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Author Topic: Bipolar?  (Read 7579 times)

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Offline pozinbama

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« on: July 24, 2007, 10:11:33 PM »
     Anybody else have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, either before or after hiv entered the picture? I have been diagnosed with it before, but it has come up again since ole hiv has made itself home so I thought I'd bring it up here. I recently was put on Zyprexa and have been having one of those The fog has been lifted times if ya know what I mean. I've always been more on the depressed side of it, never really full blown mania. But hypomania or mixed states where I'm depressed with the racing mind as well, to put it in short. Deep breath.
     I had been diagnosed and treated for plain depression a few times since my early twenties (34 now), but was actually diagnosed with bipolar when I was seeing a psychiatrist about 4 years ago now. I was on lithium and prozac for the year that I saw him. I ended up with the hand shakes, that other people could notice, but I stuck on with it. But then I moved out of state. To here in Alabama like my name implies. Long story shorter; I quit all meds until after testing positive at the beginning of this year when I went on Atripla and Lexapro at the same time.
     I am not currently seeing a therapist of any kind. My meds are coming from my hiv doc. My insurance (that I am thankful to have) does not offer me many options of therapists near me. I drive 2.5 hours to my hiv doc. But that is only every 2 months. I just can't do that for a therapist. I had one when I first moved here, but at the 2nd session he kindly told me I was doing just fine and I wouldn't have to come back often at all. This was after 15 minutes. I didn't see the need to go back.
     After a couple of months of still being depressed my doc switched me to Effexor. But that didn't really do much to help counter the depression either. Until at my last visit he asked me if I ever had racing type thoughts or something. And I said, Oh yeah. I have been diagnosed with bipolar before, not just depression. He was like, were you ever going to tell me? But like I said I always think of myself as more depressed. It wasn't until he brought it up, then oh yeah.
So he put me on Zyprexa. I have also decided to keep on with the Effexor. I really don't know if the sustiva is adding to the depression so I don't want to be without some anti depressant at this point.
     But I'm feeling at a strange point right now. I actually got things done in the last couple of weeks. I cleaned the house instead of just thinking about it. Little things. But not overboard. But I don't know what to do now. I know I'm not really dealing with anything. But I don't really know how to go about finding another shrink. I guess I lucked out with my first one. I'm sort of at the taking a deep breath part, but i don't know what I'm going to do next.

Except to start by saying Howdy. Anyone else have bipolar going on in their life?


p.s. I'm also up to 754 cd4 from 315, and still undetectable so I can't be complaining on that end....

Offline Ann

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Re: Bipolar?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2007, 07:00:49 AM »
Hi Steven,

I don't have bipolar, but I wonder if you told your hiv doc that you do? I don't think Sustiva would be doing you any favours as it can induce or add to depression in people who do not have bipolar, so it would not seem to be a good choice for someone who is bipolar. Please discuss this with your hiv doc - you may be able to switch to something else.

I wish I could do more to help. Keep reaching out though, because that is a step in the right direction.

Hang in there hun!

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Offline pozinbama

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Re: Bipolar?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2007, 08:39:05 AM »
My Hiv doc does know about the bipolar. He's the one that put me on the Zyprexa for it. He didn't mention switching the Atripla. But I know I might want to at some point. Since depression has been around for me since long before hiv it's hard to say if the Sustiva is adding to it, so I'm not really wanting to switch it yet. I have a feeling I'd still be depressed if I wasn't on meds so I'll stick it out a bit longer before trying to switch.


Offline Peter6836

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Re: Bipolar?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2007, 09:17:45 AM »
Hi, I am bipolar and have dealt with bipolar disorder since I was 18. I have had mostly the depression as well. As I have grown older the manic episodes become more pronounced and recognizable to me. Sustiva has not exactly made things easier. Before my seroconversion my mental health took quite a dramatic drop. I was crying all the time and the manic episodes resulted in heavy drinking, sleepless nights, quick talking, and racing thoughts. One night I was out all night drinking and ended up dancing on one of the main streets of the city for all the cars going by. Living in the Detroit area this did not result in anything good.
I have been on a great array of psychotropic drugs. from lithium, respridol, wellbutron, serequel, prozac, effexor, lamictal, and God remembers what else. I have been hospitalized three times, in the psych ward.
HIV has played havoc with my mental health as well. I am constantly working on my mental health seeing therapists, to the point where I can run therapy. I also have regular med evaluations with a psychiatrist. Fortunately I have been working with a team consisting of my psychiatrist, my primary care physician, and my ID.
Knowing cognitively what to do and about the disorder is once step but effectively when you are in the middle of an episode is another thing no matter how mild the episode. A good support system helps. People that are aware of your disorder that can help you to realize where you are, and what you need to do, to make things better.
This is a constant battle exacerbated by HIV itself and the side psychotropic side effects of many of the treatments.
Simplifying my life has helped, avoiding triggers, and keeping a journal to realize what those triggers are has helped me. I have found that many bipolar symptoms have become defense mechanisms for things that happen in my life. By avoiding or eliminating those triggers I find that things become more stable.
It is a constant battle. I find that accepting who you are the way you process life and constantly forgiving and being kind to yourself helps.
Constant med evaluations and knowing what you are taking and how it affects you helps.
If you need to talk feel free to IM me, I am open to discussion.

