Bipolar? Does it Show Up?

Hi, how’s it going? Hope you are doing well.

Have you ever known a lady like this? I met a lady on several occasions. We’ll call her Patty. Patty was almost skin-and-bones when I first met her. I had absolutely NO IDEA she was pregnant. But then the second time I met her, only a month later, she was popped out so big I thought she’d deliver any day. It ends up the first time I met her she was almost 7 months into the pregnancy already! That seems strange to me. But I guess that’s how it works out sometimes.

Maybe you’ve met people who are the same way about bipolar disorder. I sure have. You know, the ones who seem fine. You’d never even think that there was anything wrong with them. Until one day, they have a major episode. It’s like it all silently builds up, until it just explodes. You would think that you would see it coming, but you don’t.

Maybe your loved one is like this. This can even make the diagnosis confusing, because for long periods of time it seems like nothing is wrong. Then, all of a sudden, they are either majorly depressed or majorly manic. Talk about a mood swing!

There’s another thing that this can make difficult, too: medications. It seems for so long like they are fine, so it is tempting to go off medications in between moods. But that kind of thinking can be dangerous, and the results can be disastrous.

After all, it’s a chemical imbalance that’s causing those mood swings to begin with. That chemical imbalance can cause all kinds of problems. But it can be worked on by taking medications as prescribed and following the proper treatment plan.

Maybe some or all of those extreme mood swings can even be avoided altogether! Wouldn’t that be nice? At the very least the medications will be a useful tool to help manage them. But it’s much harder when they haven’t already been in the person’s system. When a person has a mood swing and THEN begins medications, it takes time for the medications to fully work.

So this is why you should strongly encourage your loved one to take their medications regularly as prescribed even in-between mood swings. It doesn’t matter how normal they feel or act, what matters is keeping them that way.

What are your thoughts on this?

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. Hi,
    My prescription drug coverage has hit the donut hole and my Seroquel will now cost me $400/month for the rest of the year!
    Do you know of another medication that will do the same job?
    My psychiatrist insists that this drug is the only one that I should take, not voluteering any alternative!

  2. I like that, Dave. My soon-to-be-ex-spouse was diagnosed as bipolar, suffered (in all probability) emotional incest, and I feel has narcissistic personality disorder. I have no idea where one “name” ends and another begins, but my life was surely one hellacious learning experience in that family. Restoring my equilibrium and self-esteem…and working on handling my depleted finances is actually reminding me of “goodness.” It reads almost as a Wes Craven horror story when many in the same family operate under illnesses. Thank you for your information!

  3. Dear David, I cannot being to thank you enough for all of the information you have sent to me in reguards to Bipolor Disorder, I have a Boyfriend of eleven years that I left becuz of this terrible disease, I have spent most of the eleven years together trying to read up on and trying to understand this disease so I could educate my boyfrieand as well as myself and I can honesty say you have helped me/us the most. every day is constantly a challenge you have shed alot of lite on this subject although with little or no finacial help he is unable to get the help he needs to get the medication, this is a very dangerous situation and there has been many times I feel my life might be taken becuz of his outburts, you have helped me better deal with his outburst or meltdown. If you have any resource info that can help us I would so appreciate it. I don’t know where to turn at this point I can’t even move on with my life he has lost ever family memeber as well as friends so I am the only one he will not leave alone and Frankly I am exshausted by this behavior. He needs help but is currently unemployed and has turned to street drugs which is making it worse I am so afraid he will someday take his life or mine so if you know anyone that could help please let me know again thank you for your support you are doing an outstanding job keep up your good work you are saving lives! God will rerward you I promise. Sincerely, Sandy

  4. I am dealing with this exact issue now. Wife has a family doctor who wont discuss with me either. He thinks she is fine. I need to find good help and have not been successful. Does anyone have some advice?

  5. While I do agree that meds help with the hihgs and lows. I dont like being on medication when Im feeling “normal”. Im lethargic and I have no “real”emotions one way or another. My partner agreed that he would rather go through the moods and episodes without the meds because he likes my personality without them. He said Im not myself even when Im not having an episode because the meds are mood altering then as well. I feel like a zombie.
    Im not saying its for everyone but I have monitored my cycle patterns for years now and while I dont always see a rapid cycling episode I have learned enough to take the necessary precaustions when I am fortunate enough to see one coming.

  6. What do u do when your wife leaves you and you feel resposible to take care of her.I still love my wife but she has in her mind that Im the one that makes her sick.I cheated years ago and she cant seem to forgive me.I cant give up even we are divorce,its really taking a toll on me.

  7. David,

    I have been trying to be patient with a BP for over 2 years. I still love her but the last time she quit taking her meds, because she didnt think she needed them anymore, our whole world fell apart. It was like the meds kept her to two personalities not 6!.

