T Nation

Bipolar Meds

I won’t go into the gory details, but I’ve recently (within the last two weeks) had to face up to being bipolar.
Not a cute little mild case, but a nice, full on delusional case. I’ve self-medicated with bourbon and ephedrine/caffeine for years, but that has to end. Things are getting worse and I’ve got to make changes.

I know there are people on here that have said they are also bipolar, and I’m hoping for some feedback on medications.

I’m have episodes where my blood pressure gets very high (up to 160/110) for a few months and then will go down for at least 6 months to a year. Also, my mother is a type 2 diabetic and I consistently test borderline.

I’ve seen two different docs–one my closest friend, the other a shrink. My friend suggests Seroquel and Effexor. The shrink Adderall and Depakote.

I’m salivating at the thought of the adderall. I’m a better person when the ephedrine stack is working it’s magic, and I imagine adderall to be along those same lines. However, my blood pressure is already running around 150/100.

The problem with dealing with my friend is that I lie. Not a little, but constantly. So far I probably discussed about 30% of the stuff I should have, but it is hard to admit a lot of this stuff to him, and I’m pretty sure that I would continue to lie to him once on the meds.

I’m generally freaked out about numerous things:

–not being me anymore
–not having the up times/being trapped in a down place
–sexual side effects
–lethargy
–blood pressure issues
–diabetes issues
–liver issues (had bloodwork done on friday)

I would really appreciate feedback from anyone with any experience with any of the listed meds. or any others for bipolar. I’m starting to back out of doing anything, but I’m pretty sure that will kill me sooner than later.

PMs or emails are fine of course, and I thank everyone in advance.

If your friend is the one suggesting efexor and you lying to your friend led him to suggest that medication, then stop lying and don’t take effexor. The side effects / withdrawl effects of effexor are god awful and something you do not want to have to deal with due to a mis-diagnosis due to lying etc.

Besides that drug, most of the drugs you are going to be subjected to are not things you are going to want to mess around with (IE the process of finding what works is hard enough without providing misleading information), I suffer from depression, my brother suffers from ADD / turrets / ocd, my sister is Bipolar 1 and my mom suffers from depression and my dad from ocd / ADD. Trust me, don’t fuck around, go see the shrink, the non-related (friend) one, it is important to have an unbiased / non-affected person evaluating you.

Good luck and I am sure alot of people here can provide you with more details etc, I just want to get the warning out there and inform you that this is not something to take risks on or to treat lightly.

Why the adderal? Do you have ADD or several ADD symptoms? If so, look into strattera. Its a non-stimulant alternative for ADD. It works on neurotransmitters and
won’t give the negative effects that a stimulant will.

For the bi-polar stuff all i can say is to take the meds. Just take the meds. I have seen a few friends just mope around in life for a few days and then be bouyant the next. I think bi polar people like to use their disorder as a crutch when manic. Of course what goes up must come down and you may not be able to function when in the depressive stage.

For blood pressure? I don’t know, but learn to relax doogs. You sound like a tense guy. Get your wife to give more blow-jobs :slight_smile:

My mother was on a half-dozen different depression/OCD/bipolar disorder drugs when I was a child, and it was… interesting. She was on Depakote for a bit when I was older, and it was the worst for the family, not because it didn’t work, or the side effects, but because it worked TOO well. She’d take it, start feeling better, then decide she didn’t need it any more and then it was WEEEE!!! AHHHHH! Up and down like a roller coaster for the next two weeks. Fun.

Not everyone self-medicates like that, just a general warning. You’ve got to be straight with the docs, your family, and your close friends, or you’ll destroy your relationships with all of them. Good luck with the meds!

[quote]JohnnyNinja wrote:
If your friend is the one suggesting efexor and you lying to your friend led him to suggest that medication, then stop lying and don’t take effexor. The side effects / withdrawl effects of effexor are god awful and something you do not want to have to deal with due to a mis-diagnosis due to lying etc.[/quote]

I didn’t lie to him when he diagnosed me so much as hold back a lot of information. I didn’t fully explain the delusions or the depression. I gave enough to see his expression change and that’s all I could take. He knows me better than anyone and he knows my family history–it was once said about my grandmother that Jesus Christ couldn’t find a way to get along with her (married 7 times) and my father is a total paranoid nutjob. I don’t doubt the diagnosis at all (the shrink came up with the same one, afterall).

[quote]
Besides that drug, most of the drugs you are going to be subjected to are not things you are going to want to mess around with (IE the process of finding what works is hard enough without providing misleading information), I suffer from depression, my brother suffers from ADD / turrets / ocd, my sister is Bipolar 1 and my mom suffers from depression and my dad from ocd / ADD. Trust me, don’t fuck around, go see the shrink, the non-related (friend) one, it is important to have an unbiased / non-affected person evaluating you.[/quote]

I’m torn on this. My friend knows me, knows my history, has witness the swings, knows my family history, and has my best interest in mind. However, it is really hard to acknowledge the extent of the psychosis to him because he is someone I respect.

The shrink asked me a bunch of yes/no questions that I’m 99% sure were provided by drug reps. That’s it. I think it would be almost impossible for ANYONE to go see the shrink, answer the questions honestly, and not end up on meds. The questions remind me a shit a palm reader would throw out. Vague shit that applies to everyone to some degree–yes/no answers don’t really flush out a whole hell of a lot. I feel like he just treats everyone the exact same way, especially considering the adderall and my blood pressure.

Doogie,

Are you serious about this? You and I have had our share of disputes before, but I would never wish this type of thing on anyone. Seriously, I will throw some prayers for you and I hope that you can manage this well. No B.S., on the up and up.

[quote]lumbernac wrote:
Why the adderal? Do you have ADD or several ADD symptoms?
[/quote]

Apparently, it works for depression, too. I don’t really consider the depression to be my big issue (I have NOTHING to be depressed about), but it’s there.

I have several ADD symptoms and used to tell myself that maybe I just had ADD, but it’s more than that.

When I began to confront this a couple of weeks ago, I started bouncing things off my wife, asking her if she “ever has thoughts like…” The look in her eyes as she tried to keep that smile from fading was very shitty. Same thing with my friend.

[quote]
For the bi-polar stuff all i can say is to take the meds. Just take the meds. I have seen a few friends just mope around in life for a few days and then be bouyant the next. I think bi polar people like to use their disorder as a crutch when manic.[/quote]

I don’t know what exactly you mean by that, but I do know I like being up a hell of a lot more than being down. I don’t NEED sleep during those times. 3 or 4 hours tops and I’m golden. I feel good. I get all kinds of stuff done (not things I really NEED to get done, but a lot of things get done). If I could direct that energy, I’d be unstoppable. Also, during the up times, I’m horny as hell. My god it’s glorious. The contrast with the down times is terrible. I don’t know if a there is a happy medium or not, but I prefer the up for sure. I think I make the downs worse by trying to fight it off. When the up is ending and I start to need sleep, I fight it and fight it then eventually crash. I see this, but I do it again and again. I don’t know how much of a difference going gently into the down time would make rather than falling off a cliff.

I do stupid things during the up times, though. Things that will eventually impact my family. ALso, I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to need sleep.

it’s eventually easier for me to rally during the down times and focus on what has to be done. it takes a while, but eventually i realize i only have a limited amount of energy and it has to spent doing certain things. during the up times, the energy is unlimited but i’ve never really been able to harness it. if i could stop short of the delusions and paranoia and ride it like a good buzz it would be great. I used to could do that when i was younger. There was a two or three year window where i was great. I never got too high and i could pull myself out of the lows. when i was younger than that, it all scared the shit out of me. I had no control over any of it. now it is feeling that way again.

I don’t know if I killed my ability to cope or if things have just progressed. either way it’s going to have to change.

[quote]
For blood pressure? I don’t know, but learn to relax doogs. You sound like a tense guy. Get your wife to give more blow-jobs :)[/quote]

i think part of it is the stress from not sleeping (even though it doesn’t feel stressful). i wish blowjobs would handle all of it, god knows. it hasn’t seemed to.

[quote]Crispyknight wrote:
My mother was on a half-dozen different depression/OCD/bipolar disorder drugs when I was a child, and it was… interesting. She was on Depakote for a bit when I was older, and it was the worst for the family, not because it didn’t work, or the side effects, but because it worked TOO well. She’d take it, start feeling better, then decide she didn’t need it any more and then it was WEEEE!!! AHHHHH! Up and down like a roller coaster for the next two weeks. Fun.[/quote]

Did the depakote knock the shit out of her? I’m terrified of feeling like a zombie. do you know what else she was taking at the time she was on the Depakote?

I’ve laid the frame work of a support system. Any concerns my family has will be discussed with my wife. She will discuss certain things directly with me, others will be discussed with my friend and he’ll discuss them with me. i have certain buttons/words/phrases/tones of voice that set me off. It goes back to the way my dad acted when i was young. my wife is aware of this and if she can’t talk to me without hitting one of them, she has my friend do it. better he and i go at it than me and my wife. some of the things they’ve told me have scared the shit out of me.