Offline BT65

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Re: Bipolar?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2007, 08:57:32 PM »
Zyprexa works really well for bipolar disorder for a lot of people.  I hope it's working for you. :-*
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Offline CallMeSid

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Re: Bipolar?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2007, 07:58:22 AM »

New member here.  Tested positive 07/2007.  Was negative as of 07/2006.  I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder in 1994.  Was being treated for depression at the time and developed a manic episode with psychotic features (hearing voices).  My experience has been that I'm depressed (at one level or another) more often than not and only have "manic" or "mixed" episodes when on the wrong medications (Prozac, Effexor and Lamictal appear to be very bad for me).  I've been hospitalized 3 times while having manic or mixed episodes (in 1994, 2000, and 2001).  The first time was just overnight, the next 5 days, the last 2 days.  I've had numerous psychiatrists and therapists over the years -- I've moved to different states 3 times over the years -- and have been on numerous (!) medications over this course of time.  I've also read a lot from various sources and educated myself about many issues related to bipolar disorder and mental health in general and have learned the hard way that you can't always trust that your MD/therapist has your best interests at heart.  You really do have to advocate for yourself and be an informed participant in your healthcare.

Anyway, I've come to believe (in my own case) that "bipolar disorder" is a gift or curse, depending upon how you're able to deal with it.  Despite my struggles, since I was first diagnosed, I did go back to school and earn my master's degree, I've always been employed full-time, I've been a homeowner for 5+ years now and am now back in school full-time.  But on the other hand, I've had some long-term friendships come to an end at least partly because of my mood fluctuations.  I've experienced discrimination due to my bipolar diagnosis and seem to constantly have to fight with insurance companies for reimbursement/authorization for office visits.  AND, in my case, I think my mood disorder and the fallout from dealing with other peoples' bullshit around that and my attempts to cope with it led me to engage in the risky activities (i.e. "self-medicating with sex and the exchange of semen") that have resulted in my acquiring HIV.  So, now I have a whole new set of challenges to deal with (or not).

Anyway....sorry if I got off topic.  I just wanted to say that I'm another forum member with bipolar disorder.  Since I'm newly diagnosed, I have not yet had to deal with issues related to my psychotropic meds (I'm on Lithium only right now -- have been for about a year and a half) and their interaction with HIV meds.
07/2006 HIV-negative
06/2007 HIV-positive
07/2007 CD4: 795 (40%), VL: <50
09/2007 CD4: 629 (43%), VL: 895  (~2 weeks after measles/mumps/rubella booster)
12/2007 CD4: 854 (45%), VL: <50
03/2008 CD4: 880 (45%), VL: 151
12/2008 CD4: 943 (46%), VL: 116
05/2009 CD4: 865 (44%)  VL: 107

Offline chrism1973

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Re: Bipolar?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2007, 07:45:59 AM »
I was diagnosed 3 yrs ago with bi-polar disorder.I was on Sustiva at the time.I strongly recommend you talk to your doc about getting off sustiva especially with the mind fog it causes.I was on it a year b4 they took me off and it made a huge differance.I take effexor xr and Geodon.My combo is rayataz,norvir and truvada.Together they all seem to work well.
Love yourself,love life and live.

Offline joyluckclub

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Re: Bipolar?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2007, 03:33:41 AM »
I finally accepted my diagnosis of bipolar this year.  After I discovered I was positive, I started attending a support group.  The feedback from the support grouped helped me monitor my behavior.  After a few weeks, I noticed the cycling and mood swings.

There are a lot of things I could say about having Bipolar disorder.  I guess I'm glad that there are medications and help for me.  I have relatives (now dead) that probably had the same issues.  I'm the blessed one because I was born in a time when there was help for me.  My great uncle and great aunt did not have the resources or opportunities to live the life that I have or will live in the future.  I try to remember that when I feel like I want to go have a "pity party". 

I tend to like having "pity parties".  lol

Anyway, I salute all of you who are dealing with this illness.  I know how strong you have to be to face the illness and keep moving forward.

Don't give up!
"Honey, be who you is"  Madea.........


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