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over identifying and under identifying


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Just throwing this topic out there because I have been going through this a lot lately. I will frequently over identify with being bipolar. I will think that every action I do is because I have bipolar, tell everyone around me about being bipolar etc. The flip side is the under identifying where I believe that I don't have bipolar and I don't need my meds. While I haven't stop taking my meds during one of these under identifying bouts I would still love to find some middle ground. Does it come with time? Do I need to take certain steps to reach a middle? Any experience would be greatly appreciated.

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I am taking off for a few days, but this question is so intriguing, I wanted to respond. I somes times have the same problem, and for me it is usually related to stress if I try to act, on the over-id or the under-id, and it spirals, and causes more of same, plus anxiety. If acted on impusively it sometimes can creaet a mess. Sometimes not. Depends on the situation.

Sometimes doing nothing, and just trying to remove oneself (as much as anybody can ) from stress, can work to help the situation. At least for me. But if being inside your own head IS causing the stress, sleeping usually works for me.

Just not for days on end (only saying that because I personally sometimes have bad depressive bouts.) Not diagnosed as bipolar, just MDD & OCD, so take it FWIW.

I also think that someone can over-ID if they have a vivid imagination, and are trying to imagine what it's like to be in someone else's shoes.Or else maybe are paranoid or psychotic (or an actor, or writer, etc.)

Some people do it to try to help, or understand, or whatever. For me, I sometimes think over-IDing can be related to my (long dormant, but am starting to wonder) BPD (borderline personality disorder.)

Sometimes, under stress, I can over-react and under-ID (as a protection from stress.) Or over- ID. Then I get depressed, because sometimes I can't seem to do either one, without having to realize my perception could be "off" in some way.

But that can be "true" for "normies", too. Just in a different way. There are some "normies" who seem to have little capacity for self-reflection, IMO. At least you posed the question, so you do have that capacity, IMO. Good question.

"Normies" (people w no recognizeable MI) can do the same thing, just in a different way. They can yelll at their kids, compartmentalize their life and over-do work or over-play, and lots of other stuff. And not be bipolar, or depressive (at least not be diagnosed that way.) Have no diagnosed MI. Or diagnosed PD.

I think a lot depends on the context through which something is being viewed.

If you don't know someone well, you really have no idea what it's like inside their head, or their life. If you have some imagination, maybe you can imagine it, but it's still just a guess.

That's where empathy & a really good imagination come in, IMO. But IMO, either one can be dangerous, given certain circumstances. Or it can be valuable.

I don't think it's always bad or good, to under-ID or over-ID. Unless it's hurting you, or someone else. And you have to be able to take a step back, to even be able to assess that much.

Nobody gets it right all the time.

Don't know if that makes sense to you, but it does to me. It was completely from my own POV, but I gather that's what you're looking for.

Excellent question.

-suzie

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ever since i was diagnosed i've always overidentified. for me it was related to memory and explanation of events ("remember that thing i've done once? OMG i was SO manic"). perhaps it was even an unconscious attempt to throw the blame onto the illness for things that i should have taken responsibility for. but then again, i'm thinking, the things i've done sound pretty crazy and not at all like someone "normal" who should "take responsibility." but that's another topic. i used to vacillate in the extent to which i accepted taking medication, from loving it to absolutely rejecting it and i've gone off of it a couple of times but nothing serious to land me in the hospital.

now i think that i have a more balanced view because i've been better stabilized on medication (which i've accepted, after all). i know that if i'm hyper it doesn't necessarily mean i'm manic and if i'm crying it doesn't necessarily mean i am depressed. maybe it's because recognizing episodes for me has gotten easier - i know and check for warning signs and kinda know when it's the real thing.

so i think it's just accepting and getting used to the disorder that should eventually end this over/under-identifying.

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Yeah, it will take you a while to decide what is "you" and what is "pathology." But in my personal opinion (as in, non-scientific), being bipolar is a part of who I am, and it does influence my personality. But it could be due more to the experiences I have had as a result of episodes, than the episodes themselves, you know?

It is especially difficult when you are diagnosed when you are in your 30s and 40s, because now you are looking back through your life, and saying, "WAIT! That was an episode! So was that!" You may begin to feel a bit like you have lost your sense of control over your "destiny." It isn't true, although you will find you have to adjust your expectations (not throw them out, just realize you are sick). You help determine the course of your life now by doing your best to stay healthy, taking your meds, and working out a regimen with your p-doc that works for you.

Maybe you will luck out, and the first med you try will be "the one," but don't get discouraged if you have to try several meds. I like what I read someone else say on the boards today: Every failed medication is one step closer to finding the right one.

And man, you have had a rough time. I'm sorry.

P.S. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but 30 (if your profile is correct) is truly, genuinely, not too old to start over. You are still at the beginning of your adult life.

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I do sort of change my mind a lot as to whether I think I have it or not. Same with BPD only there it is like I sometimes feel like everything I do is because I'm borderline. It seems like something at the heart of who I am.

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Guest Vapourware

When I was newly diagnosed, some of my past actions started to make sense in the context of the diagnosis. I think there was a time, in hindsight, that I was hyperaware of my diagnosis and my actions. I was looking at my past and present actions through the prism of my diagnosis, and wasn't afraid of telling people of what I had.

Nowadays, with a good med combination that controls my symptoms and having some distance with being diagnosed, I've identified less with the diagnosis. It doesn't define me, but it's just a facet. I can't deny that it's influenced, in part, on who I am but I no longer see it as a main identifying factor, mainly because life is too complex for one facet to be an overriding influence.

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Hindsight after dx helped me identify a lot of my maladaptive actions as a teen and young adult but that didn't help me much because I was already past those times you know?

I tend to use the "3 day rule" for myself currently. Wait about 3 days if i'm feeling a certain way before flipping out too much about it. could be a bad night's sleep, a physical illness, a stressor, and whatnot.

During med changes, all bets are off and I can expect to feel weird for.... awhile. And have sx. Fortunately I have an excellent support team and coping skills these days.

Note that these things were NOT gathered overnight, and I still have times I feel like utter shit but have to drag myself through life anyway...

Anna

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I went through a phase where I over-identified with the dx. I think it's normal. Even though I'm a peer support, I don't think much of it unless I need to for my job. Still, it's neither here nor there.

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It took me around 15 months to accept my dx. During that time i made a million mistakes, so now that I'm medicated I think it's like someone newly diagnosed. I did tell people about it because I felt guilty for not accepting it for so long. I wish I could tell everyone but I know that will just backfire on me, it already has. I'd love to find a middle ground too. Because I have gone off meds before, as I convince myself i either dont need it or it does nothing to help.

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I too went through a phase when I thought every down day or one night of no sleep *had* to be a mood episode coming on. Now I wait a few days (about 3 like Anna stated) to see if things stay the same, get worse, or get better. If they get better, it was a mood issue not related to BP, if it stays the same, I continue monitoring it for a couple more days before calling the pdoc, and if it gets worse, I'm on the phone to the pdoc right away.

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