to be off of meds. She didn't start meds until I was in college and growing up was very difficult. I think she self-medicated with alcohol for years until she got diagnosed and on the meds. I do think things like good sleep and diet help her. She's worse if she is not taking care of herself, but I think it would not be enough on it's own.

 

I'm not sure I can answer all your other questions. She is not someone who is really capable of handling things like finances, but I'm not sure if that's all the bipolar or just her. The hardest part for me is that she still has very little insight into her disease. A few years ago we went to the beach for an annual trip with her and she was absolutely manic. I hated being around her even though she wasn't really doing anything inappropriate because it brought back awful memories. She however, insisted that she was just "happy". Every year she gets depressed in the fall. Every year. And every year she calls me telling me how awful things are. And I have to remind her she always gets depressed in the fall and she should call her doctor to adjust her meds. Every year. It's a small thing, but it can be frustrating.

 

The idea of how much to tolerate is difficult. I think often my Mom uses her disease as an excuse not to do things but then I feel bad for thinking that way. It's hard to separate out sometimes what is disease and what is personality and what is both. If that makes sense.

 

For me, I've come to a place where I've had to accept that nothing I do or don't do can change her moods. And I'm not responsible for them. It took me a looooong time to reach that place. I think it would be much harder to live with her or to be there day to day. I don't really know how my Dad does it, frankly. I know it is tough for him and I admire him for his faithfulness.

Edited by Alice
Link to comment
Share on other sites

An amino acid blend (Carlson's) is wonderful!

http://www.carlsonlabs.com/product_detail.phtml?prodid=00242&categid=0022

You can get it cheap at Vitamin Shoppe.

When I told my mom it was my anti-suicide pill - she went out and bought me a HUGE bottle. And has kept me well supplied.

 

And I believe that LOTS of healthy fats help as well.

DHA and other omega fatty acids are VERY important.

 

I totally get what the other poster was saying about her brother.

The manic up is awesome. You can be sooooooo creative, productive, up, positive. So much so, that it can exhaust your friends.

 

I have worked all day (8 to 4 social work internship, 5 to 10 waitressing) and come home and cleaned the entire house until 2 am. And the whole time cleaning I was coming up with great ideas for saving the world, starting a business.... it's like the body on steroids/amphetamines and the brain on acid.

 

Eating healthy whole foods without MSG is key as well.

MSG excites and overstimulates the neurons literally to death.

 

Fortunately my bi polar has almost always been in the up mode with very few lows, but the lows are scary. And now that I am thinking about it.....having a baby does not help. Nor does the death of a horse. Homelessness...

Where is my bottle of AA's, where is my hemp oil?

 

Anyway - whoever this person is has got to get to a point of admitting the problem and realizing that it's not a bad thing. So many great artists were bipolar. We are a creative lot! But we have to manage it. And I do it naturally, no pharmaceuticals because I do not trust them at all.

 

-Karen, who is now thinking about the better management of her own brain because since this baby it's been neglected.......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh and in the spirit of trying to break the negative stigma associated with mental illness I avoid calling someone an illness. I say "they have bipolar". I don't say "they are bipolar". Would you want someone to call you a cancer? You HAVE cancer. You are not cancer.

 

Just a little pet peeve of mine. :001_smile:

 

 

Interesting. I call my bio-mother as being bipolar and won't change that anytime soon. She *is* her illness (and this is having had it under treatment for what, 25 +years, by the top-doctor in her country. She goes round and round and round).

Jut another viewpoint.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first man I loved was bi-polar. After nearly three years of dealing with it and his refusal to get treatment of any kind, I left him. After that he stalked me for two months and then shot himself in the head because I wouldn't go back to him. So for the last 14 years I have lived with the fact that I caused someone else's death and it is only the grace of God and my husband's love that have kept me from drowning in the guilt of it all.

 

Sometimes you can't save them and you just have to save yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Thankfully, my brother doesn't mind his meds. He didn't like the manic phase like so many manics do. He described it to me one time like this--

 

'I think oh I need to weed-eat so I go start the weedeater and then think, Oh! I'd love some ice tea, so I go put a kettle on to make tea and I think well, while that is boiling I will scrub the tub out and meanwhile I"ve left the weedeater running.'