Once I start taking meds, i realize it shouldn’t end. that’s why i’m real hesitant about the adderall. i think it would be a glorious sprint to the end of my life in about 5 years when i died of a heart attack or stroke.

[quote]ALDurr wrote:
Doogie,

Are you serious about this? You and I have had our share of disputes before, but I would never wish this type of thing on anyone. Seriously, I will throw some prayers for you and I hope that you can manage this well. No B.S., on the up and up.[/quote]

Thanks.
I’m serious.
I’m pretty sure i could go back on here and look at things i’ve written along with the times of day/night and correlate them with the swings pretty well.

Headhunter not to long ago asked if i slept or worked. that was dead in the middle of a real nice up period that ended very poorly and was the start of my slowly asking people, “do you ever…” questions.

It’s weird, because i know that ups and downs are part of life. everyone has them. not being able to deal makes me feel like a big pussy. then when i started admitting some of the crap that goes on in my noggin at the extremes, and started seeing the reactions of my loved ones to these admissions, i realized that even if i am a big pussy i had to do something.

My dad was abusive, crazy and paranoid. One of the coaches that worked with him was a national champion powerlifter–big, solid 260lbs of muscle–and he once told me that the two years he worked with my dad were the worst of his life. Understand my dad is a scrawny 5’10, 155 lbs at most. He never knew what kind of mood my dad would be in and it scared him. His stomach would hurt driving into the parking lot in the morning out of dread. That’s the way the first 18 years of my life were. The worst sound in the world was hearing his truck hit the driveway at home. I used to think he was some kind of demon sent to change me into the same thing he was. I look exactly like him, so everything that i could do to differentiate myself (in my own mind) from him i’ve always done. That is one of hte reasons it was so hard for me to admit this shit. I didn’t want to admit that I could be like him in anyway. My delusions and paranoia don’t manifest themselves in the same way his did–with fists and anger–but I can’t deny anymore that it is there and getting worse.

Two weeks ago today i laid in bed and told my wife that there are times when i’m very certain that someone is paying her to be married to me, that it is her job. that when she goes to “work”, that is when she is really going to spend her free time with her real friends and family. this has gone on since i was a little kid. i’ve always thought that i was “different”, either retarded or crazy and that my mother always went to school ahead of me and explained to everyone that i was “different” but that they were to pretend i wasn’t. that was the only reason they didn’t show they knew. this applies to my friends also. there are times when i’m convinced they are paid to be my friends in order to keep me from blowingup. they are like mental health workers that have been hired to keep me functional. Even in my job teaching, there are times when i’m very convinced that I’m like Radio, a retarded guy people let hang around the school out of pity, that i only think i’m teaching the class, but the kids are really just sitting in there for study hall while I ramble on, and that they actually have a different “real” math class later in the day. Even when i’m not convinced it’s true, i’m pretty sure (even now) that all of these things are very likely true. Apparently, these are not normal beliefs that everyone has. I pretty much stopped confession time right there, because I could tell my wife was more than a little worried. i’m so ashamed to have done that to her. i have to get this stuff worked out.

Doogie,

I’m sorry to read of this.

Anyway, just some thoughts on the friend issue. You may be right, that your friend will be able know more about you and give you a more personable diagnosis, but you do risk having things inevitably altered.

We don’t always need to know everything about our friends. Some friendships don’t do well when suddenly placed into a caregiver/recipient role in some way.

It’s just a risk for you to measure and make a decision on. Can’t say I’d suggest either decision was right or wrong.

In any case, if you are able to get the right diagnosis, wherever it comes from, then you should be able to also choose and try medications to control the issue, regardless of who you are dealing with. You are probably more than capable of looking into issues and determining what works and what doesn’t work for you.

On a different note, while you are doing your bloodwork, make sure they look into your test levels. What the heck, besides, I don’t know your age, but if you are at the point where they start to drop, that could certainly cause mood issues, depression and so forth as well, perhaps increasing your symptoms.

I know I’m just a dork that argues with people online, most of the time, but I am aiming concern and well wishes in your direction.

Okay, this may sound, and might actually be, really dumb, but I’ve never been afraid of making an ass of myself before.

Anyway, when you have those types of thoughts, the ones where you think people are paid to secretly look out for you, combat them.

The idea is similar to combating the negative internal statements that we make about ourselves in general. It’s not “I’m stupid”, it’s “that subject is difficult”. It has a profound effect on your thinking.

