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how long do your depressive episodes last?

A

analog9

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Joined
Dec 10, 2014
Messages
8
I've had a lot of bumps in my 53 years. This one started the Sunday after USA Thanksgiving. I freaked out in a church I've gone to on and off for 16 years. The people there were like total strangers. My behavior deteriorated from there. I've cut back my driving, dropped out of music activities and am just trying to ride it out without hurting myself or others. I'm in touch with my therapist and have appointments next week, including a full hour with my psychiatrist. I just hope I can hold on until then. I live alone in a fairly safe place. My most dangerous activity is driving. I'm sober and not blowing money or gambling, activities that have caused me severe harm over the years. For the first time in my life I kept to a budget for a full month. I live on a fairly sizable disability pension (US $50,000/year) but have direct access to only $1266/per month. My court-appointed payee handles the rest. The US Veterans Administration considers me incompetent to handle my check but I do get Social Security as well. Since getting disability in 2002 I have blown everything and piled up a $120,000 debt. Manic Depression and Money? You think? Before that I was broke but got paid to go to school. I tried to commit suicide during that time when I started flunking out. I survived and made it back to get my degree. I dropped out of graduate school (music) in 2004 when my bipolar disability was made permanent.

I know this is a UK-based website. I sang with a choir in Salisbury and London just prior to 9/11. We made it back to the States a couple of weeks before the buildings fell. I wrote my graduation music composition piece on that fateful day. I served in the US Navy in the 1980's and was discharged for what was eventually diagnosed bipolar disorder. For all I have been through I know I am better off than many with my condition. However, it doesn't make these episodes any easier to live with. They are hard on myself and people around me. I understand the younger folks here who are scared and just want out. I have been there so many times. I have survived suicide attempts, countless hospitalizations and twice faced six-month commitments. However I found this forum just to read and write...a voice in the wind...far away in a place called Oregon, USA.

I wish all who are hanging on here peace and strength.
 
Purple Chaos

Purple Chaos

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Oct 23, 2014
Messages
1,079
You certainly sound as though you've been through a lot. Sorry to hear of your struggles. I don't think anyone finds it easy to deal with their episodes and as you say, it's not just us that suffer but those around us too, which makes it even worse. My depressions can be anywhere from a week or two to several months in length. It seems to vary a lot for no particular reason.

I hope you hold out okay while waiting for your appointments next week. I'll look forward to reading more of your posts and wish you well.
 
A

analog9

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2014
Messages
8
Hi Purple Chaos (like the name),

Thanks for your reply.

I'm feeling a bit better today. Some mood elevation. I slept more than usual today and didn't put any stress on myself to do anything today except to do laundry that still needs to be done. I'm waiting for a windstorm to hit the area, though not as bad as what is happening south of me in Northern California. I ate a little, something I don't do when I'm depressed. I lost 25 pounds in a short time last year when this occurred. I was dangerously thin and landed in the psych ward. I'm male, 53, 68 inches tall and currently weigh about 155-160 pounds.

I'll carefully walk as I move on from this episode. Then it will be the usual constant ups and downs of rapid cycling bipolar. That really never goes away. I can feel it all the time. Most people don't understand or think you're full of crap. I can feel it. Do you?

Take care,
Analog9
 
Purple Chaos

Purple Chaos

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Oct 23, 2014
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1,079
Hi Analog9,

Thank you. I'm glad you're feeling a little better today. At least you're taking things easy. I think you probably need to rest as much as possible when you're feeling like that. The chores can wait! That's got to be one of my favourite sentences! :) Sleep is a blessing (well, a temporary escape really) for me when depressed.

That's a lot of weight to lose in a short time. I hope you're managing to eat a little more now. Do you have no appetite, or just no energy to bother eating? I'm the opposite to you, I over-eat when low and unintentionally starve myself when high.

Yes, unfortunately I know that feeling too. There's no break from it. No real escape. The medication suppresses the wild extremes somewhat but it's still there. Are you on any medication, or have you been in the past?

I hope the storm isn't as bad as expected and that you stay safe.
 
A

analog9

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Joined
Dec 10, 2014
Messages
8
Hi Purple Chaos,

Thanks for reading. I did get my laundry done, ate two small meals, received a call from a friend and a therapist, and took it easy. I am on depakote (valproic acid 1000 mg) and geodon (ziprasidone 80 mg-atypical antipsychotic). I've been on meds since 1995. I know you in the UK (if that is where you are) have access to different drugs. The US Food and Drug Administration don't approve many drugs for bipolar disorder. I don't drink or smoke so I don't self medicate, though I gambled much of my life away to escape mental distress. That doesn't work anymore, so I don't do that either. I just live with a monstrous debt that might go into foreclosure. It was caused by years of manic spending, lending and gambling.

We just received some wind which is normal for this part of the world. I didn't drive anywhere and don't have any plans tomorrow. I joined a gym but haven't gone in 2 weeks during my mood episode. Exercise is supposed to help but I don't want to be around people in a locker room or a gym when I am feeling uneasy.

Well, thanks so much for your responses. I really appreciate them.

Cheers (as they say in the UK),
Analog9
 
Purple Chaos

Purple Chaos

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Joined
Oct 23, 2014
Messages
1,079
Hi Analog9

You're welcome and thank you for responding. Maybe I should just say cheers mate :)

Sounds as though you've done well then. I think one of the biggest things to work towards, in an attempt to remain a little more stable, is to reduce stress levels. That and a good sleep routine. I keep trying to achieve both and end up failing miserably! If I could practice what I preach, I think I'd be doing a lot better.

Sorry to hear of your big debt problems. That in itself must be pretty stressful and have quite an impact on your mental health. Does it put a lot of pressure on you or do you find you're able to cope with it quite well? I fell to pieces when dealing with my own debt problems some time ago. They weren't major but I did the worst thing possible; ignored them and hoped they would go away. Not the wisest of moves.

The gym will still be there when you're ready to face it. It's difficult facing anybody when feeling depressed or crappy. I think it's judging when you feel as though you might be able to deal with it and knowing when you can push yourself a little as, yes, it probably would make you feel better. Just make sure you're eating properly before doing it. And now I'm probably starting to sound like a parent!

Anyway, yes, I'm in the UK. I hope you're having a good day.
 
Purple Chaos

Purple Chaos

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Oct 23, 2014
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1,079
Steven said:
Sorry analog9 for your depression episodes, but what I can say is that as long you are willing to be a better person that counts. No body is perfect but we all strive to be.
Hi Steven, Just noticed you're new on here and wanted to say a quick welcome to the forum.
 
A

analog9

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2014
Messages
8
I sang tonight with a choir. I have meetings with therapists and psychiatrist this week. I will play music at a geriatric facility. Little victories. Another episode seems to be passing. Move on...
 
J

juliaw

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2014
Messages
17
I'm glad you're feeling more stable, and that you have the choir as a creative outlet, I really love choirs. My depressions last between 1 and 6 months.
 
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