 

Other than a little glee after spending money, I haven't witnessed any 'up' periods. But I do see an 'extreme' in what this person does, if said person bought a video game, it has to be played until mastery every waking second that is available. Once mastered, it is crucial to buy something else, right away. Very little self-control, self-discipline, resents anyone and anything that prevents this person from being able to do what they want.

 

But even when this is happening, the person can act depressive and be volatile, esp. if asked to do something that will take away from what the current 'passion' is.

 

Would this extreme, intense behavior be the manic up? There are very few times I've witnessed that there is an extreme interest in doing something positive and then it stops suddenly and the person becomes depressive. I always thought it was self-discipline b/c it is things like exercise.

 

'I'm going to walk every day for 30 minutes.' Does it for 1 week and stops altogether, not reducing to make it more manageable but just stops and becomes depressive, usually b/c of an occurrence or just lack of interest. There's always a reason though...

 

This person's best friend is manic depressive (or bipolar), and they've done a lot of things together, extreme things like both changing careers together at the same exact time just b/c they thought it would be fun. I'm worried that this person could be mirroring his best friend instead of truly being bipolar on their own.

 

What a mess. I'm just trying to sort this out and get some type of handle on it, so I can make some decisions. I don't want to jump on any label but find a way to understand so I can move forward from this point in an educated way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting. I call my bio-mother as being bipolar and won't change that anytime soon. She *is* her illness (and this is having had it under treatment for what, 25 +years, by the top-doctor in her country. She goes round and round and round).

Jut another viewpoint.

 

Yes.

 

If someone is depressed, you say they are depressed. If someone is manic, you say they are manic. When I say that someone is bipolar, it is just the condensed version of "I am depressed", and "I am manic".

 

I have also said that people "struggle with bipolar disorder", or "they suffer from bipolar disorder".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bipolar disorder CAN be handled without medication....hmmmm....let me not state this wrong.

 

SOME bipolar disorder can be handled APPROPRIATELY without medication. However, sometimes it is not reasonable or desirable. And it can actually cause brain changes in time if MISMANAGED regardless of medication usage or not.

 

Also, bipolar disorder is one of those things that are being WAY over-dx'd but is WAY under-dx'd also. And there are several physical issues that can cause bipolar to present. It is VERY common. And unfortunately, we don't have a lot of doctors in this country that care for the WHOLE mind and body so this gets broken up between specialists usually which isn't best for the patient.

 

During a crisis time isn't the time to get worked up about this problem though. Sometimes, we have to use medication until other options are helping/working.

 

But people with bipolar CAN live normal lives. They HAVE to be held responsible! It is very dangerous to be "too understanding." People making excuses for someone with bipolar is dangerous and leads to more illness and more problems. By holding someone responsible, they won't be enabled regarding poor behavior or choices. They'll be encouraged to make better choices and behave acceptably.

 

Anyway, both ds and I are dx'd with bipolar among other things. Ds was medicated short term many years ago. I have been medicated short term several times in my adult life. For us, proper management is necessary and we work as a family to acheive that. But excuses aren't allowed. Natural, Behavioral and Medication treatment are things that must be balanced in times of unrest (either direction). But now that we're mostly stable, things are pretty good most of the time (like usually years at a time...ds usually has "something" for a time every other year. I had 6 good years before 2008's junk and am not awesome again). This IS possible and what everyone involved should work towards.

 

Hope this helps a little.

 

ETA: Most people do not realize that psychological science is just NOT an exact science. In fact, it's less than that! The MAJORITY of people taking medication are NOT stable. They have HORRIBLE side effects that are just as bad, often worse, than the bipolar itself. This is partially explained by the mind-body connection mentioned above. But also just because there are so many meds and it takes so much TIME to figure the right dosages and combinations. IN the meantime, the patient AND family is just MISERABLE.

 

YES, people with bipolar need to get appropriate help, but it isn't as simple as go to a doctor, get medication and live happily ever after. It's not like an antibiotic that generally works well quickly and easily.

 

Anyway, I was just a bit frustrated with some of the posts above. Medication is just not what people make it out to be. It is necessary to some degree or another for most people with bipolar, but there are REAL reasons most bipolars don't want to try or continue with meds.

