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Mental Health Use this forum to share your mental health concerns and to seek advice.

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Unhappy Bipolar?&ADHD? - September 28th 2012, 06:18 AM

So I was meeting with a counselor while I was back in college was told I had depression....then later they said they thought I might have ADHD but I left and came home before I ever found out for sure. I had even casually mentioned it to some of my friends...they kinda giggled and pointed out that well....that was kinda obvious so there is that then recently I had been thinking maybe I have bipolar disorder instead of just depression. I have taken about half a dozen different tests online for bipolar disorder....they all seem to be pointing to a yes....and not just a little yes but mild to severe. Plus I have taken a few Adult ADHD test and all seem to be pointing to yes as well. And I know they aren't diagnosis but how can 6 test be that wrong? Im kinda scared but also kinda relieved that I might actually have some answers now but still super scared this is all so new........I never thought I would ever be bipolar.
   
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Re: Bipolar?&ADHD? - September 28th 2012, 07:49 AM

Well, first off, as someone that has been diagnosed with everything from ADHD to Bipolar to OCD to Aspergers syndrome and many, many more, may I tell you they are all just labels. They aren't "diseases" as some may think. A very good psychologist with a doctorate degree said that she only uses the labels to classify. It came about when psychiatrists, in attempt to classify different forms of mental illness, grouped a bunch of symptoms that tend to come along together, into different groups, and gave each of these groups a name. It helped them to diagnose and treat different symptoms. The problem with this though is that one thinks "I am bipolar" or "I am ADHD", while in fact, you are none of these and all of these. It is just symptoms, with a name given to them. So, don't focus on the name, let your health care provider worry about the name, focus on the fact that you now know there is a problem. Now that you have identified the problem, you can fix it.

Here is a little exercise, that might be helpful to both you and your mental health care provider:
Forget all labels you have given yourself, whether that be "bipolar" or "Jock" or "geek" or "gay" or whatever.
List everything about you and the way you feel. Everything from what turns you on and what turns you off, to what ticks you off and what pleases you. Also list all your reactions to as many different situations as you can.
The most important thing when doing this is being honest, and to try and think about as many different situations as possible, whether it actually happened, or whether it is only hypothetical.
This can tell you a lot about yourself, and it can help your mental health care provider to treat you more effectively.
   
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Re: Bipolar?&ADHD? - September 28th 2012, 08:25 AM

I initially was referred to a psychiatrist because of depression when I was 18. By the time I saw the psychiatrist, I wasn't depressed. With the complication of a childhood traumatic brain injury, I was diagnosed ADHD - based on reporting from my mother, and the psychiatrist's observation of my constant inability to sit still, rapid pace of speech, and subject/topic jumps that he could not follow. Basically, I was going too fast for him to keep up.

Then, ritalin. The bonus was I could sit still. On the other hand, I became incredibly (and dangerously) impulsive, as well as highly irritable.

Later on I got depressed and tried to kill myself. The diagnosis of ADHD was removed, and a potential diagnosis of bipolar was questioned, as mania/hypomania and ADHD symptomise similarly. I also just happen to have quite a high energy level as my baseline.

Anyway, over years, the impulsiveness when I'm high (and very low) and suicide attempts when I'm low, and self-harm as a coping mechanism has led to Borderline Personality Disorder being added to my list.

I am currently in a manic/hypomanic phase and have been for about three weeks. But that's not the point.

The point was, many things have very similar symptoms. Adult-onset ADHD is incredibly rare and for a diagnosis to be made, generally there has to have been evidence of symptoms prior to 7 years of age, as well as symptoms being present in at least 3 circumstances - such as, they're always there, at school, at home, and at work - not just when you're with friends and having a good time or being bored stupid and therefore have excess energy. Complicating factors (such as head injuries) can cause ADHD-like symptoms, but in my case, once they figured out what was going on, the diagnosis was changed to executive functioning difficulties because it was clear to the professionals that the head injury caused it.

The best thing you can do for yourself is get yourself involved in the mental health system so they can track what's happening to you. If they don't have records of whether you're high or low, and haven't had any contact with you to establish a baseline, then whether or not you require diagnosing and treating cannot be established either.

It's taken six years for them to have a semi-solid diagnosis for me, and even that isn't concrete at the moment - although they expect to be sure within the next year. So yeah. If you're coping with life and living well, diagnosis and treatment may not actually be necessary, but if you're serious about looking into it, then you need to be regularly engaging with community mental health in your area.

   
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Re: Bipolar?&ADHD? - September 28th 2012, 09:15 AM

I have just been having such issues for so long. In high school I started cutting.....I have stopped that.....i think. My mom sent me to a counselor and that was when I was on a high....for three solid months no probs so she took one look at me and talked to me one time and said I was fine and doing well and didnt ask to see me again. Then I went to college and everything I had been dealing with came back to me and then some. I hit points when I think im fine and everything is going great and ill be fine but the bad feelings always come back to me, it's like a never ending cycle. My mood will switch so fast....if I'm in a depressed state I could snap out of it at the drop of a hat and vise versa. No one ever seemed to understand why I am the way I am. I would tell someone the way I was feeling and I would get a look like "that dosent make any sense, how could you feel so good and be so on top of the world and depressed" then Id feel bad about myself like I should just get over myself and move on. Im just still freaking out.....
   
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Re: Bipolar?&ADHD? - September 28th 2012, 09:28 AM

One of the issues with bipolar - if they don't know you - is that often hypomania simply comes across as somebody who's high-functioning. Which is why it's important to establish a relationship with the mental health system.

