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  • Manic phases - need help... please!

    I really need help from anyone who suffers from depression with manic phases, and has found a way to prevent / soften the lows. Sorry, this may be a little long, but I figure the details are important.

    I am a yoyo. Or maybe a ferris wheel! Either metaphor works, because I go up and down, round and round with alarming speed and regularity. My cycle will vary a lot depending on what's going on in my life. If I have a project that I love (I'm a creative) I will be "up" for as long as it lasts, then once it's over I'll crash for quite a while. After any happy event I'll basically have a low that lasts as long as the high.

    When my life is just ticking along regularly, I will yo-yo within much shorter time frames. The cycle could be a fortnight, or a month. At the moment it's only eight days or so, but the balance is on the negative side. I'll have maybe three days where I'm incredibly high. I'll have loads of epiphanies about life, be super creative, extremely productive, socialise actively and generally feel very good about myself. During this my appetite is balanced and I exercise regularly, but I don't sleep too much. I'll sleep fitfully, and wake up super early (like 5am) and start working.

    Then I'll have a day where things start to fall apart. The first clue is that I'll have a particularly bad sleep - I'll wake up at 2am, and feel a desperate compulsion to eat something (even though I've had a proper dinner a few hours before). I'll eat a fair bit, and then go back to sleep for a few hours. I'll still have lots of energy that day though, be in a good mood, and keep the eating balanced.

    Then the next day I'll wake up again after just a few hours sleep with the same compulsion to eat, and I'll binge. I'll be okay for a few hours, and then I'll crash. Low energy, low mood, food cravings, rapidly escalating to desperation for certain foods, massive binging, feelings of worthlessness, self hatred, paralysis. If I binge on junk food this part of the cycle can go on for a long time, and the longer it goes on, the lower my mood gets until I start to feel suicidal. (Sorry for the heaviness!) During these phases I'm not exercising and generally avoiding friends. It's a struggle for me to get through a day, and everything is focused around binging and sleeping (after a binge is the only time I ever sleep deeply )

    I've identified that the foods I eat during the binging phase really impact on the length and severity of the depression, and if I binge reasonably "clean" (on nuts / dairy / dark chocolate) I can bounce back more quickly. I've also learned that accepting my low moods (ie. not feeling guilty / berating myself for not being happy or "living my life") keeps me from spiralling into suicidal thoughts. So, I'm identifying things that can halt the cycle slightly, or shorten it. But can I stop it?

    I know the binging, sleep and depression are all linked, and I somehow feel that if I could get the sleep under control the rest would follow. But maybe that's naive. I clearly have a chemical imbalance, with certain hormones pumping through me on the "up" phases ((adrenaline?) and then being depleted and others (ghrelin?) kicking in during the down phases, inducing the binging etc. My understanding of it is pretty rudimentary.

    For ages I didn't see the whole thing as part of a cycle. I just looked at the insomnia component and I tried to heal it through diet. I researched, realised it sounded like I had hypogleamic insomnia, checked my blood sguar levels and found they were very low at reguarl intervals, so went VLC to try and sort that out. Disaster. Anyway, I tried it for quite a few months. Now I'm eating a bit of everything and I'm feeling heaps better (the "up" phases are lasting longer) but... the cycle is still happening.

    As I said, I'm trying not to beat myself up over this anymore, and it is helping me not spiral down as low, but it's still so frustrating. It's really hard to plan my life when I don't know if I'm going to have the energy or mood from one day to the next. I am constantly cancelling plans on people (pretending I'm sick) cos' I'm too tired / depressed to meet them. I'm freelance, so thank god I have flexibility in that, because I would die within the confines of a nine to five job. But all this really worrires me because what happens if I have kids? I don't want to be one of those mums whose kids see that she can't get up some days, and when they come in to her she has to say "sorry honey - mummy's sad today"

    I realise that what I'm describing sounds very like type 2 bi-polar disorder, but I've never been diagnosed with anything because until about a year ago I never told anyone I suffered from depression. When I'm up I'm really friendly and laugh a lot, so when I'm low I can shoot someone a smile and then retreat and they wont notice. Basically I am ashamed and so I'm pretty good at hiding it. It's made me extremely fearful of romantic relationships and apart from one very long term relationship I generally break up with people pretty fast because I think once they see who I really am they won't be able to handle it.

    Anyway... sorry for the very long message! I would really appreciate any insights you guys might have. Up on an note, the weird thing about depression is that when you suffer from it you can't see yourself clearly, and you don't realise that there is a pattern. I'm taking it as a sign of great progress that it has suddenly clicked with me that there is a pattern to the way my mood goes.
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

  • #2
    I think you have just described normal life. It's okay to be down. Either that or I'm just as messed up as you and don't give a darn anymore, lol!

    Coffee made me stable, but it was a stable cranky-pants, chest-pain mode. I'd rather ride the coaster and enjoy the mountaintop days to the max and then bask in the mud of anxiety-free depression here and there. Heck, I know I get some seriously good relaxation done when I'm on the downside. LOTS of people are embracing emotional lability lately, as long as it fits into your life and you're not going to end up naked drunk downtown urinating on police officers.

    My wife and I BOTH regularly fly up and down, and we've learned how to interact with each other in every phase except when we're both extra cranky. But even if we do get on each others' nerves, it's only a few minutes before we both realize what's going on and just remember to relax.
    Crohn's, doing SCD

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    • #3
      the inability to sleep is one of my warning signs as well

      i stay near humor sites and ride it out, that's all i can do with my depressive modes
      beautiful
      yeah you are

      Baby if you time travel back far enough you can avoid that work because the dust won't be there. You're too pretty to be working that hard.
      lol

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      • #4
        I think not berating yourself when you're in a low phase is a helluva good idea. I used to have terrible anxiety attacks about driving. There were days when I was sure if I got in my car, I was going to accidentally kill someone. I also had milder anxiety about leaving my home. Logic and reason were the only way through for me.

        I also have a slight tendency to OCD - really, half my life (even stuff in my freezer) is organized in those shoe size plastic stacking containers. heh. I just figure as long as I'm not doing anything harmful like washing the skin off my hands, the OCD isn't too bad.

        I've tried meds but didn't like them, but you may want to try them and see if they work for you.

        As a note, the OCD seems to worsen with age, but the depression and anxiety have pretty much disappeared since menopause.
        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

        B*tch-lite

        Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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        • #5
          Not gonna read and run, but need to attend to keeping kids alive right now, will post later in detail as I go through big ups and downs too, plus you are one of my fav forum members, and not just coz you make me think of Pic-a-nik baskets everythime I read your user name
          You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tribal Rob View Post
            Not gonna read and run, but need to attend to keeping kids alive right now, will post later in detail as I go through big ups and downs too, plus you are one of my fav forum members, and not just coz you make me think of Pic-a-nik baskets everythime I read your user name
            aw, thanks Rob Are you sure you're thinking of the right person though?! What does my name have to do with this: https://clicknmix.co.uk/pick-n-mix

            Unless it's the heart throb?
            "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

            In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

            - Ray Peat

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bloodorchid View Post
              the inability to sleep is one of my warning signs as well

              i stay near humor sites and ride it out, that's all i can do with my depressive modes
              ha, that sounds like a much healthier option than eating mascarpone cheese with a spoon and sitting on MDA Any recommendations?

              Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
              I think you have just described normal life. It's okay to be down. Either that or I'm just as messed up as you and don't give a darn anymore, lol!

              Coffee made me stable, but it was a stable cranky-pants, chest-pain mode. I'd rather ride the coaster and enjoy the mountaintop days to the max and then bask in the mud of anxiety-free depression here and there. Heck, I know I get some seriously good relaxation done when I'm on the downside. LOTS of people are embracing emotional lability lately, as long as it fits into your life and you're not going to end up naked drunk downtown urinating on police officers.

              My wife and I BOTH regularly fly up and down, and we've learned how to interact with each other in every phase except when we're both extra cranky. But even if we do get on each others' nerves, it's only a few minutes before we both realize what's going on and just remember to relax.
              Umm.... Well I guess I haven't subjected cops to my urine - I must be doing okay so?

              Seriously though, I agree that's it's normal to go through up and downs, but there's a few things I said in my post that should indicate that my downs are not within a normal range.

              It's nice to know though that a relationship is possible even while going through these things... thnks!

              Originally posted by JoanieL View Post
              I think not berating yourself when you're in a low phase is a helluva good idea. I used to have terrible anxiety attacks about driving. There were days when I was sure if I got in my car, I was going to accidentally kill someone. I also had milder anxiety about leaving my home. Logic and reason were the only way through for me.

              I also have a slight tendency to OCD - really, half my life (even stuff in my freezer) is organized in those shoe size plastic stacking containers. heh. I just figure as long as I'm not doing anything harmful like washing the skin off my hands, the OCD isn't too bad.

              I've tried meds but didn't like them, but you may want to try them and see if they work for you.

              As a note, the OCD seems to worsen with age, but the depression and anxiety have pretty much disappeared since menopause.
              Well, I'm only 31, so would prefer not to wait til menopause to feel better Thanks for sharing though. I often flirt with the idea of going on meds... but it just feel intuitively wrong - for me. I wish I could figure out what's going on with me bio-chemically and try to solve it without drugs.
              "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

              In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

              - Ray Peat

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by harsosuao
                I think you have just described normal life. It's okay to be down.
                Fucking spammers. Keep out!!!
                "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                - Ray Peat

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by YogaBare View Post
                  aw, thanks Rob Are you sure you're thinking of the right person though?! What does my name have to do with this: https://clicknmix.co.uk/pick-n-mix

                  Unless it's the heart throb?
                  I think he means that picnic basket thievin' Yogi Bear. Actually your name makes me think of that, too, and this post made me reflect and realize that they're totally unrelated : ( but I'll still say it that way in my mind
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sjmc View Post
                    I think he means that picnic basket thievin' Yogi Bear. Actually your name makes me think of that, too, and this post made me reflect and realize that they're totally unrelated : ( but I'll still say it that way in my mind
                    Lol - oh right! And yes, it's an intentional play-on-words Yogi is a nick name my little bro has called me since we were kids... then I did Yoga teacher training and literally became one
                    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                    - Ray Peat

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My experience is with depression and anxiety.

                      Now... disclaimer: The book "The Mood Cure" dabbles with supplements (esp. amino acids) to help deal, what are essentially, nutritional imbalances that result in emotional disorders. I believe it warns that you should NOT dabble with these supplements to try and "fix" bipolar disorder. If that is what you have, I don't know enough about the supposed chemical roots (because nobody really knows how these things work and it varies so much) to say for sure that it would be safe to try these things. What works for you during an up period (to help you sleep restfully) may not work for you during a down period (to help you feel more energized and less depressed). I still think it's worth a read. That, or "Primal Body Primal Mind", but I don't know if that addresses Bipolar disorder specifically.

                      The swings you've described from high to low (inexplicably, not just because a project is over or something) do not sound like the regular ups and downs of life to me. It's normal to feel a bit deflated when something you've enjoyed is over, but if you are feeling totally down for no apparent reason (in terms of events/occurrences in your life), that's not normal. Of course, take "normal" with a grain of pink Himalayan sea salt.

                      I absolutely understand the frustration. After struggling with depression for my teen years and my adult life so far (not that long, I suppose), it can be really maddening to go in cycles of "okay" and "totally not fucking okay" and it leaves you thinking, "This again?! Why am I not better yet? Why can't I handle it this time?" It's not your fault. Trying to blame yourself less is a wonderful idea, even if it can be difficult to impose.

                      Have you had your hormones tested? I am curious how that and your cortisol might show up during an up or a down period.
                      Depression Lies

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                      • #12
                        Hey, yep it was a Yogi bear ref, I'm dyslexic so only tend to half read 75% of the actuall words I look at (this also explains why my typing and spelling is somewhat erratic at times) so I tend to read things how they look at a glance so many forum names are misread in my head

                        I tottaly get the black days or weeks, I've just had a couple of days of being an ablolute miserable c**t, don't know why, but then I ate nothing all day (my mind said wha't the point in eating you'll only get hungry again, which had been part of what was stressing me)and in evening ate lots and lots and lots of sugary crap - gluten free triple chocolate cookies, coconut macaroons, galaxy bar, maltesers and almost a whole packet of jordans contry crisp ceral (that's half a fecking kilo )

                        I then felt slightly better and decided I probably need to eat more carbs all the time to stop binging, I think for me low carb + stress = constant hunger; massive crash and sugar binge. mod carb + stess = copable just.

                        Can't really coment on the sleep as it's been 4 years since I had a decent period of good sleep (4 year old who only just started sleeping when next one came along who is the lightest nighttime sleeper ever).

                        But I do know that this lack of sleep is causing me stress, and making me a grumpy bugger, and that is not helping me keep things in perspective, which means I'm more likely to go into a down.
                        So I do agree that sorting your sleep out could be a good start to getting out of this cycle. I assume you have tried all the normal stuff, white noise at night, very dark room, cut out blue light before bed, eating something carby before bed.

                        I would also recommend self hypnosis for sleep if you haven't tried it, we did hypno-birthing for the births of the childerbeasts and we used to listen to the CD before bed, there were times when neither of us could remember anything past the first relaxation bit (less than 2 mins in) and we always slept well afterwards (baring being worken by the older one this time) Maybe having something carby before bed and hypnoing would see you through the night and stop either mid-night waking for snacks or 5 am waking to start doing stuff

                        Not sure waht else I can say to help other than I know how you feel, and it does suck, you've already said you don't berate yourslef for feeling down anymore and I think theat is one of the most positive things you can do.

                        I think that depressive or manic tendancies are something that those of us who have then just have to learn to embrace as part of themselves, you will never be the same as someone who dosn't get these mood swings and they will never understand how pointless it all feels when you are down. That tendancy will always be there, you learn to manage it in a way that works for you.

                        All the best
                        You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hello yogibare!

                          I have to make this quick because I am heading out to piano lessons with the kids, so I will write more later - but you might try reading a book called "The Edge Effect" by Eric Braverman MD. I struggle with depression, too, and your OP really resonates with me. Anyway, this is a very interesting book - it deals with the main neurotransmitters and how to balance them. The guy still likes his whole grains, but does not harp on them overly much; it is his supplement lists and other holistic info that interests me. As I just went Primal 6 months ago, I am working on myself at this time with the Primal. Your post reminded me that I had this book in my collection and I dug it back out just to be able to give you the proper title and author. See you soon!
                          I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC

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                          • #14
                            Dear YogaBare: You are absolutely perfect, as God intended. Stop punishing yourself for who you are, and begin to embrace your 'personal style/nuances'. Half the battle is knowing who we are, our strengths, our weaknesses and all the good, the bad and the ugly.

                            I'm guessing that you are a 'younger person' and I'm surmising this because all young people struggle with who they are, and how they fit into this world around them, while being 'accepted' by everyone else's values or methods of measurement. The beauty about becoming more senior in years (I'm 48), is that we begin to realize that, as individuals we are unique and worthy of respect, and no one needs to apologize.

                            You remind me of my eldest son (now 26). As a teenager it was difficult for him to focus on any one task because of ADHD and being OCD.....buy by God, as an adult he has the ability to focus on an artistic project and work like a deamon until the project is done. He has the ability to focus with single-mindedness ----- and I suspect from your posting, you do too.

                            Many highly talented entrepreneurs have the same personality/character traits that you have. I was impressed with your personal reflections (self-employment/a 9-5 job wouldn't suit you; self-awareness of your highs and lows and recognizing the signs). Your self-awareness is commendable and that comes with personal growth, and embracing who you are.

                            Research tells us that if we have 5 good friends, then we are indeed very wealthy. As you travel through this life, ask yourself who your 'friends' are and whether they are worthy of having you as a true friend. Be honest with those that you trust and want to have in your life for many years. Be honest and open about your need for fun, outgoing friendship when you are in your 'high' cycle, and your need for solitaire and rest during your 'down' cycle. IF your friends are worthy of you, they will appreciate being taken into your confidence, and they will respect you more than you can imagine. Baring our souls to those we trust takes courage, but the rewards are equally wonderful. Reveal yourself, as you are, and who you are -- without any apologies. There is no need to apologize for who we are.

                            Keep exploring ways in which your unique character/energy can exploit professional opportunities. I'll bet that when working with a team on a project --- you are like the EverReady Battery Bunny --- you'll go longer and harder than any of your teammates. From an employer's perspective, they NEED high energy, talented individuals like yourself. A savvy employer will also respect that you need some 'regrouping time' when you are in your 'low cycle'.

                            Now, onto my relationship advice :-) THERE IS SOMEONE FOR EVERYONE IN THIS WORLD (repeat ad nauseum). I think of relationships in these terms: We all carry baggage -- every single one of us has unique baggage. Some of us carry Vitadinni luggage -- some of us carry no name luggage -- some of us carry flamboyant pink or purple luggage so we don't lose it in the airport. The reality is, we all carry luggage, and we will all find our partner who's luggage compliments our luggage. Often times, we are so consumed focusing on our own imperfections, that we fail to see that others are suffering just as much as we are. Becoming self-aware opens our eyes and our emotional intelligence to the needs of others. Once we focus on others, we begin to 'let go' of our need to be perfect.

                            Yogabare: Over time, and as you become a little older, your ups and downs will become less intense. You are already well on your way to understanding yourself and massaging/managing your 'cycles'. Focus less on how to be more perfect, and open yourself to the possibility of trusting others around you. You'll be surprised at what others may not what you to know about them. Revealing our perceived weaknesses can be 'freeing'.

                            Some of the most successful people I have worked with have the same character traits that you have--- and I thank God for these talented people every day -- because they are game changers. They think differently, they act differently, and they force the rest of us to think outside the box and to think differently. Embrace your differences, YogaBare --- because YOU are ABSOLUTELY PERFECT.

                            /Lu
                            ----------------------------------------
                            F, 48, 5'10"
                            Start Date: 25-06-12 @ 161lbs
                            Goal Reached: 30-09-12 @ 143lb. Now bouncing between 145lb - 149lb. I'd like less bounce and more consistency :-)

                            Started Cross Fit 20.12.12 ---- Can't wait to submit my success story on the 1st anniversary of starting primal.

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                            • #15
                              If your manic phases are associated with extreme grandiosity and delusions, even hallucinations, then I would worry about it. And if your depressive phases are associated with thoughts of suicide and actual plans to carry it out, I would worry about it. Worry means seek a psychiatrist, one who can prescribe medication. Real bipolar disorder has one of the highest rates of death of any mental illness, might even be the highest.

                              But if your cycling is kinda less than actual bipolar disorder, I would try to stay out of the psychiatric system. I used to work in mental health and I'm pretty convinced that while what they can do with drugs and other treatments is pretty miraculous for the truly impaired, it's dangerous shit and they don't really know what they're doing. I'd look into that Nora Gedgaudas book or the Julia Ross book or both.
                              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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