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Am I Bipolar?


kindohioguy

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I have been treated for years for major depression and anxiety. Many different meds, and talking to i don't know how many psychologists. I have read alot about bipolar disorder and feel that i definately suffer from this, but my family doctor who has prescribed my meds for years has always been reluctant to say i am bipolar. Now that i am in a situation where i need to apply for disability he finally suggests that i talk to a psychiatrist. I am assuming that once i do talk to the new DR that he/she will be able to figure out if i am truly bipolar?? Is it difficult for them to come up with a diagnosis? Any info would be much appreciated! I don't know what to expect when i go to see the psychiatrist...??

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After ~15 years of having a depression/anxiety diagnosis I was recently diagnosed as bipolar, type II. It makes sense to me. Bipolar is often "missed" as a diagnosis, and it may take many years before one is diagnosed as such. Tell your Psychiatrist your thoughts about whether or not bipolar fits with your symptoms. If you have a sib or parent with bipolar (or schizophrenia, as that is sometimes the diagnosis given when bipolar might be a better label) that can be an indicator that you've got bipolar.

I have been treated for years for major depression and anxiety. Many different meds, and talking to i don't know how many psychologists. I have read alot about bipolar disorder and feel that i definately suffer from this, but my family doctor who has prescribed my meds for years has always been reluctant to say i am bipolar. Now that i am in a situation where i need to apply for disability he finally suggests that i talk to a psychiatrist. I am assuming that once i do talk to the new DR that he/she will be able to figure out if i am truly bipolar?? Is it difficult for them to come up with a diagnosis? Any info would be much appreciated! I don't know what to expect when i go to see the psychiatrist...??

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Bipolar contains components of many MIs and is hard to accurately diagnose-and only a psychiatrist is qualified to give that diagnosis. How detailed of a mental health history did your family doctor keep? If it's very precise, it can or mental health? be helpful for the pdoc you go to see. If not, then you will have to wait quite awhile (several months or more) before the pdoc can formally diagnose you with BP (a long, detailed mental health history is needed). As asked, do you have any family members (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles) diagnosed with BP? It's generally inherited, but can pop up out of the blue for no apparent reason.

If I may ask, what type of disability are you applying for? Physical or mental health? Usually, the latter requires a majority of the treatment received be performed by a mental health practitioner. I've been through the whole SS disability filing process. Fel free to ask or visit the Benefits forum further down the menu.

Sheepwoman

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I have made an appointment with local mental health facility that will work with me since i have no health insurance at this time. I am hopeful that this will be the first step in finding out what is truly going on with me. I have tried so many meds over the years, but nothing has ever seemed to help much. I am told that i will be evaluated by a counselor and then referred to a psychiatrist in their organization. Of course my goal is to feel better, but i am also hopeful that this will help the disability process along. I have applied for SSDI and SSI here in Ohio. I am pretty sure i understand the differences between the two, but i don't know for sure how soon i can get the SSI assistance. I have been told that i may be able to get the state assistance right away while the SSDI process is going through. The worst part of all of this is that on top of already feeling horrible with the depression, anxiety, up and down moods, etc... I have to try to deal with all of this. It's extremely difficult to say the least! I have read alot about bipolar disorder, and feel that there is a good chance that i may be suffering from some form of that, but i will have to see what the professionals say. There is a family history of depression, anxiety, etc... but as far as i know there was never anyone diagnosed as being bipolar.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally figured out what was "wrong" with me. Man, it has taken a very long time. Because in so many ways "nothing" was wrong with me (I was a high achiever and well liked and all that). And yet, something was ALWAYS out of synch. I knew from the time I was a little kid that I struggled. I guess for a long time I just thought that everyone had that struggle, and then much later realized that it was not what other people experience. It wasn't until I was in my early 20s that the possibility that I was clinically depressed was raised with a doctor. But weirdly, I always "failed" the "depression tests." They ask things like, "do you sleep more or less than usual," or "have you lost your appetite," or "lost interest in things you used to enjoy." But what if you were ALWAYS like that, from as far back as you remember. If you've ALWAYS had strange sleep patterns compared to other people, and ALWAYS had a very suppressed appetite, and ALWAYS been really prone to losing interest in hobbies and pursuits, then it doesn't look like you're depressed according to their matrix.

