BiPolar II

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by monicaz49, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. monicaz49

    monicaz49 New Member

    Ive posted a couple topics was about my anxiety the other about my off and on intense irritability that i cant control.
    At least one person mentioned i should get tested for bi-polar II. Although i was told i have CFS and also I have elevated candida levels, I looked into it.
    *Ok, as i am writing this posting i totally forgot what my point is and what i was gonna ask....LOL! hahaha) but lets see....i guess i was gonna say...
    i noticed you have to have periods in which you are overly energetic and have grand ideas and talk fast and all that...i never get like that. I either feel fine or when my symptoms act up i get sad BECAUSE of dealing with them. Only thing is i get irritable and anxious for no reason. So could that still be bipolarII???????
    Oh....I think this was my point....
    I dont think it would be because i have SO many other symptoms that doing point in that direction:
    Alcohol intolerance
    Body aches
    vision fluctuation
    slim build with big stomach LOL
    medication sensitive
    chronic fatigue
    HEAT sensitivity!
    motion sickness
    etc etc....ill just stop there.

  2. Liz919

    Liz919 New Member

    As a person diagnosed with this...I'd also like to know just what the hell it is. My previous doctor diagnosed me with it but wasn't big on diagnoses and concentrated on making my quality of life better even if the meds weren't in line with the normal treatments. (I have funny reactions to medicines so I require open minded doctors lol) Then when I saw a new doctor for help with my pregnancy and preparation for the post partum that everyone assumed I'd have really bad (only had a touch thank the lord) she told me he's diagnosed me with bipolar II...and didn't elaborate on what that meant exactly. I'll be watching this post to see if anyone says anything informative. However I'd suggest you just see a general psyciatrist or psycologist and go in with an open mind. If you take the tests and have the talks with a predisposed idea on what you think you have sometimes you give them skewed results that aren't very helpful to your quality of life. Hope you feel better!
  3. monicaz49

    monicaz49 New Member

    You are right. Thank you.
    I should just take the test and talk to someone with an open mind.
    I guess for me its easier to say i have a physical health problem....rather than mental. Not that it matters one damn bit but its just that society has such negativity towards mental health problems still.
    And so unclear on what bipolar really is! LOL
    Try and get your doctor to fill u in! :)
    Thanks again.
  4. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Hi Monica,

    I've had bipolar II for ten years (as well as generalized anxiety disorder), so I can help you out. Bipolar's symptoms vary from person to person, and like any illness, they can vary in severity as well. For example, not EVERY person with bipolar will experience having grand thoughts nor go on shopping sprees. (I never did either of these things.)

    Like fibromyalgia, bipolar is a very complex illness, and you need to see a psychiatrist to get evaluated and diagnosed for it. Don't assume you have it, but don't assume you don't either.

    The tricky thing with bipolar is that you can get start to have periods of hypomania and not even realize it at first unless you have a pyschiatrist evaluate you. IE, you truly must see a competent and caring psychiatrist to get properly diagnosed. The good news is that once you see one, he/she can really help you out, and you can really start to get better.

    Interesestingly, alchoholism, anxiety AND fibromyalgia are all more common in people that have bipolar disorder, however, this is not always the case and should not be assumed either. I for one have never experienced alcoholism.

    At any rate, the bottom line is this: I would suggest getting evaluated by a competent, caring psychiatrist. He/she can only help, and it can't hurt! Also, if you're interested, there's a great website with detailed info on bipolar as well as mood disorder questionnaire. It gives a big disclaimer that only a doc can dx you, but it will give you some insights.

    Please keep me posted. I'm happy to help answer any other questions you might have. All the best and good luck!!


  5. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member


    1) I'm not sure what you mean by "get tested" for Bipolar II. It's not like there's a lab test or anything. All you do is fill out a checklist of whether you have specific symptoms. You can find that pretty easily on the Internet, if you're interested. That would give you a better idea if you "might be" bipolar or not.

    2) Think back to how you were before your illness. Were there times when you had a lot more energy than usual for no reason and then times when you had a lot less energy and felt depressed for no reason? Those are typical signs.

    3) CFS and bipolar are a little bit confusing, because CFS has that push/crash thing. In a lot of cases, people will fine on one day, do a lot of stuff, and then feel really bad later (sometimes days or weeks later). If doctors don't believe CFS is "real" (and a lot of psych doctors do not), they may give you a wrong diagnosis. Be wary.

    4) Think about when you get irritable and anxious. For example, if it's just in the couple of weeks before your period, it could be just plain PMS. That's a pretty simple one to fix.....natural progesterone (either in cream form or Prometrium soft gels) should do the trick. (The potency of non-prescription brands usually isn't high enough to fix this problem though.)

