Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Mental Health & HIV

Anyone Have Bipolar? I Think I Might

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RobbyR:
Hey everyone, just wondering if anyone on here is bipolar or has knowledge of it, I recently started seeing a psychiatrist for my anxiety disorder which was a big step for me to do actually. For years I've had terrible anxiety & panic issues, but I've always felt there was more going on with me that I just wasn't aware of. For years, I have had these episodes where I would get really really pissed off for no reason, and be very irritable, snap at anyone around, and feel seething, uncontrolled rage boil inside me. Mostly I kept it inside, but sometimes I'd lash out, break things, cuss people out, or talk to myself to let off steam. I remember this from my teenage years. I guess I wrote it off as moodiness.

But after high school at age 21, I started getting very hypersexual, I would get on these episodes where for days on end all I would think about was sex, getting hookups, instant gratification, no matter how risky. I would walk the streets looking for sex, hookup with strangers online, some of whom were drug addicts, and put myself in dangerous situations. On some of these occasions, I would be around hard core drug use, and used drugs myself and on a couple of occasions nearly died from overdosing (all for sex).
It was almost like an addiction, but these periods would last for weeks and weeks on end. I was mostly "sane" during those periods, not delusional, but totally consumed by sex. This went on for about 8 years and to date I've had over 150-200 sex partners, most strangers. I am not proud of this at all. I know it's not normal.

Also, during that time, I would get these periods of feeling very "down", almost sad, where I'd feel hopeless, worthless, unattractive, & NO motivation at all. The down periods would not last as long as the hyperactive sexual periods, but they would be pretty prominent.

For about 4 years, I have been clean from drugs, and much less sexually active, since I've been on HIV meds, but I still have the problems of sleeping around too much, spending money I don't have on stuff I don't really need, & not thinking about consequences at all. Sometimes I can go for days and feel totally amped up, VERY angry, or happy, & just want to be the life of the party or hook up with as many people as possible. Recently, I hooked up with 4 guys in one week. I had what I think was a bad manic phase recently that lasted about 3 weeks, where I was hypersexual, very amped up, pissed for no reason, flying into rages, etc. It was mentally and physically exhausting.

Last year in winter I had a bad depressed period where I felt so sad and hopeless and shut in that I stayed in bed and watched Roseanne reruns for days and days on end. I felt totally unmotivated. It seems my down periods are way worse in winter than spring.

So, make a long story short, I didn't tell my psychiatrist any of this on my last session (which was my first visit to him) partly because I was ashamed, and partly because I was just scared to admit it all. And at that time I was feeling more stable so it didn't occur to me. I guess people have told me for so long that anxiety is my only problem that I just believed it. My psychiatrist told me on our last session that "I don't think your bipolar, because your not out manically having sex with tons of people"....I could have died right then and there, because that's exactly what I've been doing for years, when I feel amped up that is. Well, I will come clean with him completely next time, and maybe he can get to the bottom of this for me. I have been on Paxil for a few weeks, but it seems to have made my hyperactivity worse at times.

So do you guys think I may be bipolar? If so, bipolar I or II? I've never been hospitalized or anything, or seriously attempted/considered suicide, but I seem to get these strong mood swings spaced out over a few weeks or months.

Lastly, lately, I am getting these strange paranoid delusions also, of thinking people are out to get me, total strangers. I saw a guy talking on a cell phone the other day and I about freaked out because I thought he was a government agent spying on me. I drove home and holed up because I was so scared. This is more of a new symptom, and it worries me and makes me think I am borderline psychotic or something. But like I said, many times in between these mood shifts I feel mostly stable. Maybe I need a mood stabilizer, anyways, I hope my psych will not be mad that I was shy & didn't tell him all my symptoms on our first session I'll just tell him I was nervous. I wrote it all down so I can try and make a journal of my mood swings.

Thanks for listening, hope some on here can offer advice/insight, if this rings true to someone else or someone else has experienced what I have, then it helps to know that! Thanks again.

RobbyR:
Thanks again for listening! :)

Jeff G:
Hi Bobby . We cant diagnose you and any opinion on what the nature of your problems are would be guessing and not fair to you .