Often with mental illness, stress can trigger relapse - after we moved, both myself and my flatmate had severe relapses. I got depressed, her voices went nuts. Once the stress went away, we calmed down.

I once heard somebody describe bipolar as "I'm so happy I could kill myself!". Whilst that's not entirely accurate, it IS a good description of a mixed episode. Or when people get so manic that they basically have no impulse control.

Anyway, you don't have a formal diagnosis, so there's no point stressing about words. If you do go and see a psychiatrist or a psychologist (better equipped than counselors), they'll be able to help - and if you do get a diagnosis, they'll be able to help you with coping with that too. Generally (as long as you're compliant) being involved in mental health is very beneficial.

And also, depression - which you said you've been diagnosed with in the past - isn't something anybody can just move on from. It requires treatment.
   
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Re: Bipolar?&ADHD? - September 29th 2012, 08:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by i_like_black
The best thing you can do for yourself is get yourself involved in the mental health system so they can track what's happening to you. If they don't have records of whether you're high or low, and haven't had any contact with you to establish a baseline, then whether or not you require diagnosing and treating cannot be established either.
I feel this point deserves more emphasis. If you have bipolar disorder (which we don't know yet, because online tests are by no means adequate for diagnosing), you will experience "highs" and "lows" with your mood. Many people with bipolar disorder will only seek help when they are feeling "low," because they don't enjoy feeling depressed and lacking in motivation all the time. When they're "normal" or "high," they may be feeling pretty good about themselves, and will not see any reason to seek help from a psychological professional.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, you need to see a psychological professional, and not just for a one-time assessment. You'll probably need to meet with them for a few months so they can see how your mood fluctuate over time. Here is more information on finding psychological services, and who the different professionals are (keep in mind that not all "counselors" are actually qualified to help you - high school counselors generally aren't licensed professionals, whereas mental health counselors are - so ask the person for their credentials/licensure information before agreeing to see them).






   
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Re: Bipolar?&ADHD? - October 1st 2012, 01:34 AM

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Originally Posted by PSY View Post

I feel this point deserves more emphasis. If you have bipolar disorder (which we don't know yet, because online tests are by no means adequate for diagnosing), you will experience "highs" and "lows" with your mood. Many people with bipolar disorder will only seek help when they are feeling "low," because they don't enjoy feeling depressed and lacking in motivation all the time. When they're "normal" or "high," they may be feeling pretty good about themselves, and will not see any reason to seek help from a psychological professional.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, you need to see a psychological professional, and not just for a one-time assessment. You'll probably need to meet with them for a few months so they can see how your mood fluctuate over time. Here is more information on finding psychological services, and who the different professionals are (keep in mind that not all "counselors" are actually qualified to help you - high school counselors generally aren't licensed professionals, whereas mental health counselors are - so ask the person for their credentials/licensure information before agreeing to see them).
Oh, so first off let me clarify, when I said I had seen a counselor I meant like a real mental health counselor. Yes it was up at the college I was going to but it was through the Health Center...it wasnt just some guidance counselor. I understood what you meant by the highs and lows.....the lows was why I had went in the first place but over time when I had a high and the feeling that I could take on the world and everything was going "great" and I wanted to do so much one of two things happened, I would either get so many ideas in my head of how to make everything all better and was so ready to do it but didnt know where to start or when I felt that way it was in the middle of the night so I obviously couldnt do anything, and the other problem would be this high wouldnt last long enough to actually get anything done....i would just feel like taking on the world but then I would hit a point of "I dont care anymore" So over time these periods of time where I felt "good" were really frustrating cuz it almost prevented me from doing things in my everyday life and that sucked. I learned that the best place for me to be was in my normal state of mind....no outrageous emotions and thats when I could actually get things done and feel normal. I have started really hating the moments where I feel really really good and on top of the world cuz for some reason I still feel helpless. Is any of this making sense? gosh Im even confusing myself.
   
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Re: Bipolar?&ADHD? - October 1st 2012, 01:41 AM

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Originally Posted by Melwirth
Oh, so first off let me clarify, when I said I had seen a counselor I meant like a real mental health counselor. Yes it was up at the college I was going to but it was through the Health Center...it wasnt just some guidance counselor. I understood what you meant by the highs and lows.....the lows was why I had went in the first place but over time when I had a high and the feeling that I could take on the world and everything was going "great" and I wanted to do so much one of two things happened, I would either get so many ideas in my head of how to make everything all better and was so ready to do it but didnt know where to start or when I felt that way it was in the middle of the night so I obviously couldnt do anything, and the other problem would be this high wouldnt last long enough to actually get anything done....i would just feel like taking on the world but then I would hit a point of "I dont care anymore" So over time these periods of time where I felt "good" were really frustrating cuz it almost prevented me from doing things in my everyday life and that sucked. I learned that the best place for me to be was in my normal state of mind....no outrageous emotions and thats when I could actually get things done and feel normal. I have started really hating the moments where I feel really really good and on top of the world cuz for some reason I still feel helpless. Is any of this making sense? gosh Im even confusing myself.
Actually, you're making perfect sense. I can understand why the "high" phases would become a source of frustration for you! It sounds like this could be bipolar disorder (or another mood disorder that incorporates manic episodes); however, we can't diagnose you. Since you've been to a psychological professional in the past, I think now would be a good time to look someone up who specializes in treating mood disorders and set up an appointment with them.






   
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