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Old 04-29-2007, 11:33 PM   #1
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Escapade HB User
Unsure about bipolar diagnosis

I originally posted on the "Bipolar and 17..." thread, but have been advised to post again here. I know I'm not meant to double-post, but I thought it would be a bit confusing to start a thread midway through the conversation:

Take 2

I'm 17, about to do my A levels (final school exams) before taking a gap year and hopefully going to medical school (provided I don't mess up my alevels).

Now for a probably over-length post, for which I apologise in advance...

I was diagnosed with depression last September, and have been having psychodynamic (I *think*) therapy since. Although it's untangled a few issues in my head I don't think it's had any effect of my moods. Because of this, I went to my family doctor a few weeks ago to ask about the possibility of medication to put me in a better mood so therapy would be more productive (it seemed like a good idea at the time). Because I'm 17, I had to be referred to a psychiatrist to be put on medication.

I went to the pdoc on wednesday (at the same unit as where I go for my tdoc appointments) and from looking at my notes and talking to me, she seems to think I have bipolar, which I don't agree with, although I can't decide whether that's me being in denial or genuinely thinking I don't have it.

I would say my lows are low enough to qualify as being depressive episodes - I go through phases of self harming for a couple of weeks about every 4 or 5 months when I'm feeling low. In these times, I tend to be in bed for a day or two a couple of times, not actually able to get up. I don't tend to cry, but it's more of a numbness. I have come very close to suicide on a few occasions, but something at the back of my mind always seems to tell me not to do it.

On the other hand, I'm not sure if my highs are high enough. I can get very hyper for a couple of days at a time; not sleeping, talking far too much, spending too much and being overly ambitious and that sortof thing. I related a lot to the description of mania in the second post of this thread - doing A levels at 14 and extra GCSEs, playing hockey 5 times a week and going to national finals, going to music rehearsals about 6 times a week and staying up into the middle of the night every night doing work. I always just attributed this to the fact I wanted to do well at things, but now I'm thinking they could have been more prolonged episodes of mania.

In response to a question on the other thread, yes, I can get very irritable and angry. Sometimes I get like that when I hyper and people don't seem to follow what I want to do, and sometimes I am very angry when I feel low, and can suddenly go from being incredibly withdrawn, to shouting at people and hitting myself.

Anyway, I'm just really confused, and you guys all seem really friendly and full of helpful advice. Any help appreciated please.

 
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Old 04-30-2007, 12:41 AM   #2
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MSLAINIE HB User
Re: Unsure about bipolar diagnosis

Hi Escapade...
I Am Mslainie, My Son Now 16 Is Bipolar. My Exhubby, Self Meds With Pcp And Drinking And He Now 45 Never Believed His Diagnosis Over 30 Years Ago.... When Out Son At 13 Started With Symtoms, Exactly Like You Described, I Thought It Was A Thing He Was Going Thru And It Would Pass. I Really Didnt Have Any Bipolar Infomation At All. I Did Not Believe, He Was Above Average In School. He Also Didnt Believe It But One Night He Took A Test Of Bipolar Symtoms And Told Me And His Psy He Is Bipolar. He Is On Meds Now Of Depakote,abilify At Night For Mood Stabizing And Nightmares, In Morning He Is On Prozac And Not Often But Doc Gave Him Klonopin For Really Bad Days. He Is Doing Alot Better. He Once In While Has A Bad One But Many Many Good Now. But I Am Not A Doc But I Would Get Another Opinion Right Away. I Know You Have You Answer. I Also Know Not Beleiving You Have The Illness Is A Symtom. But You Sound Like My Son And His Dad Above Average, Get Another Psy Opinion. Also I Keep Notes Too, Some Days We Are At Docs It Is So Easy To Forget Things. My Son Sees Psy 4wks, Thera 1x Wk And Primary Every 2mnths Or So And Depakote Level Once A Month. Good Luck And Keep Posting. This Is A Great Board. I Tried Others But The People Here Bipolar Or Not Are Honest And Help....
Good Luck
Mslainie

 
Old 04-30-2007, 12:46 AM   #3
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Paige1989 HB User
Re: Unsure about bipolar diagnosis

Alright, I'm going to reiterate but be more specific this time. First off, let me re-welcome you to the forums. It's a great stress reliever and source of information and insight. I hope you continue to post here.