I didn't know what I was. It didn't add up for me when I read about depression. It was only in the past couple years that it dawned on me that I'm absolutely, without a doubt, manic depressive. Because I swing from painfully low to the point of incapacity, to wildly elated and talkative or irritable and hyper. I can actually swing like that WITHIN MINUTES! That's another thing that always confused me. I could be at a dinner gathering and be the life of the party, enjoying myself and entertaining others with my humour and personality, and then suddenly, like a big heavy blanket just dropped over me, I would clam up, lose all interest in the people around me, lose any desire to speak or engage. I remember ALWAYS being like this, and just thought it was normal....though I did sometimes wonder why it happened. Now it makes sense.

Now it makes sense why I aborted several very promising careers. I would rise extremely quickly through various companies/opportunities, and then after about 2 years, just flame out. I couldn't bear to wake up and go in any more. No matter how much they were paying me or loving me. I reached a point, always, where I"d rather die than get out of bed and go into the job. I thought I was a combination of extremely lazy and unreliable and just plain "too smart" to be stimulated by the job long-term. The person who stayed in a job for 25 years, 10 years, even 5 years, was just absolutely alien to me. Now I know why!

Now I know why I can go days and days and days without wanting to speak to anyone. I want to be normal. Sometimes I am normal, and it feels a lot better. But I'm just plain and simply manic depressive, and realize now too that my mother always has been. She has never realized she's even "depressed," let alone "manic depressive." Cuz when you have been that way your whole life, you don't know any different. You think it's the world that is wrong, and not you.

So it's a very confusing thing for me to face now, because it has changed how I see msyelf entirely. It's changed my perspective on my entire history and my future. I feel profoundly defective. I used to think I was pretty darn great, because I could do a lot of things well and got rewarded for them. But now I see that is simply the flipside of this handicap. I'd be better off being a lot less smart, and a lot more steady! I don't know what can become of me now, to be honest. I'm going to lead a rather odd existence. It was fine to be in my 20s and flitting from flower to flower, without any commitment and the odd emotional meltdown. But I'm in my 40s now! And I"m only just figuring the darn thing out. Who knew.

Edited by skip9
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Skip9-- thank you for your post. I can relate to a good portion of it, though my experience has been less...extreme so far. I believe I am only Bipolar II, though.

I rarely "look" like I am depressed, either. I have my moments where it's pretty obvious, but overall I feel good, and-- like you said-- it often does not show up on a screening test. It's like the reverse of chronic depression, because instead of feeling depressed most of the time with occasional brief highs, I feel happy most of the time with occasional brief but debilitating lows.

To the OP-- good luck on a getting a diagnosis. I am also working towards a diagnosis. It's so frustrating that it can take so long. I was near convincing my therapist, though, but now she's moving her practice to another city and I have to find someone else (ugh).

I finally figured out what was "wrong" with me. Man, it has taken a very long time. Because in so many ways "nothing" was wrong with me (I was a high achiever and well liked and all that). And yet, something was ALWAYS out of synch. I knew from the time I was a little kid that I struggled. I guess for a long time I just thought that everyone had that struggle, and then much later realized that it was not what other people experience. It wasn't until I was in my early 20s that the possibility that I was clinically depressed was raised with a doctor. But weirdly, I always "failed" the "depression tests." They ask things like, "do you sleep more or less than usual," or "have you lost your appetite," or "lost interest in things you used to enjoy." But what if you were ALWAYS like that, from as far back as you remember. If you've ALWAYS had strange sleep patterns compared to other people, and ALWAYS had a very suppressed appetite, and ALWAYS been really prone to losing interest in hobbies and pursuits, then it doesn't look like you're depressed according to their matrix.

