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Not believed or taken seriously


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Since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder I have found that I'm often not taken on my word and that I'm frequently treated as someone who cannot have any real insight.

 

Like I recently got my doctor to send a letter to the local psych unit about my meds that I've been on for 2 years are making me more frequently manic. And only a few days later I get a call from the emergency unit asking me how I am and how they're concerned and want me in there asap. I assure them I am not manic, at most slightly hypomanic and that I do not need emergency care. They continue asking me questions for a long time and I tell them I am stable, I feel mostly fine and not out of control. And it's like they don't believe me at all.

 

When I was "only" diagnosed with anxiety and depression, everyone took me at my word. If i said I felt stable, they would believe me and leave me alone. Now I've been scheduled for an emergency appointment eventhough I insisted that it wasn't an emergency and that I didn't want to take the appointment from someone who really needed it.

 

It's almost like when I had depression and anxiety it was hard to get people to understand the urgency and how sick I was. With bipolar it's opposite and it's scaring me. Like no matter what I say they see me as highly unstable and Very Crazy not matter what.

 

Does anyone else feel this way? :/

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Yes, I do and this happens all the time to me.  When I say something, the majority of the time I need someone else to confirm what I say or the other person doesn't believe it.  Like one time I had a tick on my neck, told this particular person, and he didn't believe me until I said to ask (my 5 year-old niece).  He asked her, and then believed me.

 

When I go to the ER things happen the same way.  When it was *only* depression it wasn't a big deal to them there and they took my word for everything.  But when it changed to SZA, it changed everything ... all their attitudes, the questions asked and in what order, etc.

 

 

It's almost like when I had depression and anxiety it was hard to get people to understand the urgency and how sick I was. With bipolar it's opposite and it's scaring me. Like no matter what I say they see me as highly unstable and Very Crazy not matter what.

 

^THIS.  Exactly.

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I've worked in mental health and I have seen that when someone responds to a note such the one from your pdoc, they have to establish your safety and your wellness. And that is done by filling out an assessment, where a range of questions are there to assess your risk to yourself and others and how urgent things are. It is a staff members job to use their own knowledge, any info they have on you and what you tell them to make a judgment call, which they have to record and sign on the form. If they get that wrong and you were in an emergency and weren't given a chance to get help, they would face serious consequences. The pdoc may have laid out how manic they think you were, but mania can intensify quickly. Therefore the only thing the staff member could do was ask all the questions (which seemed like overkill) and do their best for you,

 

For many people, mania impairs their ability to know how they are acting and how safe they are. It stops people making good choices, even if they think they are. often people with mania (me included) don't idenfity as being manic, or think they are in low grade mania. If mania is left untreated, it can escalate. Untreated long term mania can result in greater vulnerability to more episodes and make it harder to treat someone. So there is every reason to bring someone in to see them in person.

 

Now you may feel that you are wasting an appt cos you are okay. But to make a med change, often a clinician needs to take bloods/blood pressure, I had to have an ECG before starting Lithium. You can't do a med change at home by getting clinicians to fax or email each other. You aren't being treated for mania that you don't have, but you are being treated IN CASE you have mania.

 

It's not that your bipolar diagnosis makes you scary and out of control. It;'s not that no one took you seriously. Being treating someone with medication related mania (whose psychiatrist already referred meaning it is a big deal) needs the right care.

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I get it both ways. Either the docs think I'm faking or they go to the opposite extreme and say I'm manic with psychosis. Lately my new pdoc said I'm manic with psychosis even though I told her that I'm hopeless and not optimistic. She said that I'm extremely manic. It was only because of the non stop talking which I do a lot of. You can't diagnose mania based on just the flight of ideas and non stop talking. There is a lot more to mania than that. So many doctors before her also thought I'm manic and asked me, "Are you manic?" I said no. For the psychotic aspect I once had a psychologist say, "You are too psychotic for me. Psychosis is not my area of expertise. I might have you go to another doctor who deals with this area." This was last year for the psychotic part. I'm sorry that I can't type a longer response because I had shoulder surgery yesterday and I'm typing with the other hand and its too slow and difficult. 

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'I once had a psychologist say, "You are too psychotic for me. Psychosis is not my area of expertise. I might have you go to another doctor who deals with this area." '

 

I had a psychologist who I'd been seeing for ages say the exact same thing to me.

Edited by KatyKat
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I think it's just because you're more likely to lack insight if you're manic, that they don't take you at your word. People who are depressed or anxious are usually much more aware of it (though not always). I wouldn't consider it a put-down, it's just the way it is.

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You lose a lot of what feels like basic respect in the outside world, the moment you are given the diagnosis of a serious mental illness.

 

Your word is no longer solid. It must always be questioned.

 

I understand why, and I accept it is necessary, but that doesn't make it feel any less humiliating and unfair.

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I think it's just because you're more likely to lack insight if you're manic, that they don't take you at your word. People who are depressed or anxious are usually much more aware of it (though not always). I wouldn't consider it a put-down, it's just the way it is.

It sucks, but I think its true. Try not to take it as an insult.  It is just your care team doing their best to make sure you are all right.  It can be difficult to establish what your baseline is and there's probably some of that going on too.

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Yeah, I get this all the time. I also get doctor's giving each other sideway glances when I say I'm fine or doing OK, like they never believe anything I tell them why do I even bother sometimes.

 

I get the same for the exact opposite reasons.  If I say I'm having problems, seeing things, hearing things, want to SI, their response is always disbelief.  Tdoc is really good tho and with it.  For some reason she can read me, which I've schooled thru the college of CPTSD into a perfect poker face. She specializes in PTSD.  But everyone else in my life up to and including the pdoc are sure I'm fine and they just don't know why I keep saying these things.  And when things happen, they are floored as to why I did such a thing.  :: rolling my eyes :: The tdoc will send messages to the pdoc about what's up and the pdoc just ignores them.  In my mind, it's just bizarre.  

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They do have a tendency not to believe you because sometimes you didn't even realize that you're going into manic state. I'll give you an example...you start talking faster then you normally would. Also, jumping from subject to subject is another indicator. There are so many things that are red flags. Sometimes, I can realize that I'm going into a mania but not always. Hope this helps some

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Sometimes I don't get taken seriously. Like when I would be in the ER and trying to tell them I take Topamax as a mood stabilizer, I DON'T HAVE SEIZURES. Once I refused to sign a piece of paper because it had seizures written on it. The admin got pissed at me. Or when I tried to explain "diabetes insipidus" (in remission, thankfully). Diabetes HAS to mean blood sugar, right? Insipidus has to do with kidneys.. 

 

But my GP and my pdoc actually listen to me, take me seriously, and like my insight. It's just the ones that don't know me well that don't take me seriously. It's so fucking frustrating. I hate the ER. 

 

Even if I go through the ER with an injury (I horseback ride, that happens once in a while) I get treated like I have no clue because I take psych meds. 

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Fortunately right now, all of my DRs take me seriously, especially my pdoc.  I finally found ones that did, and I've had them for years.  Pdoc always backs me up when I have to go to the ER and am questioned (regardless of why I'm there) inappropriately, and will say I'm fine psychologically.  I've never had to go to the ER (with this pdoc) for psychological reasons, and I am just so thankful that if i ever do have to go to the ER, he is there to back me up.

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I usually keep a piece of paper with my dx, medications, what they're for, when I take them, what doctor prescribed them, refill dates, etc, on me.

People take that seriously and are quite thankful. 

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