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Unread 03-28-2012, 02:16 PM   #1
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Default Mood swings vs. the normal ups and downs of life?

I've been dx w/ bipolar for over a year now and still trying to figure my disorder out. I am trying to go off the meds as I am responding to my meds and coming off them beautifully. All my life whenever I was feeling manic or depressed I would tell myself "My feelings are normal because someone out there is feeling the exact same thing." Obviously I was wrong and my feelings were not normal.

How am I going to know when I am feeling manic vs just happy and when I am depressed vs just feeling the "normal" depression that everyone experiences from time to time? I really cannot tell because I am never sure what I am feeling. The only way I can really tell are feelings of overwhelming intense manic/depressive reactions.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 02:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mood swings vs. the normal ups and downs of life?

I have thought/behavioral points...

Like if I think of ___________ or act like __________ then I need to see my healthcare provider.

For instance if I start believing I need to travel and buy a plane ticket, I KNOW, just from that thought, I am hypomanic. If I feel happy but have no thought resembling this (There are others) then I know I am fine and it's just happy. It took me a few years of recognizing patterns before I got to this point. Because I have it identified I often see doctors and whatnot before the episode escalates. Then I have a small med adjustment and as the episode diminishes reduce medication again.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 04:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mood swings vs. the normal ups and downs of life?

I agree with confused. I also suggest a plain old list of bipolar behaviors. Ask around for the things we do/feel when we are hypo/manic/depressed. We can probably give you a nice long list. This will give you something to refer to if you are in doubt about your mood.

For example, when I am hypo, I tend to bump into things a lot because I am moving too fast to pay close attention to my surroundings. I tend to do physical activities that are beyond my normal arthritis limits, like rearranging my room and dancing in the living room. I sing loudly around the house (Seriously off key and out of tune...). I skip meals, or just eat what pleases me (ice cream, etc.)

When I am depressed I sleep more hours than I normally need. I eat more junk food (ice cream, again) I think about how useless a person I am, and what a burden I am on my family. I play my computer game non-stop when I am awake (hide from the world), I don't shower as much, or do any housecleaning at all. And most of all, I cannot tie it to any event that would make me feel that depressed. No one has died, it's not winter, I'm not overworked, overwhelmed, or fighting with someone I love. And the intensity of the feelings, as you mentioned, are much more severe.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 04:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mood swings vs. the normal ups and downs of life?

This is what we have to do every day- figure out what is real and what is normal vs. what is hallucination and what is abnormal. Takes practice. LOTS.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 04:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mood swings vs. the normal ups and downs of life?

I can tell just by looking at my credit card bills if I'm manic or not, LOL.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 05:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mood swings vs. the normal ups and downs of life?

It does take time. The last and only time I was truly manic I did not recognize it, nor did my therapist. I ended up hospitalized. Now I know what to look for.

My moods tend to be situational. Like 2 years ago when my dog died, I fell into a deep depression for a month. It was horrible. I would just stare at the wall and cry.

When I was manic that one time, I didn't sleep, was loud, rude, obnoxious, vulgar, obsessive with getting back at people who had hurt me, etc.

But normally, my depression only lasts about a week, mania even less. I used to time my chores around my moods, lay on the couch for a week and then get everything done on my manic days. It worked for me.

I have done all the typical manic things though, like overspending and picking up guys in bars. I have a real handle on that now. It just takes time to get to know yourself, know your triggers, how to head them off, and how to diffuse things.

I still struggle with the money issue. Whenever I feel like I can't pay my bills I panic, obssess and get depressed. I have to talk myself out of it and realize that everything will be okay. Nothing is going to get shut off, I'm not getting evicted and I have food on the table and gas in the car. It's that old stinking thinking that I am very aware of now and can nip in the bud. Therapy helps too.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 11:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mood swings vs. the normal ups and downs of life?

All of this is really helpful!! Thanks to you all for sharing this information. I've been wondering about the same things---in the beginning, this diagnosis was pretty devastating and I didn't know if I'd ever trust my own emotions again.

Now that the Lamictal's kicking in, I'm gaining some insight, so perhaps I'll be able to get a grip someday and be able to tell happy---or irritated--- from manic. (Depressed is far easier to figure out, or at least it was, until this last time which was my first-ever mixed episode. I don't recommend these for obvious reasons.) Nice to know there's hope!
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Unread 03-29-2012, 02:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Mood swings vs. the normal ups and downs of life?

For me it's not that easy. I don't do dramatic things like shopping sprees or anything like that...I agree with Seeker...A lot of times I do things not knowing that I'm in a certain state of mind. It won't occur to me until AFTER i'm out of my episode that I was experiencing an episode. When I am in an episode, it's more so my actions towards other people or how I feel about myself. After I'm in a certain state of mind, I can think more clearly and rationally, I start to piece things together and realize that when I thought I was "normal" I wasn't really "normal" I was going through an episode. A little over a year ago I finally went to a Pdoc and was diagnosed. After that, I started noticing more and more things about me that I never noticed before. Keep track of your mental state. This will help you determine triggers and determine when something may be going on with you/when you need help...
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Unread 03-29-2012, 02:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Mood swings vs. the normal ups and downs of life?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekerofLight View Post
It does take time. The last and only time I was truly manic I did not recognize it, nor did my therapist. I ended up hospitalized. Now I know what to look for.

My moods tend to be situational. Like 2 years ago when my dog died, I fell into a deep depression for a month. It was horrible. I would just stare at the wall and cry.

When I was manic that one time, I didn't sleep, was loud, rude, obnoxious, vulgar, obsessive with getting back at people who had hurt me, etc.

But normally, my depression only lasts about a week, mania even less. I used to time my chores around my moods, lay on the couch for a week and then get everything done on my manic days. It worked for me.

I have done all the typical manic things though, like overspending and picking up guys in bars. I have a real handle on that now. It just takes time to get to know yourself, know your triggers, how to head them off, and how to diffuse things.

I still struggle with the money issue. Whenever I feel like I can't pay my bills I panic, obssess and get depressed. I have to talk myself out of it and realize that everything will be okay. Nothing is going to get shut off, I'm not getting evicted and I have food on the table and gas in the car. It's that old stinking thinking that I am very aware of now and can nip in the bud. Therapy helps too.
IA with everything in bold...
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Unread 03-30-2012, 12:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mood swings vs. the normal ups and downs of life?

Wow thanks this helpoed me as well just the little things like not doing anything ( have Bruno Mars to thank for that) and then re-arranging the house. My episodes don't include extravagant things as social and economical factors here are a big influence to what you can and can't do. I know now I am manic when I do something to my hair, I was impatient because our only hairdresser in town was gone I cut it myself. I regret it A LOT now! I also ramble on and on and on so everyone around switches off. This is since my school days! I remember when we went camping with my aunt and uncle and other family members, they got drunk and danced around the bonfire, I was already drunk from my mania ( no alcohol ) and it was so much fun and this carefree feeling that was exilirating. Wow that makes me think of our school tour where I did something similar,OMW this has been going on longer than I thought... I keep a mood chart well I have for end Feb and now March, I am going to add a few little things that might indicate to which side I am leaning. Ok I have some thinking to do now!
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