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    YogaBare's Avatar
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    Manic phases - need help... please!

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    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

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    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.


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    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

    I mean there's so many ants in my eyes! And there are so many TVs, microwaves, radios... I think, I can't, I'm not 100% sure what we have here in stock.. I don't know because I can't see anything! Our prices, I hope, aren't too low!

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    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.
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    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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    Quote 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

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    Quote 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?

    Quote 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!

    Quote 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

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    Quote Originally Posted by harsosuao View Post
    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

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    Quote 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
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    Quote 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

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