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emeraldisles's avatar

What is the chance that I will end up becoming bipolar since I have struggled with depression for along time?

Asked by emeraldisles (1949points) March 9th, 2012

My uncle and now my mother has been diagnosed with this disorder. As I previously said in some other questions, my mother is not well and has manic episodes. There is alreadya history of moderate to severe depression in my family, especially on my moms side. I struggle with depression that feels like its getting worse and believe I need meds. I’ve been going to therapy and have tried to turn off my mind, but its not getting better. I’m miserable.

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9 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Please consider seeing a psychiatrist and getting prescribed meds. They can really help, and new and better meds for depression are coming out all the time. Just be warned, it can take a while to find the right combination—a while being as much as a year, and sometimes longer.

We don’t know yet how to calculate the chances of becoming bipolar. The fact that your mother and uncle have been diagnosed shows you it is in your genes. But genes are not the only thing it takes to get the disorder. You also need stress. And stress comes in many different forms and it interacts with your genes in different ways, so you can’t predict exactly what will happen.

You might end up with depression only. You might end up with bipolar disorder, of either type. You might end up with schizophrenia. The genes for mental illness are interlinked and as I say, they are expressed differently in different people at different times.

Do not be afraid. This is very treatable, as I have learned over the last four years. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder four years ago. My mind was racing. I was acting out sexually. I was very irritable and disorganized. I felt disconnected and unloved. I felt worthless. I was a mess. And despite being a mess, people still seemed to find me interesting. Weird.

I don’t know you and I know next to nothing about you, but I think you are right to be worried about bipolar and you should take steps to prepare. Seeing a psychiatrist and getting your depression under control is a good start.

Do not let the psychiatrist prescribe you an anti-depressant without a mood stabilizer. Read up on it before you go. An antidepressant given to people who present with depression but are actually bipolar can kick you into mania. It is very common. So beware of that.

So I think it would be wise to see a psychiatrist. They are the only one who can prescribe meds knowledgeably. I don’t trust medical doctors to understand as many of the drug interactions. Tell the shrink what side effects you want to stay away from. Tell them what you are afraid of. Tell them what you want to accomplish.

Good luck.

stardust's avatar

If this is something you’re concerned about, I’d suggest going to talk to a trained professional about it. Have you ever experienced a manic/hypomanic episode or is it a case that you experience periods of depression? @wundayatta is right in that taking an anti-depressant when bipolar can be damaging in that it can set off a manic episode. Having said that, there is no way for I or anyone else on this site to know if you are bipolar or what your chances of becoming bipolar are. Best wishes

GracieT's avatar

Building on what @wundayatta said, I wholeheartedly agree with all his points. I just want to say that you need to accept that you may need medicine to
survive. By saying that it doesn’t mean ANYTHING
more than you need medicine.
You are not defective, or
somehow bad, you just need
to take medicine. When you
look at medicine, it may be a
combination rather than a
single medication. For me, just one wasn’t enough. I need two different mood stabilizing medications just to feel the way I hear other people describe normal, whatever that is.

emeraldisles's avatar

Well thanks.I am under a lot of stress and have been for a while. My mother hears voices in her head and has conversations with people who are not there. She definitely demonstrates the symptoms of szizophrenia. I’ve felt like crap for a long time off and on for most of my life. But this has been a tough period.

Shippy's avatar

The good part of any mental illness is most can be treated successfully. Plus bipolar is pretty common these days, or more out in the open. I personally can not afford treatment right now, but I do try to manage my symptoms. I admit without treatment management is very hard, and not always successful. But I always remember I am me, not my bipolar. There is often good things even in sadness and reflection, and of course elation is great. I accept I was made this way and with it, come good things and bad things. Like anything. When things are really tough I remind myself, that I’m just having a bad day tomorrow can and will be better.

emeraldisles's avatar

Thanks. But I feel strongly I need meds. I’m young and I can’t live this way, feeling out of control. I can ot remember the last time I felt happy and not depressed.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m curious about your mother. Mother-child relationships are perilous at any time, so I imagine a relationships with a schizophrenic mother would be very perilous. But still, if you are both ill, it could be a bonding thing, if she is willing to talk about it and if she is together enough to know that the voices and whatnot are symptoms of illness.

If she wants to cope with the symptoms better, and you guys can talk openly, you could really help each other, potentially. You could go to group meetings together. In my group we have a couple pf people with schizophrenia, as well as people with bipolar, unipolar depression, and epilepsy. It’s really interesting how so many things are similar as well as the differences. It’s makes you wonder how they actually come up with the diagnoses, because the symptoms can be so overlapping and the meds don’t affect the different conditions very consistently, either.

So if you guys could talk about it, I think that could be very healing. But I don’t know if it would be possible. If your mother is not open to it, or doesn’t acknowledge her condition, then it would be impossible.

Shippy's avatar

@emeraldisles I think accepting help and realizing one needs it is half the battle won. You will see the sun shine again.

emeraldisles's avatar

Yeah, I don’t want to bond with my mother. Too much has happened. I’m about to graduate high schol. I just know that she needs to take care of herself and not go off her medication, or I end up calling the police again. My mother doesn’t acknowledge it. She just says she does not get enough “sleep”. She blames me for callin the cops and putting her in the psych ward again. This is her saying that while being on medication. I just can’t trust her/ don’t feel comfortable. The uncle, thank god is completely out of the picture.

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