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Ok i cant believe im typing this.
A very good friend of mine is bipolar and recently said that he sees himself in what i do. As in, he thinks im bipolar.
Im scared- it makes me feel like im defective or soemthing. In the past i have sought counseling for SAD and depression but this seems different........
Anyone with bipolar here?
I have told my husband my friends concern and he said i should get tested but he loves me regardless and no, im not defective........
Im sorry, i just had to tell someone other than hubby.
Im not sure what im asking or typing this for...........just needed to say it i guess.....
Thanks for listening! :)

Fri. Mar 10, 3:59pm

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Please don't think you are defective. Really all of us have something wrong with us, no one is perfect. I would think you should get it checked out though because there are all types of medicines and herbal treatments for it. My mother-in-law is bipolar and I still think she is wonderful. At first she used to think that I wouldn't understand her mood swings, but I do. Good luck to you.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 4:08 PM

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I am not a doctor, but this is what I know. Bipolar (I think the proper term is manic depressive disorder) is at the very end of a spectrum. There are a variety of mood disorders (including, SAD, I think) that fall somewhere in between "normal" and bipolar.

If you have sought help for depression, you might have some type of mood disorder that includes hypomanic symptoms as well. Doctors frequently misdiagnose mood disorders because we normally only seek help when we are "down" and not when we are experiening milder forms of euphoria, the other component of mood disorders. (If the euphoria is really bad and you're doing reckless things, that's a clearer indicator of true mania).

If you are experiencing this, you may not have something wrong with you, per se. You could just be going through a rough patch and not handling stress well. Instead of going to the doctor and saying "my friend thinks I'm bipolar," I would keep a journal of your moods for a few weeks and see if you can write down how you are feeling so when the doctor asks you questions you have answers.

Good luck.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 4:17 PM

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OP here - Thanks so much! :)

Thank you!
Im going to do some research on bipolar disorders. I appreciate the thoughful comments and personal stories :)
I know if i get tested i will feel better but the thought still makes me uneasy............

Friday, March 10, 2006, 6:31 PM

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Actually, the proper term is bipolar disorder (the term manic depression is frowned upon by the medical profession, due to connotations in popular culture). There are tons of people who have it - people with all kinds of professions - but there is definitely stigma attached to it (which is an extremely good reason sufferers to keep their illness private from the start).

I agree with the poster who said you may just be going through a bad time.
Whatever happens, don't forget that this is a very valid perspective.

Also, note, there is no such thing as a "test" for bipolar. Recent research indicates that there may be differences between the brains of bipolar or schizophrenic people, versus stable people, BUT this is not anywhere near the stage of being useful for diagnosing people.

So, since there is no test, there are a bunch of questionnaires that they may give you (which, frankly, one may answer differently depending on how one feels that day) and then there is the judgement of the psychiatrist (who is probably more than a little nuts himself, due to being mainly in the company of people who think they're nuts), You will always be free to reject the diagnosis of a psychiatrist.

Nevertheless, a serious case of bipolar disorder can lead to people *really* losing it if they are not given medication. The manic episodes can get more and more frequent and long, if not treated (the chance of having another manic episode increases with each episode). So, if there is a possiblity someone is in that kind of situation, then it should definitely be taken seriously - often people in that situation need to be on medication (e.g. lithium) for life.

But I feel that if you are in that kind of situation, you should be finding that many of your friends are concerned, not just the one who has the disorder. (There is a possibility that he could just be trying to make himself feel better by having someone else share his problem.) Also, note that the manic episodes tend to appear in adolescence or by mid-twenties, so if you're older than that it's less likely.

Finally, my experience with pschiatric illnesses is that, if you're already feeling down about yourself for whatever reason, then reading about them too much can lead to all kinds of self-diagnosing. It's like the situation with drugs, where you may read the leaflet of side-effects and as a result of reading it you almost make yourself feel those side-effects. It can be self-fulfilling.

