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When you first got ill, what did you think your symptoms were?


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When you first got ill, what did you think your symptoms ( intrusive thoughts, hallucinations, delusions) were?. Did you realize you became ill or did you think something else? Was a psychiatrist the first type of doctor you made an appointment with or some other kind?  When a diagnosis was given to you, did you accept it?

Edited by CookieN
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Not sure about this.  I knew i was depressed a long time ago but wasnt really allowed to see a psychologist or pdoc of any kind until I was driving and could sneak appts in.  And then one thing led to another.  I had so many diagnoses over the years.  The only diagnosis I didn't accept at first was the SZA one.

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My first, first symptoms started when I was 7... intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Wasn't diagnosed with OCD until I was 29, though. Mood-wise, my first symptoms were depression and mood lability (was probably having short hypomanic episodes), along with self-harm. The first diagnosis I heard was bipolar following a med-induced mania.

Both times around, I didn't have a clue what was happening. My reality just changed.

Edited by aura
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21 hours ago, CookieN said:

When you first got ill, what did you think your symptoms ( intrusive thoughts, hallucinations, delusions) were?. Did you realize you became ill or did you think something else? Was a psychiatrist the first type of doctor you made an appointment with or some other kind?  When a diagnosis was given to you, did you accept it?

I wasn't sure what the heck was really happening. I knew I felt anxious and depressed at the time (It started at maybe 12-13, was forced into treatment at 14). I had no idea what SZA bp type was. I didn't want to see a tdoc or be on meds at that age and fought it hard. My parents didn't force it on me after a while, yet they did threaten me with the hospital and then I started hiding everything I thought was remotely abnormal. I didn't want to go IP. I swear I always pasted a smile on my face. I still do this to some degree. But sometimes I break down if I can't handle stuff or I'm super stressed and overwhelmed. 

So I knew I had a low mood compared to others but I didn't recognize the "delusions" or "paranoia" that I was experiencing. I knew the voices weren't real though. But I didn't start hearing them right at that young age. I was a bit older (but no older than 18...sorry I can't remember exactly when this began to occur).

I saw a therapist first and a GP. Later a psychiatrist. I didn't make the appointment as I was too young, my parents did that. I was diagnosed with OCD for sure and I don't know what else. She wanted to further evaluate me but like I said my parents did not force anything on me because I fought it so hard. I didn't think much was wrong at all! I HATED the tdoc and the meds, so one day I refused to go and that was the end of it (besides the later threats to hospitalize me against my will). 

Then later again, I accepted the mood diagnosis after a year long stay in a state hospital. Then I took this super long test and it pointed towards a SZ disorder. I was all like wtf? I KNOW I DON'T HAVE THAT! I didn't accept it at all. But then I was put on 2 AAP's and started getting better enough to leave the state hospital after all that damn time. 

And then I kept on being diagnosed with SZA over and over again as I saw different pdocs (I went through kinda a lot of pdoc's because no one wants to work for the county system). I finally began to accept it. I still have moments where I'm all like "no way in hell do I 'really' have SZA. I must be faking somehow? I think I have BP but not SZA." I do have long periods of "psychosis" though without mood problems so it must be right (though it all is real to me! But I've been told it's psychotic or delusional or paranoid...and as far as the voices, I can tell they aren't really real). No dr has changed it since I was diagnosed with it about 7-8 years ago. But I still sometimes want to deny it all.

And that's how I was diagnosed! It was a long journey for sure. I spent a long time unmedicated and that really ruined so much for me. I feel better on meds for whatever reason (and my family likes me better on meds), so I stay on them and will stay on them. But deep down I'd love to just say "fuck this" and stop tdoc weekly, pdoc every 3-4 months, day treatment group, weekly monitored meds, case manager (even though I haven't seen her in months), etc. etc. I'd just see how I did without all that noise, you know? But I'm afraid of ruining my life even more. 

Edited by Wonderful.Cheese
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I had racing thoughts that I could not organize or control. Extreme sensitivity to any sound or vibration--I could not bear even to hear a clock chime or feel someone walk across the floor. Sometimes I felt disembodied or disconnected. I could not fall asleep, could not eat, could not pull myself together. It was terrible, all the more so because I did not know what was happening.

I wanted to go to the hospital, but my so-called "doctor" at the time would not admit me, saying it would be a horrible experience because they would take away my possessions. I was so naive and so incapable that I felt I had to trust her and do what she said.

Finally after about four months it got so unbearable I was ready to commit suicide. I won't dwell on that except to say that I didn't actually attempt it but finally got it together enough to insist on going to the ER. From there I went on the unit--which actually turned out to be a great experience. I was there for 9 days, then spent a month in IOP, then went to a support group once a week, and that's where I got the name of my pdoc. From there it was the normal slow process of finding the right meds and making the life changes I needed to.

