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Topic: Brother with unipolar mania

9 posts, 0 answered
  1. Glassy
    Glassy avatar
    6 posts
    8 June 2019

    Hi
    I am writing because I am at loss about a situation going on in my family. My brother 7 years ago during a difficult period of exams became very mentally ill with something that was at the time diagnosed as severe anxiety by a psychiatrist. He was anxious about several things including exams, relationship and social situations and had all sorts of sudden aspirations that didn't fit with the general picture of what he wanted to do with his life until this episode. He was very non-functional and couldn't really hold a conversation. I think he took some relatively minor anxiety medication at the time.

    For the past 7 years he has been totally fine to my knowledge. However, after coming back from a trip overseas/maybe during the trip he developed something similar which, by a different psychiatrist, has been diagnosed as mania. He believes what happened 7 years ago was also mania and not anxiety. He does not have depression, only mania, and it was triggered by some worries he had about his trip overseas. I go to college in a different state and only came home to find this out last night. He was acting very strangely, only wanted to speak to me in Spanish (our mother tongue which we both speak much more poorly than English), and said things that were just altogether strange. Many things I tried to talk to him about (just basic things/making conversation) he said we needed to put a pin on as though it was information overload. It is honestly like speaking with a different person/like trying to look after a child. He is usually very logical and to the point but now he is saying strange things, constantly nervous/on edge it seems and apparently just the excitement of me returning home made him unable to sleep all night even despite heavy tranquilizers. He apparently has also been frantically writing his thoughts down all the time so that they don't escape...

    He is currently on anticonvulsants for the mania, and the psych says it should get better with time but that they take weeks to act.

    I can only really find information on bipolar on the web, but my brother seems to be in a permanent manic state. It's honestly like he is a totally different person. I love my brother and want to support him in any way possible, but I am really at a loss about how to act or what will make him better/worse because I have never even heard of unipolar mania and I don't know what will/won't help. I am also really confused about whether this will be a lifelong thing for him

  2. Matches
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Matches  avatar
    33 posts
    8 June 2019 in reply to Glassy

    Hi Glassy,

    Yes, mania is an extremely complex condition.

    Please, Google "Caring for a person experiencing mania - Queensland Health". This PDF has some excellent tips.

    I hope you find it helpful!

  3. quirkywords
    Community Champion
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    quirkywords avatar
    12313 posts
    8 June 2019 in reply to Glassy

    Welcome Glassy to the forum.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    I have bipolar but I know people who have unipolar mania.

    Mania is very tricky as I loved my highs and it took me many years to realise they were far more damaging and destructive than my lows.

    We associate behind sad and low with being ill so if one is very happy and manic it can be hard for that to be seen as an illness.

    Does your brother overspend, take many risks, when he is manic.

    When he is manic it will be very hard to talk to him so if you can find a time when he is not manic and is his usual self, you can try and work out how to help him when he is next high.

    Does he manage to work while manic?

    Feel free to post when you like.

    You are not alone, and there is support here.

    Quirky

  4. Glassy
    Glassy avatar
    6 posts
    9 June 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi
    Thank you for your response. My brother is always manic is the thing (has been for the past 2 weeks or so at least- not sure when it started in India, and he too has some sort of worry about losing the mania (though all in all he wants to get better)- he worries the apparently brilliant ideas he is coming up with all the time (that he writes all over his whiteboards on the walls in his room) will disappear once the medication comes into effect. He has times when he is easier to talk to or harder to talk to (harder to talk to because he struggles to get words out or comprehend what I am saying because there are too many thoughts running in his head). He hasn't taken risks or overspent to my knowledge, he just acts in a way I would describe as like somebody who is on drugs. I also wouldn't describe this as happy at all, he does not seem happy. He seems stressed and absolutely exhausted, too exhausted to function and stressed about very strange things (last night he was stressed that he was selling me things which would be a "terrible thing to do to your sister"-- but he hadn't sold me anything or said anything to do with selling??).