    5) Apparently some kinds of bipolar is related to seizures in the "mood" part of the brain. It can be inherited, but (like epilepsy) can be caused by head injuries. This type of bipolar is usually addressed with anticonvulsant drugs. I bring this up because my husband (who was dropped on his head as a child) has had for his whole life what seem to be "anxiety attacks"---the feelings came on for no reason whatsoever, suddenly. Finally I said to him, this isn't really manic-depression, but it sounds like it's seizure activity to me.....maybe you should try an anticonvulsant. Now he's on Lamictal (an anticonvulsant with few side effects) and the "attacks" have gone away almost totally. I'd never heard of this approach before that, but it's worked wonders with him. All these mental problems overlap. If what you get feel like "attacks" you might consider trying an anticonvulsant like Lamictal, if you can find a doctor to let you.

    6) I used to be irritable for no reason, but St. Johns Wort has made that problem go away entirely. (Talk with your doctor and/or read up on the subject with regard to interactions first.) After my own head injury, I also was extremely anxious. That's not the case now. My doctor cured the problem (it's too complicated to explain how considering that it's late), but that was only because the cause was a brain injury. I don't think that his trick would have worked for that if it had been just plain anxiety.

    7) Your list of symptoms sounds like one that many CFS sufferers have. A question: do you push/crash? If you force yourself to do things, do you feel a lot worse later? If you're just depressed, forcing yourself to do something doesn't make you pay later. With CFS, you do pay later.

    8) Slim build with large stomach suggests that your colon may be clogged. Maybe read up on colon cleansing (there's been a lot of discussion on the board recently, for example). Especially if you have problems with constipation, this may be an issue for you. I've just been focusing on this for a couple of weeks, and my stomach is already a good deal flatter.



    Official Bipolar II definition: person alternates between hypomanias (higher-than-usual energy and enthusiasm, maybe irritability) and depression, related to no apparent external reasons. There also can be "mixed states" (e.g. feeling irritable and depressed at the same time).

    Do you think that this describes your experience (especially before you "got sick")? What kind of medications were suggested for you?
    [This Message was Edited on 11/05/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 11/05/2006]
  6. Liz919

    Liz919 New Member

    That sounds close enough. I've always had mood disorder issues and I've always known that. I've just had multiple differing diagnoses on just what mood disorder I had. There have been votes that my anxiety was it's own thing and others that it was just a symptom of the mood disorder. There have also been votes that I had just normal depression and the energy wasn't manic because it was angry energy. (I go on violent 3 am cleaning sprees sometimes :/ ) I've been on most any medicine known to god or man. :) I have strange reactions so many of the normal drugs made me even crazier than I already was. The anticonvulsion meds are a normal course of treatment after they exhaust the first tier of anti depressants. I've been on a couple I think. There have been so many I can't remember all of them :) I know I'm not the only one here who has that problem.
  7. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Actually, it's interesting, you'd think it would be easy to identify someone with bipolar, but it isn't. In fact, many people with bipolar disorder are not always that easy to spot at all (except perhaps those with the most severe cases).

    Folks with bipolar are usually stabilized on meds and also, it's important to note that there are many degrees/severities of the illness. Often, some folks people with bipolar are so acutely aware of their mood states being "off", that they can easily mask it so others have no idea they have it.

    For some bipolars, the illness is very minor and quite unnoticeable. It doesn't affect them much, but they they still have it. For others, it is to severe, that unfortunately, they have been hospitalized, and getting regulated with meds can be quite a challenge. For others, the severity of the illness falls somewhere in the middle.

    I encourage all of you to go to (depression/bipolar support alliance) for the most accurate, up to date information on this complex illness. Like fibromyalgia and cfids, it is a very misunderstood illness and not overly diagnosed. Actually, it's often underdiagnosed. Also, as always, it's impossible to self diagnose bipolar; please see a caring/competent psychiatrist to assist you. It takes a very thorough evaluation and often involves more than one appointment to get an accurate diagnosis.

    My best wishes to you all.

  8. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    I am Bipolar II myself, but even though my case is pretty obvious, it took me three psychiatrists before the diagnosis was made.

    That was 12 years ago (a year before I "got" CFS.) I would like to say that the medical community has become better at diagnosing bipolar in the intervening years, and maybe that is true. I still have heard of a lot of wrong diagnoses being made (assumed "wrong" because the drugs those doctors prescribed did not help or hurt, whereas the ones prescribed the doctors assumed "right" were very helpful).

    I am a Ph.D. social psychologist, and so my formal training in clinical psychology is limited. However, I have spent a great deal of time reading the academic literature on manic-depression over the years. (My background allows me to do so without problem; although I am not trained in the biochemistry behind the medications, that seems to make little difference since no one seems to know how these drugs work anyway.) I also know the indepth histories of a half-dozen friends and relatives who suffer from the disease.

