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Struggling much more with covid

B

BipolarCoder

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
15
Location
California
My intro post has some background.


I was doing pretty well the last few years. Then COVID hit. I spent February obsessively building mathematical models, as i realized how big s problem covid would be. I slept 3 hrs a night, and lost 30 lbs in 3 weeks.

It started as a hypomania, on the phone at all hours trying to find people to do something about covid, or at least people who could see it was a big problem.

I do think i did some good, inspiring and donating money to some smart folks working on the problem. But the longer it went on, the more sucked in i got.. and the more days of no sleep, the more manic i became.

Having breakfast with my kids when they woke at 6:30 because i was still up from the night before felt good, but was not normal.

I stressed out my wife, and some of my friends, and caused lots of fights.. and while the content of my covid analysis has turned out correct enough they are now trusting my analysis, bringing it to them with a mania filled zealousness and aggressiveness was not helpful or useful.

I was also crying, with sadness about all the negstive effects covid would bring.. and while i think that sadness came because i have a big heart and i really care about the struggle the world is dealing with.. the mania made it into an all hours of the day obsession of research, howling sadness, and odd-hours sleeping that my kids and wife did not deserve in the midst ofndealing with their own struggles to process it all.

I also worked myself up into thinking danger was eminent.. and had fights with my wife trying to get us to leave our house to go somewhere safer, because i felt civil unrest was a likly future outcome. (I was pretty off about the urgency of this. Still unclear how bad this could become in the future)

At the height of the mania, i was starting to have extreme thoughts, putting too much credibility in alternate views of reality.. feeling like we were living in the truman show and someone upstairs wanted it more interesting. Or that the singularity was here, and the ai created the virus to wipe us out (or insert us,). Or that i was seeing the data and the danger because i had some special role to play. It's strange to explain this.. because i'm not the only one who was considering alternate meta-physical possibilities (press published many such articles), and i wasn't letting my thoughts make committed actions. But there were many moments where i "felt" many of these surreal explanations to be more real that the grounded-reality explanation that there is a random unlucky terrible pandemic virus ravaging the planet, and that was an obvious product of the mania.

When the usa sheltered, i cried relief and finally slept.. not because its a perfect answer (there isnt one), but because i felt relieved that at least leaders were finally taking it somewhat seriously. I could finally calm down enough to see i wasn't sleeping, and took some klonszapam to encourage more sleep.

Several days later, i almost regretted getting all that sleep, as it brought the down cycle of sleeping in, not wanting to do anything, procrastinating, and getting sucked back into my videogame addiction stress coping.

A couple weeks later, i had a two week hypomanic productivity cycle when i felt like i had shed the unrealistic mania and was primed to really get some stuff done. I spun up contractors on three software projects, and did a bunch of coding on one of them myself. Then i slid again and started sleeping 9+ hrs a night and getting nothing done.

Now i'm at a midpoint, trying to stay ontop of the planning to keep my contractors making progress on the 3 software projects... While at the same time feeling anxiety and depression over managing my finances...

I have a sizable investment portfolio, and i felt good in Feb, having exited the market before the big crash that followed, but now the fed money printing had created the bizarre situation where the market is soaring while unemployment is rising, and the government published the first ever flawed jobs report. Am i right to think we could have another big crash? Or did my mania make me overreact and get out of the market right as inflation is sending it soaring, losing out of the gains?

I really don't need this stress right now. It's making me feel terrible, like im screwing up managing my family's financial future.

For now im keeping it together.. but i can feel that piece inside of me that is starting to try and keep me in bed in the morning, shutting my mind off. And then i find some inspiration to talk about it, and I'm on here at 4:51am writing two massive posts on my mobile phone.

I really hate bipolar. I don't want these up and down cycles. I want to have a normal level of concern about what is happening, like everyone else.
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
7,151
Location
Nashua NH
I’m really sorry to hear how much you have been suffering with mania lately. The sleepless nights, the grandiose projects, the phoning many people, giving away many things, the irritability and the delusions have all been features of past manias for me. They usually last a few months and they so often end up involuntarily committed because they have spiraled out of control. My manias usually also include me planning to start many businesses, none of which I have the money for or end up following through on. I have Bipolar 1 and it seems to me that after this last mania you should have the same Bipolar 1 diagnosis. Bipolar
1 is diagnosed after you have had at least one mania like the one you described. I am not sure what you are on for Bipolar 2. I am on Lithium, Lamotrigine and Invega Sustenna for mine. I would be sure to tell your provider about the change in mania you have experienced. He or she might be able to change your treatment to help avoid this happening again. :hug: xo, j
 
B

BipolarCoder

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
15
Location
California
Thanks @JessisMe. I'm sorry to hear you suffer from bipolar as well.

I'm all-too-familiar with the energy to grandly start many things at once and then not follow through. I've learned through my lifetime of this to try to filter my grand ideas, and try to start the ones that have small stepping stones of benefit, or projects I can pick-up-and-put down.. this fits in better with my fits-and-starts cycles... Software projects are somewhat good that way, and I think I've been moderately successful at this. At-home repair projects are good too, though I always have an office full of parts for at-home projects I intend to complete and just don't finish.

I consider myself very fortunate to have had one of those hypomania software projects turn into a successful software startup. It helped for me to have recruited a founding partner who was someone I had a long friendship with, and was the stable consistent force that balanced my bursty efforts. I got the thing off the ground with coffee and hypomania, and his stable involvement created consistency and co-motivation for me.

I'm certainly Bipolar 1 now (age 38-45). They suggested as much after I had my Ritalin-induced mania (around age 38), as they said once there has been one full mania, the mind is "opened up" so-to-speak, and another episode is more likely. I was hoping that wouldn't be the case, and that would be a one-time thing -- because from age ~15-38 I never had a full-mania -- just mild depression and 2-4 hypomanias a year. But now I've experienced my second full mania, so certainly bipolar 1.

Now that I think about the triggers..I did have a bout of kidney stones back in in Feb/March, and I took oxycodone for 3-4 days, which tends to wire-me and it probably helped start the lack-of-sleep cycle that brought on the hypomania and then mania, damn.

I'm currently not on any prescriptions for my bipolar.

I've been off meds for about 4 years (since age ~41). I had been doing decently well until COVID this past Feb. For that four year period I was doing well with behavior changes... regular exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, keeping my sleeping regulated, and copious coffee and g-fuel to break the down-cycle duldrums. And while I can't say it was perfect, it worked much longer and more effectively any prescription medication I've ever been on...

My life has been a revolving door of medications. Most don't help at all, a couple have helped for 2-4 months and then drag me down so much I stop taking them. I've never tried Invega Sustenna.

Since this is only my second full mania in 30+ years, in the past I've benchmarked medications by how much they help me avoid my more typical depression/apathy. I experience a constant state of mild depression and apathy during which I can cope and mange to "go through the motions".. punctuated with two 3-week hypomanias a year, and two 3-week 'do-nothing sleep-late irritable ground-sloth' style moderate depressions. I feel fortunate I've not had some of the extreme lows I've read about... no physical outbursts, never any self-harm desire or suicidal thoughts.

Though now that I've had another mania that was not (obviously) drug induced, I'm inclined to seek out a better strategy for avoiding another one. I wish I had a wrist monitor that would count my sleep and injects a sleep aid if I get less than 12 hours in three days.

At Age 40 I took Latuda/Wellbutrin for 12 months... It gave me positive benefit for about 5 months, and then it made me more and more sluggish and depressed until I decided to stop and try behavior changes instead. At age 38, after my ritalin-induced mania, I resisted them wanting to put me on Resperidone, and tried Lithium for a while (it did nothing), then Seroquel, which was absolutely amazing for 2 months -- almost like the Robin Williams movie "Awakenings", I felt much more normal, emotionally present, and "normally active" (not hypomania), and then it faded and I just felt more and more apathy until I eventually switched off it.

I've been offered Lamotragine many times, but I have resisted it because of the SJS fatality risk, and sensitivity to dose inconsistencies. (I know myself well enough to know there is absolutely no way I can maintain fully consistent doses of anything, as much as I try).

Before I was diagnosed bipolar, I was given Prosac, and some other SSRI I don't remember. Both of them were horrible. In my late 20s and early thirties I was on wellbutrin for years with some mild benefit to my typical depressive phase, which is what I mostly suffer from.

Since not-sleeping-enough is a big part of my trigger pattern... I've tried lots of several sleep aids to induce sleep when I need it. Klonazapam is the most consistent, and the one I turn to today. ambien knocks me out but i don't actually feel rested the next day. I think much of the benefit of Latuda and Seroquel were regulating my sleep schedule, and maybe fine tuning (reducing) the dose could work better. Since late night computer work keeps me up, using a blue-light filter (like f.lux) really helps me get sleep, but since I get most of my work done at night, when I use them I feel like I get nearly nothing done.

Fortunately, I've never felt any urge of substance abuse. (not with Klonazapam or opiate painkillers, which I have taken during a few different bouts of kidney stones).. my only tren
 

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