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TheOtherSide's avatar

Does anyone have experience with bipolar disorder?

Asked by TheOtherSide (36points) May 11th, 2018 from iPhone

About two years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Now that I have insurance, I am seeing a psychiatrist again. I am tapered up to an effective lamictal dose and I’m experiencing some strange feelings. When I was off the meds, I felt emotionally “flat.” I didn’t feel much of anything other than high energy or low energy. Now, I actually feel calm and content when I am stable, but I’ve been getting this anxiety on my downswings that feels like I got kicked in the stomach. I get dizzy and get tunnel vision and feel like I’m going to vomit.

I’m starting to see this as my way of adjusting to having a full emotional “palette” again. I’m experiencing emotions I haven’t felt in years and I don’t know what to do with them so my body reacts physically.

I’m just wondering if anyone has been through a similar situation with psych medication or knows someone who has and can lend some validity to my self-analysis. I’d like to hear others’ experiences in order to better understand my own.

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4 Answers

Zaku's avatar

I’ve experienced 1st and 2nd hand relationships with bipolar people. My ex took some different medications for it and ended up having some pretty severe effects which don’t sound at all like what you’re taking. (I wish I remember for sure what meds those were, because I’d stay away from those.)

I know that it can pose some challenging experiences around ego. I remember her saying she felt like she’d lost touch with her sense of who she was, and it was rough being in relationship with her – she was sometimes quite positive and full of (somewhat obsessive) energy, or really negative and/or aggressive in a wide variety of ways.

I know a relative of mine who it seems to me has many quite similar patterns to hers, and one thing they both have in common is very swingy diet habits that often seem to cause the mood swings. Such as not eating much for a while, and then binging on carbs, and then going nuts after the carb binge. Oh these people are also both somewhat paranoid schyzophrenic and have some other issues, and everyone’s different, so I don’t know how much overlap there would be.

I think finding a trusted strong professional counsellor would help both of them (again, I obviously don’t know you or how much of the issues I know about them are related to bipolar disorder), but they have been really unlikely to trust any such person. They do both seem to get a lot out of good supportive friends, but for the people I know (more due to the paranoia than the bipolar, I would say) keeping supportive friends was challenging.

Best wishes!

janbb's avatar

I had a close friend who was bipolar and was generally pretty stable once he had found the right combination of meds. It doesn’t sound to me like what you are experiencing in your down swings is a symptom you need to live with. Maybe there is another med to add to the mix. I suggest you talk to your psychiatrist and tell him or her about those reactions and see what else can be done. Good luck!

SergeantQueen's avatar

DISCLAIMER: I’ve never been formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but I’ve had a few friends who have bipolar (and someone who is a nurse, it wasn’t at a formal doctor visit it was just me explaining how I felt) say that I have “Rapid-Cycling” bipolar which means I experience the ups and downs more often, sometimes lasting a few days each. I am not sure if I actually do have it though.

When I’m on an “Up”: Everything is great. I get stuff done, I’m positive, I do my schoolwork, my art, I once turned in like 4 assignments in one class period, and we had 2 weeks to do all them. Got a good grade too. I practice my instrument a lot, everything is all good.
When I’m on a “Down”: I never want to leave my bed, I hardly eat, I sleep all day after school, I fall being and never really do my work. I don’t do my art and things are just generally really bad and down. I experience more anxiety and self-doubt versus my “I can do anything” attitude when I’m on an up.

I was on medication for a while, for depression. It was the exact opposite. When I was on it, I felt that emotionally flat feeling you feel when you are off meds. The meds helped a bit, but I usually just felt worse on them. I’ve never tried any other meds and instead just stopped taking them all together. I decided from then on I wasn’t going to go on anymore meds, and instead deal with the issues head on. Which I feel may have led to them becoming worse. I don’t know.
All I got to say is, do what you personally think is right for you. as you can see, people react differently on meds vs off meds. I was the opposite you felt on meds. It is truly a personal matter and it really boils down to what you feel is what you need. If you are a lot better on meds, then you might want to stay on them.

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