    I know it was the meds that kept her balanced, I know enough about BP to be patient and know this will never really be a ‘normal’ relationship, but in the end I had to protect myself. Now 7 weeks later with no contact I find myself feeling a little guilty for giving up on her. The realty is, she is a good woman with a good heart, she is just sick……..and I know and have known I cant fix it. What to do?

  8. I understand about the medications, but what can be done when someone refuses to take medications and even accuses you of trying to harm them, by wanting them to take their medications. Any thoughts?

  9. Hi David. My problem is, is that they haven’t found the right meds yet. I tried Lithium, Abilify, prozac, wellbutrin, Depakote, Seroquil and probably some more that I don’t remember. They all made me more depressed, suicidal, lethargic, confused, no focus. In other words, really bad reactions. I don’t believe that man-made chemicals are normal for the body. I have found that the only thing that helps me is “pot”. Legalizing it is on the November ballot here in Arizona. I hope they pass it. Thank you for your letters and hope. Kathy

  10. Input as asked:

    What is Bipolar, really?
    Bipolar,or Spiritual Emergency?
    The symptoms can be extremely similar!
    IF it is a spiritual emergency, they need help and support processing the episode effectively.

    By medicating a person, it takes away their ability to deal with past issues that desperately need processed.
    Also, by throwing meds at a person in lieu of providing supportive mileau to process unresolved issues, the dysfunction continues unabated, unresolved, and guaranteed to continue repeating episodes of crisis.

    Obviously, if a person is in a dire state of crisis, some temporary meds may be prudent; then provide proper milieu to support processing of troublesome issues.

    Your thoughts on this?

  11. great artical mental illness is such misunderstood every goverment agencey only thinks of covering their own a– that it prvents people from gettingh help who wants Department Of Children Services, courts,police,ect. in there lives and as i am learning they will be in your life when dealing with mental illness thank you for all your emails of support and info

  12. I appreciate your daily emails very much. I’ve saved all 432 that I’ve received from you. Each time I receive one it just confirms that I’m bipolar and that you really do understand this “chemical imbalance”. Last week I ran out of one of my meds on Sunday. It was supposed to have arrived by mail by Friday. Well each day I would hope that it had arrived instead of figuring out how to obtain that particular medication for at least a week. Friday was my birthday. By then I was out of wack and wasn’t able to get myself to come out of my bedroom for my entire family to sing happy birthday to me. They understand but it just shows how important meds are. I will never stop taking them. I just happened to run out.

  13. Yes it does show up sometimes unexpectedly, QUITE unexpectedly! Meds help, BUT, it doesn’t stop people from being complete & total assholes, allow me to share; I can be having a perfectly normal day…then zap it hits me like a ton of bricks, someone will say something stupid to me thats gets me agitated/aggrivated, then it’s like my whole day’s shot.

    Unfortunately for me it’s usually my own Mom that does it, we were in a wreck when I was a baby, it dameged my pre-frontal cortex, which in turn caused my illness. I had to get myself to the Dr. well into my 30’s because I as noticing that my moods were getting more & more severe, that’s when I was diagnosed, of course I told Mom about it & started spouting off about how she’d “never heard of such a thing, blah, blah, blah”, as you could probably tell from the tone I use, I just tolerate my Mother for the most part, for my childhood wasn’t all that great, & now she’ll call, get me worked up once in a while & then call the next day & act like nothing was said….meanwhile I’m STILL pissed.

    The other thing with her is, is that even when she’s joking around,…she’ll slap you. I told her one day that I didn’t like it & her words were “oh I didn’t hurt you, if you want I can hit you harder!” I got pissed & said “yeah, well do it again & I do hit back & it’s called, self defense” She answered back “go for it big boy, if you feel froggy, leap!” “I told her that what she was doing was legally called assault & since I was disabled, it might be more of a misdemeanor than just petty little fine, so watch it” that’s my bipolar story, other than that, I don’t have much more to share. I don’t leave the house much, because people in town are, well…rude, & I’m much safe at home.

    Bill Johnson

  14. The experts say that, “people with bipolar can go on to lead normal lives”, I’m sorry to say, but no they can’t Normal people don’t have mental illnesses, normal people have no trouble getting out of bed & facing the world! No matter how much you try to sugar coat it, mental illness isn’t a normal thing. Normal people don’t need a pill just to face the world, & believe me, I’d give anything just to be normal & not to have to convince myself that the world isn’t going to f*ck me over, but unfortunately the real world isn’t built on fairy tales, it’s built on reality, & there’s no “magic pill” for that,…unless you want to wind up in prison & I guarantee you, you’ll have a VALID reason to be moody & depressed.

  15. Taking the drugs according to prescription could be helpfull however you also get the other side of the coin. When they take additional “over the counter” medicine as well as alcohol with their drugs. This caue even more havoc. There is no telling what you can expect when you come home.