 

:iagree:

 

(Coming from someone not taking medication for a psychological disorder, who had an unmedicated father that self-medicated for years with drugs and alcohol. One size doesn't fit all.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

True manic depressives must have carefully regulated medication. It's all about Lithium levels being regulated. This involves seeing a MD regularly to check lithium levels in the blood. For some reason (maybe the m/d itself) many m/d refuse meds or think after being on the meds awhile that they can now stop treatment. It just doesn't work that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I've observed, there are degrees of bipolar-ness (is that a word?) It can go from being a small neuroses to full-blown psychoses. The full-blown psychoses is not pretty. A lot of outside factors can change our brain chemistry and exacerbate problems - lack of sleep, extra stress, physical illness etc. can make things worse.

 

Is it possible to get the person to go to the Dr. even for a physical and to get them to describe some of how they are feeling/acting for the doctor? What you've described could be other things - there is a obsessive-compulsive component to some of what you described with the games, for instance. At least to this arm-chair pyschologist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The manic depressive diagnosis is what this person said that a therapist told them and the reason why the person doesn't want any more counseling, b/c meds will be prescribed.

 

I can't trust what this person is saying. I know for a fact that I'm being lied to about numerous other things, big things and I have unquestioning proof. This person fits so many characteristics of narcissism and bipolar. Thanks for sharing, it's been enlightening and helpful, I can discuss the rest of this with the counselor tomorrow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't read all of the responses, so forgive me if I'm repeating someone, but I'd recommend you read Dr. Andrew Stoll's book The Omega-3 Connection. Stoll is the director of the Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory at McLean Hospital and is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. You can also google his name and read articles about his research.

 

Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Other than a little glee after spending money, I haven't witnessed any 'up' periods. But I do see an 'extreme' in what this person does, if said person bought a video game, it has to be played until mastery every waking second that is available. Once mastered, it is crucial to buy something else, right away. Very little self-control, self-discipline, resents anyone and anything that prevents this person from being able to do what they want.

 

But even when this is happening, the person can act depressive and be volatile, esp. if asked to do something that will take away from what the current 'passion' is.

 

Would this extreme, intense behavior be the manic up? There are very few times I've witnessed that there is an extreme interest in doing something positive and then it stops suddenly and the person becomes depressive. I always thought it was self-discipline b/c it is things like exercise.

 

'I'm going to walk every day for 30 minutes.' Does it for 1 week and stops altogether, not reducing to make it more manageable but just stops and becomes depressive, usually b/c of an occurrence or just lack of interest. There's always a reason though...

 

This person's best friend is manic depressive (or bipolar), and they've done a lot of things together, extreme things like both changing careers together at the same exact time just b/c they thought it would be fun. I'm worried that this person could be mirroring his best friend instead of truly being bipolar on their own.

 

What a mess. I'm just trying to sort this out and get some type of handle on it, so I can make some decisions. I don't want to jump on any label but find a way to understand so I can move forward from this point in an educated way.

 

I am not a qualified professional, but what you are describing does not sound like bipolar to me as I know it through family experience. It DOES sound like it needs to be checked out ASAP by a qualified professional.

 

Little word of unasked advice: please don't try to diagnose mental illness on your own. Jumping to any conclusions about a loved one's mental state without qualified input can cause a lot of hard feeling, misunderstandings and difficulties.

 

Best thing to do: if you suspect the mental health of a loved one is in jeopardy, get them to a qualified professional for diagnosis, and prepare to assist them in seeking treatment where needed.

 

I know it can be very hard to love and support a loved one with mental illness, but it can be worth every moment of it. The stigma associated with mental illness is so harsh. If our loved one had cancer, we'd do what we could to support them, even when it got dark and dismal and downright unbearable. It is the same with mental health issues. Every one needs someone to love and support them through it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not a qualified professional, but what you are describing does not sound like bipolar to me as I know it through family experience. It DOES sound like it needs to be checked out ASAP by a qualified professional.

 

Little word of unasked advice: please don't try to diagnose mental illness on your own. Jumping to any conclusions about a loved one's mental state without qualified input can cause a lot of hard feeling, misunderstandings and difficulties.

 

Best thing to do: if you suspect the mental health of a loved one is in jeopardy, get them to a qualified professional for diagnosis, and prepare to assist them in seeking treatment where needed.

 

I know it can be very hard to love and support a loved one with mental illness, but it can be worth every moment of it. The stigma associated with mental illness is so harsh. If our loved one had cancer, we'd do what we could to support them, even when it got dark and dismal and downright unbearable. It is the same with mental health issues. Every one needs someone to love and support them through it.

