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Cyclothymia into bipolar

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Danrobb57

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I have suffered with cyclothymia and re current depression disorder for a number of years since 2003. I had a bad episode of 7 years before diagnosis where doctors kept saying I had post natal depression. Which you can only have for up to 3 years.
I had a bad episode about 4 years ago which lasted 3 years and my then psychiatrist gave me a BPD diagnosis on top of other diagnosis. My old psychiatrist always said there was a chance that could go into bipolar and so that was what I expected it to be. Now have new psychiatrist who is lovely but has said it doesn’t matter what it is we will focus on getting better and not on what diagnosis is. We will put BPD and bipolar in the air for now with question mark on both and go back to that later. Going through a mental breakdown at the moment and would just like to know what I have so I can deal with it.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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I have suffered with cyclothymia and re current depression disorder for a number of years since 2003. I had a bad episode of 7 years before diagnosis where doctors kept saying I had post natal depression. Which you can only have for up to 3 years.
I had a bad episode about 4 years ago which lasted 3 years and my then psychiatrist gave me a BPD diagnosis on top of other diagnosis. My old psychiatrist always said there was a chance that could go into bipolar and so that was what I expected it to be. Now have new psychiatrist who is lovely but has said it doesn’t matter what it is we will focus on getting better and not on what diagnosis is. We will put BPD and bipolar in the air for now with question mark on both and go back to that later. Going through a mental breakdown at the moment and would just like to know what I have so I can deal with it.
I think the psychiatrist is right, that you should focus on the symptoms and get better, so life is easier, and forget the rest. I have read posts where people have had the same diagnosis for ten years only for it to change when seeing a new psychiatrist or a new episode.

If you take a mood stabiliser and your mood stabilises, maybe that means you have bipolar disorder?

I also do not think it is easy to tell the difference in a patient you see for such a brief time. It is understandable that it takes time, a year or two, to get to know a person and know what they are suffering from.
 
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Danrobb57

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Thank you for your kind words it’s so hard. I am on reboxetine which is my anti depressant and Olanzapine which is the anti psychotic. I do feel these help greatly. Just struggle with not knowing what I am suffering with. I Personally feel it’s more bipolar as I have manic episodes where I am buzzing with confidence and feelings that I can take on the world. So social then these severe downers where I struggle to complete the simplest of tasks without overthinking them to the max. Also can’t face or chat with anyone.
Hope your doing ok in your journey.x
 
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keith74

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Thank you for your kind words it’s so hard. I am on reboxetine which is my anti depressant and Olanzapine which is the anti psychotic. I do feel these help greatly. Just struggle with not knowing what I am suffering with. I Personally feel it’s more bipolar as I have manic episodes where I am buzzing with confidence and feelings that I can take on the world. So social then these severe downers where I struggle to complete the simplest of tasks without overthinking them to the max. Also can’t face or chat with anyone.
Hope your doing ok in your journey.x
Yes it does sound more like bipolar. Bipolar is episodic while BPD is more consistent with big swings in either direction in addition to times of stability.
 
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Danrobb57

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Yes it does sound more like bipolar. Bipolar is episodic while BPD is more consistent with big swings in either direction in addition to times of stability.
Thank you, just wish they would let me know so I can try and move forward with it. I know we shouldn’t get too hung up on what the diagnosis is but focus more on recovery but surely would help to know what you are suffering with.
 
Wishbone

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Well we can't diagnose, so keep that in mind, but saying that you've had epsiodes of 7 years and 3 years suggests this isn't Bipolar because you wouldn't be depressed for 7 whole years, that sounds more like Dysthymia, which is basically long-lasting depressive episodes, but fairly mild ones in relation to what Bipolar or severe depression would bring. You say your mood shifts up but is this a 'feeling good' upshift or something that is over-the-top because Bipolar isn't just a happy-sad thing, there's so much more going on and at a much more severe level, both in the ups and the downs and in the in-betweens. Maybe if you told us more about what you experience in depressions and your up moods it may help us understand a bit more?
 