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Thank you all for sharing. Aura I didnt know what was happening either when I had my first ocd symptoms. My reality also changed...forever. Wonderful Cheese I also paste a smile on my face, regardless of any symptom I am having. I started noticing I was different since chilhood. I didnt have the same energy, didnt learn as fast in school, didnt have as many friends as others. I really do not worry about the diagnosis as long as the symptoms are treated. Wnek2 I couldnt eat either.

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I started with hallucinations at a young age. My first ever were of bugs, which I thought were real. Then I started seeing this "green fire" that would burn my eyes. I knew it wasn't real, that what I was seeing wasn't real, but I assumed everyone else saw things that weren't real, too.

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I was ten, and I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt. I assume the doctors were psychiatrists, but I'm not really sure.  I do rembember that I lied my ass off to get out of the hospital. They didn't believe me, but my parents did. I have no idea what kind of diagnosis was made, but I think I was clearly depressed.

I have hallucinated noises at least as far back as age 7 or 8. I never thought of them as hallucinations, though. Maybe they're not. They manifest as tones I usually hear in my ear or originating someplace close by. They're definitely different from the hallucinations I've had more recently. I still experience the tones, however. Some people have suggested it's tinnitus, but I don't have a ringing. It sounds like when you have a hearing test. Sine waves.

I think I may have been hypomanic at fifteen. I was very reckless, felt high, had tons of energy, and didn't sleep much. I ended up drinking a lot, the prelude to what would eventually become a major drinking problem.

I think I may have been hypomanic at age 19-20. I was the life of the party, was unusually energetic, and I experienced euphoria. I ignored my studies, because everything else was so interesting. I made lots of plans, but followed through with nothing. My grades tanked. I was definitely depressed following that (although I don't recall there being a crash), and was diagnosed with SAD by a psychiatrist or psychologist. The depression faded when I moved back to a sunnier locale, so I thought maybe the Dx was accurate. 

I may have had a delusion at age 21. I thought God had a special task for me, even though I'm not religious. It passed fairly quickly, though, and I didn't seek help. I thought maybe it was just an overactive imagination.

I think there is a strong possibility that I was hypomanic when I was 22-23.  I was definitely hypersexual and I had euphoria, extra energy and less sleep. But I was also fooling around with some recreational drugs at the time, so maybe it was due to that. I didn't see any doctors for it, in any case.

I didn't have a clear manic episode until I was 27, When I was hospitalized following a suicide attempt. I was diagnosed as depressed, but this was partly my fault as I omitted crucial information that would undoubtedly have led to a bipolar diagnosis instead. I had a delusion, which I'd rather not comment on, and I was hypersexual, energized, and euphoric. I also spent virtually every last cent I had. I saw a psychiatrist and was prescribed many different antidepressants, none of which worked. My pdoc did lots of talk therapy, which I loathed.

I heard my first voices at age 33 or 34, but I didn't think I was hallucinating. I didn't seek professional care.

I had a couple depressions and probably a hypomania or two leading up to my first bipolar diagnosis at 37, when I was definitely manic, but didn't have any delusions (unless thinking I could build a swimming pool in my basement counts). I made a zillion plans, most of which I did not follow through on, and I had boundless energy. I don't really recall feeling euphoric or hypersexual, but I was very sensitive to noises. Any percussive sound would send me over the edge. I spent a shit ton of money, really messing up my finances. I crashed into depression and sought out a psychiatrist.  I did not accept the bipolar diagnosis, although the possibility lingered in the back of my mind. I was given lamictal, but I never took it. I suffered from a very long depression following that episode.

I believe I may have had a number of hypomanias in the years that followed, but they were the irritable type. I drank to blunt the effects.

I had a long hypomania at 42-43, followed by a long mixed episode. I had extreme sensitivity to lights and sounds, but no psychosis. The mixed episode happened to be both the simultaneous and alternating type. Euphoria, energy, Hypersexuality, a nasty spending spree, plus the depths of depression, irritability, and a short fuse. I would also have racing thoughts during the periods when I was experiencing both mania and depression at the same time. That is something I never had before. I had four or five distinct crashes and made a number of suicide plans which I nearly carried out. I also suffered from fits of extreme rage, one of which nearly landed me in jail. I miraculously managed to stay out of the hospital. During a calmer moment of depression, I found a psychiatrist, was diagnosed BP I, and was prescribed lithium and Zyprexa.

The mixed episode was followed (after 45 days of normal, thanks to the meds) by a long depression. I had a psychotic episode with many hallucinations during the depression, including command hallucinations. Also a delusion (I thought "they" were stealing my thoughts and other ridiculous stuff). It's possible some of the psychosis was induced by Lexapro. It mostly stopped about a month after I discontinued it.

Anyway, that's how my MI unfolded. You can see that I tend to get the happy hypo/manias without racing thoughts. It makes hypo/mania very alluring. But OMG, that mixed episode was something else! I sure hope I never have another.

 

Edited by Flash
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I had my first depressive episode (moderate) for a few months when I was 16, and was massively hypo the entire year I was 17. At the time, I thought it was just normal, I had a bad year, then a good year. I might have been hypo when I was in 9th grade, or I might have been an enthusiastic dork.

Then I went to college and got severely depressed. Then I knew what was happening. My dad is an Emeritus professor of Psychiatry, with a specialization in Bipolar illness, so at that point, I recognized it. I went straight to a psychiatrist, and he told me to chill out, I just missed my boyfriend. I was so embarrassed that I didn't get treatment for another 5 years, even though I knew I was right.

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Flash, we all speak from our personal experience.  My experience is that the episodes are getting much worse in length and severity.  Also, I am having little to no success in stopping the process once warning signs present.  I am now > 60 so I have a few years on you.  Of course this is very worrying to me.  Each episode has become life threatening.  I think I have taken pretty good care of myself yet this has happened.  The thing I am focusing on now is stress reduction.

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I first started thinking about killing myself when I was 11 years old. I think it was situational - I was severely bullied by my peers, and once I changed schools, it cleared up. I was self harming during this period too - very subtle ways, which I didn't tell anyone about. I nearly attempted suicide, and my parents took me to a psychiatrist who said I was suffering from an anxiety disorder. I wasn't sleeping properly and I found myself unable to sit through rehearsals without leaving the room in a state of mild panic, so it was probably an accurate diagnosis.

I was OK for a few years, but then the bleak periods of wanting to kill myself returned, about once a year for a few months, from the age of 18 onwards. Maybe these were situational too - I don't know. 

I developed a drinking problem when I was 18, which persisted up until recently. 

At the age of 21 (almost 22!), I had a depressive episode like no other one before. Previously, I'd been able to stay interested enough in my academics to keep on going on, but this time was different. I stopped going to class, stopped working on my thesis. I just lay in bed all day without the energy to kill myself even though I dreamed of suicide. I got help, and complained of intense moods, but hadn't really experienced mania before.

I was prescribed antidepressants, and within a few days the nature of my depression changed despite the tiny dose I was on. I was staying up all night walking around campus, I was self harming all the time, my speech felt out of control, I had so much energy I was throwing things and running into walls. I went on a shopping spree, became hypersexual, but most concerning was the "obsessive thoughts" (aka racing thoughts, but I didn't know that at the time). Everything reminded me of a way to kill myself. So I overdosed and was sent immediately to the psychiatric hospital. There, they told me I was experiencing hypomania overlaid with depression. The only diagnosis I got was 'Mood Disorder' but in conversations, they'd mentioned bipolar and borderline. I'd been told my ex-boyfriends that they thought I was borderline, so that wasn't much of a shock, but bipolar didn't gel with my experiences. I was prescribed Abilify in the hospital which also made me hypomanic, so after that my doctor diagnosed me with bipolar officially. It was a diagnosis that never should have been made. 

During winter break I saw a crisis team at home who diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder but who were agnostic as to whether I had bipolar. So they took me off my antipsychotic, and within a few weeks I was hospitalized for mania. 

The manic episode was immediately recognized as a manic episode. I had no doubts that I was in an elevated state. I saw my therapist every day until she thought I needed an involuntary hospitalization. So I was hospitalized for the third time in three months. I knew exactly what was going on, but thought it was hypomania all the way through. I was running around my therapist's office and couldn't form sentences, though, so maybe my functioning was severely impaired. 

Since then, I've had a large number of hypomanias and a couple of depressions. I don't know what will come next - maybe I'll be stable, maybe I won't. I was discharged from my first hospitalization almost exactly a year ago, so all of this is still pretty new to me. 

Edited by survivingbp
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1 hour ago, Will said:

Flash, we all speak from our personal experience.  My experience is that the episodes are getting much worse in length and severity.  Also, I am having little to no success in stopping the process once warning signs present.  I am now > 60 so I have a few years on you.  Of course this is very worrying to me.  Each episode has become life threatening.  I think I have taken pretty good care of myself yet this has happened.  The thing I am focusing on now is stress reduction.

That is my experience too, although I have somehow managed to stay out of the hospital in more recent years. Episodes used to be weeks or a few months, but now they're measured in many months or years. :(

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I thought I just had social anxiety and didn't feel interested in school.

I'm still not sure what was wrong with me or if it was even psychiatric. Maybe I just have a bad personality.

ETA: I am officially diagnosed bipolar at the moment though.

Edited by identity
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