A blip or another episode

Have been feeling good for about 6 weeks, things were pretty much back to normal. Then suddenly starting to feel low again. Got a lot going on but trying not to panic. Do other members find they have peaks and troughs in their depression? My GP mentioned bipolar but I am in my fifties so I feel i would have already had a diagnosis of this, although it is in my family. Taking 40mg of fluoxetine and really dont want any more. Ant advice or support would be great.

13 Replies

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  • Hello Mayday, many bipolar sufferers only contact a GP when suffering the depressive part of the cycle. This means, as in my case, its possible to have bipolar undiagnosed until late in life. I had good GPs in my opinion but was not diagnosed bipolar,I think correctly, until in my sixties, when I realised I was probably bipolar.

    My GP then referred me to a NHS psychiatrist who confirmed bipolar 2. It is important to get a correct diagnosis as treatment differs for bipolar, mainly by the addition of a mood stabiliser and maybe by cutting back on ADs. So far my experience with a mood stabiliser has not improved matters but there is inevitably a period of suck it and see until the right cocktail of drugs is found.

    The symptoms of bipolar are detailed in many websites ( wikipedia has pretty comprehensive articles). Have a look and go back to your GP if you suspect you have these symptoms .

    Olderal

  • Thank you Olderal I am going to have a look at the websites. My GP is very reluctant to do more than give me AD's as I am 'functioning' in that i hold down a job and have a reasonably 'normal' life. She thinks its just stress related depression but the mood swings are quite dramatic.

    Thanks Mayday

  • Sounds as if you are lucky too, I do hope so. I had quite severe depressions but with a lot of support from my wife and good GPs ,and for one rocky period a very good counsellor, I kept functioning and lived a reasonably normal life,and am now retired with a goodish pension.

    My advice is if you can do this its better to keep your depression to as few people as possible as it helps with a normal life. I would still get an accurate diagnosis if I were you. My suspicion is I would have done better and life would have been easier had on been using Lithium ( I assume despite a diagnosis late in life I was always bipolar 2). I did try Lithium but had to give that up as it induced a slight hand tremor which only became obvious when I was handed a cup of tea with a saucer. This was a "give away" so I stopped it and returned to anti depressants. Now I've retired I've requested that I try Lithium again.

    As it may be relevant to you I'll go on a bit. My depressive spells lasted about six months but by the time anyone noticed I was performing slightly less well, I reverted to normal and performed well at work, or even better became hypomanic (did n't know this at the time) when my performance was greatly enhanced. Luckily I never had a manic spell. Then after 18 months I woud become depressed again. Over my career I developed a lot of strategies for dealing with the depressed periods at work and if I can help here send me a pm.

    Olderal

  • Your experiences sound similar to mine. I did have a manic spell a few years ago but have only ever been treated for depression. My brother was a bipolar 1 sufferer and was on lithium for most of his life. Any strategies you have for coping at work would be very useful. ( not sure what a pm is)

    Thank you for your help

  • Sent you a pm,mayday, post here if you don't get it. One strategy I forgot that is useful if the person you're talking to has a sense of humour. I had a very busy job and very occasionally totally forgot something and missed a deadline--The conversation would go :-

    "Where's your report on so and so-it was due this morning"

    "Oh yes I finished that"

    " Good, where is it then"

    " Well it was a pretty good report but I decided not good enough for you so last night I ripped it up and I'm redoing it"

    "Lying Bast--d. When can I have it then?"

    "Give me a couple of days"

    Of course they have to have a sense of humour and if you're unlucky you have to drop everything else and will have to repeat the exercise with someone else who might not have a sense of humour. I sometimes suffered the same . One guy who always let me down with reports had his work mates start whistling the introduction to " Always look on the bright side of life" and as he started singing in an Eric Idle voice ,it was difficult to remain angry.

    Olderal

  • Thank you Olderal. I will go and find my pm. Thankyou for taking so much trouble to reply

  • Hi Olderal

    I have recently come across this fourm and the reason I actually search up is that my husband is suffering with anxiety and depression.On and off he has suffered with anxiety and depression for over 15 years that is basically all our married life. Most recently its been over 15 months he s been depressed and off work.GP has prescribed few ADs over the past year and so. My hubby had CBT , wellbeing sessions and all the help and support i could give him ( i work full time and have 3 kids to lookafter too). But his recent episode of depression seems the strongest so far where he has lost the will to live because he is fed up of stuch in a dark phase.

    In your post you said lots of support from my wife , could you please tell me what can i do to help my hubby because all i want him to get better.I would really appreciate any help and suggestion because i feel lost as what to do.

    Thanks

  • Hello Sunnysnow,will send you a pm.

    Olderal

  • Hello Sunnysnow, I have sent the pm. I'm not sure how relevant it will be to you and your husband.

    In general my wife helped and enabled me to live a normal life despite my being bipolar 2. She did n't have a magic formula for bringing me out of depression but I believe just living a 100% normal life was in itself a huge help. In general I came out of depression, usually after six months ,either because of the ADs I took ,or it just "happened".

    I don't think I'll ever know which but the ADs were at least important in that I always felt I was doing all I could to come out of depression by taking them. Maybe my belief in them was as important as anything they actually did.

    I've said in my pm that my wife made sure we were committed to a fairly full social life. Although I often groaned under my breath at the extra stress these could impose on me , I had the sense to realise they were essential, so was grateful to her for this.

  • Hi there Mayday29

    It may be due to the fact that you have a lot going on and not enough time to practise self care. Good idea to have a chat with your GP about your thoughts and medication.

    Have a look at the listing for depression and Bipolar here:

    shawmindfoundation.org/supp...

    Warm wishes

    Chloe

  • Thanks Chloe I think you are right. I am selling my house and moving, trying to change jobs and my daughter is going travelling and I do struggle when I have a lot to cope with.

  • Hello mayday29, like Olderal I was 48 before I was diagnosed with bipolar II, yet I had suffered from periods of depression since I was 26. I agree with Olderal that most of us only go to the GP when we suffer from depression, and when we feel hypomanic we just work really hard, are really creative and the life and soul of the party. I have had two professions and they both absorb the highs as it means I am much more productive than my colleagues. The depressions however have meant that I have taken up to 6 months off work.

    In 2012 we moved and I got a new GP. Although I presented with depression, after a few months I went high again which entailed plane tickets, flights, being stopped at a border, detained and returned to the UK, it seemed the right thing to do at the time 🙄. On my return I nose dived into a depression again, and my GP said that he thought I had bipolar. Local community mental health team were rubbish so went private and was diagnosed end of last year. Now on medication regime suitable for my disorder, includes venlafaxine, lithium, lamotragine and pregabalin. Am getting to stable.

    I would return to your GP and ask to be referred to a psychiatrist. GP's can't diagnose bipolar only a psychiatrist can. Be careful of upping antidepressants as they can trigger a manic episode in bipolar sufferers.

    Hope this helps. Take care.

    Fi.

  • Thank you that is really useful. My GP is reluctant to do more at present but I am going to try to get a referral. I am worried about taking more anti depressants as they are not really working but I have been told not to come off them by my GP

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