Pregnancy: A Cure for my Bipolar Disorder

I started having symptoms of bipolar disorder when I was a child. To my grandparents who raised me, they thought I was just a independent and difficult child. Looking back, the signs were pretty clear.

My symptoms progressed over time, getting worse and more noticeable. My depressions were longer, deeper and more debilitating and my manic phases were down right unbearable for others to be around. I always call myself “A butterfly on crack” when I am manic, as it is the only way I can explain how I feel when it happens to me

When I became pregnant with my son unexpectedly, the first trimester was rough for my mood. I imagine anyone would have been nervous to have a child unexpectedly when they are 20. However, something very interesting happened to me during the pregnancies of both of my children. My depression? None. My mania? Nonexistent. I had ever been more reasonable in my life. And I was not medicated.

You always hear horror stories about pregnant women having severe depressions or emotional breakdowns when pregnant, but not me. I felt so stable. I felt…good. When my husband found out I was pregnant it scared him to death because he assumed my mental states would get worse. If kids didn’t cost so much, it may be  worth while to be pregnant all the time for me.

It was and is completely explainable to me. I admit, I am not a scientist and do not have the slightest clue on how brain chemistry works but I imagine that the increase in serotonin in my brain during pregnancy was just like taking my “happy pills”. Apparently to people with normal brain chemistry, that can make you a little whacky. And in that way, would this not be a fool proof way to test people for bipolar disorder?

If you gave people with suspected Bipolar Disorder HCG hormones to mimic pregnancy, could we not analyze their mood patterns to prove an imbalance in serotonin levels, thus, proving an actual case of bipolar disorder? So to all of the scientists and psychiatrists…is this something that could be possible? And, to all of the women out there with mental illness. Did pregnancy make your condition worse or better?

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8 thoughts on “Pregnancy: A Cure for my Bipolar Disorder

  1. I work in Mental Health and never heard this before but it makes much sense. Changes in the brain chemistry do affect mood disorders. It would be great if we could chemically fool the brain to believe you are pregnant when not therefore affecting your mood in a positive way. There was an old movie I remmeber watching a long time ago titled Circuitry Man. Stupid B rated but interesting with the whole concept of being able to stimulate the production of certain neurotransmitters with electrical impulses at the touch of a button. Thanks for the info, now I’ll be checking around. 🙂

    • I found it odd how stable I became during pregnancy. It really leads me to wonder if women could be placed on HCG pregnancy hormones long term for treatment of mood disorders. Since it is a naturally occurring hormone, I imagine the side effects would be minimal compared to the benefits. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  2. Interesting post. I don’t have bipolar or depression, I just remember that my pregnancy also had amazing “side effects”: I suddenly loathed and stopped smoking, drinking, eating fried foods etc. Everything in me seemed to focus on the responsibility for the new life growing inside of me.
    I would be scared to take HCG hormones on a regular basis though, because it is unnatural and would most probably effect the body in some way.
    Best
    Heila

  3. Pregnancy is fascinating. I have indeed actually heard of this happening for mothers with psychiatric struggles. I read a massive thread with a whole bunch of mothers sharing their experiences on the matter. (I wish I had the thread bookmarked. :\)
    The struggles were diverse, although I’d say most had either an anxiety disorder or bipolar.

    So from what I read and saw shared, unfortunately, despite the fact that it made you stable, it seems like it can go completely the other way.
    Also, for the ladies commenting there was a percentage who had more than one pregnancy, and some found carrying their first was drastically different from carrying their second child.
    To be more specific: some who found they stabilized during pregnancy, discovered that their second pregnancy made them utterly loopy. (And there were a few who were visa versa — though most, at least in the thread I read, who had a poor first pregnancy, were very hesitant to risk a second one.)

    So yeah, it can be wonderful, or it can be terrible, and even if it’s been one or the other before, it seems it’s a bit of a dice roll if it’ll be the same the second time.
    Since I’d like to be a parent, I will be hoping that pregnancy provides me with the benefits rather than the drawbacks.

    More than that though, I rather wish they’d figure out exactly how it’s making people stabilize, then they could use that to treat people. 😀

    • I agree that it seems like a roll of the dice on whether it makes you stable or not. Perhaps I was just one of the lucky ones as it made me stable through both pregnancies…however I sunk into the worst depressions of my life shortly after the birth of my children. So it was great for 9 months…but then it sucked bad. It was hard to pull out of those. Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂

      • Wow, what a contrast that must have been. Just, yikes.

        Hmm, well it wasn’t a super-small percentage that had different effects in their second pregnancy, most seemed to have things pretty similar to the first. Like I’d say there were probably like 50-70 ladies in the thread (there were a lot of pages) and I think it was around 15-20 of them said that their first pregnancy was different than their second one. Meanwhile it seemed to me that the majority of them of them either had more than one child, ergo more than one pregnancy, or were in the middle of their second pregnancy.
        (It was a “mommy forum” so that’s to be expected.)

        I’ll be candid but not detailed, I actually had my own very brief experience with pregnancy a few years ago. It only lasted a month, but it was a very strange and amazing thing to experience.
        I’ve been depressed for most of my life, but during that brief time, I was utterly blissful — Anxious, but blissful. (I don’t know if you can, but I can be very happy while also being very anxious)
        Almost everything I just liked normally suddenly made me incredibly happy. Simple things too, like eating, or showering, going for walks, and looking at trees, all made me feel so (irrationally) pleased.
        When I ate apples, and I’m normally ‘so-so’ on apples, they were so delicious that I wondered if this is what they tasted like to everyone who likes them. XD
        When people did things that pissed me off, I had an unusual reaction, so normally I’d get depressed ‘in a slump’ that would last days, but instead during that month I would be super anxious for about an hour, then I usually got over it. (Within the same day!)
        It was a very odd experience, and I hope that I get to enjoy it again, but more fully, when I seek out purposely having children.

        Actually I think it permanently altered my chemical balance, I have not been nearly as depressed since, but I have been 150% more anxious than I ever was before hand.
        When it ended I went through a brief depression, but moved into having the worst panic attacks of my life.
        Truthfully I think it was a good trade, (sounds strange, but panic attacks a preferable to crushing depression for me personally) I only hope that when I get pregnant again I won’t have a “trade back”. XP
        I guess we’ll see when it happens. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Pregnancy a Cure for Bipolar? Do read this. - black dog pie: a magazine on depression and bipolar

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