 

I concur completely. I am not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, but I have worked as a researcher in mental health for about 8 years.

 

There are myriad things involved in mental illness. While diet, exercise, etc. can all help, someone who is truly ill has an illness - their brain is having problems that are no different then an illness affecting some other major organ. It would never occur to someone to say "hey, your kidneys are failing - try herbs!" No, they would say "go to a Nephrologist to sign up for dialysis." Yet, when someone's brain is failing, we all seem to think they just need more yoga...

 

A final couple of notes: Omega 3s can send a bipolar person manic in a heartbeat. Not all BPs, as many sit on the depressive end of the spectrum, but someone who runs a bit "up" can be tipped over quite easily by Omega 3 (a natural anti-depressant).

 

A good (if saucy languaged) site to read is http://www.crazymeds.us There is a great article there called Walking Away From Mania in Twelve Easy Steps

 

 

asta

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a thought. . .you might consider checking into possible causes before medicating. My Dad became bipolar as a result of drug interactions following some heart issues. My sister & I began going through his medications when we realized something was VERY wrong with him, and realized that he had so many medications from different dr's. . .cardiologist, allergist, internal med. dr.,. . .that there were drug interactions that caused it. As soon as we took him to his internal medicine dr. and showed them all the meds he was taking (even though they were all on his chart) they said,"Yes, that's the cause!". As soon as they changed the meds, it all went away! So my point is, there may be some cause that could be fixed without medicating. Ask your Doctor.:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A final couple of notes: Omega 3s can send a bipolar person manic in a heartbeat. Not all BPs, as many sit on the depressive end of the spectrum, but someone who runs a bit "up" can be tipped over quite easily by Omega 3 (a natural anti-depressant).

 

That's interesting, asta. Do you know if the individuals were on other medications? Also, would you have a link or know of the research that supports that? I'd like to pass it along to a friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The manic depressive diagnosis is what this person said that a therapist told them and the reason why the person doesn't want any more counseling, b/c meds will be prescribed.

 

I can't trust what this person is saying. I know for a fact that I'm being lied to about numerous other things, big things and I have unquestioning proof. This person fits so many characteristics of narcissism and bipolar. Thanks for sharing, it's been enlightening and helpful, I can discuss the rest of this with the counselor tomorrow.

 

Um - Bipolars on medication should have counseling too. At least that's what my mom, her shrink, and her therapist say. When she is manic, she doesn't like being on her meds. When she is depressed, she knows she needs them. She lives with us most of the time because we all (my family, her, and her therapist) agree that she does best with us. I grew up with her unmedicated and untreated. It was terrible for her most of all. She attempted suicide more than once. Finally, I packed her up and drove her to a hospital and had her commited involuntarily because she was a danger to herself. After a few months of treament she came home to us - not my father.

 

You have already had plenty of answers to your first set of questions, but being in a relationship with a bipolar person is hard. However much I love my mother, I would under no circumstances allow her to live with me or be near my kids if she didn't take her medications - and I can tell the difference. I have been to her therapist with her. I have been to counseling sessions with her. I have made a huge comittment to help keep her alive and a part of our lives, but it takes work on her part too. If she weren't honest and just as commited to staying as balanced and healthy as she can be, then she couldn't be a part of our lives - for her safety and for the safety (physical and emotional) of my small children.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Take this from the perspective of someone who worked in Adult Mental Health for about 2 years along time ago. I am sure there are people on the board that are experts in mental health care.

 

All of my manic-depressive patients that were not new diagnosis. Decided during their manic phase they didn't need their meds.

 

The list of all the different situation these individual found themselves in that the law usually brought them,

there have been some occasions that the family was able to get them to voluntarily admit themselves,

but usually it was the family going to a judge to have them committed.

 

I am sure there maybe some manic/depressive not on meds and living independent healthy lives. I have only seen the worst. When we discharged it was always very important they continued therapy and had medication accountability.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Can manic depression be managed without drugs?

Is there natural ways someone can manage it through diet, exercise, sleep?

I believe that one needs to manage it with all of the above and (drugs or homeopathy and/or supplements). Gaba is an amino acid supplement that treats many illnesses including bi-polar. Bi-polar symptoms can have various causes that can be found and treated by a good natural doctor. Heavy metals toxicity, alllergies and intolerances, emotional memories from the past, nutritional and digestive deficiencies.

