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Son with bipolar

L

Little Wing

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Hi... my first post... I have no idea about BD but my son who is in his 40s has recently been diagnosed with it. He has something I think is called 'rapid cycling'... Although we are very close- I call him each day & visit once a week, he is not very open about his low mood, (to me at least)..I think it's that he just doesn't want to worry me.
But I am worried and I want to help him. I just don't know how to.
He has tried medication and decided after a very short while that it was not for him. He is a musician/artist and he didn't like the numbness caused by the meds and felt it interfered with his creativity. He stopped speaking to his therapist as they were calling him at work. He is currently very down and has been unhappy since the break up of his relationship 2 tears ago... he just can't seem to let go and still obsesses about her...Please can anybody advise me...?
 
Fairy Lucretia

Fairy Lucretia

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welcome ,if he doesn't want to take medication he could try therapy? lots of people on here seem to say medication helps with bipolar mood swings so if it were me i would try and encourage him to take medication to see if that helps ,just make sure he knows you are there for him ,you are obviously a wonderfully caring supporting mother and that is what he will need in his life ,my partner has bipolar and is an artist ,he finds is helpful to paint his feelings and emotions ,maybe you could encourage your son to do that x Lu x
 
2

2Much2Feel

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Great suggestions from FairyLucretia. Yeah, it's hard w meds, but can take multiple tries to find one that doesn't numb you up and also helps. You do sound like a wonderful mom, which is so important and I'm sure a huge help to him. Can't believe his therapist would call him at work! That's not right. In any case, welcome to the forum and I'm sure people on here will be offering some good advice. All said and done, he has you as support, the option of therapy and maybe he will open himself up to trying something else, particularly if he tells the doc exactly what happened w the last one, that is really common.
 
calypso

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Hiya. There are meds that don't numb like Aripiprazole and Lamotrigine - it might be an idea to try and talk to him about trying different ones. I was numbed on Seroquel (I am bipolar too) so my psychiatrist changed it for me. I am fine now. I am also on Mirtazepine for depression but that does make you sleepy so I take that one at night only. I know that what works for one won't work for another though, but its worth having the conversation anyway.
 
L

Little Wing

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welcome ,if he doesn't want to take medication he could try therapy? lots of people on here seem to say medication helps with bipolar mood swings so if it were me i would try and encourage him to take medication to see if that helps ,just make sure he knows you are there for him ,you are obviously a wonderfully caring supporting mother and that is what he will need in his life ,my partner has bipolar and is an artist ,he finds is helpful to paint his feelings and emotions ,maybe you could encourage your son to do that x Lu x
Thanks, Lu... Yes, I encourage him in every way I can... What he's finding really hard as a musician & a regular live performer is the total shut down of venues because of the pandemic. I think if this lockdown has been hard for most people, it's been even harder for those with mental health problems... At least he has a job and that's been a real life saver, I think. He was furloughed for a few weeks and he found the lack of routine incredibly hard. L x
 
L

Little Wing

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Hiya. There are meds that don't numb like Aripiprazole and Lamotrigine - it might be an idea to try and talk to him about trying different ones. I was numbed on Seroquel (I am bipolar too) so my psychiatrist changed it for me. I am fine now. I am also on Mirtazepine for depression but that does make you sleepy so I take that one at night only. I know that what works for one won't work for another though, but its worth having the conversation anyway.
Thank you... Aripiprazole was one of the meds he was taking... I think diazepam, too because he can't sleep.. I do think if the low moods increase then he should go back to his gP again... Men sometimes are harder, in this respect, as they shut down rather than talk through things.
 
L

Little Wing

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Great suggestions from FairyLucretia. Yeah, it's hard w meds, but can take multiple tries to find one that doesn't numb you up and also helps. You do sound like a wonderful mom, which is so important and I'm sure a huge help to him. Can't believe his therapist would call him at work! That's not right. In any case, welcome to the forum and I'm sure people on here will be offering some good advice. All said and done, he has you as support, the option of therapy and maybe he will open himself up to trying something else, particularly if he tells the doc exactly what happened w the last one, that is really common.
Thank you...I've read up on this and I know it can sometimes take a very long while to find something that works... My son just doesn't seem to have the patience to keep trying, but I will keep my eye on him and encourage him to try again... He is fine when his mood swing the other way & then he is really busy with his painting and writing music... although he has said that it can be exhausting as he can't stop. He often walks the 3 miles to work and back to try and wear himself out a bit... he also drink sometimes, which I think is because of the social isolation brought about by the lockdowns. He used to have a very busy social life, but that all stopped with the lockdowns and many of his friends are still worried about the virus.
I'm very grateful to you all for answering my post. Thank you again. Lx
 
A

AngelAdelaide

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I understand it must be hard for you seeing your son suffer. I have bipolar disorder, my family has known about it for a few years. Last year, I suffered my first major manic episode. I was hospitalized in a mental health facility for 3 weeks, up until this happened my parents hadn't really paid much attention to my condition. It was only after I was forcibly held in a mental health facility that they started to pay attention and learn about my condition.

