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Old 06-05-2021, 03:41 PM   #1
Giraffe101
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Lightbulb Female, bipolar, and... I think autistic as well?

Hello everyone,

This is my second ever thread. I first joined the forums in 2020, after being diagnosed bipolar I - after a second hospitalization due to a manic episode. It was an intense rollercoaster ride as you can imagine, but I've managed to put my life back on track in the past 14 months.


If anybody is curious you can look at the original thread where I describe the initial clash with all this mess then my getting my life back ordeal:


https://mysupportforums.org/bipolar/546698-bipolar-anxious-not-sleeping.html

So, pretty good so far. Diagnosed bipolar at 35 and it was definitely one of those this-makes-so-much-sense! moments. I've established a very repetitive routine, which I love and makes me feel safe and in control. Part of me enjoys not having to be social due to the pandemic. My therapist praises my very logical, methodical CBT approach to things. I like routine, logic and patterns.


This week I stubled accross some records from 10 years ago. And there's another pattern there: me asking my friends why so-and-so reacted that way, people telling me I was too rude when that was not my intention, people telling me I can't say that! And it is true, I still have a hard time figuring out people. But I never had a problem with visual contact, I talk easily with everybody and everybody to me - many people think I'm joking when I say I'm an introvert -, jokes don't get over my head, I usually make them - and so often I function purely on sarcasm that people think I'm being offensive when I just want to make them laugh. But after a day of seeing people, coming back home to silence is the best possible feeling: I am absolutely exhausted, almost physically so.


Once I realized I was bipolar, and particularly after I turned 30, I stopped trying to please everybody - I very much wanted to be liked, to be like other people, to be normal. Not understanding why some people hated me and thought I was full of myself while I just had genuine enthusiasm for what I was talking about. In school I quickly learned to hide my quirkiness and my intelligence: "nobody likes a smartass Giraffe101!".

I'm 36 now. I don't give a damn about what other people think anymore - that was step 1. Step 2 was realizing I was indeed bipolar, and that my mood oscillations had an actual reason: I wasn't a drama queen, I honestly broke down while trying to deal with conflicts in social situations. I didn't choose to be depressive one day and happy and full of energy the other. My high school sweetheart broke up with me because I was "too intense". I spent the next 10 years trying to "feel" less... "Men don't like it when you're too loving or too clingy or too.. you!". Stopping being somebody I thought I should be was the best decision of my life.


But realizing I was camouflaging my entire life, mimicking others' behaviours, having hyper sensitivity and over-empathy (I want to help everybody), the emotional meltdowns, that is definitely in-line with autism in women. I think I might be a high-functioning autistic woman with bipolar disorder. The interesting, puzzling part is whether I am mainly autistic with bipolar symptoms or the other way around. I understand it is impossible to individually isolate and characterize mental disorders, and that there is definitely some overlap - autism is on a spectrum, as we know, and there are subtypes of bipolar cathegories...

So, I guess what I wanted to ask (sorry for the long post!) was: are there other ladies with autism/bipolar disorder/both here? If so, how is it for you? Do you face the same issues I mentioned?


And ultimately I think what I want to know relates to treatment: does your doctor treat you for the condition most prominent (autism or bipolar disorder) or goes around trying to address both? I do an anti-depressant, an anti-psychotic and lithium and I am quite well, bar the physical symptoms of lithium (hands shaking, hair loss, heavy thirst and urination). I would really like to replace lithium but I'm obviously fearful of manic episodes. I saw that for autism valproate is usually prescribed. Does anybody have any experience with that?

Thank you for reading, I would really like to hear from others going through the same or knowing someone who does.
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Female, bipolar, and... I think autistic as well?

Hi I'm not autistic, but I do have bipolar disorder. Please come and post on the Bipolar Disorder board. You will find a lot of support there.
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Old 06-07-2021, 06:29 PM   #3
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Grin Re: Female, bipolar, and... I think autistic as well?

Hi Beth,

I know, I posted before in the Bipolar forum (also, nice to "see" you again ) and everybody was very supportive. It is just that this feels like a particular niche of bipolar + autism - I didn't go to the regular autism forum because I only saw autism in men being discussed (which is fair, it is a 5 to 1 proportion in men vs women), but it is so different for women that I thought I would just get a lot of information that doesn't really apply.

If there are any other ladies juggling bipolar and autism do let me know. I guess I'm just trying to process and take it all in. And ultimately trying to understand if this changes anything treatment-wise.
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Old 06-10-2021, 03:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Female, bipolar, and... I think autistic as well?

You can also post in the Autism/Asperger's section if you wish. I wasn't diagnosed with autism until I was 40 years old.
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Old 06-10-2021, 04:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Female, bipolar, and... I think autistic as well?

I suspect the ratio of autistic women to men is much higher than the statistics indicate - its not usually as obvious in females as it is with males, partly because of how were socialised and how the symptoms actually manifest in us. Im not bipolar, but was diagnosed with high functioning autism at 17 (not 100% convinced I am autistic, but I got high scores on every self test Ive taken, and pretty much flunked the test with facial expressions lol).
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Old 06-10-2021, 04:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Female, bipolar, and... I think autistic as well?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giraffe101 View Post
Hi Beth,

I know, I posted before in the Bipolar forum (also, nice to "see" you again ) and everybody was very supportive. It is just that this feels like a particular niche of bipolar + autism - I didn't go to the regular autism forum because I only saw autism in men being discussed (which is fair, it is a 5 to 1 proportion in men vs women), but it is so different for women that I thought I would just get a lot of information that doesn't really apply.

If there are any other ladies juggling bipolar and autism do let me know. I guess I'm just trying to process and take it all in. And ultimately trying to understand if this changes anything treatment-wise.

Actually, there is a regular member of the bipolar board who also lives with autism. Maybe make a thread about it on that board?
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Old 06-11-2021, 02:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Female, bipolar, and... I think autistic as well?

Thanks SybilMarie, I might do that. It's just that I had a look at the autism/asperger's forums and didn't spot any women talking about this, just the usual "boy" descriptions. I will possibly also post in the bipolar forum, but it still feels rather out of place... Oh well, I'll give it a go!
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Old 06-11-2021, 03:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Female, bipolar, and... I think autistic as well?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoxanneToto View Post
I suspect the ratio of autistic women to men is much higher than the statistics indicate - its not usually as obvious in females as it is with males, partly because of how were socialised and how the symptoms actually manifest in us. Im not bipolar, but was diagnosed with high functioning autism at 17 (not 100% convinced I am autistic, but I got high scores on every self test Ive taken, and pretty much flunked the test with facial expressions lol).


Yeah, I've always oscillated between 'weird' and 'excentric' - changed with age, obviously not as acceptable to call a woman weird if she's no longer a kid, go figure... /sarcasm

I'm good with recognizing facial expressions but it seems I can't control my own since most people ask why am I angry when I really am not. Is resting b**** face real?
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Old 06-11-2021, 03:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: Female, bipolar, and... I think autistic as well?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BethRags View Post


Actually, there is a regular member of the bipolar board who also lives with autism. Maybe make a thread about it on that board?


Thanks Beth, I might do that, also maybe other members might be interested in the topic too.
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