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Questioning my diagnosis


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Hi all, I was dx' with "mood disorder NOS" when I was 14-15. I am 24 now. I was sad a lot, suicidal thoughts, self harm, crying, etc. Prozac sent me into an impulsive rage. Fast forward to college, I did any drug that was offered to me, slept around, took many risks. I was fucking happy!!! On the flip side, I also remember my first semester of college being suicidal, self harming, crying and not getting out of bed for days. 

Now, I question my BP dx, I often think "it's all in my head, I was acting that way on purpose, I'm not really sick, I'm just putting on a show because I wanted to be sick when I was younger, I can control my bx, etc"

but looking back ,every time I go off my meds, I either get really sad, or make impulsive decisions and clean my room obsessively, drink alcohol, go out partying. But THEN I think, " it's just a placebo effect, the meds don't actually do shit because there's nothing wrong with me!"

do I really need my meds now?? How do we know? There's no blood test for BP, it's not the meds, it's ME doing well  meds don't do shit, I don't have a mental illness! How do I know for sure I have BP??

anyone have a similar experience questioning their mental illness?

 

sorry if that post is disorganized, just thinking out loud/venting lol

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What you are saying is pretty classic for a recently stabilized person with bipolar disorder. Some pdocs consider questioning whether or not your meds work an actual symptom of bipolar illness. What you are experiencing is a symptom called "Lack of Insight." This isn't saying that you categorically have no insight, just that you lack insight into your own symptoms and illness.  And stopping meds without talking it over with your pdoc is bad in general, but especially stopping meds abruptly.

Bipolar is a real illness. It has been recognized as a distinct illness in modern medicine since at least the 19th century, and it's symptoms were described by Galen. It has been hard for them to narrow down the genetic markers that underly bipolar illness, and it's considered likely that those markers are scattered over multiple chromosomes. There's a strong genetic component. There are physical changes, but not the kind that are easy to see, and sometimes not that much of a change if it's caught early and treated successfully. There are glial cells in places they aren't supposed to be in. (I've read about where they go, but I can't quite pull it out of my butt at the moment.) Your pre-frontal cortex stops working correctly when you are manic. It's a brain disease. Brain diseases are tough to hone in on.

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6 hours ago, crtclms said:

What you are saying is pretty classic for a recently stabilized person with bipolar disorder. Some pdocs consider questioning whether or not your meds work an actual symptom of bipolar illness. What you are experiencing is a symptom called "Lack of Insight." This isn't saying that you categorically have no insight, just that you lack insight into your own symptoms and illness.  And stopping meds without talking it over with your pdoc is bad in general, but especially stopping meds abruptly.

Bipolar is a real illness. It has been recognized as a distinct illness in modern medicine since at least the 19th century, and it's symptoms were described by Galen. It has been hard for them to narrow down the genetic markers that underly bipolar illness, and it's considered likely that those markers are scattered over multiple chromosomes. There's a strong genetic component. There are physical changes, but not the kind that are easy to see, and sometimes not that much of a change if it's caught early and treated successfully. There are glial cells in places they aren't supposed to be in. (I've read about where they go, but I can't quite pull it out of my butt at the moment.) Your pre-frontal cortex stops working correctly when you are manic. It's a brain disease. Brain diseases are tough to hone in on.

You make a good point, I go back and forth about whether I believe I have this illness or not. It's funny because I work with people who have severe mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar and they often have no insight ("I don't have a mental illness, doctors make it up and try to poison me with meds, "there's nothing wrong with me etc " and I always tell them not to go off their meds because the meds are making them stable enough to feel like they don't need them. I guess I just have a hard time with ME whereas I can tell when OTHERS are showing symptoms. This is something I have to accept and work on building my own insight and self awareness (even when I'm in denial- doctors and therapists  wouldn't  be diagnosing me for the past 10 years without reason. Sometimes I need to do reality checks. The meds do help but then again I sometimes think it's placebo effect which it can't be. It's all in my head sometimes. Thank you for your input. 

Part of the reason I continuously question my dx is that I'm not aware of any family members with bipolar (13 aunts and uncles and thirty first cousins and grandparents are dead). But then again, there is a lot of addiction and it's possible they have bipolar but just haven't gotten treatment. 

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Not everyone has a family history. There is bipolar/sz in my family, but other people have none. It isn't a requirement.

I am better at accepting my medications than I have been in the past. I really wanted to get down to the lowest dosage or off of them, now i am settled on what works to keep me stable.

I agree. It can be easier to see behaviors in others or make recommendations than to take them ourselves. I work part-time in an activity center for people who receive mental health services and go to support groups outside.

My biggest problem with reality checking is trust. When I am not doing well, I start distrusting others, and I don't believe them.

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6 hours ago, jordansonfleek said:

Part of the reason I continuously question my dx is that I'm not aware of any family members with bipolar (13 aunts and uncles and thirty first cousins and grandparents are dead). But then again, there is a lot of addiction and it's possible they have bipolar but just haven't gotten treatment. 

I am in a similar situation. I have bipolar disorder and social anxiety disorder. There is no bipolar in the family that I am aware of. From time to time I struggle to accept that I have bipolar because it tends to run in families and it not in mine.

However realistically I have definitely had severe depressive and manic episodes and when I doubt my diagnosis my pdoc and family are very quick to remind me of the facts 

My Mum's sister has major depression and OCD. 

My Dad's sister and several of his cousins had schizophrenia.My cousin on my Dad's side has major depression. 

Apparently research shows that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may share the same genetic roots so maybe that's where my bipolar comes from.

Also bipolar disorder affects 1% of the population so maybe you and I and the rest of the people who have bipolar with no family history are just unlucky

Edited by rowan77
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Rowan, there's something called "genetic loading," and this is me remembering this from the past, so I might not be quite right. The more family members that have any kind of mental illness, the more likely it is their descendants will develop bipolar illness.

Maybe that's why it's suspected the genetic markers for bipolar are across several chromosomes. I want to emphasize, I don't know that, it is just an idea that popped into my head.

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For me it seems that generally when I start questioning whether I really have a mental illness is often when I am starting to become hypomanic. For a long time I was misdiagnosed with only depression, there were several episode where I concluded that not only were my meds "working" but that I was ALL BETTER and in fact, nothing had ever been wrong or I had solved all my problems and didn't need these meds anymore. Then I would crash, and eventually start the cycle all over again. 

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