 

Mental illness makes things difficult if not impossible for some people to handle. But, we all have responsibilities, and one of those includes finding a treatment that works so that we aren't ruining the lives of those around us. I saw my sister do it and I just realized that I am her. I will get treatment and change my family's life for the better instead of causing them to suffer. How do you get someone else to realize this? I don't know... but trying to get them to manage their illness without outside help because you (not you, YKWIM) think they should manage it, do not believe in medical doctors, do not want to spend the money, do not belive in mental illness, do not believe that they are mentally ill, it is just an excuse, prayer should be enough for them.... etc. is the worst thing to do. It is rare to find that attitude toward's a diabetic, whose body does not produce the appropriate hormones, but the attitude is so prevalant against the mentally ill. It needs to stop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am coming to this discussion late so forgive me if I repeat something.

 

My mother is bipolar, as is my brother. My brother has also recently been diagnosed with Aspergers (he is in his 30s). Without medication, my brother will spend a fortune and has been bankrupt twice. When he isn't on his medications, he will stalk people and will become violent and angry mid sentence. You just don't know what he will do next. He will go days without sleep, binge eat, and more. The Aspergers makes the entire situation much worse. When he is on medication, he is this kind, friendly person that everyone adores. Because he had his finances in such a disasterous state, my parents allowed him to move into a garage apartment on their property under the condition he remain on medication. He was fine for awhile then it all became a nightmare again. Finally they found a doctor who changed the types of medications he was on and he is back on the good side. For now. I always wonder when the next episode will begin.

 

My mom has never been medicated. She refuses. My entire life has been with her working like the energizer bunny on high speed for several days, then her crashing into a deep depression for several days. The depressions are so bad that she will refuse to come out of her room. She becomes paranoid and bitter. Then, like a light switch has been turned, she is happy and will then start a shopping spree spending sometimes thousands of dollars - just because she wants to. And that is when the lies and manipulations begins. If the depression lasts too long, my dad will take her out shopping to help bounce her out of it. She has had some health issues in the last 4 years, including a minor stroke, that have just made it all worse. When we have spoken to her physicians, they go to her and do nothing because she always either denies the behavior or refuses medication. And there is nothing we can do about it.

 

I struggle with depression some, but I refuse to let it control me like it has in the past. I have been on medications occassionally when I can't change it myself. I work very hard to recognize when it is over taking me and I have found that most of the time I can take the edge out by eating super healthy, exercising, and just working on changing my focus. Making sure I am hormonally balanced also makes a difference. I will say though that how I deal with it has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. Some of my more negative behaviors in the past were learned behaviors, from watching my mom and brother handle themselves. Nothing changed until I sought out help for myself and worked hard at what I was told I needed to do. I look at my mom and think about how rich her life could be if she would allow herself to go to counseling and take appropriate medications. But since she refuses, there is nothing I can do but sit and watch.

 

Would I allow her to live with me? Most of the time, no. It is hard enough just living in the same town with her. I have to have very strong boundaries as it is to protect my children from her roller coaster emotions (and those of my brother). My dh and I have discussed what we will do with my brother when my parents die, and we are at a complete loss right now.

 

:grouphug: to everyone else that is struggling with this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But, we all have responsibilities, and one of those includes finding a treatment that works so that we aren't ruining the lives of those around us. I saw my sister do it and I just realized that I am her. I will get treatment and change my family's life for the better instead of causing them to suffer. How do you get someone else to realize this?
I just remembered why I am realizing it. I started on a medication for depression (but I went on it for another reason) and was better while on it. That gave me enough clarity to realize how bad my problem had gotten.

 

I know some that at least think they can manage mental illness with lifestyle changes. While that may be possible, I believe that short-term medication can snap one out of a phase enough to implement the lifestyle changes. It is not something that someone who is suffering is going to be able to manage, and may not make a big enough difference even if they can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dh grew up with a dad who has severe mental illness. When he is on his meds, he can manage fine. When he's not, it's a nightmare for the family. There have been so many things that have happened, there just isn't enough space here to get into it, nor would it help you out.

 

The one thing I would encourage you to do is talk to someone who understands mental illness--a support group, a counselor, a doctor--to find out how you can help this person. I will be praying for you to get good advice and help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know next to nothing about bi-polar myself. But a friend was recently diagnosed as "soft bipolar", which I would assume is milder than regular bipolar.

