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Anyone had luck with mood stabilizers alone squelching depression


weezie
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Hello all,

I am wondering if anyone has had any luck with a mood stabilizer alone squelching their depressive side of thier illness or if they also always have to have an antidepressant? Do you feel that your mood stabilizers help to actually prevent depression? Thanks so much for any input.

W

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Weezie,

Yes, I know of people, people I have worked with, whose depression was relieve or reduced as a result of a mood stabilizer. There is a tendency to not use anti depressants for those with bipolar because it could cause a manic episode.

Allan

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I agree Allan, as I am one of those who must stay away from antidepressants. Back in the 80's when it was though I just had depression I was prescribed prozac....I loved it...loved it way to much, I think it is as good as a street drug to me, it would be hard for me to turn down an offer of prozac...so yes I must stay away from antidepressants and stick to the mood stablizers.

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Thanks so very much for your responses. I am mainly concerned about mood stabilizers for depression, as I am not the classic Bipolar person. I have never been truly manic and am rarely even hypomanic. My mood seems to run a path between comatose depression and somewhat normal, with a few episodes of being hypomanic thrown in for good measure. During these times I sleep less, lose some weight, get a lot done and am actually social! I have never had a problem during these periods with substances, spending, sex I wouldn't normally have, etc. The reason that I would consider them to be hypomanic is that I can get involved in a project or projects and go without sleeping at all and continue on. My brain clicks along at an alarming rate and am very creative and even funny during these periods.

Because I am rarely even hypomanic, I have never routinely taken mood stabilizers. I have always taken an antidepressant medication. As I get older though and as I do more research on this illness, I am concerned that my brain may actually benefit from the mood stabilizers. I am really concerned about keeping the cognitive loss and memory issues at bay as much as possible.

Right now I am tearful and VERY sad, but I think that is a result of the loss of my sister and my dog. Both of them together was about too much. It sounds silly to say this, but my dog was a major support system for me. For many years he was touching some part of my body all the time. He went everywhere that I went. When I lost my sister I found myself reaching out for him constantly to gain some support and he wasn't there.

As to my sister, I try to process it a bit at a time. It is hard not to imagine her mindset during those last hours. She had the same affective disorders that so much of my family seems to struggle with, but she also had the schizophrenia that only a couple of people in my family have had. On top of that, I think that she may have been some place on the autistic spectrum. I know that some of those lack of affect things can be normal if you have schizophrenia, but this started when she was a small child so I think there may have been some autism also. She became VERY ill at puberty and suffered the rest of her life. Add to that the poverty and lack of opportunity that goes along with that and it was just a tragic end to a tragic life. Yet, she was the one sister I was close to. She was the one that understood and LOVED me, for me. I had always been her "little mom" as she was eight years younger than I was. I think that these things are just going to hurt for a long time. So, sorry for writing such a long post AGAIN. I think that it is helpful to write. Thanks for your responses.

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Hi Weezie, I was actually going to take a bit of a break from these sites as I am in a very dark place, but then I think that maybe that would not necessarily be a good thing either..don't know....

Anyway, first off I am so sorry for your loss, and I especially understand the feelings for your dog..not silly at all, I don't know what I would do with out my three terriers and the horses I have, they seem to be the only ones that can bring me to a serene place. I think your reaction to the loss is quite normal.

When you were diagnosed with bipolor did they say it was bipolor 2? Just curious cause I was diagnosed with bipolor type 2 as well as PTSD. And the cycles you described match me exactly. That is why my diagnoses was missed for so many years and thought of as depression alone cause that is all the docs saw. type 2 tends to rapid cycle, not like type 1 who tends to spend a bit more time even days in hypo manic state. I like you don't have issues of over spending things like that, I feel good, but on the otherside of that I can also be dysphoric and quite agigtated. Mood stablizers have helped keep those moments at bay. But give me antidepressant and you would think I was a type 1 bipolor person.

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I am sorry to hear that you too are in a dark place. I think that the natural urge is to withdraw from contact, but I also think that it is not necessarily of help. I know that I don't really feel like "getting out there and seeing people" but I also know that I should be forcing myself to do so. I was checking out the rating scales on the site the other day and was really surprised at just how far I had let myself fall. As far as a diagnosis, it is freeing to be able to just say to someone that I have Bipolar 2. It is a part of my life that I don't normally tell people about. The stigma sucks and I hate to be treated in a different manner once people know about it. Maybe it is my own pride that is holding me back. As non functional as I can be now, I was as functional as a younger person. I suppose that I think my disease is very much hidden, but like most secrets, I would probably be surprised if I knew how many folks know about it. It is such a normal part of my maternal side of the family that in ways it can just feel all too normal.

So is your dark place biological or is it situational? If you don't wish to answer, I will understand totally, but was wondering. I think that mine right now is a bit of both. I will be going along fine for part of the day and the next thing I know, I am weepy.

I can't speak for others with this illness, but I know that my dog was a real coping strategy for me. The need to walk him forced me out in the world and forced me to get some exercise and when I ran across people on our walks, he was an instant conversation waiting to happen. If I needed an escape from a situation, the need to take him out could always come on urgently. :( I have some major trust issues and I know that you can trust a dog in a way that you can never trust a person. I think that that a dogs love and loyalty are just awesome. When I am on my own a lot, he was always company for me.

On a positive note, a rescue dog that I have been working toward for several months has finally come through for me, so I know that I will soon have that type of companionship again. I know he won't be the same as or take the place of my other dog, but in time I am sure I will feel the relationship is just as special. I am supposed to get him sometime early next week. I am very excited about it. Thanks again for the response. Nice when you know that you aren't typing into a void. I am also glad to hear about your success with mood stabilizers. As far as the antidepressants go, I will say laughingly that I eat them like candy. I have a bit of ADD as well so take something for that, but my pdoc said that it was as much to fight the inertia of the depression as to work on the ADD issues. So, rambling again. Nice to meet you.

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I guess to start I will answer some of you questions, I think my recent battle with deep depression is both biological and situational. Taking care of my bedridden mother for last six years is taking its toll on me both physically and mentally, something I have discussed on this forum many times. I have had to let some caregivers go due to finacial reasons, her money is about to run out and I cant get out and get back to work..the math doesn't come out right. I have posted this situation on several of my threads. Many people have been great in responding with ideas to make the situation better so that I can take better care of myself..but I keep running into all sorts of road blocks...anyway thats a whole another story and I have talked about it to death.

I totally agree about the dogs, I have three terriers that I sneak out for a quick walk. And I also have my horses, even though I don't get much time to spend with them, I occasionally will get a chance for a short ride to get away from it all. Im doing all I can to hold on to them..they are the the last things in my life that I havn't given up to take care of mom. Currently I am sort of forcing myself out of the darkness and back into the light..bits at a time. Its nice to meet you too. Like I said I had withdrew from the forum for awhile, but I am making my attempts to reach out once again...understand what you said about typing into a void.

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I am so very sorry to hear about your mom. I think that I have read some of your posts on that here, but my memory is so sketchy that I didn't relate it to you. I can totally relate as I spent five years with my father during his Cancer battle. I literally moved back home with him and my mom off and on. It was very hard.

I can also relate to the financial issues that you are facing. I too am having some financial issues due to my children moving back home the past few years and trying to take care of their family. The two things combined is a heavy burden indeed. I don't know that I have any answers for you, but I know that what you are doing for your mother is a wonderful thing. I guess my question would be, how long are you planning to do this? Have you set a limit to the amount of time that you are willing to put your own life on hold? Tough, tough questions I know. Hugs!

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi,

In addition to the medications and psychotherapy, dogs are a wonderful psychotherapy. I agree, they get you out of the house, petting them reduces stress and they force you out of yourself, especially when you want to self isolate. How do I know? I have dogs and I guess all of you have seen the phote of me with my late dog, Mingo. I now have Mr. Blue, a big and jolly labrado retriever and he is the source of much pleasure for me. He gets me out of depression and reduces stress.

Shanrucas, I understand if you need to take a break from here but I hope you don't. Its better to keep talking here. Dogs and talking and humor are the best approach.

Allan(woof, woof):)

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Allen I am so sorry to know that your picture is with your "late dog" I am truly sorry for your loss. It is one I can very much relate to at this point in time. I am hoping to have a new dog in the next few days if I can get everything arranged with the shelter/rescue group I am working with. I too had a wonderful lab. He also finally passed away from old age, but was a truly wonderful dog. Was your Mingo a Golden? That is what he looked like in his picture. Thanks for sharing.

W

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  • 1 year later...

the only medication that worked for me after searching for 10 years is methadone, no side effects, no waiting weeks for it to build up in my system, a true miracle drug, but the stigma attached to it is very difficult to combat, my dr. retired 3 weeks ago, I have been on this regiment for 5 years and now I don't know what to do, doctors don't want to listen to what have to say about how this has worked for me, they think I'm a drug addict or that I'm up to no good, they make me feel like I am a bad person for wanting to continue the only medication that has worked for me, I'm 48 years old, and I just want to continue doing what has worked for me, but no doctors will listen, I really don't know what to do , I am so sceared to go back to the way I was, I hope I can survive it. Thank you for letting me vent. MommyG

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