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Just started Lithium - what to expect?

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Postby TheLonelyStranger » Thu Mar 18, 2004 1:36 pm

Welcome Pete,

I'm bipolar but it's pretty mild, very I suspose, it actually the least of my troubles. :) The depression did get bad in the past, very bad. And I recnetly had more problems with it, but seem to have recovered. Are you on an anti-depressant as well?

Lithium is a mineral that should be in your brain. In those with bipolar disorder it is missing. My first thought is there shoudl be a blood test, but it doesn't work that way. The lithium is not normally in the blood. IN order to get the mineral in the brain, they saturate the blood, getting it to a theraputic level. I don't recall what those levels are. I'm sure DD does, but you're doctor will keep up with that. Usually you start with a small dose and have your blood tested, this goes on several times until they get you to a dose that is theraputic for you.

This is what it is used for: Acute manic episodes in patients with bipolar affective disorders. Maintenance therapy has been found useful in preventing or diminishing the frequency of subsequent relapses in bipolar manic-depressive patients (with a history of mania).

Mania might seem like a good thing but it is not. Yes I enjoy going without sleep too, get more done but mania is not a good thing. It can lead to some very bad behavior, behavior that can cause you significant damage through the rest of your life. You don't want to be manic, you might not know it now and I hope you'll take your meds and take it from experience, you don't want to be manic.

How old are you? Do you work, in school? Those racing thoughts are heck for both work and school and my mania is much milder than many of those I met while in the hospital. It can leave you psychotic and hurting people. I do undestand what you're saying. It's nice to think you can do anything, to feel great about yourself and you're not alone in liking that feeling. I even like it, but with that said, you don't want to go there because nothing good will come of it. Much harm will.
The Lonely Stranger
And all I lov'd -- I lov'd alone.

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Postby TheLonelyStranger » Thu Mar 18, 2004 1:47 pm

Here this is what mania will do for you. Note increased smoking, I use to smoke 4 to 5 packs a day! It may seem good but it's not.

Core Features (Usually Present)
Inflated Self-Esteem or Grandiosity
Decreased Need for Sleep
Reckless or Impulsive Behavior
Over-Talkative or Racing Speech
Hyperactivity
Poor Concentration or Attention

Associated Features (Present When Severe)
Distrust or Suspiciousness
Economic Problems
Mania may require hospitalization, hence:
Poor Personal Self-Care
Need for Institutional Care
Mania may increase impulsivity, hence:
Illegal or Criminal Behavior
Physical Violence
Mania may increase addiction, hence:
Increased Smoking
Increased Alcohol Abuse
Increased Drug or Medication Abuse
Mania often is mixed with depression, hence:
Sad or Depressed Mood
Apathy
Generalized Anxiety
Feeling Worthless or Guilty
Suicidal Thoughts or Risk of Harming Self
Mania may progress to catatonic stupor or psychosis, hence:
Memory Impairment
Intellectual Impairment
Impaired Ability to Communicate Using Language
Impaired Ability to Communicate Using Emotions
Slowing or Poverty of Response
Delusions or Hallucinations
Grossly Disorganized Speech or Behavior
Disorientation
Poor Insight
The Lonely Stranger
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Lithium: a rose by any other name?

Postby Pedrotater » Thu Mar 18, 2004 2:17 pm

Pete, my common-named amigo;

Are you actually on Lithium? Or did the doc's suggest a different stabilizer? It makes a difference.

I am on Depokate to stabilize my mood. It is working alright, but as I am sure others can attest, the whole process is an experiment. I have had the level of drugs and the number of drugs I have taken vary constantly. I am finding that I can usually go about three or four months before my manic side 'breaks through' and I have an episode.

Sure, mania can be fun...until the one time when it is not. I recently had a manic episode that scared the hell out of me. It was like this, I was not sleeping, I was writing like Stephen King on speed, I was composing (I have no formal music training), I refinished my basement, drove 6 hours to get a certain kind of donut, started hearing voices in my head, got really freaking agitated, had to have four very large police officers keep me from wailing the snot out of a drunk who hit my car (he was twice my size, and I found out afterward, scared to death).

See, not always fun. It can affect your work. You have mentioned you are a teacher. Just think about how these swings can affect your kids. Would that be fair to them? Where I am, in recent weeks I have scared the living expletive out of my coworkers, with my dark dark humour, and I can be disruptive.

Take it first hand from a guy who is bipolar and who has been on the receiving end as well. It sucks.

You will occassionally have manic episodes, pray they are easy and fun.

Anytime you need to chat....let me know
Pedro

Bring on a brand new renaissance,
Cause I think I'm ready
I've been shaking all night long
But my Hands are Steady
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Pete and Pedro...the same?

Postby Pedrotater » Thu Mar 18, 2004 2:20 pm

Pete;

You and I have a great deal in common...I am also in my thirties. I have about 7 unfinished novels. I have a complete television series (pilot, background and 13 episodes) that I am scared to submit to anyone.

You ever listen to Warren Zevon? Dude is my hero...a lot like those of us with bipolar.
Pedro

Bring on a brand new renaissance,
Cause I think I'm ready
I've been shaking all night long
But my Hands are Steady
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Hindsight...

Postby Pedrotater » Thu Mar 18, 2004 3:44 pm

Yeah, it is funny (peculiar, not haha) when you look back and see that you have been this way for most of your life...

Love the story about the boot. Sounds a bit like a pub tale. For me the most outlandish story would be me and my brother and our mates getting all pissed up, I to ease the pain, he to get pissed up. We went to a football (Canadian) game, and suddenly decided to start acting like Pirates. For me it lasted several days, I wandered the streets of my city pretending to be a pirate. Don't get pissed up anymore....wonder why?

I assume you live in the UK? If so, you and I likely have more in common. I grew up watching the Beeb and it is still a staple in my life. Personally, I do not think I would have survived high school without the likes of Bottom, Black Adder and Alexei Sayle.

Laughter has always been my greatest medecine. Whereas you say Robin Williams, I tend to be more like Alexei Sayle or Billy Connolly (Hmmm....both known communists, and I love Billy Bragg too, good lord, I may be a communist). Rant and rave like a loon.

Out of curiousity, how'd you get out of the boot?
Pedro

Bring on a brand new renaissance,
Cause I think I'm ready
I've been shaking all night long
But my Hands are Steady
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Postby TheLonelyStranger » Fri Mar 19, 2004 2:56 am

Amazing stuff Pete, I wish I was so gifted. I've noticed a lot of rock stars are bipolar, I believe Abraham Lincoln was. Not 100% sure on that. Maybe I should wish for mania. :) I'm just kidding. I do understand the not wanting to give it up. You mentioned hypomania, as I understand it, that's not so damaging. But you know the gambling problem has got to go? :) Married? Want to be? Either way, that kind of behavior is going to leave you alone and I think in the end that's going to be far more important than heading to the casinos.

Someone would be able to preform better on stage if they were having delussions of grandeur. Ever see video of Jim Morrison, he was certainly full of himself. But he also made a huge dent in the music we listen to today. I don't know that he was bipolar, what I know is that after the band (The Doors) recorded "Light My Fire" Jim Morrison broke into the studio that night and hosed it down as he was afraid that it burn down because he sang the song so well.

He also ended up drinking himself to death, so did Hendrix, another possible bioplard disorder victim. He even had a song called Manic Depression.

Now I don't have your gifts but, I've found the most important things in live are friends, family and freedom. The mania can and will destroy all three of them if they are not controlled.

If you have discoverd the answer to the mysteries of the prime numbers, being able to stay focused I think will be an improvement, not a deterant. Getting rid of the depression will also go a long way and if you're not having delusions of grandeur, you'll be more sure of your findings. I sure wish you'd follow up on that. Then I could say I knew you when you were nobody. Maybe I could go with you when you win your Noble prize. I really think, I could be wrong, but I think you'll do even more when you get rid of the mania.

Good luck with it and I wish you well... ;)!
The Lonely Stranger
And all I lov'd -- I lov'd alone.

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Postby Guest » Fri Mar 19, 2004 7:39 am

Thanks guys,
It's good to have somewhere like this where you can talk about things you wouldn't elsewhere.
You're right about the gambling Stranger... it is a very destructive habit. I try to keep it hidden from wife, but that's no way to have a successful marriage :( I had a really crap day today, I think I had too much Lithium because I was shaking like a leaf and my head's been throbbing all day. I ended up leaving school at lunch time and went to the casino... not smart. I threw away $600 in no time. Fortunately I had to pick my wife up from work or I'd still be there now. It just gets away from you. A lot of it's the risk. I don't really care if I win, as odd as it sounds... I just get stuck in it and don't realise.

Anyway,
I'm actually from Australia Pedro. I grew up watching and loving Black Adder too though. Classic stuff. I own the dvds :) Billy Connolly is my all time favourite comedian! I love the way he tells stories.
As to the boot incident...
I woke up and thought i was in bed but when I went to sit up I hit the roof and I kinda freaked. I had a little bit of a panic attack, but tried really hard to pull myself together. I could hear the cars driving past and knew I must be on the side of a road and figured it was the boot of a car. I started screaming for help, but it was no use - I knew the car was too far from the traffic and even if it wasn't... who'd hear me against that noise. I started to feel around for a release or some way out... and then I lost it and started kicking and ripping the back of the seat out. I couldn't get through the wire mesh though and kinda collapsed im defeat... after a little break I felt around again... and there was a latch! It had been there the whole time. I pulled the latch and the back seat fell open and I climbed into the front seat. I was parked in the bush, but I could hear how to get back to the main road. I followed the road for about 10 mins and found myself in a really tiny town in the middle of nowhere. I drove to the police station, but being about 3am, there was noone there. I knocked on the neighbours house and some guy stumbled to the door. I asked him if he knew where the policeman was and he said he didn't. I asked him for some water and he reluctantly obliged before rushing me off his doorstep. I found a small hospital next and they told me where I was and then rang the police.... when the policeman turned up - it was the very same guy who told me he didn't know where the police were. He thought I was tripping on something because my eyes were all wild. Anyway, after hearing my story, he told me he'd file it in the "too hard basket" and then he left. He did give me $10 petrol to get home though :)
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