Quote:
I went to the pdoc on wednesday (at the same unit as where I go for my tdoc appointments) and from looking at my notes and talking to me, she seems to think I have bipolar, which I don't agree with, although I can't decide whether that's me being in denial or genuinely thinking I don't have it.
First off, trust both your pdoc and your tdoc. Listen to them, but also get them to listen to you. You need to be as upfront and honest with them as possible if they are going to help you.

Quote:
I would say my lows are low enough to qualify as being depressive episodes - I go through phases of self harming for a couple of weeks about every 4 or 5 months when I'm feeling low. In these times, I tend to be in bed for a day or two a couple of times, not actually able to get up. I don't tend to cry, but it's more of a numbness. I have come very close to suicide on a few occasions, but something at the back of my mind always seems to tell me not to do it.
That's definitely a severe depressive state. I can relate to the numb feeling and the staying in bed for days thing...I do the same thing. And I'm working on ending the self harm trap. :S

Quote:
On the other hand, I'm not sure if my highs are high enough. I can get very hyper for a couple of days at a time; not sleeping, talking far too much, spending too much and being overly ambitious and that sortof thing. I related a lot to the description of mania in the second post of this thread - doing A levels at 14 and extra GCSEs, playing hockey 5 times a week and going to national finals, going to music rehearsals about 6 times a week and staying up into the middle of the night every night doing work. I always just attributed this to the fact I wanted to do well at things, but now I'm thinking they could have been more prolonged episodes of mania.
This sounds like hypomania, which is a lesser degree of mania. If you experience this along with depressive spells, you are probably Bipolar II, which is bipolar disorder to a lesser extent. Being overly active and ambitious are definite signs of hypomania, as is the lack of sleep and the pressured speech so you have to make sure your psychiatrist is aware of this.

Quote:
In response to a question on the other thread, yes, I can get very irritable and angry. Sometimes I get like that when I hyper and people don't seem to follow what I want to do, and sometimes I am very angry when I feel low, and can suddenly go from being incredibly withdrawn, to shouting at people and hitting myself.
That sounds like a mixed episode - when you have the energy of mania and the withdrawn, depressed feeling of depression. That's the most dangerous state of bipolar disorder because that is when the most suicides occur because the person has the energy to carry out the act along with the depressed feelings. You definitely have to watch out for that.

One other question: What meds, if any, are you on and what dosages?

Hope I helped at least a little.

Paige
__________________
Bipolar Ultradian Cycler
400mg. Lamictal
600mg. Seroquel
1mg. Klonopin
0.5-1mg. Ativan
I'm not crazy ~ I'm mentally interesting!

Last edited by Paige1989; 04-30-2007 at 12:49 AM.

 
Old 04-30-2007, 01:13 AM   #4
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MSLAINIE HB User
Re: Unsure about bipolar diagnosis

Hey Paige And All...(&escapade)
Paige I Thought Your Post Was A Little Hard. I Am Not Bipolar, But I Know My Son 16. Was In Denial At First. I Read Denial Is A Symtom,
My Ex Hubbby Has Been In Denial For 30 Years. It Is Not Easy To Realize You Have Any Illness, But I Think It Is Harder When You Cant See It.
I Think If She Is Honest With Her Docs And Still In Denial, She Should Still Get Another Opinion. My Son Dont Trust People He Knows Let Alone Psy Docs. I'll Be Honest I Didnt Like His Psy He Has Now For 2yrs And He Didnt At First. But We Both Come To See He Is A Great Psy Doc And He Tells All.
I Hope You, Paige, Dont Take In A Bad Way But This Is What I Think.
Take Care To Both Of You And All,
Mslainie

 
Old 04-30-2007, 02:35 AM   #5
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Paige1989 HB User
Re: Unsure about bipolar diagnosis

Mslainie -

I didn't mean to sound attacking in any way. I was in denial myself for the first two years of my diagnosis. I was reluctant to take the prescribed meds and all. It's something you have to work through. And if Escapade is not bipolar, at least that option is explored by the pdoc involved, preventing a misdiagnosis in the future. It's hard to diagnose bp in teenagers because of normal moodswings, but when the moodswings are out of control, it usually points at bp. That's all I'm saying. No offence meant to anyone.

Paige
__________________
Bipolar Ultradian Cycler
400mg. Lamictal
600mg. Seroquel
1mg. Klonopin
0.5-1mg. Ativan
I'm not crazy ~ I'm mentally interesting!