    With regard to what's been said thus far here:

    1) Bipolar appears to be far more prevalent than people think. It is hard to make a case that it is overdiagnosed, since a great many people who do not fit the old "Bipolar I" criteria (substantial manias, substantial depressions) or "Bipolar II" criteria (mild manias, substantial depressions) are nonetheless helped tremendously by being treated with medications used for Bipolar II. It has always been known that anxiety and depression are (I'm talking at a physical rather than psychological approach to mental disorders here) closely related, and it seems to be that treatment for bipolars can be helpful for people with anxiety as well. (Over the past year since my husband started taking Lamictal, I have read other scattered reports of this in the literature as well.) Finally, irritability is a _classic_ symptom of hypomania. It needs to be taken into consideration with all of the other things that are going on, but it is one thing that should lead to the hypothesis that bipolar might (or might not) be a problem.

    2) Antidepressants are emphatically not the first line treatments for people with bipolar. If people have bipolar (even mild bipolar), antidepressants can wildly exaggerate the symptoms (making the highs higher, the lows lower, the fluctuations more frequent, and the appearance of mixed states--e.g. irritability mixed with depression thoughts and agitated behaviors--possible). The first line of treatment for bipolar is either anticonvulsants (for people whose moods change frequently), lithium (for people whose moods change slowly over, e.g. a few times a year), and some of the newer drugs that treat bipolar and psychotia (probably not relevant for straight Bipolar II). Anti-depressants are sometimes if the mood stabilizes at a low level, but only after it has been stabilized.

    3) Doctors as a whole (including specialists) are not quite as incompetent at dealing with Bipolar II as they are CFS, but many are nonetheless pretty bad. Try to find a good psychopharmacologist (an M.D. who specializes only in prescribing drugs), since s/he will have more experience in evaluating patients and the use of different drug options available.

    4) If you think (based on your own reading) that you have Bipolar II, and your doctor insists not, be wary. It can be hard for doctors (even if they bother to ask) to know what you were like at other times. If in this case an antidepressant is prescribed, consider looking for a second opinion in a more respected specialized doctor. If you decide to take the antidepressant and feel that it is making your mood swings worse, stop taking it even if your doctor insists you continue or up the dosage. (This happened to me and almost killed me.....the stress probably in part triggered the onset of my CFS, although since I believe it's genetic it probably would have hit soon afterwards anyway.) Most people have access to good psychiatric care if they look hard enough for it. And a drug that worsens your mood problems is worse than no drug at all, regardless of what some person who happens to have graduated medical school (where psychiatry still receives very little attention) says.

    5) I have been taking Lamictal for eight years and now usually do not identify myself as having mood problems at all (except for the kind that everyone has). Only when I forget to take the drug for a couple of days (which I have once or twice) do I recall that this is a problem for me. So, unlike CFS, this is a problem that (for most people) has a solution. That doesn't mean that people who are bipolar aren't going to have to put in a bit of work (though again, a lot less than with CFS!) to sort it all out, though.

    I'll have to back and look at the posts to see if I missed anything.
    [This Message was Edited on 11/05/2006]
  9. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member


    The violent middle-of-the-night cleaning sprees are a textbook example of hypomanic behavior. The fact that you are angry while you're doing it is, if anything, an extra suggestion that this is resultant of hypomania, since easy intense irritability is also a sign of hypomania. You would not believe how many times I have read this example in the literature (and done it myself).

    You also say that a) the official definition of bipolar seems to match your pattern and b) a lot of the drugs that are supposed to make you better make you worse. (If these are the anti-depressants, these are another clue that you're bipolar, as stated in my note above.)

    You thus seem to have reason to seek out a good psychopharmacologist and discuss the situation. A good doctor will want you to give him as much information about yourself as possible, including whether it seems that in the past you have engaged in behaviors or had moods that suggest that you're bipolar. (S/he cannot tell what you were like in the past himself/herself, and so has to rely on you--or your family/friends--for the information.) See if you can find someone like that. I'd highly suggest a psychopharmacologist over a psychiatrist though.

    If you're bipolar, the only drug history that is relevant here is what has happened to your mood when you have taken anti-convulsants _by themselves_ (not in conjunction with antidepresssants). If you can remember that, it might be useful for your doctor to know.

    I am annoyed every day when i read about how little help CFS patients get from the medical community. It makes me especially sad when I read a story about how someone who has (or who might have) bipolar has wasted time floating around the medical community, though. If you do have bipolar, it is a straightforward disease to address with medication, and your chances of being completely "cured" (if on medication forever) are extremely high these days. Therefore, if you think there's any sort of chance that you do have bipolar, you should pursue this avenue vigorously.

    Good luck.
  10. john1836

    john1836 Member

    I know that generally, the children of a male that suffered from alcoholism were more likely to be bipolar. This is what I read anyway.
  11. gb66

    gb66 Well-Known Member

    Some PMS can also appear to be bipolar symptoms. I thought I was bipolar until I noticed that the highs and lows came with regularity, according to the monthly cycle. This was years ago. I did have severe PMS however.