    When he had an episode of what at the time was thought to be anxiety and now the new psych is saying was mania, he was in this episode for a while and there were no ons and offs to my (limited as I was only 15) memory-- and once he was "cured" of it it went away and did not come back... (until now 7 years later).

    He is 100% inable to work. He needs reminding even to eat, sleep, shower, etc.... He has not been back from work since he returned from his trip overseas.

    I have never seen someone this mentally ill before, anyone I have seen with a mental illness was still themselves but this is as though he is on drugs. Very scary and foreign to me.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. quirkywords
    Community Champion
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    quirkywords avatar
    12313 posts
    9 June 2019 in reply to Glassy

    Glassy,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I think mania gte start slowly as feeling nappy but quickly turns to agitated mania and your mind never stops.

    Is your brother on medication now and if so are you expecting the medication to work soon. The other thing is do you think he is taking the medication , often when we are manic, we don't want to take medication .

    My mother used think I was on drugs and so did my teachers. When people would tell me what I was like when manic I felt so embarrassed and could not believe I behaved like that.

    I can understand how upset you feel. Is there someone you can talk to.

    If you are worried about him maybe you can contact your GP or his psychiatrist.

    Take care of yourself.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Glassy
    Glassy avatar
    6 posts
    9 June 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Thank you, I really appreciate your replies. It's been really hard because my parents won't allow me to talk to anyone about this for confidentiality reasons and I feel incredibly isolated right now.

    My brother is on anticonvulsants and tranquilizers at the moment. My parents lowered the dose of the tranquilizers because he was falling over on them and they deemed it dangerous. The anticonvulsants are expected to work in a few weeks and he needs to stay on them for about a year. I don't know if after they "work" he will be back to his normal self or just less extreme?

    I think he is taking the medication... Maybe that is something to raise with my parents but I think they are monitoring him very closely.

    You say you have bipolar, do you suffer during the manic episodes? I am really stressed and distraught about the idea that my brother is in some sort of a crazy stressful horrible world in his head and none of us even know what is going on in there and can't help him... It's been really upsetting to see and I am so worried he is suffering terribly and can't even express it because he's become so dysfunctional. The things he suddenly worries about make me wonder how many things he sits and overanalyses and stresses out about while we are all going about our days.

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Glassy
    Glassy avatar
    6 posts
    10 June 2019 in reply to Matches
    Thank you Matches!
    1 person found this helpful
  8. quirkywords
    Community Champion
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    quirkywords avatar
    12313 posts
    10 June 2019 in reply to Glassy

    Glassy

    Since taking my medication I have not had any mania for many years. My experience at the time I felt so great so confidant it was only when depressed I realised how badly I behaved, how much money I spent and all the risk taking I did. So at the time I felt everyone else was silly and they wanted me to stop my fun but afterwards I realised the decisions I made while manic could be destructive and some ruined my reputation.

    It is so caring of you to want to educate yourself about your brother.

    Everyone is different but I suppose your brother may feel embarrassed later when he realises how he behaved.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Glassy
    Glassy avatar
    6 posts
    10 June 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Thank you so much. Talking to you has made me feel so much less alone. It is so great to hear that you have not had mania for years, are you still on the medication?

    Sometimes I am afraid that because his symptoms don't exactly match- he doesn't engage in destructive behaviours, doesn't seem euphoric (just confused and unable to communicate, annoyed that his thoughts are obstructive and at times quite eccentric), and he seems to want to get better (just doesn't want to lose the thoughts in the process). If the psych got the diagnosis wrong and he is actually not manic but something else, I am terrified about what would happen/if he will ever go back to normal.

    It's crazy someone so level-headed can suddenly become this way. I feel like my mind is disconnected from this and subconsciously I feel like my brother is still overseas and hasn't returned, because this person in his place is not at all recognisable as the person I know, he is that different.

    1 person found this helpful

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