 
Old 04-30-2007, 02:51 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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MSLAINIE HB User
Re: Unsure about bipolar diagnosis

Thanks Paige,
I Think Escapade Knows Her Answers. But I Am Not A Doc And I Like You Can Sound Or Stand I Little Strong On An Issue. I Agree With You. You Are Also Correct With Diagnosing Teens. My Daughter Is Adhd And Started Getting Migraines And Oh Her Moods. I Was So Scared To Even Imagine Both My Kids Bipolar Only For The Fact That It Is So Hard To Get Right Medcombo Ect.... And Adhd And Bipolar Have Simalar Symtoms But She Is Seeing A Specialist And He Is Giving Her Topamax For The Migraines And It Is Helping Her Adhd. She Is Doing Much Better Now Thank God. She Even Is Off Concerta Which Is A Adhd Med. But My Prays To All And Have A Nice Day...
Mslainie

 
Old 04-30-2007, 09:58 AM   #7
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Escapade HB User
Re: Unsure about bipolar diagnosis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paige1989 View Post
One other question: What meds, if any, are you on and what dosages?
I'm not on any meds at the moment, because in the UK they are very reluctant to put under 18s on antidepressants. Instead, I've been having a course of psychotherapy, but after 7 months of it not really working, I asked my GP if he thought meds might be a good idea, which is why I got referred to the psychiatrist.

As an update, I got a letter today from my psychiatrist saying she'd spoken to the senior pdoc at the unit and my psychotherapist, and I've been given an appointment with the senior pdoc in July, to "discuss my mood swings" and decide whether to put me on meds.

I'm not sure what that means, and what my tdoc and the senior pdoc mustve said. Any ideas? (Sorry, getting a *touch* paranoid now )

 
Old 04-30-2007, 12:29 PM   #8
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martavee HB User
Re: Unsure about bipolar diagnosis

Hi Escapade-

I'm an American currently in England. I can relate to you with how the mental health system here for bipolar is quite different from the US. You may want to do some personal research into bipolar type II.

What you have described sounds a lot like what one would call Bipolar Type II in the US. This is based off of diagnosing from the DSM-IV-TR. Here in the UK though many psychiatrists use the ICD 10- Otherwise known as International classification of disorders. Within that there is only one type of Bipolar - bipolar disaffective disorder. That seems similar to the US bipolar type I where one must become full blown manic and experience psychosis. Here in the UK if you fall within the US BPII range then you are diagnosed as cyclothymic disorder (here I'm just speaking from personal experience). The one thing I find discouraging about the UK system is that with cyclothymic disorder one doesn't experience a mixed state - I have experienced a mixed state which should throw me in the BP II range - but my psychiatrist and psychologist don't recognize that. I'm still not 'quite bipolar dissafective disorder.' I find this discouraging in regards to treatment. They just leave me be until I hit rock bottom so it seems. Currently my life is avoiding being sectioned and trying to not cause any self harm.

Bipolar is often comorbid with other disorders. For ten years I have been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder, panic attack disorder, depression, post traumatic stress disorder. SSRI medication always made me a bit crazy.

I can relate to you being paranoid of what your tdoc said! I too tried to do therapy several times to become more 'normal' - it never worked. I'm guessing that your tdoc is just seeking more input on your current possition - that's a good thing. A psychiatrist will have more insight into what is appropriate for you medication wise.

I hope you keep us informed on how things are going for you. I'm curious as to what part of England you are in? It's interesting to see the difference within the mental health care system between areas.

 
Old 04-30-2007, 02:20 PM   #9
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Paige1989 HB User
Re: Unsure about bipolar diagnosis

o.o The pdoc can't see you until July?!? I hope that works out for you. As far as the psychotherapy, keep up with it. It won't cure you, but it will help to some degree. I'm speaking from experience here - I refused psychotherapy for two years and once I got in with a tdoc, things started to look up slowly. It just takes time and patience, which I know is easier said than done. Good luck getting on some meds that help you if you need them. And any updates you can share with us are appreciated so we know how you're doing.

Paige
__________________
Bipolar Ultradian Cycler
400mg. Lamictal
600mg. Seroquel
1mg. Klonopin
0.5-1mg. Ativan
I'm not crazy ~ I'm mentally interesting!

 
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