This is my second post, but hi! I'm ashlee.. and I'm a little confused. I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder a couple months ago, and the medication seems to be helping, (Divalproex) but I'm not quite convinced that I actually am bipolar.. my ex boyfriend was convinced that I had Borderline Personality Disorder, so I'm going to tell you a little bit about myself and maybe someone can help me out.

I'm 18 and the reason I started getting treatment is because I was constantly having panic attacks, especially at work. So I went into the hospital just to talk to someone, I told the worker about my life and she had me commited to the hospital for further evaluation. My dad is bipolar, an aunt on my mothers side is bipolar, and also 2 cousins on my dad's side.

I started seeing a psychiatrist and told him about my day to day life. I told him that I would have horrible day dreams, I would be in bed and I would see a girl that looked much like myself only more polished off.. she would never talk to me out loud but somehow I knew what she was thinking. I would have day dreams like this often, and i would have terrible nightmares. sometimes i lie awake unable to sleep because i feel like there is something inside my head trying to claw it's way out and it would taunt me by saying cruel things. my mood swings got to a point where they were swinging so much that i could never have a "normal" day. my days were turning into a giant blurr, and days started to mush together. my sleep pattern changed all the time; up 2 nights without sleep, then sleep for 17 hours. it's really just a cycle. before i was on medication, i was completely anti-social. i was always paranoid about other people, and couldn't be in big crowds because i felt as though everyone was staring at me or trying to hurt me. this has stopped now that i'm on mood stabalizers. I have days where i feel as if i am on top of the world, and that nothing can knock me down. I'll start writing a book, or paint, or play guitar and i just feel filled with creativity. but then i'll have a day where i just feel so worn out and angry and emotionally exhausted. I don't know what is wrong with me but seeing my dad go through being bipolar makes me doubt that I am. he was much different, very unstable.

this is a very messy question but i don't know, i just want someone to talk to about this. some tips maybe. i just don't feel as though i'm bipolar. i don't know what i am but i feel like my psychiatrist had decided from the beginning that i was bipolar and nothing will change his mind. he won't even look at other possibilities.

ashlee


Answers




Since we're not doctors we can't diagnose and I'm not qualified to say whether your diagnosis is correct/incorrect. Sometimes doctors do make mistakes. It's certainly fine to bring up your questions. I realize it must be very scary being ill, knowing your family history. One of the ways you can tell, is how you respond to the medication - if you feel better then your doctor is on the right track. There are varying degrees of bipolar illness, so you wouldn't have to be like your dad. It's good though to ask plenty of questions and become your own advocate. I hope you'll feel better very soon.





You described what SOUNDED to me like minor hallucinations or delusions. You would expect to see that with bipolar, but not so much with borderline. It's possible, yes, but unlikely. Bipolar can came in different degrees and if you have good coping skills -- and it sounds like you do -- I would expect you to be more stable.

I'm not a doctor, however. The good news is that you DO have a doctor. I encourage people to get familiar with their diagnosis and get into their therapist's head. Ask him why he felt your symptoms exhibited bipolar and not borderline. Start a conversation and ask anything you want until you fully understand what he understands. If you feel something was wrong, speak up. Dialogue will help your therapist help you, so don't think you're bothering him or being rude.

Best,

Edahn





Hi there,

From what you've described, the only symptom that fits borderline personality disorder is the mood swings. Borderlines have difficulty with interpersonal relationships as well, and you do mention you're antisocial, but from what I've gained from your post, it seems more similar to paranoid shizophrenia than either Bipolar or Borderline. However, that is just an impression from someone who is NOT a mental health professional. You should definitely look up the symptoms of all three to see what best suits your needs and consult a second opinion from a more open-minded therapist.

I wish you luck in your treatment and mental health.





Ashlee,

I'm Bipolar myself. I go to a DBSA group every Monday with roughly 20 people there every meeting, and on Thursdays a friend of mine and I run a DBSA group about 60 miles away, and between them and us I see about 20 people every week who have Bipolar Spectrum Disorder.

It's called Spectrum because it comes in so many different combinations of mania and depression. I've had depression for well over 80% of my life, with 3 times over a 2 month period in '04 when I had what would look exactly like a coma if I was laying on a hospital bed, and each lasted between 24 and 36 hours. I've had 3 very different forms of mania, none of which I would ever care to experience again, especially the last one. I also have some social phobia/anxiety issues, plus migraines, which are comorbid with the Bipolar, so every time I have a migraine I get seriously depressed too.

The fellow leading the other group has had no depression at all if compared to me, but he has had a lot more mania with a lot worse symptoms that I have had. He also has major anxiety problems. His father has bipolar too, and his problems amount to getting awfully irritable and spending sprees. He recently took all the money they've saved and bought the family an RV. Well, they didn't need one, can't use one since they don't travel, and they sure can't afford to keep it gassed up. So,here you have a mere 3 people with vastly different Bipolar problems.

Now, everything you have described can be attributed to Bipolar Spectrum Disorder, and it's called that because it comes in such a vast array of symptoms, as Autism has. The odds of you having Bipolar because your Dad has it were highly likely, while your odds for the same symptoms are as equally unlikely.

You should check out the symptoms and all here, plus there is an excellent Bipolar page at about(dot)com, plus the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) site, and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). You might see if there is a DBSA support group in your area, and meet other people with similar problems to yours, and not feel alone in this.