Have I just become bipolar?

For the past 19 years I have been struggling with low energy levels, low mood and lack of motivation, to the extent I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (which I disagreed with) I saw several psychologists in this time, but they all failed to recognise the signs of depression, as I wasn’t feeling sad most of the time – just tired and flat.

I have had a number of depressive episodes in the last few years; these were caused by frustration and despair over my ongoing health issues and social problems (isolation, being single etc). The depressive episodes were of low to medium severity, lasted around a week or two and always improved on their own. I didn’t mention them to my doctor as I thought of them as a more-or-less "normal" reaction to my situation.

About 3 weeks ago I was in the middle of a depressive episode, browsing Reddit and came across a comment thread that led to the realisation that my energy problems are likely to be depression-related.

Then the trouble began:

I spent a week reading about various depressive disorders (cyclothymia, seasonal affective disorder etc) and came to the sort-of conclusion (on the 6th of March) that my problem was dysthymia.

Nothing in my routine or lifestyle changed at all, but by the 8th of March I was feeling MUCH better – better than I’ve felt at any time in the last 15 or more years. I felt GREAT, but I had an idea the feeling wouldn’t last long…

I saw my doctor on Wednesday (12th of March) and he gave me some anti-depressants (Desvenlafaxine) to start taking. I haven’t yet started taking them as I was taking St John’s Wort for a few days (from Monday the 10th of March -> Wednesday the 12th) and he said I should wait until that’s out of my system. I mentioned to my doctor that I was feeling a lot better than usual, but he didn’t comment.

By Thursday (13th) I was starting to "come down" again and did some more reading and realised I had experienced a hypomanic episode, which I’ve never had previously.

So I guess that may mean I have a form of bipolar I’m going back to my doctor as soon as possible to try to get a referral to a psychologist/psychiatrist.

Right now I’m feeling a bit low again. Not fully depressed, but certainly lower than usual. Also my mood keeps changing slightly but quickly (every hour or less), which is VERY unusual for me. Feeling emotionally unsettled too, which is also very unusual. Hopefully it’s just residual anxiety from the huge changes of the last few weeks…

I guess I’m just wondering if anyone else has experienced something like this? (Referring to a spontaneous hypomanic episode after YEARS of untreated unipolar depression)

TL;DR: Years of unrecognised non-emotional minor/medium depression -> major depressive episode -> sudden hypomanic episode -> depressed again but feeling strange, all in the space of 3 weeks. WTF is going on?

You were treating yourself with St Johns. I’d guess that was the hypomania – I hope you see a dr soon. Do tell the doc you were taking St Johns, k?

nah just depressed
bipolar disorder is more akin to what we think of as schizophrenia as a society. as in during a bipolar episode, people think they have special powers, hear or see things that others cannot, communicate with ESP, shit like that

Give it 6 weeks on Effexor then re-evaluate yourself.

Thanks for the replies I’m feeling a bit better now.

The hypomania started before I started taking St John’s Wort. I saw my Dr last week and told him what happened and he gave me a referral to a psychiatrist – I have an appointment next week.

I’ve been taking Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) for 12 days and it seems to be working slightly already, but it’s making me more tired than usual. When I started this thread I was feeling pretty weird (I guess a combination of the crash after the hypomanic episode and the early side effects of the Pristiq) but I’m pretty much back to normal now. I had some side effects (nausea, blurred vision, palpitations etc) but they weren’t major, and all except the extra tiredness were gone after the first week or so. I’ll leave things as they are, and see what the psychiatrist says next week!

Thanks for the replies I’m feeling a bit better now.

The hypomania started before I started taking St John’s Wort. I saw my Dr last week and told him what happened and he gave me a referral to a psychiatrist – I have an appointment next week.

I’ve been taking Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) for 12 days and it seems to be working slightly already, but it’s making me more tired than usual. When I started this thread I was feeling pretty weird (I guess a combination of the crash after the hypomanic episode and the early side effects of the Pristiq) but I’m pretty much back to normal now. I had some side effects (nausea, blurred vision, palpitations etc) but they weren’t major, and all except the extra tiredness were gone after the first week or so. I’ll leave things as they are, and see what the psychiatrist says next week!

You’re back to "normal" as you know it. Wait for another month and it will be like a miracle.

I’m glad you are going to see a psychiatrist next week and I’m very glad you are feeling better

Depression often results from having a lot of pride and doing a lot of social comparisons. Medications might be necessary if your depression is bad, but the effect of our software on our hardware is huge. Negative thought patterns can just deplete any positive feelings you might have. Happiness or contentment isn’t just a state that you revert to automatically and without effort, it must be carefully cultivated. That happens by letting in positive impressions and rejecting negative impressions. Same goes for your thought patterns, to not embrace harmful and self destructive thought patterns. We all have them, its just a matter of what we are doing with them

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