I Hate Being Bipolar. It's AWESOME! - page 2

We've been talking a lot about mental illness during this early part of May, which has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month. Nurses and students with all sorts of psychiatric conditions... Read More

  1. by   jenna75
    I was dxed with bipolar disorder about 7 years ago and it has been one rough ride since I was a teenager. I go from complete manic states to being so heavily depressed I can barely crawl out of bed. I am in my second semester of nursing school and I am currently not passing due to a personal issue earlier this year that has left me devastated emotionally. My doc tried upping my effexor dose to the max-- it didn't work, she added a mood stabilizer-- it didn't work and now I am gradually making a switch from effexor to zoloft. Xanax works to keep me out of deep states of depression but it is short acting and I try to limit intake of it due to the addictive effects. I have tried Wellbutrin before but it had me so manic that I did not sleep for 7 days straight and developed SOB and heart palpitations. I am afraid Zoloft will fail as well. I saw a psychologist for a couple of months but it was too expensive and I felt it was not working.

    I have gone through feelings of suicide, but I would not do it because I have kids to raise and my whole point of nursing school was to get a better job in the medical field to support me and my kids since I am a single mom. I glided through first semester with no issues and usually love school (I have another degree in a different field), but now I have been having a hard time studying and concentrating, all I want to do is sleep or stare into space. The thought of doing the whole semester over again brings me down. I have not had a manic episode in a long time--if I am not just plain depressed, I am apathetic and though I smile and laugh on the outside in front of others I am really dying on the inside. I just feel like time is ticking by and I am only getting older. I have been seeing one of my nursing instructors regarding help studying and the like, but I am afraid to tell her about my disorder because I feel like my mental health will stop me from getting into the nursing field. First semester I felt like a shining star and this semester I feel like nothing but a failure.

    I agree with what was said about this running in families. I think just about everyone I know on both my mom and dad's side of the family has some mental affliction or mood disorder. My parents as well. I'm afraid this is something that will pass to my children since their father also has mental and addiction issues. It's a scary thought, but I try to raise them the best I can and have them keep a good head on their shoulders.

    Though I would never wish this disorder on anyone, I am glad I am not alone in this and the subject is more widely discussed than it used to be. Thank you!
  2. by   pinkiepieRN
    @Jenna75, you can and will get through this. I was diagnosed in my second to last semester of nursing school and even experienced another traumatic event at the same time just to make things worse. I pulled through, saw a therapist religiously, played medication roulette and ended up making Dean's List for the only time in my college career. I graduated and I've still been struggling on and off, but I'm blessed in that I've had good health insurance and have always advocated for myself. Sometimes, I think having the nursing background helps, even if it makes me a "difficult" patient.
  3. by   kellycinalli
    I too, have been diagnosed with bipolar 1 for about 6 years. My husband took the time to research it and took me to my doctors which saved me. I was being reckless and out of control. My problem was sexual in nature. Always had to be center of the conversation and flirting to the point of getting phone numbers and meeting people out for drinks. I owe my husband everything, if it wasn't for him I'd be spiraling out of control. I was seeing a psychiatrist but have been stable for years. I take Effexor, Prozac, and lamictal, which helps with the anger I was experiencing. I would not sleep for days either and trazadone helps with that. I have to say, I do miss mania because from the meds I'm now tired all the time.some days it's even hard to do a load of laundry. But all in all feel great!
  4. by   jenna75
    @dolcebellaluna Thanks so much for the encouragement! I will get through this...
  5. by   TerpGal02
    Hypomania can be AWESOME. At least in the beginning for me, I feel on top of the world. Then the rage sets it. That's no fun for anyone. My depressions are severe. I have literally laid in bed for DAYS in the past. Not due to laziness but the fact that I simply could not do it. Gone 2 weeks without showering. The mere idea of showering was just exhausting. In fact no one picked up on BP2 until my pdoc now, even after 3 hospitalizations because my main problem has always been depression. Not to mention the fact that SSRIs without a mood stabilizer is bad news bears. Once I was dx'd and still feeling irritable, ky pdoc decreased my Zoloft which I thought was counterintuitive since I had been so depressed. And damn didn't the irritability and insomnia STOP. Since its been light out and warm, I've been getting a little hypo. If it doesn't abate the next step is to stop the Zoloft for the summer.
  6. by   bookworm78910
    Dear Vive,

    I too am Bipolar. I've experienced all the symptoms that you've so nimbly described and a few more. People with BPD can be VERY fun to be with. For example, I'm told that I am very witty and hilarious things come out of my mouth with very little filter.

