Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.
I would question her diagnosis. You have said nothing of her symptoms that indicated bipolar disorder, but only anxiety and depression. She is taking neurontin, which is an antiepileptic drug sometimes used in conjunction with antidepressants for bipolar disorder, or in conjunction with mood disorder drugs such as lithium, or with antipsychotic medications.
Because increased symptoms occur at the time of her menstruation, this indicates that there MAY be a connection (very likely but not proof), thus she could have Premenstrual Syndrome, or the more severe form of PMS, or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which is very much like unipolar depression (as contrasted with bipolar depression).
Bipolar disorder has a manic and a depressive side to it, although it can be NEARLY one or the other. If she has never shown any manic symptoms (grandiosity or exaggerated self-esteem, increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, easy distractability, speeded-up psychomotor activity, poor judgement including reckless behavior - in spending, driving, gambling, sexual adventurism) then there is no reason for her to have a bipolar diagnosis.
The treatment of PMD or PMDD is an antidepressant, particularly SSRIs like Prozac, Paxil, or Zoloft. If she has bipolar disorder as well, then antidepressants are NOT contraindicated as the previous therapist told you.
While it is true that neurontin can be an effective sleep aid, insomnia
is a frequent side-effect of depression. Addressing the depression with not only medication with psychotherapy (talk therapy) can be most helpful here.
She also has anxiety which can also be addressed with psychotherapy, and if it is causing her great distress, with an antianxiety medication (such as a benzodiazepine in extreme moderation). Discuss this with her psychiatrist. If she does not have one, then she needs to see one if only a general practitioner is handling her meds. I also urge you to get a second opinion about the bipolar disorder from another psychiatrist, and have her meds reviewed.
Hoping for the best is a bit like abandoning all hope. There is no reason to wait for change. You need to take action, get her re-assessed and get her drugs in order. I am not certain she is getting the most effective treatment and she definitely needs re-evaluation.
For a lot more information, take a look at this website.
Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC