so about this Bipolar, then

It all started ages ago when I was reading something about antidepressants. It suggested that antidepressants often don’t work with bipolar depression. It struck a chord with me, because for as long as I can remember, not one single antidepressant has ever helped me. In fact, the only reason I know they’re not sweeties, is that I always get plagued with the side effects.
It came to a head about two months ago, when I went back to the doctor and said I was feeling low again. She went through the list of stuff I’d taken before on the computer, pointing out that I “hadn’t had much luck” with antidepressants. She then suggested a new one that’s recently come to the market, called duloxetine. Apparently, it’s an SNRI, not an SSRI, so might work slightly differently.
For three weeks I persevered with them, but in the end, they were making me more miserable because of the intense nausea, headaches, dizziness, and a nasty gaggy feeling constantly at the back of my throat. You know the one – where you can’t decide whether you’re going to yawn or throw up, and then do both for good measure. So, I stopped taking them. In the end, I was glad I did. I felt even more nauseus coming off the bloody things.
It was partly this which made me suggest bipolar to my GP. There were other things, too. Things like the suddenness of my mood changes. It made no sense that over the summer I felt fine, then in August, I suddenly felt like crap warmed up. A week after stopping the duloxetine, I felt high as a kite. I could do anything. I remembered the article I’d read, and did a bit more reading. Everything seemed to fall into place.
I know GPs hate it when you go in and say “I’ve been looking on the internet, and…” but my GP was fine, saying she trusted me to look on “proper” websites. I don’t know what I expected, but when she said, “yes, to be honest, I’ve suspected bipolar for some time” I almost fell of the chair. She asked if I wanted to be referred to a psychiatrist, which I declined. I don’t mind seeing someone if I need to, but as I’m not in the middle of a crisis, and I’m pretty much managing to get on with life, I don’t really see the need. We discussed medication, including mood stabilisers. Again, I didn’t think I was bad enough to warrant meds, but then often people in a state of mania think there’s nothing wrong. She told me to keep an eye on my moods, and that was about it.
Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and so many things leave me saying “woah..” like Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted. Firstly, I found a bit of research that was done with biploar sufferers. Out of over 4000 participants, over half had some kind of anxiety problem too. Another study found that a third of respondants also had panic attacks. I’ve also learned that mood changes with bipolar can be seasonal – the person more likely to feel depressed in the winter and experience mania in the warmer months.
The whole thing is leaving me with a lot of questions, and it seems the more I learn, the more I wonder. Maybe I do need to talk to a professional….

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