 

On her behalf, I asked my integrative medical doctor about whether he could help her. He said, "Oh yes...she needs to see me or someone like me. Patients with these 'milder' diagnoses don't need to be on medications."

 

For what it's worth.

 

FYI--this doctor is an MD but treats primarily with nutritional supplements--vitamins, amino acids, herbs and other natural treatments, though he is not opposed to medicine when called for.

 

ETA--the difference between my friend and your loved one is that my friend realizes there is a problem and is committed to dealing with it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Little word of unasked advice: please don't try to diagnose mental illness on your own. Jumping to any conclusions about a loved one's mental state without qualified input can cause a lot of hard feeling, misunderstandings and difficulties.

 

Best thing to do: if you suspect the mental health of a loved one is in jeopardy, get them to a qualified professional for diagnosis, and prepare to assist them in seeking treatment where needed.

 

I know it can be very hard to love and support a loved one with mental illness, but it can be worth every moment of it. The stigma associated with mental illness is so harsh. If our loved one had cancer, we'd do what we could to support them, even when it got dark and dismal and downright unbearable. It is the same with mental health issues. Every one needs someone to love and support them through it.

 

 

This is so true. We have a dear older friend whose dh was diagnosed with this just over 2 years ago. She is having a tough time keeping it together since he lost his job, and she's working hard to keep focussed on hers, get him the medical help he needs, support and care for him. But if it were any other illness, there would be no stigma and probably a lot more sympathy and help. Or a different kind of sympathy at least.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's interesting, asta. Do you know if the individuals were on other medications? Also, would you have a link or know of the research that supports that? I'd like to pass it along to a friend.

 

Here is some info:

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Mood Disorders

Stoll et al. (48) undertook a 4-month double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with patients who had bipolar disorder; 14 received omega-3 fatty acids, and 16 received placebo (olive oil). As most were also receiving a mood stabilizer, this was essentially an augmentation strategy, and the principal outcome measure was the duration of time before symptom exacerbation led to study exit. Those in the omega-3 group reported greater symptom reduction and remained in remission for a significantly longer time. Consideration of the noncompleters in the 4-month study is of some interest. In the omega-3 group, three of the 14 were noncompleters because of mania, hypomania, and worsening of a mixed state, respectively.

 

[...]

 

Kinrys (53) reported the case of a woman with a history of major depressive disorder who had not taken antidepressants for 8 months. Five days after she began taking a daily dose of 1980 mg of DHA and 1320 mg of EPA, she became hypomanic, but after the cessation of this treatment she was euthymic in 2 days. In response to the suggestion that omega-3 fatty acids might have mood-elevating effects, Stoll et al. (54) replied that their group had treated more than 300 patients with various open-label omega-3 preparations, including high DHA/low EPA fish oil, high EPA/low DHA fish oil, and flaxseed oil, which contains alpha-linolenic acid (a shorter-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid), and they observed "fewer than 10 cases of apparent omega-3-induced hypomania or mania, almost all from flaxseed oil preparations."

 

There is pretty much consensus that Omega 3s work well as an adjunctive anti-depressant, but the difficulty lies in that many bipolars cannot tolerate ADs without switching into mania.

 

Omega-3 fatty acids for bipolar disorder

Results from one study showed positive effects of omega-3 as an adjunctive treatment for depressive but not manic symptoms in bipolar disorder.

 

There is a ton more research, but I think this can get you started.

 

 

asta

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People with untreated bipolar disorder are at very high risk of suicide.

Bipolar I disorder involves episodes of severe mood swings, from mania to depression.

Bipolar II disorder is a milder form, involving milder episodes of hypomania that alternate with depression.

Cyclothymic disorder describes even milder mood changes.

With mixed bipolar disorder, there is both mania and depression at the same time. "The person feels grandiose, with racing thoughts, all this energy -- but is also irritable, angry, moody, feeling bad," says Michael Aronson, MD, a clinical psychiatrist and consultant for WebMD. "This can be a dangerous mix."

Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder is characterized by four or more mood episodes that occur within a 12-month period. Some people experience multiple episodes within a single week, or even within a single day. Rapid cycling tends to develop later in the course of illness. Women are more likely than men to have rapid cycling. A rapid-cycling pattern increases risk for severe depression and suicide attempts.

