Saturday, April 22, 2006

To Anti-Depressant or Not...That Might Be the Question

Jeez, I haven't posted anything to this blog since February 26th. Little wonder, too, since it was about that time that I was waiting to hear about my new job, which I did get and am fully into now. It's good. I'm well.

Thanks, Matt, for writing about your questions on other kinds of bipolar. It seems to me that it's the kind of disorder that doesn't necessarily fall into one or two buckets. And yes, there are more than just I and II--there are other types as well, making it damned difficult to figure out what you might be.

I also went the same route as you. Depression and anxiety with a large ladleful of insomnia were my prominent symptoms. Or at least the symptoms I told the doctor about. I didn't realize that overspending, crabbiness and other things were "symptoms." Until much later.

The problem for those of us who do suffer more from depression than mania is that the psychiatrists can't always tell what kind of bipolar we are, if in fact we are. I find that Paxil has helped me considerably, even though it may tip my scales a little towards mania. I've found that I function better a bit on the manic side but I have to watch myself closely. Certainly, both depression and mania can be destructive.

It sounds to me as if you are very aware of how you function. That's a good thing. As for information regarding other types of manic depression, there are a few. There are the two major forms, I and II, along with rapid cycling, which happens to women more than men and is defined as having four or more episodes of mania or depression within a year. I am a rapid cycler. NIHM is a pretty good resource for info. Here's what they say about another flavor:

In some people, however, symptoms of mania and depression may occur together in what is called a mixed bipolar state. Symptoms of a mixed state often include agitation, trouble sleeping, significant change in appetite, psychosis, and suicidal thinking. A person may have a very sad, hopeless mood while at the same time feeling extremely energized.

As far as all the types of manic depression that have been identified, probably the ultimate resource is the DSM-IV, which is used by psychiatrists to diagnose mental illness. Lacking that, there are many good books out on the market and I would encourage you to check into some of them. I did a list of my favorites in a previous post; however, I'm looking into two books right now: The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know and Bipolar Disorder for Dummies (I swear to God!). I'll let everyone know if they're worthwhile after I read them.

I read a lot, in any case. And I made it a point to read as much as I could get my hands on about manic depression. The internet is a great resource but having some books on the subject will give you much more information.

So welcome to the club, Matt. It's a good club, really. Because as the Church Lady said, we're "speshul." And I'll start writing more frequently, now that I seem to be adjusted to my new job. Plus, I don't need to put pictures up on this one, which means I can just type. Heh.