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Re: Bi-Polar II and not ADHD?

Re: Bi-Polar II and not ADHD?2011-05-24T16:03:55+00:00

Post count: 14413

Sandra, I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder in 2003, after seeing a counselor for what I initially believed was severe depression after losing my mom. When I was first diagnosed, my INSTANT response was “that’s what crazy people have.” I sought out a second and even third opinion and even ‘changed’ some of my answers to the testing that they give you. Result: Bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder. I’ve worked in the medical field for 13 years and was STRONGLY against medication, I felt that it would ‘numb’ me and not truly help my situation. Above all, I felt ‘weak’. I’m the only person in my family with a mental illness and not only did I get 1, but 2, I never ‘overachieve’ in anything in my life! I felt like my mom would be embarrassed or ashamed that I just couldn’t ‘handle’ my problems by myself. I hated the stigma that came with the diagnosis, and I had a father who, bless his heart, didn’t really understand the implications of my diagnosis. My denial led to me being non compliant with my medication for 5 years, which led to so many of the emotions that you describe. I am now seeing a psychiatrist who also has a background in nuerology and he was able to really explain to me why I needed medication to feel ‘normal’. Once he convinced me to stay compliant and get the bipolar disorder stabilized, he ‘conquered’ my symptoms of ADHD. Great, one more ‘thing’ for me, one more med, but I have to tell you, I feel so much better since I started really being compliant on my medications, it’s unbelievable. The meds didn’t make my problems ‘magically disappear’, but they made my mind and my body better at ‘handling’ what came my way. I dealt with ‘manic’ behavior my entire life and didn’t realize it. I had suicidal ideation multiple times, I even spent 2 years in my early teenage years never leaving the house, except to go to school. My diagnosis was bittersweet, I was glad to know that there was a reason for my behavior, but the problem with something being all in your head is that it’s ‘all in your head’, and explaining to some of my family and friends didn’t bring support and love, it brought questions and doubt.

My only advice to you is that you need to be your own best advocate for your well being. As women, we tend to ALWAYS put the needs of our family ahead of our own, but bipolar disorder is like a food allergy in that it gets worse with age, the episodes can increase, I’m not trying to scare you in any way, but clearly, you are in a place where you need all of the help that you can get. If you are in doubt aoubt ANY aspect of your diagnosis, seek out other opinions. This is your life and your health, you have every right to insist on top notch care and above all ANSWERS! Sites like this have been instrumental in my own experience because I’ve found such a community of support here and I’ve read so many stories similar to mine, it helps to know that you are not alone, that we all struggle with not just our symptoms, but even the diagnosis. Above all YOU CANNOT beat yourself up for anything. Our disease(s) are so controversial because there is no clearcut ‘proof’ of our illness. We take tests and answer questions, there is no diagnostic test like an MRI or EKG to say “Ta-dah, I’m sick. There’s your proof, jerks!” We can explain bio chemistry to people, but we don’t get to stick out finger and get a blood count to say “Ah my ADD/Bipolar disorder is ‘down’ today”.People still look at it like an ‘excuse’ or a ‘mood’, but I truly believe that this ignorance and the low self esteem it brings is so dangerous. You have to realize that you got to this point, you’ve made it through so much, but there was a REASON you sought out help. You feel like you’re at the end of your rope. I get that. I’m sure everyone on this site gets that. We’ve all made deals with destiny out of frustration and desperation, but just keep working your diagnosis. See your doc, take your meds, COMMUNICATE with people. For every reason you can list for wanting to ‘end it’ because you feel useless, there is someone out there, maybe even on this site, who can list 5 reasons why you need to ‘fight the good fight’. Be patient, just be patient. Progress comes with time. I got frustrated because I didn’t see ‘instant improvement’ but I realized that it was as unrealistic as hitting the gym 3 times and expecting to look like Halle Berry. We’ve had our ADD/ADHD/Bipolar disorder for a lifetime, we can’t expect the veil to completely lift in a matter of day. I was EXACTLY where you are 8 years ago and I’m telling you that it hasn’t been an easy road, I’ve had several ‘breakdowns’ and I’m sure that there’s more to come, but I’m heads and tails better than I was. I can’t promise you much, but I promise you this, you take care of yourself and you will start to see the little changes that make your life easier. When you feel your lowest TALK TO SOMEONE. Even if it’s a brief distraction from your pain, it will do wonders. I’m rooting for you!!!