Antidepressants are thought to trigger and prolong rapid cycling in bipolar disorder. However, that theory is controversial and is still being studied.

 

 

I found some of this thread to be offensive. Everyone is so concerned with spending and the horror show that bipolar brings on. No one really talks about what the actual meds do for you. The meds are to treat the symptoms. The symptoms can be the mood swings, irritability, how about this one when your skin crawls, agitation, hallucinations in every shape or form, feeling hopeless, helpless, wanting to die basically, lack of sleep, too much sleep. I know I missed a bunch.

 

 

The side effects from the meds can do a lot of damage to your life as well. Have you ever been on a new med and had the speech lady come to your house for a session and PASS out the next thing you know she is waking you up cause she is leaving. Or how about feeling like you are in a fog and sedated. Oh and how about being hospitalized for your symptoms after you have spend the last several years trying to convince yourself your not a nutbag. That makes you feel real good.

 

 

 

As far as people SUFFERING from this that don't want to take their meds it could be that they are not depressed anymore or maybe it could have something to do with the fact that they have to take about 15 pills a day and their night stand looks like a pharmacy.

 

 

People that suffer from the HORRIBLE CONDITION NEED support and understanding. Sufferers need a nonjudgemental ear and someone to lean on, someone to walk them through it when they are ready to get help.

 

 

 

I think I have said my peace.

 

 

I have bipolar and sometimes bipolar has me.

 

 

For anyone interested there is a really great supportive support group for every illness you can imagine. There is bipolar, bipolar in the family, and bipolar children support group. www.mdjunction.com

 

 

Linky

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Linky,

 

In general, people just have NO clue. They THINK they got a good idea of what happens, but they just DON'T. The bad thing is that it's not like a bacterial infection that one or two antibiotics can knock out. The good thing is that there are a good deal of treatments, medication and otherwise, to try. But NO treatment is dangerous, like you said. But a lot of people think we're not treated if we're not taking meds which is false. Some people are not treated WELL without meds. But most people on meds aren't being treated WELL either.

 

I say "walk in my shoes." Seems you agree, Linky.

 

I am sorry the thread was offensive. Surely you know that bipolar is SO far off from what the average emotional mom experiences, that people really can't even begin to fathom even a tiny percentage of what we go through.

 

I hope you are in a good spot right now and that you stay there a long time. And that you get back to it ASAP if/WHEN you come out next.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first man I loved was bi-polar. After nearly three years of dealing with it and his refusal to get treatment of any kind, I left him. After that he stalked me for two months and then shot himself in the head because I wouldn't go back to him. So for the last 14 years I have lived with the fact that I caused someone else's death and it is only the grace of God and my husband's love that have kept me from drowning in the guilt of it all.

 

Sometimes you can't save them and you just have to save yourself.

 

You didn't pull the trigger, Heather. His issues were his, and his alone. You cannot force someone to get treatment...you can only suggest. You did what you could. You need to let go of the guilt...it's totally misplaced.

 

Ria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't tell you how helpful everyone's responses have been. I'm fairly certain I've been lied to or even the person claiming to be bipolar has been misdiagnosed b/c they are not manic and can change their demeanor instantly depending on who they are talking to.

 

I'm humbled by your experiences and appreciate everyone's responses. I wasn't trying to diagnose anyone, this person told me that they had been diagnosed and didn't want to seek any counseling b/c drugs would be prescribed, and while I can understand the side-effects of drugs (I don't take any unless it's completely necessary, including headache medicine)- I needed help with processing this information.

 

Thank you all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Linky,

 

In general, people just have NO clue. They THINK they got a good idea of what happens, but they just DON'T. The bad thing is that it's not like a bacterial infection that one or two antibiotics can knock out. The good thing is that there are a good deal of treatments, medication and otherwise, to try. But NO treatment is dangerous, like you said. But a lot of people think we're not treated if we're not taking meds which is false. Some people are not treated WELL without meds. But most people on meds aren't being treated WELL either.

 

I say "walk in my shoes." Seems you agree, Linky.

 

I am sorry the thread was offensive. Surely you know that bipolar is SO far off from what the average emotional mom experiences, that people really can't even begin to fathom even a tiny percentage of what we go through.

 

I hope you are in a good spot right now and that you stay there a long time. And that you get back to it ASAP if/WHEN you come out next.