If you think it's a possibility, do bring it up with a doctor. It should be a discussion, they are not likely to give you a yes or no diagnosis, but they will ask you to describe possible instances of mania etc. You may also want to get several different opinions - you may find that the advice you get is rather dependent on the particular psychiatrist you're talking to, which is, in itself, rather interesting. You may want to try one of the drugs and see if it takes the edge of what you have experienced, or you may want to try cognitive behavioural thereapy to deal with those issues in a practical way.

Note that, since no-one can get in our heads, doctors will only really be able to react to what you say to them (often psychiatrists just repeat word for word what you've told them back to you as a description of what they think is wrong!!!) - and this is another reason not to read too much about these psychiatric illnesses. Once you know what the symptoms are you may, consciously or unconsciously, try to sway the doctor's diagnosis by giving certain responses to their questions.

And whatever happens, do not think you are defective. We all have something wrong with us, and it's very brave to try and change ourselves for the better.

One final, final note: bear in mind that if you see your friend's suggestion to you as an accusation of being defective, then does this mean that really you also see *him* as being defective? Now that is something I would consider long and hard. Mental illness is just like any other illness. If he suffered from chronic back pain, or diabetes, or migraines would you also judge him to be defective? Note, I'm not accusing you here or really even asking you these questions -- it's just that, while we can't do anything about the stigma that society attaches to these illnesses, we can shift our own perspective. And by shifting your perspective you may, in turn, feel a lot less uneasy about investigating your own situation.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 10:56 PM

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first off, what prompted your friend to say this? can he/she give you actual examples of what it is that you do that seems bipolar? my brother in law(who is also a great guy!), is bipolar and it took years to diagnose-doctors thought he was depressed, then they thought it was anxiety, along w/ some social phobia's . . .anyhow my point is that any symptoms/personality traits you may be exhibiting may just be a coincidence or they could be something more. Just because your friend has it, doesn't mean he/she is right. My brother in law jokes that when my sister has pms she is just as much bipolar as he is (haha). If you are bipolar, you are not defective, you are just a little different, and you can function dysfunctionally along with the rest of us just fine!

Friday, March 10, 2006, 11:43 PM

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LOL, last poster:) and thanks to the poster above you!:)

Thanks for all your great info :)
My friend gave me some very specific instances as well as comments i have made to him (that i sometimes look for a fight and get angry for no reason, that i can be depressed for awhile.....that i have trouble sleeping) I dont think i am bipolar. in fact, i was diagnosed with depressiona and SAD, which i can soemtimes cope with. However, i havent been this "out of it" in about 6 months. I am going to work and acting fine when in the company of other people but i really dont want to be around them - i would rather sleep or eat sweets. They are how i react to feeling this way (hence emotional eating issuse, heheh). I have been working like crazy lately in an attempt to "ward" of my thoughts/emotions but damn, if they dont keep popping up! I know i should see someone, like a thrapist but if i know im not going to hurt myself (i havent feltthat way in YEARS), i think im not going to go. ALtough, i should go so i can feel better, right? Ohhhh. I dont know.
No, i dont think my friend is defective, lol. I never knew until he told me just a few days ago.! I have known him for over 7 years! Geez....think ya know a guy! LOL
Ok, im starting to ramble....
Thanks everyone.! I truly apreciate your helpful adivice and suggestions! :)

Saturday, March 11, 2006, 11:15 AM

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Magical too

Bipolar can be many things, but not defective. Many geniuses probably were bipolar.

That doesn't mean I think i'm a genius, just that I know that I'm not defective and that there is a lot about my condition that makes me the bright and curious and creative person I can be.

That being said, it's important to me to be a good family member to my parents, siblings, spouse and children, so I am on a journey to find ways to cope when the condition is affecting me in a negative way.

Meditation. Exercise. perhaps supplements?

My shrink disadvises meds for me because she feels that my location on the spectrum is not severe enough to really make up for the loss of 'me' that I might get with meds.

That's just my own personal view of my own personal situation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 6:39 AM

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