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I can't bear bipolar any more

G

Ginger Kitten

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That's it in a nutshell. I'm on meds and have had various psychological treatments, only one of which ever worked (DBT) and I can't get that on the NHS now. I am only stable for a few months before something triggers me again, usually some form of stress. I am at my wit's end with this illness. Can anyone offer me any advice or emotional support. I have been triggered over the past two weeks and I have to return to work next week (2 days) after a period of absence (long story, not bipolar related). It is the worry about work that's made me episodic (various symptoms, don't want to elaborate), because I'm being bullied. Help.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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Stress makes stability very difficult to achieve, mild stress or severe stress. I think keeping straight is always going to be a challenge but hopefully over time you will get better at it.

You are being bullied by a colleague? Don't let other people upset you, ignore them or tell them where to get off. You have a right to peace and to be at work without hassle, tell them that if you need to or just ignore them.
 
Wishbone

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What episodes do you tend to have more of?
 
G

Ginger Kitten

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Thank you both for your replies. Tawny, I've been diagnosed since 2012, after a massive breakdown. So nearly nine years of treatment; I think if I were going to stay on a more even keel, it would have happened by now. Personally, I think my pdoc and the rest of the team need to look at my case with fresh eyes, and have now said so, but whether they will remains to be seen. As for work, I have an employment advisor through mh services who is helping me over the bullying, so I have support, it's just the thought of going back to it again.

And Wishbone, I have an unusual presentation of bipolar, in that I go up and down and also suffer with irritability. I don't tend to stay for long periods in either depression or mania, like most bipolar bears (as we're sometimes referred to over here in the UK). Instead, once triggered, I have this awful rollercoaster of emotions.

I used to have long periods of depression, but I'm on two mood stabilisers, so I think they are controlling that tendency. I do experience hypomania and mania, but usually as a result of reduced sleep (and sometimes stress). I think the fact I go up and down so much is what led my psychiatrist to speculate whether I also have borderline personality disorder. But now he seems to have decided it's this unusual form of bipolar. I'm guessing it may be a new category they're only just recognising. I don't have rapid cycling bp or ultra rapid cycling (I asked him); I wonder if it's ultradian (daily) cycling, but can't remember if I've asked him that. I must look it up and put it to him at my next appointment in 3 months' time.

Thank you both for caring. I actually feel better now because I rang Samaritans and spoke to a lovely woman. But that's typical of my mood at the moment, up, down, irritable or euthymic (level). It wears me out some days! But at least I am going to bed calm. Got a feeling I'll sleep better tonight. Good night to you both.
 
Wishbone

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Hmm, strange that your psych doesn't think it's a kind of rapid cycling, maybe a dual diagnosis of rapid cycling and BPD is where he'll end up squatting himself? I get the irritability thing with mine but only at certain times, not daily or anything. I find that PRN antipsychotics help with these times and I used to be dead against the idea of that. What meds do you take?
 
G

Ginger Kitten

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Quetiapine and lithium. I hope my pdoc doesn't plump for personality disorder as well as bp cos I'll object strongly - it's hard enough to come to terms with one psychiatric label, let alone two! In any case, I don't really fit the criteria, as I haven't had these difficulties since childhood (1st episode at 28), no self-harm urges or issues with abandonment, etc (as is typical in BPD). Plus, I don't like the fact that boderline PD is stigmatised in the UK, even within mh services. I don't want that slapped on me as well.
Yes, I also think it's odd he doesn't think it's ultradian rapid cycling (daily mood swings) but it depends on his training, I think. Maybe he doesn't believe in it. He's Spanish, so perhaps he has a different take on things. During our conversations, I have asked him whether he still thinks I might have traits of BPD (it was never a firm diagnosis) but he says no. But that could be because I freaked out when he postulated it in the past and he doesn't want to unsettle me by telling the truth.
He seems to have settled for this 'emotionally unstable' presentation of bipolar disorder, which I could only find once on the net. I'm not sure they've got a diagnostic label for it yet. Must ask him or my support worker to clarify. All very woolly and confusing. But thinking about it, even though I don't want the diagnosis of BPD, maybe that's why my bipolar doesn't respond properly to medication; if it did, I would achieve more stability more often. Who knows? I get a growing feeling nobody does, including the professionals! Kind regards, GK.
 
Wishbone

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Silly question, but you do know the other name for BPD right?
 
G

Ginger Kitten

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Yes I do Wishbone, EUPD, emotionally unstable personality disorder. Why? That still doesn't make me typical for it. I am diagnosed with Bipolar 1. My psych's view was that I might have BPD traits. Eventually they will stop using the label BPD in mh spheres as it belongs to the ancient past, when they thought people with the disorder were borderline schizophrenics, or borderline between psychosis and neurosis, depending on what you read.
 
Wishbone

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Ok, it was just when you said this part I thought, well, isn't he hinting at what he thinks in saying this?

He seems to have settled for this 'emotionally unstable' presentation of bipolar disorder
But I think you're maybe hung up on the wrong things in being worried by the labels. You said meds don't work and the only thing that has is DBT, both of which are suggestive of an alignment with BPD (Not diagnosing here, just commenting). So if it does end up getting changed then I wouldn't worry about it, if anything I imagine you'd get better help because you'd be better placed to get another crack at DBT.
 
G

Ginger Kitten

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Hi Wishbone. I didn't mean drugs don't work at all, I think I would be much worse without them. I meant they don't work enough to keep me stable for longer periods. That doesn't mean I've got BPD, it's only one of many indicators anyway, most of which I haven't got, as I've said above:

'In any case, I don't really fit the criteria, as I haven't had these difficulties since childhood (1st episode at 28), no self-harm urges or issues with abandonment, etc (as is typical in BPD).'

However, I do agree with you that I may have to consider I've got BPD traits (not full-blown disorder), especially if it means I can have DBT. But I suspect it won't open up DBT to me, because I feel sure my psych will have said he considers I may have BPD traits when he tried to get me into a DBT group recently and was refused. A free national health service doesn't necessarily mean a fair one. Resources were stretched to breaking point even before the pandemic, so I'm not surprised Complex Resources won't accept me, as a patient of another department.

Nothing about my emotional instability is straightforward, Wishbone, and I have only recently developed daily mood shifts (I've had bipolar over 30 yrs now). My presentation was more typical in the past, before I was medicated on mood stabilisers, with months of depression and occasional hypomanic or manic periods. It seems likely my pdoc is right about the way it now affects me, but he now maintains I've got this 'emotionally labile' type of BP, which I suspect is real but new, and which doesn't yet have a diagnostic label. Many types of illness don't: I was previously considered to have 'Recurrent severe depression, with occasional psychotic features', when they hadn't realised I was bipolar, with manic phases too. Oh, and I haven't had psychosis for years, probably because the medication is working in that respect.
 
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