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I haven't been diagnosed yet but I think I'm bipolar.


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I've read quite a few pages and I haven't found this discussed. I will try to be brief and clear as possible. I've had quite a few symptoms and I just have a "gut feeling" that this is what's wrong with me. I have periods of mania where I can't sleep, I'm agititated, creative and focused (at first) 3 or 4 times this has caused scizophrenic type symptoms (whispered voices telling me I suck, the feeling that someone is playing a joke on me or that I play a much larger role in world events) The first of these happened about 12 years ago. I took a few too many anti-depressants (I wanted a buzz) I forgot which one it was and I can't believe it b/c it was such a frightening thing. I'd also done some pretty powerful LSD that week. I blamed the acid and I'm sure it didn't help but it was also probably the anti-depressants. The other mania were more out of the blue but didn't happen without the period of sleeplessness and other symptom preceding it. The most severe was during a speed binge I stayed up for 11 days (I really didn't mean to) and I was hospitalized and given Risperdal. The rehab people didn't think anything was wrong with me other than drug addiction. When my mom died of cancer 3 years ago I got depressed and went to the doctor who gave me Celexa and Xanax. I promptly got addicted to the xanax but haven't been on that for about 2 years and 9 months. I know it sounds like all of my problems are drug related but I have had symptoms of mania with no drugs involved. After rehab I wanted to guard my sanity so I've been relativly sober (if you don't count binge drinking 2-3 times a week, which I'm working on)

Anyway the point is I'm 32 now and would like to feel what normal people feel. Every pdoc I've ever had has sucked and either talked about themselves, God or told me nothing was wrong with me other than ADD. I do have ADD but everything I've read also points to manic-depression.

Right now I take klonapin if I feel myself starting to freak out but if it gets too freaky I have a supply of Risperdal and will take that if needed. I haven't had to in years but I keep it with me b/c the alternative is so scary.

I don't have health insurance but I am starting my own business and want to fix this before I open. Can I just show up and say "I have manic depression please give me some lithium?" Any advice on finding a good doctor? Thank you very much.

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Hi pookie

All of us here would like to feel like normal people, but it's just not possible... so "normal" takes on a whole new definition. eg "normal" or recognisable symptoms for a particular diagnosis. We learn to live (and laugh and cry and scream) within the realms of our particular disorder. Bipolar affective disorder has biological roots, so while it IS all inside our heads, we're NOT imagining it. The meds get the chemical balance right so that we can get out there and function. Some of us are stable for years on our meds, then the wheels fall off and we have to take another look at things.

But now I'm going on a bit. None of us here can say with any certainty if your mood swings are drug-related, or definitely bipolar-related, or related to something else entirely. You really DO need a good medical professional to do that. Things work slightly differently in my country, so hopefully other posters will start to point you in the right direction. For now I'd strongly suggest keeping a mood diary (eg when you were up, down, somewhere in between, what precipitated each of those states). Also think back to life events and where you were at then. Include your self medication and drug use, because those can be critical indicators. Many of those of us with BP tried to deal with our pain in our own way before we got on the correct treatment track.

Then, if you can, write out a set of questions for a potential pdoc (psychiatrist) and talk to him/her over the phone first if you can. I reckon that the more you show that you know yourself, the more effort you show you have made to understand yourself, the more likely you are to be taken seriously. But also don't rule out the possibility that your final dx might NOT be bipolar.

Wishing you well. I think others here can give you proper pointers on finding good pdocs.

Skittle

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Hi Pookie, Welcome!

Don't give up. You know the difficulties show a pattern that is a lot more than the result of occasional drug use, probably the opposite. Much of what you described is consistent with with Bipolar. Don't discount that many of the symptoms of Bipolar overlap with those of ADD, so those symptoms could improve with better control.

Don't give up on finding the right pdoc. You already know that you aren't going to fix this alone. Will power isn't enough. Do mention your suspicions to the doc, but after that, stick to describing the symptoms and patterns. Let the pdoc do the diagnosing, you'll get better results that way.

feel free to post. Check out the pinned topics above, especially the bipolar resources post.

best,

a.m.

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Hiya Pookie-

Except for a few lines, we don't get an idea of the extent of your drug use.

Some people have a dual-diagnosis, meaning that they have substance issues and are bipolar at the same time. this is entirely common and possible. Most of the time in the hospitalis I've been to the 2 groups are seperated out, except in my 3rd hospitalization we were together. That gave me the chance to see just how many there were. I was surprised to see that there were more with the dual than with the single diagnosis.

You do sound bipolar. As mentioned, you could have a dual-diagnosis, or even be a self-medicating bipolar. My dad used to take street drugs rather than pmeds for the longest time to "control" his bp symptoms.

The important part is that you're getting pdoc care, and not listening to lame answers. Be straight with your pdoc about any drug issues there could be, but also tell them that you do not believe, due to these past experiences, that this is all that is going on, and to explore the possibility of dual DX. it is so common you wouldn't believe. it looked like half of the BP population was on that side of the floor.

Loon

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Hi Pookie,

When I went to my GP and told her I felt I might be bipolar, she immediately referred me to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. Turned out I was right and I was diagnosed bipolar 1.

So first stop is your family doctor. He or she will know what to do from there.

The history of substance abuse might be just another symptom of BP. I have the same deal.

Best of luck and welcome to the boards.

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http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/Bipolar-Di...cleID=192202880

The apparent strong association between bipolar disorder and substance use disorders (SUDs) could be explained in several ways. Bipolar disorder may be causing SUD, SUD may be causing bipolar disorder, or both disorders may share common origins. As discussed by Brown,1 however, it is not likely that any of these explanations is correct..................................

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Thanks a lot for the replies. I will check out the topics that you have suggested. My drug use began when I was about 13 with pot and occasionally alcohol. By the time I was 18 it was everyday. Between 18-22 I did acid about 30 times. I also began to use coke on weekends. Crystal meth became a problem at about the age of 23 and by the time I was 25 I went to rehab. Now I mostly just drink. Usually just in social situations. I have a lot of social anxiety. I've been off of crystal meth since I was 25.

I do think a lot of my drug use was "self-medicating" I was depressed and hated the way anti-depressants made me feel. (wellbutrin made me feel like I was about dive out of my skin, others made me lose interest in sex which was useful during my slutty times but wasn't a side affect I liked etc etc) I also like the way illicit drugs make me feel. I like the way the first stirrings of mania make me feel so I think that's a big reason that I've been reluctant to admit to myself that it was time get some help.

Anyway I will take your advice, a few months ago I subscribed to a whole magazine about "the bipolar lifestyle" I find this BB to be a better resource and I feel like you guys have a lot of wisdom (and thank god some humor) to help us all thro this. I'm feeling hopeful and that's something I'm not used to feeling. Thanks.

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thank you!

get in to see your pdoc. it sounds that you need to get hooked up wtih the right meds, and that is a goose chance that can take years. we've all been through it. no one, except a few lucky ones get it right the first or second time. it seems like you've tried a few and haven't had much luck. one look at my signature and you see i've had some hits and misses with my treatment. not all of those drugs were bad, it is just that sometimes we wanted to try others that were sometimes better and sometimes not. it is really a moving target, as WZ has said.

i've never done illicit drugs, but my dad was into that (and got busted for the meth lab and all of that, and it led to his suicide). he made the right choice in the end to get regular p treatment, but circumstances were against him.

it is a really, really good thing you're on the way to recovery now. just being here and understanding you have something going on and seeing someone about it are all ways to get on that track. give it some time and don't give up. we've all started new meds with high hopes and given up with utter disgust, or had terrible side effects that made us vomit or have akasthesia or whatever other horrors.

just hang in there. bp is a theme park.

loon

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Heya Pookie,

Nice to meet you.

I like it here too, and I also like the hope and positive feelings that the CBers have.

Information and support are both critical.

Self-medication is a good indicator of what's wrong, but a bad idea in general.

(Been there. Bought the T-shirt.)

Go talk to your doc, and.

Nice to meet you.

--ncc--

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