Understanding My New Bipolar Diagnosis After Years Of Treatment For Depression
Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:16 PM
It's been three years now and treatment has failed me. I've tried a couple different depression medicines and am still on Wellbutrin right now and take meds daily for my anxiety. I went through CBT and though I learned some ways to be calm, I never felt improved. For years I struggled with this, I struggled to comprehend it. It was lonely for me aside from my incredible boyfriend who has been my number one cheerleader all this time. I was and am incredibly high functioning to the point even my family shrugs it off. I've fallen into all kinds of substance issues and bad habits but for the most part now am okay aside from drinking.
I wanted a second opinion and was accepted for an accessment at a huge mental health clinic. I had to wait months for my appointment, but finally it came yesterday and after two hours of questions and screening I left with a new diagnosis: bipolar 2. Manic depression. Something I had felt was more closely related to my symptoms for almost a year now.
First, I felt relief. I felt relief knowing now that I know what this is I can be put on proper medication and hopefully start to see progress. But I also feel inexplicably uncomfortable. I was at a point where although I was fighting it, I had accepted that I was depressed. I don't know how to feel about being diagnosed as bipolar and this troubles me for some reason, like I almost feel I have a stigma towards it even though I've been trying to break those walls down myself for years.
I think in part its because my sister has bipolar 1 and schizoprenia. When I told her my new diagnosis she was angry with me and I think perhaps felt I was invading something that she views as hers. Like I've taken something away from her. I wanted to celebrate this step in the right direction but she cursed me for it and said terrible things. I am trying to ignore it despite how much it hurts because I know I'm doing what is best for me.
I think I am writing this for one, to put it out there. And two, for support. I never felt people took my depression seriously and it has caused me trouble in many aspects of my life including employment (including right now).
How do you make people understand your "flaws" (though I don't want to use that word) are in fact part of a serious mental illness? I feel like because I have this diagnosis I can suddenly explain things to friends, family, employers, but can I actually do that? Can I openly discuss this without fear of consequence? Is being open about it something that will help or hinder my employment?
I know its just a diagnosis but I feel different in so many ways. Is this normal?
Thanks for reading.
Posted 28 June 2012 - 02:10 PM
Your sister is likely feeling like you took away her proble and shes not special anymore. I know that I kinda felt that way at first when my SIL was diagnosed, but now I am over it and it doesn't bother me.
You have to come to terms with your illness before anyone else can. It takes time, but you can do it.
Get all the help you need, tdoc, pdoc, the right meds and time will allow you to handle things better. Its a constant struggle, every day with bi polar.
Mother to Liam (2009) and Ember (2006)
Diagnosed Bi Polar I, Mixed episodes, non-psychotic; generalized anxiety disorder; ADD
Prozac, Abliify, Lamictal, Kalonapin, Kapvay, Lunesta
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Posted 29 June 2012 - 06:42 PM
Some of our flaws do come from our illness, but it's still up to us to own up to them. I think the realization that they come from illness is helpful because you know not to blame yourself, and you also know where you need to look in order to improve.
In terms of telling people, I would advise caution. The stigma of bipolar is significant. Most people don't understand the illness. I personally share only with a few very trusted people. In terms of work, I have one colleague who knows who I know without question can be trusted to keep it to herself. Once you disclose, you cannot take it back. Discrimination is unfortunately a real risk that we face. I am all for fighting stigma, but you also need to look out for yourself. In my profession, it's impossible. Only you can determine what makes sense in your own life.
- HoneyT likes this
Posted 04 July 2012 - 02:19 PM
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