You did a good thing by admitting that you need to tell your doctor all of your history and what the current state is concerning your emotional health . Sometime the answers to our big complex problems have small simple solutions that you can do step by step , so you were right to admit that you are going to have to come clean and trust your doctor with the whole truth so that he is treating you with the proper information , its crucial for you to be honest with him just like you have been with us .

oksikoko:

--- Quote from: RobbyR on September 26, 2013, 05:18:45 PM ---So, make a long story short, I didn't tell my psychiatrist any of this on my last session (which was my first visit to him) partly because I was ashamed, and partly because I was just scared to admit it all. And at that time I was feeling more stable so it didn't occur to me. I guess people have told me for so long that anxiety is my only problem that I just believed it.
[...]
Lastly, lately, I am getting these strange paranoid delusions also, of thinking people are out to get me, total strangers. I saw a guy talking on a cell phone the other day and I about freaked out because I thought he was a government agent spying on me.

--- End quote ---

Hey, Robby. For what it's worth, I have bipolar I (so they say). It's typical for bipolar people to "feel fine" or "stable" between episodes. During those periods we're likely to stop our medication (which I'm actually desperate to do right now - have to force it every day) and stop seeing medical professionals. Until the next episode...

No one here can diagnose you based on your story. Everyone has symptoms that read straight from the DSM sometimes, so it's dangerous to self-diagnose. However, from what you said, I believe you should talk to your psychiatrist (and tell him/her everything) and see what they think.

I was initially (years and years ago) diagnosed with several fun kinds of anxiety and personality disorders, which didn't really feel right (not that bipolar does either). I was medicated based on that which sent me hypermanic for a while. I did all sorts of crazy fun things. Lots of breaking of stuff. :D What was prescribed to me (and possibly you if they think you just have anxiety) is counter-indicated for people who are bipolar for that very reason. So. I wouldn't delay.

Regarding the delusions, I don't have any paranoia (thank God, it looks like a real pain to go through), but I do hear voices and have mild visual hallucinations from time to time. Not anymore, because I take an anti-psychotic for all this. That sounds scary, but that's just the name of the class. They even give it to unipolar depressed people, and there's a ton of those. To be honest, I miss some of the more fun parts of whatever's wrong with me - more weight on the 'stop taking your pills' side of things. But I resist. I can deal with me and like myself fine as I normally am, but other people can't and don't, and that's what matters in the end. I find this new guy too chipper, and he's a complete pushover, but I guess he's here to stay (for now).

Anyway, the best thing you could do is be honest with your psychiatrist. All they have to go on is what they see and what you tell them. I was in a mixed state (they say) when I saw my new psychiatrist, so my diagnosis was easy apparently. Even my speech was altered. It's not that simple for everyone unless they happen to see a psychiatrist while there are physical manifestations that match DSM criteria.

Good luck!

Edit: To answer your question, if you have had a single manic (as opposed to hypomanic) episode and show other symptoms of bipolar, that's bipolar I, not II. Bipolar II tends to include more frequent cycling. It's not a milder form - just different, and hypomania is not just 'low mania". Again, your psychiatrist is best positioned to help you figure this out - if you're even bipolar at all.

RobbyR:
Thanks for the comments Jeff & oksikoko. I'm going to come clean to my psych about all this next time. It's like when I experience an episode I am not really aware of how bad it is at the time, only afterwards. For me, it's manically cleaning & scrubbing floors or out having sex with strangers or snapping people's heads off. I have been told I scare the hell out of people with my temper which kind of scares me. But in winter time, when I tend to be depressed more, I just shut down and stay in bed for days.

One thing I wonder about and is partially relevant to this forum is how having HIV is related to a mood disorder or something. I know some meds can make depression much worse. For me it was Complera I tried it last year and I went into one of the worst depressive/anxious periods ever. I was having MAJOR suicidal thoughts and I had to go back on Atripla. I've heard many say Atripla can make anxiety or depression worse but for me it doesn't seem to. Maybe people who have unipolar depression might have an issue, but for me most of my symptoms are on the manic/hypomanic side, and the depressive periods are less, so doesn't seem to be as relevant.

Lordy tho, that Complera was a terrible pill for me, it gave me BAD insomnia & terrible depression. But Atripla works great! I'm hoping to ditch the paxil I take now and try Zoloft which is a bit more activating maybe with some type of mood stabilizer if my psych thinks it necessary.

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