 

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first man I loved was bi-polar. After nearly three years of dealing with it and his refusal to get treatment of any kind, I left him. After that he stalked me for two months and then shot himself in the head because I wouldn't go back to him. So for the last 14 years I have lived with the fact that I caused someone else's death and it is only the grace of God and my husband's love that have kept me from drowning in the guilt of it all.

 

Sometimes you can't save them and you just have to save yourself.

 

:grouphug: I am sorry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not a qualified professional, but what you are describing does not sound like bipolar to me as I know it through family experience. It DOES sound like it needs to be checked out ASAP by a qualified professional.

 

Little word of unasked advice: please don't try to diagnose mental illness on your own. Jumping to any conclusions about a loved one's mental state without qualified input can cause a lot of hard feeling, misunderstandings and difficulties.

 

Best thing to do: if you suspect the mental health of a loved one is in jeopardy, get them to a qualified professional for diagnosis, and prepare to assist them in seeking treatment where needed.

 

I know it can be very hard to love and support a loved one with mental illness, but it can be worth every moment of it. The stigma associated with mental illness is so harsh. If our loved one had cancer, we'd do what we could to support them, even when it got dark and dismal and downright unbearable. It is the same with mental health issues. Every one needs someone to love and support them through it.

 

I agree with this. I think it is ironic that when someone dies of cancer it is talked about like it was a heroic battle that is lost but if someone dies as a result of mental illness (suicide) there is no talk of losing the battle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't tell you how helpful everyone's responses have been. I'm fairly certain I've been lied to or even the person claiming to be bipolar has been misdiagnosed b/c they are not manic and can change their demeanor instantly depending on who they are talking to.

 

I'm humbled by your experiences and appreciate everyone's responses. I wasn't trying to diagnose anyone, this person told me that they had been diagnosed and didn't want to seek any counseling b/c drugs would be prescribed, and while I can understand the side-effects of drugs (I don't take any unless it's completely necessary, including headache medicine)- I needed help with processing this information.

 

Thank you all.

 

:grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some with bi-polar are very good at this, that would not discount the diagnosis at all.

 

Actually, that is a hallmark of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), not Bipolar (BPAD).

 

Think of it this way: In BPD, thought becomes action. In BPAD, action becomes thought.

 

There is a great deal of (conflicted) research currently occurring, but it is generally agreed (for now at least) that BPAD is a physical, genetic illness; a disruption at the molecular level. The mood swings involved appear to be the result of too much or too little of particular chemicals in a person's brain.

 

BPD is generally seen as the result of damage to one's psyche. eg: A child who grows up with abuse may learn dysfunctional coping mechanisms to deal with "normal" moods. Hence, the "changing the attitude depending on the person/target" concept.

 

If anyone has questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

 

 

asta

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Antidepressants are thought to trigger and prolong rapid cycling in bipolar disorder. However, that theory is controversial and is still being studied.

 

I just wanted to pull this out from an earlier post. This is what we experienced in my dh's case. He had pretty mild mood swings through high school and college. And honestly just has the sort of personality that goes along with those: driven about his work, focused, artistic, sensitive about criticism, aware of the brokenness of the world.... He developed depression in late 2003 and in starting antidepressants (his psych did say he was borderline bipolar at that time) he also started the rapid cycling. It was very scary. But he had a great psychiatrist (not just a family doc), counselor, spiritual support system, and loving wife and children all of which made a huge difference in initially getting it treated and dealing with the ongoing affects of the meds. He's very well managed now with his meds, though perhaps a little less likely to stay up all night working on a project or skip several meals than he was in college, but giving up some of the highs is just what has to happen to function in a family better.

 

I highly recommend the books by Kay Redfield Jamison to better understand life with bipolar and why some people fight taking meds. They were so helpful to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You didn't pull the trigger, Heather. His issues were his, and his alone. You cannot force someone to get treatment...you can only suggest. You did what you could. You need to let go of the guilt...it's totally misplaced.

 

Ria

 

It's easier said than done. My logical brain knows he had a mental illness that caused the suicide but my heart mourns daily and I think I could have done more... shown more compassion, more support.... more.... something.... just more. But I thought I had nothing left to give. Maybe I didn't, but maybe I did. I don't know.

 

All I know is that for over 14 years I have been choking on words I didn't get to say. But I also didn't know the conversation was going to be over so quickly....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...