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SFGuy

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Going through a mental breakdown at the moment and would just like to know what I have so I can deal with it.
It sounds like the doctor wants you to worry about taking steps to work your way out of your current troubles instead of fixating on your diagnosis.

I think your psychiatrist is probably right on this one. The diagnosis is important in choosing meds, etc., but if your pdoc knows you, they have what they need to make treatment decisions.

For us patients, diagnoses can be deceptive since doctors often disagree and diagnoses can change over time. My own diagnoses have evolved dramatically.
 
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Danrobb57

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Well we can't diagnose, so keep that in mind, but saying that you've had epsiodes of 7 years and 3 years suggests this isn't Bipolar because you wouldn't be depressed for 7 whole years, that sounds more like Dysthymia, which is basically long-lasting depressive episodes, but fairly mild ones in relation to what Bipolar or severe depression would bring. You say your mood shifts up but is this a 'feeling good' upshift or something that is over-the-top because Bipolar isn't just a happy-sad thing, there's so much more going on and at a much more severe level, both in the ups and the downs and in the in-betweens. Maybe if you told us more about what you experience in depressions and your up moods it may help us understand a bit more?
Well we can't diagnose, so keep that in mind, but saying that you've had epsiodes of 7 years and 3 years suggests this isn't Bipolar because you wouldn't be depressed for 7 whole years, that sounds more like Dysthymia, which is basically long-lasting depressive episodes, but fairly mild ones in relation to what Bipolar or severe depression would bring. You say your mood shifts up but is this a 'feeling good' upshift or something that is over-the-top because Bipolar isn't just a happy-sad thing, there's so much more going on and at a much more severe level, both in the ups and the downs and in the in-betweens. Maybe if you told us more about what you experience in depressions and your up moods it may help us understand a bit more?
Thanks for your reply, very hard to describe so much in short sentences and also in the middle of a mental breakdown. I can say the years of down depressive moods they say is the recurrent depression disorder and I seem to get a lot depressive episodes. The one that lasted 7 years started with post natal depression and I believe as not treated just kept getting worse until I ended up in a purple psychosis. ( very bad experience). The last one lasting 3 years came when they told me my medication was being discontinued which turned out wasn’t true. I then started on a path of switching from Med to med which didn’t agree with me. One of which being venelefaxine what I can only say for me was the devil drug. Had a awful experience being on and coming off of. My highs are different from just normal daily happy times. I am up on a buzz of little sleep, excessive chatting, feeling of that I can take on any task and will commit myself to so many things, nothing to little for me to achieve , feeling of on top of the world , followed by a crash of depression where I am eaten up with guilt of all I’ve let down, people I can no longer chat too, family I can no longer keep in contact with, retreat to my own safe bubble. My own personal hell.
 
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Danrobb57

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It sounds like the doctor wants you to worry about taking steps to work your way out of your current troubles instead of fixating on your diagnosis.

I think your psychiatrist is probably right on this one. The diagnosis is important in choosing meds, etc., but if your pdoc knows you, they have what they need to make treatment decisions.

For us patients, diagnoses can be deceptive since doctors often disagree and diagnoses can change over time. My own diagnoses have evolved dramatically.
Thank you for your reply , I do u fees rand they know better I just struggle not knowing where I am or how best to go forward. With resources being stretched so thin during the pandemic.
Hope your path is in a place of peace & calm.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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@Danrobb57 I had a similar path to Bipolar diagnosis to be fair. One of my previous diagnoses was recurrent depression (RDD) too and that apparently gets their ears pricked up because of the nature of the disorder having a cyclical nature to it, so seemingly is considered linked to Bipolar or as a strong precursor of it. Anything else thereafter that sends you over the edge into hypomania or mania would then make the docs confident of what it is I'm sure.
I was also placed on Venlafaxine at one point and I too have referred to it as a devil drug for what it did to me, but obviously that's because of what I had/have. It put me into mixed states and made me harm myself, so that one was pretty obvious too.
 
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