I didn't know what I was. It didn't add up for me when I read about depression. It was only in the past couple years that it dawned on me that I'm absolutely, without a doubt, manic depressive. Because I swing from painfully low to the point of incapacity, to wildly elated and talkative or irritable and hyper. I can actually swing like that WITHIN MINUTES! That's another thing that always confused me. I could be at a dinner gathering and be the life of the party, enjoying myself and entertaining others with my humour and personality, and then suddenly, like a big heavy blanket just dropped over me, I would clam up, lose all interest in the people around me, lose any desire to speak or engage. I remember ALWAYS being like this, and just thought it was normal....though I did sometimes wonder why it happened. Now it makes sense.

Now it makes sense why I aborted several very promising careers. I would rise extremely quickly through various companies/opportunities, and then after about 2 years, just flame out. I couldn't bear to wake up and go in any more. No matter how much they were paying me or loving me. I reached a point, always, where I"d rather die than get out of bed and go into the job. I thought I was a combination of extremely lazy and unreliable and just plain "too smart" to be stimulated by the job long-term. The person who stayed in a job for 25 years, 10 years, even 5 years, was just absolutely alien to me. Now I know why!

Now I know why I can go days and days and days without wanting to speak to anyone. I want to be normal. Sometimes I am normal, and it feels a lot better. But I'm just plain and simply manic depressive, and realize now too that my mother always has been. She has never realized she's even "depressed," let alone "manic depressive." Cuz when you have been that way your whole life, you don't know any different. You think it's the world that is wrong, and not you.

So it's a very confusing thing for me to face now, because it has changed how I see msyelf entirely. It's changed my perspective on my entire history and my future. I feel profoundly defective. I used to think I was pretty darn great, because I could do a lot of things well and got rewarded for them. But now I see that is simply the flipside of this handicap. I'd be better off being a lot less smart, and a lot more steady! I don't know what can become of me now, to be honest. I'm going to lead a rather odd existence. It was fine to be in my 20s and flitting from flower to flower, without any commitment and the odd emotional meltdown. But I'm in my 40s now! And I"m only just figuring the darn thing out. Who knew.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was back and forth to the doctor for years and was always prescribed anti-depressants they never worked for me, I always assumed I was just depressed as I never really understood the way I was feeling. I asked my doctor to take blood and test me for other things to rule them out and they came back negative, I have always suffered back headaches as well for years and my doctor sent me for an MRI scan which was okay, Its when bipolar became more known that I thought it could be that, I never mentioned to my doctor it could be this though, I finally saw a different doctor and told them my symptoms and they referred me to the psychiatrist, he went through everything that had happened in my life and about all my symptoms and because I had all the other tests to rule everything out he diagnosed me with cyclothymia straight away, I cried with relief to finally get some answers after 14 years, when i started seeing other doctors it changed from cyclothymia to borderline personality disorder, now psychiatrist that I will see from now on has told me I'm bipolar II, so hang on in there as they always aren't right and it takes time to get a clear diagnoses.

Good luck :)

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I wonder if this is what is up with me then. Ive been taking meds for anxiety and depression but the meds barely help at all. And bipolar does run in my moms side of my family. Has anyone been diagnosed with anxiety depression and had it actually be bipolar? And did the new meds help? any info would be great. I'd love to feel better again

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been seeing a shrink once a month for at least 5 years and has never mentioned Bipolar, only major depression. I obviously have all the symptoms after doing online research. He prescribes me 7 different medications for depression and anxiety disorder. After 5 years, they really don't help and he won't try anything different. I haven't worked since 2007, am on disability and things haven't changed (except for my weight, which has me over 330lbs). If I don't have Bipolar, just major depression, then what is the difference?? Should I mention the Bipolar thing to my shrink next time I see him, or just let him carry on with his usual routine of prescribing something that doesn't work?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have been treated for years for major depression and anxiety. Many different meds, and talking to i don't know how many psychologists. I have read alot about bipolar disorder and feel that i definately suffer from this, but my family doctor who has prescribed my meds for years has always been reluctant to say i am bipolar. Now that i am in a situation where i need to apply for disability he finally suggests that i talk to a psychiatrist. I am assuming that once i do talk to the new DR that he/she will be able to figure out if i am truly bipolar?? Is it difficult for them to come up with a diagnosis? Any info would be much appreciated! I don't know what to expect when i go to see the psychiatrist...??

Hi kindohioguy and everyone else,

I understand your concern about your dx. I think seeing a psychiatrist is a good idea as many gps don't have specialized training in psychiatry and therefore aren't equipped to evaluate your symptoms. You had mentioned that you've been on many different medications...have you been on SSRIs or other antidepressants (without mood stabilizers like lithium or depakote)? Sometimes when someone with bipolar has been misdiagnosed and is treated with antidepressants ALONE, a hypomanic or manic episode will be induced by the medication and this can offer some guidance to the treating physician. Hope this helps.

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I've been seeing a shrink once a month for at least 5 years and has never mentioned Bipolar, only major depression. I obviously have all the symptoms after doing online research. He prescribes me 7 different medications for depression and anxiety disorder. After 5 years, they really don't help and he won't try anything different. I haven't worked since 2007, am on disability and things haven't changed (except for my weight, which has me over 330lbs). If I don't have Bipolar, just major depression, then what is the difference?? Should I mention the Bipolar thing to my shrink next time I see him, or just let him carry on with his usual routine of prescribing something that doesn't work?

As someone that stuggles with BP1, OCD, PTSD, and GAD I would suggest taking one of the online test such as the one from Black Dog Institute for Bipolar. It wasn't hard for me to partly accecpt as my psych, the test, my Dad is BP1 hits all the marks. Then go see a psych and have them read your objective answers, just be objective.

BP is cycling from depression to mania. Often BP1 folks like me are more depressed than manic, but when full blown manic we may appear super hyper and out of control at times. When full blown manic inside I feel like My Hyde. I may look pleasant but you wouldn't want to mess with me. Some BP1 folks even hallucinations, mine being auditory, hearing angry or happy music spontaneously playing in my head. I have perceptual distortions and sometimes perceive non threats as threats.

When just middle of range mania I can talk so fast you can't understand me. I can't focus because I am thinking of 3-7 things at the same time. I can't sleep when manic because my mind won't shut down at bedtime. it just keeps going, work, marriage, find better job, Mom is not well, etc.

BP2, from my reading is the less severe form and BP2 often stay in a hypomanic state, like I feel like I have been for the last 2 months, after being in a state of utter despair and depression.

The unfortunate thing is that these diagnoses are subjective and the treatments are trial and error. Some ppl have told me gettting an EEG test on my brain will help match my BP1 drugs to my chemistry, but that's big $$$ and others have told me it's 50% accurate, not great stats IMO.

And mindfullness does help I just prefer TM I learned it first, actually hypnosis then TM. Meditation really does work and it takes a lot of work when I am manic. Nice plug on meditation it's great.

Depressed people often don't cycle to extreme happiness or hyperness which can be mania. They stay depressed. My Mom has clinical depression and she feels great on Effexxor, spelling?

Before I received the right diagnosis I was given Celexa and that blasted me into mania in a very bad way. That is a sign you are BP not just depressed. BP folks, in general can't take anti depressants or SSRI's it send them into mania.

If you read my reply you can see my thinking is somewhat fragmented because I am mildly manic now, so it's hard to type cohesive thoughts. Hopefully, it gave you some insight though. Also watch Stephen Fry's movie on Manic Depression aka BP and see if any of that seems like you, it did for me.

Peace and Good Kharma to all.

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I've been seeing a shrink once a month for at least 5 years and has never mentioned Bipolar, only major depression. I obviously have all the symptoms after doing online research. He prescribes me 7 different medications for depression and anxiety disorder. After 5 years, they really don't help and he won't try anything different. I haven't worked since 2007, am on disability and things haven't changed (except for my weight, which has me over 330lbs). If I don't have Bipolar, just major depression, then what is the difference?? Should I mention the Bipolar thing to my shrink next time I see him, or just let him carry on with his usual routine of prescribing something that doesn't work?

And no my fellow Canuck change psychs if you have been going on this long and don't feel progress that's no good. In fact, since you have been waiting this long why not make sure the next psych has history of treating BP folks, screen him/her first to ensure best fit possible.

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