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I Was Diagnosed As Bipolar, But I Am Unsure If I Really Am Or Not

I was diagnosed as Bipolar by a GP (general doctor) at the start of 2008.  He was not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but he had a very good understanding of mental issues, and didn't treat me like a child, etc.  He was very straight up and told it like it is.

Anyway, after a good hour-long first session, he said it seemed I had the symptoms of bipolar (pretty textbook symptoms too - I have a psych degree so I already knew plenty about different mental illnesses).  He referred me to a psychologist and she really didn't help me at all.  I went for five sessions and then forgot to make the appointment for the sixth session, and never went back.

I have never been back to a doctor since then for my mental issues.  I definitely have depression, and have had it for over a decade now (I am 29).  Whether it is actually bipolar disorder or not I am not sure.  The main reason I doubt it is that I don't feel that my experiences have been severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of bipolar.  I kinda feel like a fraud.  There were bad times, for example I was arrested for severe drink driving in 2006 and gained a criminal record for it - something COMPLETELY out of character for me (my parents still don't know).  I constantly wanted to run away to the other side of the world where noone knew me and I could "start again", and if I'd ever been able to afford a ticket to America or Europe I would have left at the drop of a hat without even telling anyone.  I went through four years of cutting myself from the age of 18-22, I've had insomnia since I was 5 or 6, I have a very hyperactive brain, and when I do speed or coke I find they don't really affect me, unless I do heaps of speed and then it makes me sleepy!

I don't know whether I should see anyone or not - I can't really afford expensive treatment, and I saw a psychiatrist when I was 21 and he was generally useless and just put me on medication (Luvox) which didn't do anything.   I feel I am too old to be acting this "childishly" about my problems; that I am behaving like an angsty teenager, and that I should really grow up and get my **** together.  I don't feel I am "sick" enough to require treatment and feel like a fraud and maybe I am subconsciously just an attention seeker.  I discounted the bipolar diagnosis, especially since I haven't had anything that could be a considered a manic episode for several years now.  I know you can go a long time between manic episodes (and some people only ever have one) but I still don't feel I am sick enough to really be bipolar.

Should I bother seeing someone about it?  Should I just go to a GP and explain my problem?  Does anyone in Australia, particularly Melbourne, know any good doctors/psychologists to go to?
Odileth Odileth 26-30, F 1 Response Jun 27, 2011

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What difference would it make to you if someone said yes your bipolar - it's only a name. You know how you feel that's your reality......its not really nameable is it. For people who do not suffer from mental illness life is still complicated with mood changes, resentments, anger...you name it people suffer it. When we start obsessing about our condition we make it much worse, we imagine feeling great and wonder why we aren't feeling it. most people go around pissed off about something or another they just dont let anyone know.

Taking coke and speed is really stupid - start taking control of your life in down to earth normal ways get exercise, feed your mind with interesting things, socialise. Being comfortable with yourself and others is hard work...no pain no gain.