This was my honest response to my psychiatrist’s diagnosis of bipolar. Not only did I not accept it, I thought she had my file confused with someone else’s. She clearly wasn’t listening to anything I was saying. If she had been she would know that I am only ADHD.
Let me be honest and say that I was labeled bipolar multiple times throughout my life by strangers and by family so it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard but this time it was coming from a professional, a psychiatrist at that. Nevermind what happened after that because I left her office and did not plan on returning.
I didn’t know who she thought she was but she obviously needed to see me a few more times. And that she did. I committed to going back to her because I didn’t like her and that meant I couldn’t get over on her. In active addiction, I learned a great skill, manipulation. In trying to break this terrible habit, I told myself in order to remain sober, I had to get down to the source of my problems. Antidepressants worked fine for my anxiety, with an added just in case pill, but I was still experiencing depression. I needed someone who knew what the hell they were doing and who could see through my bullshit. And …. that she did.
I would see her once a month for 8 months before accepting a mood stabilizer. At the point in which I had, I was at my lowest in years. As soon as I walked through her doors she knew I was ready. She looked at me with emotion in her eyes. My pain was evident. She wanted me to help me. I refused brands I had tried. “Not that one”. Finally, I said yes to an atypical antipsychotic. One that promised to target the problem immediately. One with minimal side effects. The one I continue to take today.
The depth of my depression wasn’t the case for me saying yes. Research was. Over the eight months I researched and investigated the symptoms of bipolar, I read stories and I accepted that I am indeed, bipolar II with rapid cycling. The sad thing was that I was medicated as a bipolar patient without being formally diagnosed with bipolar. I was told I had major depressive disorder, never bipolar yet I was on mood stabilizers while institutionalized but when I wasn’t I only had antidepressants. Odd? Wild, in fact. I still do not know where the communication failed.
The symptoms that allowed me to accept my diagnosis were rapid speech and irritability. I have had severe anger outburst my whole life. I never knew this to be a symptom of bipolar. I thought bipolar was all about depression and mania but boy was I wrong. There is much more to this spectrum disorder. Irritability is a signal to a cycle, for me. It is usually an ending to a hypomanic phase which can last for days sometimes weeks. With medication, my rapid cycling is under control but that by no means makes me exempt from symptoms. I notice an increase in irritability if I miss a number of doses. I try not to miss my medication but sometimes I seem to forget only to quickly be reminded by unstable moods.
Ironically I do not have ADHD as I had self-diagnosed. My problematic lack of focus is on behalf of bipolar disorder. I have an overactive mind that rarely shuts itself off. I have terrible mood swings before and during my cycle. I have a lot of pent-up anger, for no apparent reason. I am not naturally happy even when I try to be. I am unstable, without medication. Hi. My name is Candace and this is my bipolar experience.
If you experience any of symptoms like or similar to mine and life has you low, I ask you seek professional help. Life can be better. There are options. You are worthy of a life with stability.