Mental Health Support
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Cyclothemia or Bipolar 2

Hi all. First time post.

I have struggled all my life with depression interspersed with short periods of mania which seem to just be irritation and short temper. There are often periods of neutral feelings of normality for maybe a week or two and in the past there could have been periods of a few months of normality.

As I've got older I've found that the relative mild highs and crushing lows happen much quicker and last for shorter periods. The high periods are not manic but I feel heightened emotions and tension and also a sort of acute mental sharpness, is the best way I can put it, that is missing when I'm low. I can be very creative and productive when high but can make mistakes due to physically working far too quickly. This has meant that working as part of a team is exhausting emotionally.

Having poor self esteem and a thin skin doesn't help either. I've tried exercise which does help but when I'm in a low mood I find gyms and sports clubs a living nightmare due to being surrounded by alpha type people with bulletproof confidence who quickly write me off as a basket case. I sense low self confidence in other people which I find repellent too so I can appreciate why normal people just won't tolerate me being around them.

I wish I could find a middle ground for my moods for longer than a token amount of time. Even just a period of a few months at a time of a level mood would improve my life immensely which had been nearly stagnant since my late teens.

I've been to the doctors who got me referred to a councillor who did her best to help me and tried to refer me to a psychiatrist which didn't happen, I don't know why.

When I was younger I thought "I'll get through this, it WILL end someday and I'll be fine," however after over 20 years of mood swings and bouncing along the bottom of the happiness scale, completely unfulfilled, I'm now fearful of the future as I approach middle age.

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Hello and welcome Tankerman. You describe very well how you have experienced the 'highs and lows'. The exercises help by releasing endorphins which are the feel good factors so these can be beneficial, is there anyway you can exercise at home? or going for a walk/run can have the same desired effect especially when you are feeling vulnerable and low. Perhaps going back to your health professional so that they can refer you for further interventions like cognitive behaviour therapy or Mindfulness. When booking the appointment it maybe wise to ask for a double appointment so that you have time to express your feelings. I hope this is helpful. What do other members think please?

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Thank you for the reply.

Yes, I agree that I need to exercise more as that does help.

Over the last year I have practiced mindfulness and guided meditation. The benefits have been just brilliant but what they have really done is give me a better perspective and to realise the problem I have is more serious than I thought but that it is also manageable even if now it is not curable. I was in denial about having mental Heath issues for most of my life. Now I'm not.

Despite this I am really concerned that for the last couple of years the problem is changing. Even though I am taking more and more steps to manage my moods with diet and lifestyle changes, as I age my moods are having more serious effects on my everyday life and not in a good way. I'm more isolated socially than I've ever been and cannot bring myself to change that in view of my recent deterioration.

As for going back to the doctors. I worry that the resources are not there in the NHS to treat me unless I am in a serious crisis or worse. This may be why my psychiatric referral failed, I'm not sure. I cannot afford private care so my options now are, well I'm not at all sure beyond just carrying on.

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