I understand what your son's concerns are regarding medication. Prior to my hospitalization I had refused to take any medication prescribed to me because I didn't like how it reduced my ability to feel emotions and reduced my creativity and imagination. I now only take 1 of the 3 medications recommended and this seems to be enough to reduce the severity of my symptoms without taking away the positive qualities that I like about myself.

My parents still worry about me, so I keep in touch with them and let them know how I'm feeling and if I'm going through a depressed or hypomanic stage I let them know, so they can be mindful of this and understand why I may be behaving differently.

If your son would find it helpful to chat with someone else with the same condition I'd be happy for him to message me, I use Kik messenger, user ID is AngelAdelaide. :)
 
Wishbone

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He is fine when his mood swing the other way & then he is really busy with his painting and writing music... although he has said that it can be exhausting as he can't stop. He often walks the 3 miles to work and back to try and wear himself out a bit... he also drink sometimes, which I think is because of the social isolation brought about by the lockdowns. He used to have a very busy social life, but that all stopped with the lockdowns
This is a key point. We all feel fine and appear fine when we are hypomanic or manic (lively, energized etc) but really it is a mood change that takes its toll. You describe how he's overdoing it and tiring himself out, the natural outcome is that the bubble bursts and it often bursts into depression. When you're depressed you very often just want to be alone and hide, so don't take it personally if he won't speak; I never want anyone near me at such times.
You then come through depression and can get to a 'well' state, or you can go back up into Hypomania or up further still to mania, and the cycle, for some, can keep repeating like this. That is a lot to take and without anything to keep any of it controlled or lessened in any way it can impact you in the longer term as you feel you can't get away from it; you're sick of it; and each time takes a little piece of you. This is where you can end up suicidal.
I can understand him not wanting to take medication given his creative career but he does need something, it's maybe just a case of finding something and taking as low a dose as possible; docs will be open to working with you on such things so encourage him to explore it.
The therapy side I'm not so sure about, I tried it and it did nothing for me because it was talking about getting control of thoughts and for me, it was always about a mood change that came first and anything else afterwards was too late. But he does have the complication of getting over an ex partner, so maybe talking could help in that regard, but as you also said, us men are more difficult to get to open up about such things.
I don't know how much he's drinking, and likely you don't either, but substance abuse is a common comorbidity with Bipolar and used as a form of self-medication. It doesn't really help in big picture terms though, only temporarily, so he's better off without it. If he's drinking too much he can get help with this too.
And finally, you mentioned routine. Yes, it is pretty important for us guys. There are a lot of body clock factors involved in Bipolar so the more stable his daily routine, the better.
 
L

Little Wing

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ESSEX
I understand it must be hard for you seeing your son suffer. I have bipolar disorder, my family has known about it for a few years. Last year, I suffered my first major manic episode. I was hospitalized in a mental health facility for 3 weeks, up until this happened my parents hadn't really paid much attention to my condition. It was only after I was forcibly held in a mental health facility that they started to pay attention and learn about my condition.

I understand what your son's concerns are regarding medication. Prior to my hospitalization I had refused to take any medication prescribed to me because I didn't like how it reduced my ability to feel emotions and reduced my creativity and imagination. I now only take 1 of the 3 medications recommended and this seems to be enough to reduce the severity of my symptoms without taking away the positive qualities that I like about myself.

My parents still worry about me, so I keep in touch with them and let them know how I'm feeling and if I'm going through a depressed or hypomanic stage I let them know, so they can be mindful of this and understand why I may be behaving differently.

If your son would find it helpful to chat with someone else with the same condition I'd be happy for him to message me, I use Kik messenger, user ID is AngelAdelaide. :)
Hi AngelAdelaide.... Sorry for the delay in writing back...I need to check my messages more often!
Thank you so much for yelling me about your experiences with BD...I'm glad you've managed to reduce your meds to a level that is acceptable for you. I think it's a very fine balance. I wish there was a way that my son could get the help he needs but as an artist/musician, his emotions, good or bad, are a big part of what makes him function artistically, I think... it's so hard, isn't it?
BD interferes with his relationships, too, and of course, he tends to blame himself when things go wrong... He has been in several long term reltionships and it affects him very badly when they end. He has just met someone else and he is trying to take it very slowly...I think he is just so afraid that he will end up being hurt... but he really does need to be in a partnership. It's really been the most difficult thing since the pandemic caused everything to shut down, but I'm so proud of how he's coped, (or at least, he seems to be coping- it's sometimes hard to tell)...
It's very kind of you to offer to speak to him... I will tentatively broach the subject when I think the time is right- he doesn't know I'm seeking help for him....
I wish you all the very best ... you do sound as though you're on top of it...I hope you are!

Take care. xxxx
 
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