Bipolar disorder

My oldest sister called me and told me my younger sister has bipolar disorder. She is only 15, she has always been a sensitive girl. She would have tantrums and scream at us and lock herself in her room but I thought it was just a stage she was going through. Sis said she locked her self in her room and could be heard crying and wouldn’t even come out for meals. Dad tried to cheer her up, took her to her favorite places and she seemed ok, even happy for a while. A few days later she locked herself in her room again. Sis said she told mom she might be pregnant, but mom got mad at her for saying that. But later she heard that they did get a pregnancy test and she wasn’t pregnant. They took her to a doctor that dad knows and he said it was almost surly bipolar disorder. They haven’t put her on meds yet but probably will soon.

I didn’t know what bipolar disorder was so I looked it up on the net. The very first paragraph I read, I thought, that could be me, it said: “Bipolar mania is an “extreme high” mood. During a manic high, people
feel unusually great. It’s common to be overly talkative, have lots of energy, and need little sleep”. Then I read the depression symptoms and that also could be me. I seem to change between the mania and depression symptoms at the least little thing. One of the main things that strikes home is the part about sleep, I have not been able to sleep through the night for months. After I do manage to get to sleep, I wake up in about 2 hours and can’t get back to sleep. I read and sometimes I can go back to sleep, but usually I end up reading all night until breakfast.

I couldn’t find anything that said there is a direct link between T1 and BD. There is a thread on this site “Bipolar disorder and Type 1 diabetes” most of the respondents that have been diagnosed with BD are on antidepressants. The last thing I want to do is take these meds. There are some measures that are supposed to lessen the symptoms, like; eat a balanced diet, exercise daily, get the same number of hours of sleep every night, avoid alcohol and illegal drugs, reduce stress and limit caffeine. Some of them I already do, I will try harder on the others.

Everybody goes through highs and lows in their life. That does not mean they have depression, let alone bipolar disorder. You have said nothing about yourself that would give me any indication that you have any disorder and in fact I question the diagnosis of your sister. I think a lot of the psychiatric stuff is total baloney and it would be a shame to have your poor sister medicated if all she is going through is a normal teenage distressful angst.

If you are really worried about yourself, take a simple on-line depression test ( Ask yourself whether at any time in the last year or so you ever felt bad enough to have been clinically depressed. I bet you are fine.

Look, we have diabetes. Sometimes our life just totally s*cks. Sometimes it can be hard and we may feel down. But that doesn’t mean you are bad enough to require treatment, let alone medication. And the fact that your sister is having a hard time may simply be part of growing up, having a hard time and having family/social problems. Unfortunately, the way that the medical establishment deals with this stuff is to medicate. Just try to be supportive of your sister. Hopefully, she works through whatever is bothering her, gets better and moves on.

I just took that test twice. The first time I took the question to mean in the last month; that time I got 8 yes answers. The second time I took it to mean right now unless the question said “have you”; that time I got 4 yes answers.

I don’t know if I have BD or depression but I intend to make some changes, like; get more exercise and eat a more balanced diet. Sleeping I have no control over, when I can’t sleep there is nothing I can do about it.

Everyone has some of these feelings at times. Think about what you have told us about yourself, finding a new boyfriend, telling your dad you want to switch majors, … These are not the things that someone who has clinical depression would be doing, thinking about and making happen. You can make the changes in diet and exercise, but you can also improve your thinking and do things about your sleep. Take melatonin, practice calming techniques, stop worrying about things, never stay up reading and use your bedroom is as a place for sleeping. I’m sure you will be fine.

People who are bipolar exhibit huge behavioral extremes. It’s not just having up/down moods, which everyone experiences. The manic phases are really out there & easily recognizable with grandiose, highly energetic & erratic behavior. Many people are given lithium to temper the manic part, It takes trial & error to find the right dose that doesn’t leave the person feeling lethargic. With the correct dose, it’s very effective. One of the problems with bipolar meds is that people experience normalcy, believe they’re cured & stop taking their meds which results in a huge manic phase, People have had to be temporarily involuntary committed when off their meds for their protection. The meds have to be taken for life. Another issue with bipolar disorder is that some people will gladly deal with depressive phase because the manic phase is such a constant adrenaline rush & they refuse treatment.

I used to work in the mental health field in a 24-hour crisis center. Bipolar clients & their loved ones were a large part of our client base.

Gerri - Gee, that means that my little sister might have to take meds for the rest of her life. That’s almost as bad as having diabetes.

Taking a pill daily isn’t almost as bad as having diabetes, but it’s very difficult for people to accept that they have an imbalance. If she is bipolar, she’s going to need a lot of support & understanding especially while her dose is figured out. Too much & she’ll feel like a dishrag. The hardest part is letting go of the highs of the manic.

I agree with BSC. I’ve worked with bipolar patients and the behavior is different than normal lows and highs of everyday life. I’ve also had many parents tell me they think their child is “hyperactive”. I respond, no, they are a normal active 5 year old. Our society loves to give diagnosis and pills for normal behavior.

I think doing whatever helps won’t be as horrible as it sounds. It’s like when you don’t take your insulin and you feel horrible high, but when you do take it everything is okay. It will be no different for her, she will feel better. Good luck.

I have family members who are bipolar, adn my docs in the past think I may be, but I don’t get extreme highs.I get good days and then extremely down days. I’ve tried alot of alternatives to pills like trying to keep the same hours, etc. It didn’t work for me. I was very reluctant to take pills, but after some trial and error on 2 anti depressants I found one that works. I take Lexapro, and now I sleep regularly (unless there is an issue with my diabetes.I wake up if I go too high or low).My moods are more stable and I don’t feel like a crazy person any more.It doesn’t make me feel like I have no emotions either.I still feel like me just a more balanced me. My step father and step-sis have bipolar disorders as well,really bad. They had it to the point of violent out bursts, but now on medication they’re totally different people. Counseling is another good aid. Good luck.


I very highly doubt you have bi-polar. When they say “extreme mood swings” - they mean EXTREME! A bi-polar when in a "high’ state with do something like go and take all their money out of the bank and spend it all and give away presents to people they do not know or in one day, spend over $10,000 on their credit shopping for whatever. THAT is an example of a “high” state.(not saying everyone with bi-polar will go shopping - just an example of how extreme it is). They could be in this state for maybe a week - it is almost like they are taking cocaine or something - almost euphoric because they are “high” on their body chemistry. Than, just like that, they will “crash”, right into a depressive state (and an EXTREME one at that) and can become almost catatonically depressed ie, they won’t move out of bed for a whole week.

FYI, I have a Bachelors in Psych. The bi-polar “highs” and “low” can vary on their extremeness from person to person and can also vary in length of stages (some one could be “high” for months than be low again for months). It is their body chemistry it is out of wack. Sometimes, yes, it is not possible to keep it under control without meds - it depends on the severity of it and the cause.

Btw, maniac-depressiion and bi-polar are the same thing. So the ‘high’ episodes are often called ‘maniac’ episode sometimes.

I recently finished reading The Type 2 Diabetic Sourcebook for Women and it mentioned that us women diabetics will have more mood swings than non-diabetic women. Our blood sugar when out of control can cause this - our hormones too (and we know that already). True Bi-polar is nothing like just being depressed and than happy again - that is normal life. True bi-polar can be totally crazy and uncontrollable to the person living with it and has nothing to do with events in your life that might cause you to be very happy or very depressed.

I’ll have days where for some reason I will just be totally down and other days I will be all energetic and happy and nothing will have changed in my life. It is just hormones and that is way it is.

The problem with the psychiatric illness today and is being sad is looked upon as being something that needs to be corrected because it is not “normal” and is looked at as a weekness and than they want to medicate everyone who is sad (ever read the book or see the movie “Prozac Nation” ) and it is out of control. If you were never sad, you would never be happy.

There are a ton of other reason why you might not be able to sleep at night. I don’t sleep that great either! That doesn’t mean you have bi-polar. Everyone can get insomia every once and a while.

Don’t fret - you do not have this. I am so sorry about your sister. Bi-polar is hard but there are other psych disorders that are worse (such as complete schizophrenia). But the meds will help her get control so she can lead a normal life. Kinda like us eh?

I’m only a little bit worried that I am bipolar. I am worried about Keiko, my little sister. I remember how she used to act silly, putting her dolls all over the house and running around talking to them and laughing. I called her a silly goose, now I realize it was part of here disease. She used to disrupt the class at school and get in trouble, I used to laugh at her for being such a fool. Now I can’t even tell her I’m sorry because she is 2500 miles away.

I was talking to my big sister just now, she said that Keiko has to go to psychotherapy and would not be taking meds until they are sure she needs them. She might have to go the a private school, maybe the one that I went to. I know she won’t like that because liked her school and friends.

Aw, so sorry. I am sure she will be fine. She’ll get better. Yes, that sounds a bit like bi-polar - you can be a bit schizophrenic and have delusions, some get paranoia (not all, but some can). But that doesn’t sound so bad - I talked to my dolls when I was a kid and I don’t have bi-polar. So not so bad. Don’t feel bad, you didn’t know.

You should learn more about the disorder - it will help esp. when you are around your sister in the future. There are two cool movies that show it pretty well that you might like to see: “Mad Love” (with Drew Barrymore) and “Mr. Jones” (with Richard Gere) - gives one a good idea of what bi-polars go through (if you don’t want to sit around and read books about it but I am sure there are some easy to read books also).

Talking to her dolls is only one thing that I thought of. She used to do many other things, like at family outings she sometimes would run around pushing people and laughing, acting like a fool and many other things I just thought she was weird. Also, she sometimes came home from school and went straight to her room crying. This happened a lot of times, we just thought she had fights with her friends but it might have been bipolar moments.

I’d love to see her now, I’d give her a big hug, something I can’t remember doing in the past. She was always my weird little sister. If we had only know it was a disease, we would have treated her a lot different.

There is no link between T1 and bipolar disorder. What you seem to have is med schoolitis…reading something about a diagnosis and seeing yourself in it. Everyone does it to some extent (especially med students when thy are learning about diseases, thus the name). If your mood symptoms were that bad you probably would have raised some eyebrows by now. If you are concerned about it, see your doctor.

Sorry about your sister. Bipolar is quite treatable with meds. They may really help her.