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I have a female age 49 friend who has Bipolar disorder, it

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Hi, I have a female...
Hi, I have a female age 49 friend who has Bipolar disorder, it was diagnosed about 2 years ago although she feels she knew she had it much earlier on, and before that, had always felt "something" was wrong. She is now on medication, Tegrattol 2 a day. She has been ok for the last two years with a mixture of medication and monthly visits to a councillor.
I'm extremely worried about her right now, I have witnessed an episode in the past, it went on for a few months and it turned out I was the trigger, i was trying to understand what was happening and i just tried to be there for her and help.
I am now witnessing some of the same traits, or it is all very familiar to to me from the past. I'm so so worried because recently I broached the subject and my friend is 100% connvinced that she is not. The episode I think has only started showing signs in the last 4 days, during which time she has only been with me. I know I may well be wrong about this but it concerns me nonetheless. My friend says that because she's on medication and she would "know" is she were having an episode, that she's come a long way in two years etc I have really really made a big mistake though I thought i was helping by suggesting this to her and she intends or is threatening to completey cut me out of her life. I am worried that the other people around her will not notice or not say anything to her (or of course I may be wrong anyway) and that this may get much worse and something really bad may happen. She doesn't want to hear anything I say so how might I help her? I know I may be wrong but is it possible she could be, she is very sure she is ok?
Thanks and kind regards.
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 29 minutes by:
7/19/2011
Mental Health Professional: mindhealer, Therapist replied 6 years ago
mindhealer
mindhealer, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 693
Experience: Licensed in MD and am also a Board Certified Diplomate (Advanced Practioner) I have over 10 years experience
Verified
Good morning and thank you for the chance to help you. Based on the detailed information you've kindly provided I can tell that you have a genuine concern about your friend. Given that bipolar disorder is a variable diagnosis you may be absolutely correct about something being off with her. It's very difficult for an individual to look at themselves objectively and even when someone close to them mentions a concern they're likely to dismiss it.
It sounds as though she may have gone off of her medications and may be in a hypomanic state which often presents with irritable send erratic behaviors. If this is in fact the case then it may be difficult getting through to her. I would suggest keeping a log of things she's doing that will provide concrete evidence as well as any consequences which may have arisen from her behaviors. I would then email this to her explaining that your intent is to do what you can to help her even if she's not seeing it that way.
It also sounds as though her friends are reinforcing her behavior and are wrong about the fact that if anything was wrong she would know. That's hardly ever the case given a persons impaired judgement and frequent misperceptions of their own behavior.
The most difficult thing that a friend can do is point out when something doesn't seem right
I wouldn't say you were wrong at all...it's justice that she can't see it right now due to clouded judgement on her part.
I would also suggest doing a Google search for symptoms of mania and hypomania and sending that to her as well which hopefully she'll be able to notice in herself. In all honesty that's really all you can do for her at the moment and I can appreciate your level of frustration but at this point you would need to wait for her to gain enough insight to see her doctor for a medication evaluation.
If she begins acting in an erratic manner and engaging in activities that are potentially dangerous to herself or others it would be appropriate to call 911 and they can take her to the ER for an emergency evaluation. Short of that there isn't much else to do right now except to let her know you're there for her and are willing to help her in any way that you can because you obviously care for her s great deal. In my opinion she's lucky to have a friend like you.
I hope that I've been helpful in answering your question and that you found my suggestions to be of benefit to you.
Please let me know if you have any further questions as I want to ensure your question is completely and thoroughly answered.
If you feel I've answered your question to your satisfaction I would sincerely ***** ***** clicking the ACCEPT button thereby giving me credit for the answer. I hope this finds you well and look forward to your response.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Hello,

Thanks, that's a great bit of advice. I'd just like to clarify a few things.

I'm not accusing her other companions etc of anything in the past, just that they may not notice or say anything now.

She's given me no reason to believe that she's off her meds so is it still possible that despite being on her meds that she could be not as well as she thinks?

Thank you very much for your time.

Mental Health Professional: mindhealer, Therapist replied 6 years ago
You are most welcome and I didn't think that you were accusing her friends in the least. I'm sure that they have her best interest at heart as you do...just difficult to say to a friend you feel something may be wrong and I appreciate that of course.
I'm very glad you asked the question about medications as it dawned on me that's the one piece I'd left out. It's absolutely possible for her to be on her medications still and simultaneously be symptomatic as the medications could very well need adjustment. If that is the case she could still be in a state that leads her to think there is nothing wrong. That's actually quite common. I hope that helps in answering your follow up question. Please feel free to ask anything further before clicking the ACCEPT button as I want to be sure you're satisfied with the answer I've provided. If you have ant further questions ill get you an answer in about 40 minutes at most as I'm going into session right now. Hopefully I've answered all your questions thoroughly and your happy with responses and suggestions. I hope this finds you well.
Fadi
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Hi,

Thanks for giving me the oportunity to ask some more as there was one thing I left out by mistake and it's quite important. Is it possible for my friend to have a "mini" episode that starts very quickly so there were no signs before hand and can it stop just as quickly. One thing my friend has said is that she had a blood test 2 weeks ago and all was ok. Does this mean she must be ok now? And if my friend does agree to take some tests, see her councillor etc, is it possible that she will be able to convince them that she is ok somehow and passing the blood test?

Again, many thanks, ***** ***** forward to your reply.

Mental Health Professional: mindhealer, Therapist replied 6 years ago
Hello. It is possible for an episode to come on rather quickly though it typically doesn't just go away on it's own. Something such as this doesn't show up in any form of blood test unless she's on a medication such as depakote or lithium in which levels of the medication can be determined in the blood work.
If your friend is still seeing her counselor than the counselor should be able to pick up on something if there's any issues noted. She may be in a state of denial but even if she is her therapist should be able to see through it. If her therapist isn't concerned than I would just suggest taking your friend at her word but watch for ant erratic or unusual behaviors and if you notice any than certainly bring then to her attention gently.
I hope that helps and let me know if you have any further questions before clicking ACCEPT button.
mindhealer
mindhealer, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 693
Experience: Licensed in MD and am also a Board Certified Diplomate (Advanced Practioner) I have over 10 years experience
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