Bipolar or not ?

Unsure if I am bipolar, I have depression which can last days, weeks or sometimes a few months during the winter. But I still suffer with it during the summer. I'm 60 years of age, for as long as I can remember I've always had this depression, I coped with it in my younger years it was not as severe as it is now, it has worsened rapidly particularly during and after menopause. I feel so desperately sorry for my husband I just don't know how he copes with me. I feel I'm wasting my life, well what I've got left of it. My mind feels sad I want to cry often and sleep a lot. It's like a switch that just turns itself on plunging me into hopelessness. I really am useless barely managing a few household chores each day. Keep asking myself what is wrong with me, I seem to have lost myself. 😩


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14 Replies

  • Hello SS, You could easily live 25 more years. How do you want those years to be lived?Get yourself to a Doctor, find out what's going on. Chances are it can be fixed. Set some goals for yourself, give yourself something to look forward to when you are better. Don't waste your life, it's a gift. I'm 69, I have depression, and being sassy is one of my goals. Pam

  • Yes reach out for help, we only have this one life. Live the best happy life we can. I know its hard to say than do I understand I have had severe depression and anxiety all my life. But I reach out for help when I need it....get well and God bless.

  • Hi Sleepysuzy, I've been diagnosed with bi polar and what you have posted doesn't include any episodes of mania. Bi polar is when you have depressive episodes then hypermanic times when you get grand ideas and delusions. You can be extremely overactive then can't sleep. The list goes on! My advise is to go to your gp and tell him how you are feeling. When you say it's like a switch that turns itself on, I know exactly what you mean. I've had periods of severe depression that lasted years but please don't give up hope as when I was put on an antidepressant that suited me ( to be honest it's guesswork from your Dr or physiatrist which one to try ) the switch " turned off" after a few weeks of treatment. Please don't ever think that you're alone, so many people have depression and have been treated successfully, it just may mean, like me, you have to be on antidepressants for the rest of your life. Hope this helps a bit with tour question , you can message me anytime as I'm permanently at home x

  • I am almost sure it is NOT bipolar. Not being medically trained it does sound like severe depression and you need medication, without which your life is a misery. Please seek help, once you get the proper drugs you will feel well again. Maybe you could also have counselling as this often helps certain people. Do not despair, depression robs you of your strength and happiness, be assertive when you see your doctor, tell him/her that you want your life back. Bipolar causes much worse symptoms like spending lots of money when you are on a high, you don't sleep much and you are totally irrational at times, you do not sound as though you have those symptoms. I am 64 and have overcome bipolar and depression. You will get better but you do need medication. Let me know how you get on, love Helen xx

  • I agree with other posts it does n't sound like bipolar. It is important to find out as recommended treatments for bipolar differ from those for pure depression.

    It is not easy diagnosing bipolar. Despite having very good GPs in my opinion and having at one time a series of appointments with psychiatrists I was n't diagnosed with bipolar 2 until relatively late in life. I think this diagnosis is now correct.

    My experience has been that my depression worsened with retirement and the changes in life that that meant. I think women find this even more difficult as they seem to have more hormonal changes. Also one is less resilient as one gets older.

    But here is the good news . Retirement gave me more time to find out more about my depression. I always recommend Jim Phelp's site PsychEducation .org which has lots of good advice and will help you decide which form of depression you have. I also had time to find new strategies to cope with it. The end result is that I now seem to be in better shape to deal with depression and find it far easier to deal with. Some pressures also vanish with age.

    So in summary it got worse with age and then improved an awful lot. Its still around but I don't fear it and am pretty confident (but not 100%) that I will be able to always deal with it. I do hope you find the same and don't find retirement darkened with depression. Depression is hard on our partners, but you sound as if you have a considerate husband and are trying to beat it.

    I do hope you find as I did that after an intial worsening it gets easier. You have to do a bit of reading and a lot of thinking about "strategies" but it is well worth it as you don't want a retirement totally blighted by depression. You'll be bound to "lose" a bit of your remaining life while fighting it off but hopefully not too much. It will always be there probably but there is every chance you can get to the point where you no longer fear it and can cope with anything life throws at you. I'm not really supposed to say this in case someone younger reads it, and our job in life is to grumble and complain , but being a pensioner is not a bad life I find.


  • Hello

    I do not know what treatments you have suffered from in the past, you need to confirm what causes your condition to keep reappearing. Talk to your GP and He will arrange some support and decide if you are Bipolar or not.

    We all on site generally feel we are worthless and a bother for those who love and are around us, especially when we feel close to he supposed edge.

    Learn more about your condition and this will give you the tools to take control and understand why you are suffering the way you are.

    We are always around to listen and help


  • Hello Bob, nice to hear from you know you're looking in. I would question one point. Despite having had about 25 episodes of depression I don't know what causes it. I am almost 100% sure that nothing external causes it, it just happens for many of us. I know you have a painful condition and in your case this is the cause for you but I've never been able to identify one..

    Of course there must be a reason why we switch from normality to depression but I'm convinced the answer lies in the processes internal to our bodies . Medical science has identified some things that happen biochemically when we are depressed but why those things start happening is still a mystery.

    When they know that we will be well on the way to curing most depression. When I retired from a quite stressful job I was free of depression for about 3 years and I would say stress therefore is obviously a factor but eventually it came back,even though I'm pretty sure I was no more stressed than I had been in that 3 years. Its a factor but there must be others. I have also had identifiable high stress periods in the past that have not switched me into depression.often quite the reverse.


  • Hello Olderal

    We all know it can he caused by two different components One in the brain and a further imbalance.

    With me I can get depressed sometimes through my age and I just put it down to that because I cannot do what I used to be capable of. Like today we have been out to various historic sites we visited twenty years ago it can be alarming how slow we are becoming, mentally or physically, we are all different

    Hazel and I are considering taking several various courses to get the brain working,very important because of my short term memory problems

    Life is different folks, different strokes, SOMETIMES


  • Hi i know just how you feel im the exact same apart from the husband bit, i have zero motivation and my life feels like its melting away ,i need someone to take me by thd and and make me do ...something

  • Hello JoJo

    What would you like to do ??

    Life is there to experience different things, sometimes ? it can help you in positive ways, sometimes we fail at that and we start again on something new.

    Know your limits and put life down to positive, not negative experiences.

    We will most probably still feel low and depressed at times. That can be caused just by life in general so we learn and try and continue down different pathways

    All the best


  • Thank you all for your responses and encouragement. I didn't mention the highs which I suppose one could describe as over euphoric but not to the point of being embarrassing, just extreme highs of happiness which can stop in a moment plunging me back into sadness. My mother was manic depressive, she had high expectations of everyone including myself, she also had a spiteful tongue accompanied by a vicious temper. I was an only child so bore the brunt of her manic behaviours. I fight so hard not to be like her it is my worst fear. I also have what I call exceptionally high sensitivity to other people pain and misery it's as if I am experiencing everything that they are this plunges me into despair and depression sometimes rage at the cause of their pain, so I shut myself away from people to avoid the hurt. In 2009 I was prescribed Citalopam 40 mg a day, I've got the dose down to 20 mg a day because I don't like taking antidepressants but without the 20 mg I get irritated, panicky and in truth irrational, easily upset by the smallest thing, also I cat sleep without sleeping tablets. My sleep pattern is rubbish - awake all night asleep best part of the day. I shy away from being with other people because I worry that they will judge me and think I'm not normal. My only true friend in the world is my dear long suffering husband who has the patience of a saint. My GP does not understand, all he wants to do is prescribe different stronger antidepressants which I've had previously and made me suicidal. To be honest the only time I'm relatively free of all symptoms is when we are abroad on holiday in the sun so I'm thinking that it could be a combination of manic depression and SAD. I'm so confused with it all, I just want it gone and to be normal again. I was a happy well balanced woman once known for my calmness and patience, it's as if someone came along and stole the real me, I don't recognise myself in the mirror anymore, well the inside of my that is, just seem to be an empty vessel - it's all difficult to explain, too complex 😩

  • Hiya! I can really relate to you. I had a mental health assessment about 2 years ago thinking had bipolar, and was told,and sometimes I laugh about it, that I don't have bipolar as I don't spend money on an impulse and I don't sleep around with different men !!!!! What a waste of an appointment and another do glider in a job they shouldn't be in!!!!! For one,i don't have spare money to spend Willy nilly and 2,i have been a the same relationship for 19:years and dont like sleeping with him so not GOING to put it about elsewhere! Hope you feel ok soon!

  • Just read your response. Cannot believe that a DR would say that to you...what a joke. There are different types of Bipolar and everyone's symptoms are can still have highs and lows but maybe not as extreme as someone else. I am waiting to see a phyciatrist as I think I may have Adult ADHD or a form of Bipolar. When I mentioned Bipolar to my GP a few years ago he fobbed me off saying if I had it I wouldn't even beable to recognise it in myself. This time around I've done lots of research and will not leave quietly without some kind of proper diagnosis.

  • Hi there, I feel pretty much the same as you, however I have high days/weeks...sometimes they are only hours or minutes and then I'll crash back down again. After doing lots of research I've discovered that manic and hypermania can be very different for lots of people. For example I don't do dangerous things or exhibit risky behaviours when I'm feeling up/high...I'll just have lots of energy and enthusiasm, will be extremely motivated and be really happy with positive thoughts for the future and the next day I'll be totally different and can't even get out of bed. I'm waiting to see a phyciatrist...have had counselling and have been on and off meds for last 20 years. There is hope...please don't give up, go to your doctor and tell them exactly how you are feeling. Good luck xxx

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