Bipolar – The Buy One Get Five Free Illness

(If I could trademark this saying...I totally would! Just saying...)This blog has officially been active for about … almost 9 months now. Before this, I began browsing other bipolar blogs and started researching as much as I could about the illness. Not to mention both my son and I suffer from bipolar disorder.

Why is this information relevant do you ask?

Out of those nine plus months (Probably about three years of learning about and meeting others with bipolar), I have YET to meet even ONE person who suffers from bipolar and ONLY bipolar. Thus, somewhere in this last year, while I was talking with my sister I believe, when I was asked about diagnoses I coined the phrase “The Buy One Get Five Free Illness”.

My diagnosis … Bipolar II, with a side of ADHD and Anxiety, and for dessert a lovely portion of depression topped off with a sprinkle or two of OCD tendencies. I’m sure there’s a 5th undiagnosed disorder floating around in there somewhere.

My son’s diagnosis … Bipolar served on top of a little ADHD, garnished with some ODD and followed up by a hearty portion of Anxiety. Now considering he’s only eight, there is plenty of time to add another diagnosis or two.

Now most people call these “coexisting illnesses”. I call them pain in the @$$ illnesses. I mean seriously…as if having bipolar wasn’t complicated enough! Do I really have to deal with all these attention and anxiety issues too?!?!? How come I couldn’t just get a cold? Oooh ooh … or maybe a toe fungus. TOTALLY easier to hide, albeit a tad more gross.

I’m not trying to be all whiny or anything, I’m just slightly annoyed. I haven’t done the research or anything (but as I have OCD tendencies, I probably will be compelled to do so now), however, I cannot think of many other illnesses that have coexisting issues. Actually, I can think of MAYBE two.

Obviously heart disease tends to go with high blood pressure and cholesterol. And I’m pretty sure lupus and fibromaylsia (sp)  go hand in hand. But that’s about it. And that is so NOT five free!

So although it’s not a “technical” we ask the question day, I’m still curious…do you or anyone you know suffer from ONLY bipolar?

16 thoughts on “Bipolar – The Buy One Get Five Free Illness

  1. Ummmmm….no is my answer! I have a little anxiety disorder with a little OCD and PTSD to top it off! And yes, I agree! They are pain in the @$$ illnesses! I laugh sometimes because I am so screwed up I can’t do anything but laugh at myself.

  2. Probably not. I’ve got bipolar with a side of PTSD and bits of OCD. Chances are, there’s more in there that I haven’t figured out yet. My day job is at a residential treatment center for teens with mental illness and nobody seems to have just one diagnosis.

  3. Bipolar 2, Tourettes Syndrome, Generalized Anxiety (with some Agoraphobia), Sensory Disorder, OCD, Kleptomania, Dermatillomania, Trypophobia… Yes, I’m a psychiatrist’s wet dream/ pin cushion. Interestingly though, I only take 2 meds on a regular basis cuz SSRIs and Lamotrigine (anti-seizure) are the only treatment for pretty much all of these symptoms… unless I wanna do the anti-psychotics thing, which …ugh. No thanks.

    Does anyone else ever think that many of their disorders aren’t really separate disorders, but just meaninglessly categorized symptoms of your brain F-ing up? It’s really just a bunch of symptoms shoved into manufactured boundaries to describe disorders that the doctors treat with the same general medication anyway. I find the disorder names become meaningless after a while.

  4. My daughter has bipolar and epilepsy. She’s had epilepsy since she was a baby. it went away. It came back and the bipolar manifested at puberty.

  5. Nope I don’t just suffer from Bipolar either. I have, like you, Bipolar II, ADHD; combined type – full blown if you will – not just a “touch”, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and some “OCD tendencies.” These “tendencies” though I don’t consider “OCD” I believe they are a result of the ADHD and GAD working together to develop coping mechanisms. For me when I am feeling particurlary anxious, I clean, purge things and organize my otherwise cluttered world. Be it my closet, the kids’ closet or the bathroom closet .. it always seems to be dressers and closets that I will hit up the most! I also have a “thing” with making sure objects are put away in size order (smallest to largest) or the clothing in the closet is separated by s/s and l/s, casual and business dress, black pants together AFTER tan/khaki pants. Of course if this doesn’t stay that way, unlike OCD, it’s not the end of the workd for me. 🙂

  6. Jan, My daughter has been bipolar her whole life, but had her first epileptic seizure, at puberty. I’m sure you’ve noticed some medications are used for both conditions, ie: Lamictal. It always seemed like their was a connection.
    She also is ODD with some compulsive behaviors. Anxiety was diagnosed too, but I’m not sure about that one.

  7. Happened to click on this by chance as I Marcia Purses newsletter on good ole BP. It seems that in your case, as in my family, that this humoristic plague of mind bogglingness prances rampantly along your family tree, swinging fluently from branch to branch and limb to limb. To date, I have never been let in on the secret of my free illnesses, though I am certain I exhibit a few. I know that I get panic attacks when things get to be too much for me. I know that I am a bit too perfectionist to not be at least a bit OCD. What else would I expect? I am the product of a dysfunctional family, the offspring of dysfunctional parents from dysfunctional families so far back that our family name may have actually been Dystfunctional at one time in the past. My mother spent many years in mental wards given steady doses of Lithium and electro-shock therapy (hey ain’t that what we see them do to terrorists on TV who will not fess up? LOL). Her aunt was ill as was her sister, and I have learned that I have a granddaughter as such and a cousin with some problems. All this said, I have some pretty good kinfolk. We is just…different…that’s all, and I really enjoyed what you shared and do empathize with your hearfelt thoughts and emotions. It is good to hear words from someone who actually knows how I might just feel–just an inkling, and not like so many of my good friends and relatives who simply are clueless in all reality…….

  8. No, I do not. My husband has rapid-cycling bipolar disorder and ADD with major depression off and on. And in talking with people and researching it, it seems that bipolar and ADD/ADHD are often together. Not all people with ADHD have bipolar, but quite a lot of people with bipolar have ADHD. Interesting. A read one book, about bipolar in kids, that explained that the genes that predispose someone to bipolar ride on the same “chain” as those for ADHD — they’re traveling buddies. It’s almost like bipolar is more a symptom than a disorder.

  9. I’m not positive that I’m an anomaly, but I only suffer from Bi-polar disorder and nothing else. My doc described me as a “rapid-cycler,” but other than that, I seem to be an uncomplicated case. I inherited BP from my mother, who inherited it from her father. My mother has the BP+5 free deal, which makes me sad for her because she struggles a lot. I struggle enough with “just” BP, and every day I make a point to ask myself, “Is my mood like this because it’s the illness, or do I just have an attitude problem?” I can adjust my attitude. When I can’t adjust the BP, I just take control of anything else that I can. People who don’t know what’s going on joke that I’m OCD, but I don’t think that’s fair to people who truly deal with OCD. I’m just a sometimes bossy and uber-efficient girl. I keep myself in control and it makes other people’s jobs easier 🙂 I’ve enjoyed the posts! Thanks for sharing.

  10. My name is Michelle, I think I have been depressed most of my life, at least that is what my Mother kept telling me. I am 37 and was resently diagnosed with rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder. My Dr. said it usually is accompanied by other anxiety based disorders. He explained it like having a hamburger, you’re most likely going to have fries a soda and apple pie. Since being diagnosed with BPD I have been also diagnosed with OCD, ADD (which I think I’ve had since I was in Kindergarden), Dermotillamania, General Anxiety Disorder (which I also think I’ve had since childhood, I’d wake up in the middle of the nigh frozen with terror and wouldn’t know why), insomnia, and Acrophobia accompanied by Panic Attacks. Earlier today I felt like I was defective some way!!! It can be so shameful to acknowledg these things! My Husband and Mom (whom happens to be an RN) are not so supportive it that makes me feel alone, isolated, and like a freak!! It is nice to hear other stories about people like myself. This five for one deal sucks!!! And I agree these “disorders” are a pain in the A$$ especially when you don’t even WANT to do these compulsive behaviors!!!! Thanks all for sharing your stories!!!! <3

  11. I personally have ultra rapid cycling bipolar II and my 9 year old daughter is beginning to show symptoms. In my opinion a lot of the other “disorders,” like anxiety, OCD, ODD, and ADHD are not always separately diagnosable disorders but rather symptoms of bipolar. For example, ADHD is an issue with executive functions and executive function is an issue in bipolar as well. I think when a person with bipolar presents with symptoms of lack of organization, impulsiveness, difficulty concentrating, jumping from one thing to the next, etc. that there should be no diagnosis for ADHD because these symptoms are a manifestation of bipolar. The book “The Bipolar Child” got me thinking this way, especially the chapter that explains the basis of brain function in bipolar.

  12. you pretty much nailed it. Mine started with severe anxiety and disturbing intrusive thoughts @ around 6 or 7.. severe social anxiety by 12, ADHD started in middle school..first full blown panic attack at age 14. Full blown rapid cycling bipolar by 15, first hospital stay @ 15..

  13. I am a rapid cycling bipolar, but depression is always the dominant issue. I also have Tourettes, and I’m certain I have an undiagnosed case of a.d.d. Add some eating issues and I also am a terrible mess.

  14. I think it is a LOT more reassuring knowing that others out there have a variety of other illnesses in addition to their bipolar disorder. At least I know it makes ME feel better. I don’t feel like I’m a complete and utter mess and that it is more common than I thought to have multiple illnesses/disorders that affect us simultaneously.

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