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It's ironic you should mention writing a mood journal because my tdoc recommended I do that at my last appointment. :) I just started writing the journal this past week.

After talking to my tdoc, we've discovered some of my triggers which include lack of sleep, not eating on a regular basis and stress.

He has given me some excellent suggestions to help me remain stable such as keeping in close communication with family and friends, giving a written copy of the warning signs of mania and psychosis to my family, eating and exercising regularly, keeping a consistent sleep schedule, staying busy and avoiding stress as much as possible.

The fact that your son has been stable for 2 years now is so encouraging to me! :) That gives me hope! Knock on wood, I've been stable now for a little over a year.

One other question Tsohl (or anyone on the board): Can the symptoms of hypomania and depression occur within days of each other or do they only occur simultaneously? I'm sorry for all of the questions...I'm still trying to understand all of this. :)

Thanks again for all of the information you've provided! You've been of great help to me! :)

It is more common for the episode of hypomania to be followed by mania rather than having them at the same time. In some people they will have almost entirely depressive episodes, for months, even years without much break. Some people have just one episode of mania and never have one again. That's not very common either, but it does happen. Just about any combination of mania, hypomania and depression is possible. This is one reason why BP is difficult to diagnose and equally difficult to the pdoc really has to know his meds to figure out just what will work for your particular set of symptoms!!

I think I told you our son was also diagnosed by one pdoc with schizoaffective disorder - BP type. Or at least schizoaffective tendencies. He was hallucinating -- I'm not sure if he also heard thing...could be! he was treatment resistent and it took quite awhile to find the right meds, but he never gave up, hung in there, switched pdocs a couple times and is finally doing well.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to educate yourself about BP and the meds that are routinely used in treatment. Armed with knowledge, you can function as a partner with your pdoc in choosing a treatment plan, rather than just blindly following his directions. Only you know specifically how you are reacting to a particular med, whether it is making you feel better, or worse, etc.

I know you're going to do very well as you are asking good questions and already are very self-aware. The tdoc gave you very important, sound advice. Routine is very important, especially going to bed and getting up on a schedule. It is important to sleep at night, too, as daylight and darkness and circadian rhythms play a part in stability.

Do you have a support group of family and/or friends? You haven't mentioned feeling isolated, so I hope you do. There is a book out that has places for you to jot answers, etc., almost like a workbook, called [U]Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A 4-Step Plan for You and Your loved Ones to Manage the illness and Create Lasting Stability,[/U] by Julie Fast. She also wrote [U]Loving Someone Who's Bipolar[/U]. She has BP and the 4-step plan is something she invented that helps her maintain her stability. You might take a look at it, if that sort of thing works for you. I showed it to our son and he leafed through it, but wasn't the least bit interested. But it works well for some people.

Anyway, this would be one way to involve family and/or friends in your plan for stability, along the lines of what your tdoc suggested. Again, I don't really have that with our son --we're a bit more unstructured than that...but I think I will talk to him about something like that one of these days. He pretty much handles his BP on his own. I have never met any of the 4 pdocs he has been a patient of.

Don't apologize for asking questions. We're happy to help and are pleased if you are getting something out of the board.

Take care,
Hello neon_dreamer,

Saw your post to EYES and thought I'd respond here!! EYES is one of our inspirational people on the board. He is retired now, and has quite a family history of BP. I think there are 5 generations. His son has BP too and has a successful career as a minister.

From what I can tell, the success stories come from the person being able to accept that they have an "Illness" (I put this in quotes because some people take offense at the use of the word illness...but I never know exactly how to refer to BP:confused: ) that is going to go with them through their life. Then they educate themselves about the disorder, learning about various treatments, medications, etc. They learn what they need to do to avoid the TRIGGERS that can threaten their stability. They take care of their health by establishing a routine that works for them, sleeping, eating nutritious food, drinking plenty of water, exercising, etc. Going to their pdoc for periodic checks; going to therapy as needed -- after you can a handle on your disorder, this is not always necessary to continue with. Eventually they learn that having BP is a part of their life and they are able to just continue on because they have learned to manage their BP rather than letting the "Dis-ease" manage them.

I fully expect my son to be a success story like EYES. EYES had plenty of trouble at the beginning but he eventually learned what he needed to do. My son was diagnosed his junior year of college. He graduated and began his "career" job and lasted about 7 months before he really ran into trouble. He had a tough time for a bit but has now been stable and well for over 2 years and is in the process of rebuilding his life. He had to rethink his career plans as the lifestyle and stress of the career he had picked was not conduisive to maintaining stability!! And now he is well on his way to rebuilding a good, stable, healthy life.

I can see that the period of hypomania caught you by surprise. You will talk to the pdoc about it and figure out what happened...and you will be fine. I can tell from your attitude and your desire to manage your disorder. You have a good handle on the situation and what you need to do to maintain your stability.

:wave: Tsohl

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