  16. My being diagnosed with Bipoler Disorder in my 50’s sure explaines my life up till that time. However now I am fighting the medications, trying to find the best ones to be on. Also I lost a huge amount of weight, I am 5′ 5″ tall and have gotten down to 95lbs. I believe the weight losss is due to Tomax, used as a mood stablilizer. Have tried other stablilizers & had bad reactions to them also, so for now doctor keeping me on Topamax. It’s hard to eat when nothing sounds appeling & your not hungry at all. But on good days I do try. I have been researching Bipoler Disorder, and fund that many times other illnesses often co-exist: social phobia, migraine headaches,attention deficit, all of which I have, plus God help me more. I live alone, husband died a few years ago, no children, only child, and my father is in his 80’s. Not a bright future. Try to stay positive, but this blue blasted Bipoler Disorder reallly is a pain in my……..butt!

  17. David, I have shared with mu daughter at this point in several occassions that taking her meds is like a person who has to take insulin. It is not the most pleasurable thing to have to do, but it is mandatory if you are to function right and even live life. It is a necessary evil unfortunately. We let her know that she is alright it is just that she has to take her “insulin” to make it through the touch spots. We let her know that we love her no matter what. We also have a very supportive church that prays for her and stays in contact with her. This too means a lot to anyone. Thanks, Bob

  18. It has been a long time since I have responded to one of your blogs Dave.
    Recently my daughter Rachel went into an episode complete with pyschosis.
    and heres the thing…. We all thought that Rachel had been stressed at work and this had triggered an episode.
    Not even!!!
    Rachel had been feeling so great for over 6 months that gradually she began to forget to take her pills at the right timeand then gradually over 2 months she ended up not taking them at all.
    Then I found out her two little boys were sneaking into her bed in the early hours of the morning- Rachel loved it -but she was getting very little sleep to start off with then she wasn’nt getting any sleep at all.
    Why did all this happen – well it happened over a fairly long p[eriod of time – so it ( the episode ) kind of crept up on us – we all missed the signs-
    no sleeping
    rapid speech,unintelligible meandering thoughts, sudden change of mood and decision making.
    Rachel was far more in tune- She was the one that rang up the hospital and the pyschiatrist and the university- Rachel was the one to put herself into a safe place ( respite care )
    Rachel was the one to acknpowledge her vulnerability- and she was the one to call the shots
    this time instead of one year in hospital and one year in respite fighting the urge to suicide Rachel this time round spent a quiet and peaceful time in respite –
    it was while she was in respite and I was cleaning up her things that I found the pills piles and piles of pills.
    We followed our plan A so that things carried on for the period of time she was in respite.
    not every thing went as planned – especially where money is concerned but Rachel had some pretty massive victories all the same
    The length of time Rachel spent in repite has been greatly decreased
    Rachel has managed Bipolar so much that even when she knew she was slipping into an episode she knew what she had to do
    And it is you we have to thank for along with her mental health supporters and nurses and pyschiatrist and the wonderful respite center that caters for those like Rachel who need the space to quietly regroup recenter.
    the way back to recovery this time has been far shorter – around 2.5 months all up as apposed to 2 years the last time.
    Great one Rachel – you are such a fabulous daughter. welcome home.

  19. hello; dave

    Yes, yes and yes! after 10 years of being together my wife had knee surgery, heart surgery her mother has a chronic cancer condition, finished up an education degree (with distinction) and has left her husband and is taking one of our dogs into an urban environment when the dog came to us as a stray and loves being out in the country…but my wife is removing her to this foreign environment. so she imposes her will upon me to just move on but doesn’t correlate imposing her will upon and unsuspecting canine which we are left to determine which is the best life. her response is:” well i’m a selfish bitch!” opposite land prevails for me at this point in time and i am only left with supposing the worst at all times. this is not my true nature.

    let me know:)

    i am receptive to all info.

    as far as “normal people”
    go this is fucked up!!!

  20. Hi David. I know what you’re talking about. He seems fine…Don’t see anything wrong…Don’t see it coming…sudden outburst that sounds irrational…(feels like a sudden explosion..with…fast non-stop talking…which at the time seems to have no end to it. He’s angry in the extreme over details that seem to be insignificant….eventually switches (doesn’t make sense)…later he wants to make up as if nothing happened. He’s been a friend of mine for the last ten years and I like him a lot. Partly because of how good I feel around his prescence when things are going well or pretty well. I care about him and what happens to him. He has never told me or admitted to having any problems with any mental illness or Bipolar Disorder. But after reading some BP Websites about this, it seems to fit with what I see with him. I have been unable to broach the subject with him. For one, I am afraid of triggering an episode with him if I tell him what I think. He might be angry I would believe this about him. I know he’s not taking any meds for this because of a friend of his letting me know that he’s not taking his meds. This other person would not tell me any more than that and her information was very vague. So, therefore, I’m in a position in which I obviously cannot even talk to him about meds. I am having a problem ending things with him permanently because of my feelings for him. Basically, I have to walk on egg shells to avoid a blow up or a strange out of control reaction from him. So he can rant his feelings at me as much as he wants but, I end up having to suppress how I feel about the problems he’s creating. There seems to be a no win for this situation, except for staying out of his way and not expressing how I truly feel. That seems to be the only way to keep the peace with him. When things are going well between us, he can really be a great guy to spend time with doing many interesting things. He’s got a great sense of humour when he wants and a lot of creativity in both ideas, insights and inventive nature.

  21. David,
    I am a mother of 2 children with bipolar disorder and I have tried to instill in my children the importance of taking their medication even when they feel normal. I did have a little hard time with this with my oldest son that is 12 dignosed when he was 7, because his medication was working so he felt like he didn’t need it anymore and I had to practicly force him to take it but later I found out thew hard way he had not been taking it. At this point his episodes got really bad so bad even that I had to remove eveything from his bed room and he still managed to hurt himself he ran face first into the bedroom wall busting his nose. I had to take him to the hospital on the way there he tried to jump from the car it took all of my steighth to hold him in the car. He was also threating to kill everyone when we got there if I did not take him back home. To make a very long story short on mothers day 2008 they had to admitt him into a mental hospital to finally get his medication back under control. Now he is back home with me and now has a better understanding of why he MUST take his medication like he is suppose to. I hope this will give some understanding of how important it is for someone with bipolar disorder to always no matter how good they feel to take the meds, the reason you feel so good is because the medication is working my boys found this out the hard way.

  22. i have a 13 yr old who was diagnosed bipolar when he was 5 and was on meds till he was 10 he has been off for 3 yrs and is doing great . i have read a lot on bipolar and really dont believe he has it. he does have a hard time with socialization and kids pick on him alot and make him cry and angry but he never retaliates he joined basketball hoping to gain their respect. this child is very loving and will help any way he can.

  23. Hi My name is Shannon, and I have a BIG problem. My husbend has BP w/Homisideal tentdancies. He left me and our childeren, for a OTR job. (Over the Road) He says he’s going to try life without meds and I just need to deal with it. I’ve tried everything from keeping his doctor informed to getting ahold of his boss to keep him informed.(because the doctor let my husbend walk out of his office with no meds, go right back out on the road) But he’s in a bad state right now. He’s all but cut commuinaction with our daughter and myself. On top of everything he says he loves me and the kids and he wants to work it out, but everytime when asked what or how we were going to work it out, he says “I don’t know”. On top of all of this I know he’s angery with himself for makeing the desision to leave, but he’s taking it out on me. Blaming me for cutting communactions, saying I am devoriceing him because I can’t handle him being a truck driver,ect. I am at a loss as to what to do.
    I don’t want to devorice or Leagaly seperate, but I don’t know what’s left for me to do. It’s not fair to our 4 year old daughter, myself or our 5 month old son. I am so Depressed. I don’t know what to do. Please, help. Will his bipolar surface on it’s own, how long will that take? Please is there someone out there that can anwser my questions……..Please.

  24. Ro SHANNON – Boy, are YOU between a rock and a hard place! For one, your husband refuses to take his meds (thus refusing to believe he is sick), which leaves him in a place where logic doesn’t exist. Secondly, if he has “homicidal” tendencies, it is probably best if you keep him AWAY from you and your children until, and unless he goes back on hs meds. You sound young, with two babies, and you deserve better. I know you love him (that’s apparent in your lettler), but SAFETY comes first, if not for yourself, then your children. You could stage an intervention, where he would have to face the truth and be hospitalized to get regulated on new meds. This is extremely hard to do, but necessary if you want peace in your family. Right now, he’s distancing himself by being an OTR, but he’s bound to “crash” once the euphoria (“high”) abates. My only advice is for YOU to seek counseling for this problem…it’s above my pay scale…

  25. The worry book !
    I replay the same half dozen worries when I am in a bipolar episode. I simply now write down my worry as a question. i.e. Am I going to run out of money before the end of the month. Then I write down the answer to my worry . “No mIke you wont as long as you stick to your budget. I also have some child support and social security issues.these are complicated and when I write down the worry and then do research and write down the answer I am able to reassure myself that I have already found an answer to that worry and its going to be okay if I stay on it.

  26. At my job as a ‘bench’ repair person etc. I have learned to think very logically about certain things. If there is a problem ‘there IS a problem’ correct it !! So it is in personal things too, it is real to that person no matter how he feels. DON’T ignore it or pretend that it’s gone, take your medication, that’s all, until your doctors tell you to stop. In the mechanical world trust the evidence and use logic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *