Could a Concussion Have Caused My Bipolar Disorder?

Updated on November 2, 2017

I wasn't always like this. At one time in my life, I was the happy-go-lucky kind. I saw the good in everything and everyone. Everything had a silver lining. I was not this shell of a person I have become. I was always walking around with a smile on my face, and I rarely felt depressed and hardly ever felt anxious. I had friends, an awesome boyfriend, who I later married, and a great job with awesome coworkers that were more like my second family than just my peers. I woke up every morning with a purpose and most of all I laughed! I had a great life! One that anyone would be happy with. I loved to read, go for walks, go out for drinks with my friends and boyfriend, go to movies, and loved to cook. It was a passion of mine.

Somewhere along the way, I lost my ability to enjoy any of these things. I have become the total opposite of the person I once was. The doctors claimed that high stress could trigger the bipolar disorder and that could be the reason I didn't have any of the characteristics of the disorder until later in life. I could never really quite pinpoint a time when it happened because it all seemed so gradual. I didn't even notice the changes in me. Then today, I read a fantastic article on here about TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and how it can change a one's personality. All of a sudden, it hit me like a brick! Back in my happier days while going into work, it was a particularly nasty day, snow and sleet covered the parking lot and made the floors wet as fellow employees tracked it in with them. I was running late and rushing through the building. I opened the heavy wooden door and slid on a slick patch of tile and fell hard cracking my head open on the door. I sat on the floor dazed and confused not able to move or even comprehend what happened. Blood started pouring down my face and a horrified coworker ran and called 911. I can remember feeling like I was going to faint and had a horrible time answering the paramedic's questions. My head hurt like it never had before and they took me to the hospital for a cat scan and 12 stitches. They said that I sustained a severe concussion and sent me home. I lay in bed for 4 days unable to move. My head pounded and I was just so tired and felt like I was pinned down to the bed. The ringing in my ears was terribly irritating and I could barely focus on anything. Even when I returned to work on day 5, I still felt terrible and very confused. My thoughts were cloudy and I had a really hard time concentrating. Thinking back now, I remember a friend of mine that was also a coworker mentioned to me that I didn't seem myself lately—that I hardly smiled anymore and that I seemed to be short tempered lately. I hadn't noticed, and so I dismissed it. Now looking back, I can't help but think that my bipolar disorder started after the fall. This new discovery does not change anything. It is what it is—but I finally have answers to questions that have been bothering me for years. Now, I wonder how many other sufferers out there might have experienced a similar incident and if it caused their bipolar to bloom as mine has. I know there is no way back to my true self, but at least knowing why it happened brings me peace.

Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

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    • profile image

      Jean 

      7 months ago

      My daughter had 3 concussions in one year. It took a year for the headaches to go away. Then came the mental issues. I know that had a lot to do with it. We are struggling to keep her from committing suicide. 5 hospital stays and lots of therapy.

    • profile image

      Sanoop 

      19 months ago

      This is true, A concussion can trigger bi-polar , I was at my hometown when it happen to me , I jumped from a fence and hit hard on the edge of a concrete debris , I was unconscious for few minutes later I regained consciousness no one was around me so I walked home holding my left chin with pressure(no blood), after this incident my life has not been the same , I could not enjoy thing that I use to , I become suspicious and shy and my mood started change frequently , recently I realised it all happened after the fall, some concussions syndrome may be life long but, don't loose hope

    • profile image

      Gary Rodighiero 

      4 years ago

      Interesting stuff,I google this and come to this page. 15 years ago I had severe concussion painful stuff and diagnosed 3 years ago with bipolar 2.no one in the family has this so I myself have this problem ,affected my relationship on marriage.friends,and work.

    • michellebell1972 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Wow Madeline I am so sorry for what you are going through! I hope someone will be able to help you. I have grown to like the mania a little bit, I know it sounds odd, but the amount of stuff I get done is fantastic. It's the depression I could do without. :)

    • profile image

      Madeline 

      5 years ago

      I'm pretty young (going into eighth grade) and I, too, have had a severe brain injury. Actually...four. In 2011 I sustained a very severe concussion when I slammed my head on concrete in gym class. After that, it went all downhill. This year alone I was diagnosed with three concussions, one of which I am still recovering (five months later). Recently, I wasn't feeling myself and I went about four days without sleep and did anything and everything I could with all the energy I had. I went to a psychologist and she said I might be bipolar, but didn't want to make a diagnosis because of my brain injuries. Then I went to a headache specialist who put me on a pain medication (nortriptyline) which only made my mania worse. So she took me off of the meds and suggested I see a psychiatrist who could prescribe me medication if he felt I needed it. So after a few visits, he said that I had mild bipolarity, but didn't want to make any definite labels. He then decided to broaden the diagnosis as "mood disorder caused by post-concussion syndrome."

      I hope you are okay, Michelle. I understand what you are going through. Great article to read.

    • profile image

      Heather 

      5 years ago

      I had a similar event too! About a year ago my fincee' accidentally slammed our van's back hatch onto my head. Ever since that happened I just feel depressed & overwhelmed by everything. And when I do get happy, it's over the top excitement!

    • michellebell1972 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thank you so much for the great info tsmog! I will look into it!!

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      5 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Hello. Michelle. This is a very intriguing article. As you will discover at your home profile with my post I am diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 1 with psychotic symptoms. Your article asks a very valid question, of which I sought the same answers. I must point out some research for you at UCSD. http://health.ucsd.edu/news/2011/Pages/12-21-CNV-b...

      Remember, as I have learned if hypomanic or near manic reading these will by mystifying. The main point is it is genetic to some families and something activates the gene. The next thing is brain trauma and bipolar disorder are distinctively two different things with similar symptoms. That is all. They are not necessarily linked other than possibly a trigger. I caution mixing the two except under professional care in some type of therapeutic setting.

      May I suggest you seek a round rounded bipolar support group either online or in a group - leader/professional setting. Many support groups can be discovered through the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagenam... You will discover a directory there for support groups and more help than one can shake a stick at. Plus, another great source is Pendulum.org

      If you need additional help please email and I will look into that. I do work slow with a job, yet I am willing to put in 2 cents worth.

      tim

      Oh Yeah, remember to smile (it releases good brain chemicals) and have fun, fun, fun . . .

    • michellebell1972 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      My injury was to my right temple right at the hairline. Your poor son! oh he must have been in so much pain!!

    • lindalou1963 profile image

      Linda 

      5 years ago from Texas

      This makes me think of my stepson who injured his head when he was in the 6th grade. He attended an old school and the windows were those old type that cranked open. When opened, the sharp corners of the windows protruded into the classroom. One day the teacher was out of the room and another student tripped my son, who then fell and hit his forehead on the corner of the window. It busted his skull and cut the skin. They had to extract about a silver dollar sized portion of his skull. He recovered fine.

      His injury was above his right eye, maybe a little closer to the top of is forehead than to his eye. He, too is bipolar. He was just a child when he was injured. So, after reading your story, I couldn't help wondering if maybe the same thing happened to him.

      Do you mind if I ask, where was your injury? Was it in the same are of the head as his?

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