    Life can be beautiful with Bipolar Disorder as you so aptly described. Colors are richer and more vibrant, things other people take for granted taste, smell, look and feel spectacular to me. But it is the dark side of bipolar disorder, the weeks with 7 hours sleep, the irrational fits of anger, pique and irritability that drive people away from us (even sometimes our own families) that is the rub, and the harder part to deal with (obviously). At the same time, I think the dark times are part of what give us perspective and let us truly enjoy the brightness of mania.

    I am blessed with life, I know I am. I believe God had special purpose for me, and that is why he chose me to be bi-polar. I know there are things I have done in episodes that could have changed or ended my life; but I'm here, mostly whole..and blessed.
  7. by   joeljuers
    Do you think it's safe to be openly bi-polar as a nurse as one is openly anything else that used to be taboo. I'm kinda scared to let loose of my MH diagnoses in this field. Should I be? My wife says, "Yes!" What say ye?
  8. by   kellycinalli
    I've told my co workers. They all know as well as my family and friends. I don't care if they know or not. I'm a good nurse with a big heart. I'm medicated and when I go over the deep end at least they know why. Lol.
  9. by   Ginger's Mom
    viva you are a talented and witty writer,if you speaking skills match you would make a great motivational speaker!
  10. by   pinkiepieRN
    Quote from joeljuers
    Do you think it's safe to be openly bi-polar as a nurse as one is openly anything else that used to be taboo. I'm kinda scared to let loose of my MH diagnoses in this field. Should I be? My wife says, "Yes!" What say ye?
    I wouldn't go around parading it or saying, "yeah I tried to kill myself," if you come back from time off and in the hospital or otherwise keeping yourself alive. I hate to say this, but most co-workers (even other psych nurses) tend to shy away or treat you with "kid gloves" if you're open about a MH dx. People are quick to think that everything is a symptom, like if you're having a bad day, they'll say, "oh you must be getting depressed. The sky is falling!" even if you're just having a bad day and responding to stress that would cause anyone else to be upset, sad or irritable too. Behavior is sometimes just behavior and not necessarily symptomatic of illness. Does that make sense?

    If it comes out, it comes out. Don't be ashamed, but don't act like its a badge of courage or something. It's a medical disease just like diabetes and should be treated as such in the workplace, by coworkers and management but we just aren't there yet, not in the U.S. at least.
  11. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from joeljuers
    Do you think it's safe to be openly bi-polar as a nurse as one is openly anything else that used to be taboo. I'm kinda scared to let loose of my MH diagnoses in this field. Should I be? My wife says, "Yes!" What say ye?
    I really wish I hadn't had to disclose my illness to my employer. It cost me my job. But when a person gets to a certain level of mania, there's no hiding it, and I had to come clean because NOBODY understood what was making me behave the way I was.

    What I'm hoping for is to get my illness under good control and then find a job that's not management, not 34/7/365; this way, I think I'll be able to avoid the more severe mood swings that gave me away in this last job. I certainly will not disclose the fact that I have bipolar disorder on any job application or at any interview in the future, nor will I note it on any employee physical I may have to undergo. It's a sad thing that even in this modern day and age, a professional has to conceal so much in order to be accepted in the workplace, but right now, mental illness is still very much a taboo.

    My thanks to all of you who are participating in this thread! There is so much honesty in your posts, and so much empowerment in the sharing of this very personal affliction. Maybe if we can continue the dialogue, it'll encourage other nurses with psychiatric disorders to throw off the shackles of stigma and take better care of their health, both physical and mental, at home AND at work.
  12. by   poppycat
    I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2005. Since the age of 7 years I've had bouts of major depression but didn't start having manic episodes until well into my 40s. My manic episodes consist of shopping until all the stores are empty, going home, looking at all the stuff I just bought, & going into a rage at myself for buying so much that I don't need & can't really afford. I've been tried on every mood stabilizer known to man but all they do is induce mania. I'm currently on a low dose of Cymbalta which not only helps the bipolar but also helps control some of the pain I have from rheumatoid arthritis.

    The genetic aspect of bipolar intrigues me. Not only do I have bipolar 2 but so do my daughter, my sister, & my niece. My sister & I also have addiction problems as did our mom. This can not be coincidental!

    I have to agree with Viva about not disclosing a mental health diagnosis to employers. If I'm asked in pre-employment physicals about why I take Cymbalta, I just tell them it's for chronic pain. That's a diagnosis the public can understand.
  13. by   TerpGal02
    It's sad but I plan on NEVER disclosing again if I can help it. Once the cat is out of the bag things are never the same again. You are under the figurative microscope, employers just expect you to fail I think, and you become the scapegoat. Even working as a psych nurse which I do, people are not understanding at all. I'm sure I would be treated very differently if my chronic illness were something like diabetes. Very very sad. Just makes me wonder how many nurses I work with have psych diagnoses they are afraid of opening up about. I feel like a lot of mental health professionals got into the field for a reason.