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serenityNOW's avatar

Does Bipolar Disorder Ever Get Easier, Or Progressively Worse?

Asked by serenityNOW (3636points) February 17th, 2009

I was diagnosed in 2002 and on so many cocktails it’s hard to remember. Until the past couple of days I was doing well; now the depression is surfacing once again. Anyone with long-term diagnosed bipolar… how is it going? I just don’t know how long I can keep up with this… I have a strong will to live, but right now I am just hoping to die. I’ve never been to the point where I’ve intended to act on suicidal impulses (and I’m still not), but I do want the suffering to end.

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5 Answers

tb1570's avatar

Get to a mental health professional. Now. In the meantime, call someone you can really talk to, like your mother or your best friend. Get off the internet, quit talking to us jackasses on fluther and talk to someone who really knows you. And then get to your health care provider as soon as possible. This shit is not to be messed with.

tonedef's avatar

There’s a chance that you’ve developed a tolerance for some of your meds, and you might need to have them readjusted. The thing that’s worked for the people in my life battling Bipolar disorder is 1) regular appointments with a single psychiatrist for continuity of care (get a referral from someone else who has gotten the disorder under control. And NOT a general practitioner! A psychiatrist!), and 2) regular appointments with a therapist who can help to monitor the disorder and process your experiences with you.

If the meds aren’t working, don’t wait! Go see your psychiatrist now.

I can use 2 examples of people in my life that you might be able to relate to (with regards to it getting easier). Person 1 had severe manic episodes, and got them under control. He interpreted his baseline mood as depression and wanted some of the mania back, and slowly reduced his meds. He had a relapse that was twice as bad as the original episode. He got into this pattern of taking meds when he hit rock bottom and then phasing them out, and did irreparable harm to his family and career. Person 2 processes the low moods when on medication. The therapists’ insights and encouragement to stay on medication or to adjust it whenever it became less effective have helped her to not spiral, and she’s doing great. The path that the disorder takes depends on you seeking and accepting constant care. Don’t let the mania convince you otherwise!

wundayatta's avatar

Oh God! That sucks big time. I was there a couple of months ago. Now I’m having the first sustained burst of feeling not bad that I’ve had in two years. When I was down where you are, people kept telling me that it would be over some time, but I never believed them. I was like you, too, thinking of suicide all the time, yet knowing I would not do it. It’s a horrible way to live.

I’m new to this, having only been diagnosed in 2008. We spent a year trying to find the right combination of drugs, and now we seem to have it: lithium, welbutrin, and lamictal. It took forever to get here. I think if I went down again, it will be worse, because I’ve worked so hard for this, and I’ll have to start all over. However, I know it’s likely that it will happen again. I might go for years before that happens, or it might be a few weeks. Hopefully, it’ll never happen again.

I think that you are asking this question because you are down, and all you can imagine is that it will get worse. I think, somewhere in the back of your head, you know it will get better. That’s why you don’t kill yourself, among other reasons. For me, it was my wife and kids that gave me a reason to hold out.

I don’t know if our disorder gets easier, or worse. I think we have good times, and bad times. I think that if we work hard to learn techniques to keep the bad times away, we might be successful at that some day. For me, I’ve been through CBT, and that didn’t work. I have hope that mindfulness will give me some tools to fight it off in the future. You can start these things even while you are down.

I hope you have help. Not just a psychiatrist and a therapist, but people to support you in your life. There’s someone in my group who doesn’t have help, and he just went off his meds, and now he’s back telling us he’s drinking a lot again. He’s self-medicating, of course, and that’s not a good way to deal with this disorder. At least he’s coming to group.

I don’t know where you’ve been, or how you got diagnosed. I don’t know your situation in life. If you’re like me, the support you get here will seem like nothing, but really turn out to be one of your lifelines. People talk sense here. They give you support even when they know you can’t hear it.

Listen to me. You will get through this. You have my support. Look at the damn novel I’ve written here! People fucking care!

Ok, I was going to talk about self-esteem, but that’s enough for now. Perhaps you remember a times when you felt good about yourself? You will again.

tinyfaery's avatar

Your meds might need alterations for the rest of your life. You should focus on some coping skills and/or a cognitive behavioral therapy. Beside the meds, you must learn how to cope with the swings that the disorder causes. Meds won’t cure you.

Violet's avatar

It gets way easier. But @tinyfaery is right about the meds.

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