Whether or not you can actively believe it at the time, you should, if you don’t, counter such thoughts internally, and not in a negative way. It might be something like “don’t be foolish, of course they genuinely care” and put some effort into it, because deep down you know it is true.

You can if you work at it, consistently, change the default “stance” or “thought” that comes to mind in various situations. It can be helpful if those thoughts or feelings were ones that help drive or promote negative issues.

Anyway, like I said, just a thought. You can also be sure nobody is paying us to care, it’s a choice that money can’t drive us to make.

[quote]doogie wrote:
ALDurr wrote:
Doogie,

Are you serious about this? You and I have had our share of disputes before, but I would never wish this type of thing on anyone. Seriously, I will throw some prayers for you and I hope that you can manage this well. No B.S., on the up and up.

Thanks.
I’m serious.
I’m pretty sure i could go back on here and look at things i’ve written along with the times of day/night and correlate them with the swings pretty well.

Headhunter not to long ago asked if i slept or worked. that was dead in the middle of a real nice up period that ended very poorly and was the start of my slowly asking people, “do you ever…” questions.

It’s weird, because i know that ups and downs are part of life. everyone has them. not being able to deal makes me feel like a big pussy. then when i started admitting some of the crap that goes on in my noggin at the extremes, and started seeing the reactions of my loved ones to these admissions, i realized that even if i am a big pussy i had to do something.

My dad was abusive, crazy and paranoid. One of the coaches that worked with him was a national champion powerlifter–big, solid 260lbs of muscle–and he once told me that the two years he worked with my dad were the worst of his life. Understand my dad is a scrawny 5’10, 155 lbs at most. He never knew what kind of mood my dad would be in and it scared him. His stomach would hurt driving into the parking lot in the morning out of dread. That’s the way the first 18 years of my life were. The worst sound in the world was hearing his truck hit the driveway at home. I used to think he was some kind of demon sent to change me into the same thing he was. I look exactly like him, so everything that i could do to differentiate myself (in my own mind) from him i’ve always done. That is one of hte reasons it was so hard for me to admit this shit. I didn’t want to admit that I could be like him in anyway. My delusions and paranoia don’t manifest themselves in the same way his did–with fists and anger–but I can’t deny anymore that it is there and getting worse.

Two weeks ago today i laid in bed and told my wife that there are times when i’m very certain that someone is paying her to be married to me, that it is her job. that when she goes to “work”, that is when she is really going to spend her free time with her real friends and family. this has gone on since i was a little kid. i’ve always thought that i was “different”, either retarded or crazy and that my mother always went to school ahead of me and explained to everyone that i was “different” but that they were to pretend i wasn’t. that was the only reason they didn’t show they knew. this applies to my friends also. there are times when i’m convinced they are paid to be my friends in order to keep me from blowingup. they are like mental health workers that have been hired to keep me functional. Even in my job teaching, there are times when i’m very convinced that I’m like Radio, a retarded guy people let hang around the school out of pity, that i only think i’m teaching the class, but the kids are really just sitting in there for study hall while I ramble on, and that they actually have a different “real” math class later in the day. Even when i’m not convinced it’s true, i’m pretty sure (even now) that all of these things are very likely true. Apparently, these are not normal beliefs that everyone has. I pretty much stopped confession time right there, because I could tell my wife was more than a little worried. i’m so ashamed to have done that to her. i have to get this stuff worked out.[/quote]

Hey man,

It hurts my heart to see people go throught this type of thing. I may get into ranting and raving at times, but I am far from a heartless guy. I think that the best thing you did was finally bring these things out in the open and realize that you need help. I’m sure your wife loves you and she will be a great help with your healing. Women are far stronger than we men think and I’m sure that she will be a great asset for you with this situation. Just remember, this is not your fault and you shouldn’t blame yourself for it. This is a real physiological and, from what you have relayed on here, psychological issue that you need professional help and emotional support to overcome. I hope and pray that things work out for you.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Doogie,

I’m sorry to read of this.

Anyway, just some thoughts on the friend issue. You may be right, that your friend will be able know more about you and give you a more personable diagnosis, but you do risk having things inevitably altered.

We don’t always need to know everything about our friends. Some friendships don’t do well when suddenly placed into a caregiver/recipient role in some way.[/quote]

That’s my worry. It’s hard to have the dynamic change so fast. This is the guy I’ve gone to funerals with, the guy who lived on my couch after his divorce, ect. To then go to him being my freaking “caregiver” is not real cool.

