Monday, May 14, 2012

Something new, Something old, Something blue, Something no one knew

The last time I wrote on my blog the sun was shining, the birds were singing and I felt better then I had ever felt in my life.  This was my something new.   I kept wondering when the bottom was going to fall out of my new feelings of well being.  I kept asking and asking everyone I knew around me if I seemed manic.  All of them said they do not see the manic signs I showed in the past.  Then I ran into something I knew nothing about or had ever felt.  That something was Hypomania.  That was the something I never really knew much about.  For some odd reason I only thought that was part of Bipolar Disorder 2.  As a person living with Bipolar Disorder 1, I had always had extreme moods swings of being very manic or extremely depressed.  I have never encountered the feelings I had with being hypomanic.  I was very confused and thought that maybe just maybe my medication had kicked in very quick.  I also thought that maybe I was healed by God because I am a Christian.  Well God has a plan for my life and at this time he still wants me to continue down this path.   I know as a patient for many years, medicine does not work that fast but I guess I was living in the great feelings and I did not see it.  My own guess is to why I was kicked into that state was maybe that I was coming off one antidepressant and a mood stabilizer and then introduced to a new ones.  As I look back on that week that I felt "normal" and how I thought most people live their life.  I now can see I was Hypomanic. 

So after about five days of having all these wonderful feelings about life and about myself and having a ton of energy, I finally crashed and stayed in bed for two days feeling so tired from all the activities I had been doing.  This was the something that was old and blue.  Thank goodness when I was hypomanic all I did was clean my house from top to bottom, workout everyday, and I was able to drive myself to places and had no social anxiety.  I did not do anything careless or reckless that normally comes with full blown mania.  I actual did really productive things that I needed to do months ago.  I was able to to finish task and I slept about five hours a day and I woke up feeling refreshed and full of energy.  I was also talking every one's ears off but it was not rapid speech that did not make sense or too fast.  So for a few days all I did was look up hypomania and find out all I could about it to see if that is what happened to me.  I have been keeping a mood journal for eight weeks now and my Psychiatrist confirmed that is was hypomania.  The largest difference I found between hypomanic and full blown mania was that I did not have psychotic thoughts or symptoms and no grandiosity about my life or something I wanted to do in the future that was reckless or harmful to my life.  I was also able to be highly functional and I was sleeping every night.  In the past when I had full blown mania I did not sleep for days and I could not be told or believe I was manic. 

I was reading on the NAMI website that someone referred to it as "mania lite".  I thought that was a good way to describe it.  It lies somewhere just under mania but higher than deep depression.  So for someone who has studied and tried just about any medicine and therapy, I could not believe I had never been told that as a Bipolar Disorder 1 patient that I was also capable of feeling something in between the two.  I will be honest I was quite sad when the bottom fell out. I felt cheated of feeling normal for once in a very long time.  I would also love to stay at this level because the feelings were wonderful.  But with my illness I know this is not a healthy or productive attitude.  After my crash I fell into a depression with one or two days with suicidal thoughts and felt I was worthless.  I have a wonderful support team that got me through those days.  After the new medicine kicked in I was no longer feeling depressed but I also felt like a Zombie.  I felt very medicated and just really had no feelings of happy or sad.  So after quite a journey on Mr. Toads Wild Ride of going up and down, I finally started feeling a lot happier with no suicide thoughts but I still had some issues.  I kept reading from other people on the same medication to just hang on because it can take about six to eight weeks for my medicine to truly kick in and make me more stable. 

My last visit to my Psychiatrist went fairly well.  He tweaked my medicine slightly.  Taking the second dose of Wellbutrin in the afternoon kept me from sleeping at night, so he changed me over to Wellbutrin XL 300 mg to take just once in the morning with an increased dose of my mood stabilizer to 150 mg of Lamictal.  I also still take .5 mg of Xanax for my panic attacks and social anxiety.  In a few weeks he wants to get me to 200 mg of Lamital and stop there unless I have issues.  I did not get the rash that everyone warned me about so that was a relief and for the most part the side effects are less than other medications I have tried in the past. I know these medication do no work for everyone just like I can't take other medications.  I really do like my new Psychiatrist and I feel he has an incredible knowledge of Pharmacology.  He is actually something old in my life as well.  When I was admitted into the hospital for suicidal thoughts and extreme depression about ten years ago he was my doctor and he got me home within 6 days.   I am thankful to have found him again and the last thing he said to me was "keep up the good work".  As a person with this illness that could not be more true because everyday is work to stay on top of your environment, medication, and staying stable.

It's funny I read an article last week that stated that Bipolar Disorder is just a made up illness by doctors and Pharmaceutical companies to make money and there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Well I am here to say other wise and my last eight weeks if not last 20 years has proved that theory very wrong. I do have an imbalance and the only thing that helps is the doctors and medication.   I feel stable at the moment but I know it's a daily fight and I take it one day at a time and I am very thankful for my wonderful husband for sticking by me, taking care of me and loving me for the real me.  My Mom and Dad are also very helpful when I need help while my husband is working.  I feel very blessed to have so many wonderful love ones in my life that get me to the next week.  I turn 40 in about a month and instead of being sad or feeling old I am celebrating that I have made it to 40 years.  This illness can take so many lives early in their life and I have made it this far and fight everyday to make another 40 years. 


  1. Thank you for sharing your experience, this will help many not feel alone. May I have your permission to put the link to this post on my blog in the article section?


  2. Thank you so much for reading my post and of course you can use a link to this article section or to my blog. I want to get as much awareness out there as possible. THanks again for asking. Elaine

  3. Dear Elaine, it is very refreshing to read about someone else dealing with this horrendous condition. You are very positive, which at this point,I needed to hear, or rather read.

    I have been dealing with this disorder since I was 10 or 11, I am now 54. Unfortunately, I do not have a support system because it seems I have hurt so many family members whether physically or emotionally, which includes my eldest daughter, who happens to be a Mental Health Specialist (PHD)! Although, I feel my illness is why she is in this field, her resentment of me is still fierce.

    Elaine, in addition to my daughter, I've lost so much. I've had over 80 jobs in my lifetime, yes 80! I'm unemployed now & hoping to find another. My mind is so garbled that I'm scared that when I do find a job, I will lose it! I try to think positive, but that only last so long. The Social disfunction you spoke of earlier is so prevalent in my life...most times I just want to scream.

    I live with a family member who is dealing with so much herself, that other than a roof, it's all she has to give.

    I try & smile, but most times, that doesn't work either. I don't have medical insurance, but an in-law gave me some Cymbalta & I've been taking keeps me from completely losing it.

    But I'm tired! I'm tired of my failures! I'm tired of hoping for understanding! I'm tired of the lonliness! I'm tired of the grandiose ideas. I'm just tired. I have this amazing & compassionate heart that no one sees but me!

    I, too, am a Christian but sometimes I feel like GOD has deserted me, also. I pray all day every day, but still my prayers are unanswered.

    I don't know what to do! I'm not Suicidal, probably only because I am a Christian. I'm passive when it comes to doing that, but I do think about death & I pray GOD will just take my breath away. What am I doing here? I've accomplished nothing! I've been searching for my purpose for so long that it ran away.

    Thanks for giving me an opportunity to vent some, it's 4:20 am & as usual, I can't sleep!

    May the Blessings of the Lord continue to watch over you!