I’m thinking of letting him prescribe, then going to some type of counseling and letting the counselor communicate with him. that way i don’t have to lay out the dirty details to him and he’ll hopefully get an accurate picture.

[quote]
In any case, if you are able to get the right diagnosis, wherever it comes from, then you should be able to also choose and try medications to control the issue, regardless of who you are dealing with. You are probably more than capable of looking into issues and determining what works and what doesn’t work for you.[/quote]

I don’t know if i have the strength to “try” medicines. i think going on and off, trying to get it right is not something i can handle. that is why i’m trying to lay out what is unacceptable to me (as far as side effects) and hopefully get it as close to right the first time as possible. i don’t want to put my family through me going on and off, waiting for the new stuff to kick in, ect.

[quote]
On a different note, while you are doing your bloodwork, make sure they look into your test levels. What the heck, besides, I don’t know your age, but if you are at the point where they start to drop, that could certainly cause mood issues, depression and so forth as well, perhaps increasing your symptoms.[/quote]

that and thyroid stuff are being done next week.

it’s weird. all the things that are supposed to lower T (no sleep, no food, stress) are what I go through when up and that is also when I am out of my mind horny.

then when i’m sleeping all the time, i only get it up to make sure it’s still working. there is no drive at all.

[quote]
I know I’m just a dork that argues with people online, most of the time, but I am aiming concern and well wishes in your direction.[/quote]

Thanks. I don’t have hard feelings over anything on the internet–except for some of the really hatefilled assholes.

The whole lipo arguement we had was definitely during an up phase. ALso, around the same time I went off on bigblue244. It’s weird to go back and read some of that stuff. i seem to take it all so seriously.

[quote]doogie wrote:
Crispyknight wrote:
My mother was on a half-dozen different depression/OCD/bipolar disorder drugs when I was a child, and it was… interesting. She was on Depakote for a bit when I was older, and it was the worst for the family, not because it didn’t work, or the side effects, but because it worked TOO well. She’d take it, start feeling better, then decide she didn’t need it any more and then it was WEEEE!!! AHHHHH! Up and down like a roller coaster for the next two weeks. Fun.

Did the depakote knock the shit out of her? I’m terrified of feeling like a zombie. do you know what else she was taking at the time she was on the Depakote?
[/quote]

Good question. I wasn’t completly aware of what was going on most of the time with her as paranoia had set in pretty early in her diseases. I know she was on a sulfa drug of some sort for depression, which made her irritable. The depakote helped a lot with that, as well as moderating her moods. It didn’t seem to have a zombie-like side effect (like some other drugs she tried, like Wellbutrin). When she was taking the Depakote regularly, she was pretty “normal” for her. No lethargy, no excessive sleepiness. I can’t say all the side effects as I wasn’t the one on it, but for us it was the best drug she’d been on.

[quote]doogie wrote:

I’ve laid the frame work of a support system. Any concerns my family has will be discussed with my wife. She will discuss certain things directly with me, others will be discussed with my friend and he’ll discuss them with me. i have certain buttons/words/phrases/tones of voice that set me off. It goes back to the way my dad acted when i was young. my wife is aware of this and if she can’t talk to me without hitting one of them, she has my friend do it. better he and i go at it than me and my wife. some of the things they’ve told me have scared the shit out of me.

Once I start taking meds, i realize it shouldn’t end. that’s why i’m real hesitant about the adderall. i think it would be a glorious sprint to the end of my life in about 5 years when i died of a heart attack or stroke.

[/quote]

Its good to hear that you’ve got a plan for conflicts. The first week or so on psychotropics is no fun for anybody. It doesn’t sound like you’ve got the paranoia my mother did, so hopefully it wont be a struggle to keep taking the meds like you should. I wish you luck (and no side effects!) with the new regimen.

My friend, i feel your pain, while not bipolar i am severely depressive and much of it is directly realted to my family. One thing to remember about your father, he too was probably ill and just never came to terms with it, you are taking the first step to breaking that cycle. Those who have never suffered a mental illness have a hard time realizing that it is like any other illness, you don’t ask to get sick, its not a weakness, and there are effective treatments.

I will be on anti-depressants for the rest of my life, so what, my brain does not function exactly like the “average” persons. I thank god every day for the blessings i do have and that there are medications that allow me to live a fullfilling life. It sounds like you have a very caring family but as you are probably realizing some aspects they just can’t understand, it is a struggle within ourselves, hang tough bro, and work to find a medication or combination that will work for you, this may take some time but in the end it is worth it.