Advice needed before psychologist appointment

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Hi, I want to bring up a few things at the appointment which have concerned me for a while now, but do not want to make a complete moron of myself!

Basically, I've wondered for a while now about whether I might be somewhere on the bipolar 'spectrum', rather than simply unipolar depressed. I am 41. I'll try and just list things so this doesn't turn into an essay!

I was a very anxious child. Had hallucinations (but this is normal for some kids I believe)

Bullied relentlessly at high school.

I am aware of feeling 'not right' (depressed) in my mid teens

At 16 my English teacher noted a drop in the 'quality and quantity' of my work

Having always done academically well, I failed two exams and scraped a third and my final year was a waste of time.

At 17, on leaving school, I had a very long period of being 'strange'. My anxiety was up. I thought my best friends were too boring so dumped them. So had NO friends for a while. (I was shy and not exactly a 'party animal' - more a 'watch tv and read animal'wink

I developed an obsession with Johnny Depp. Not unusual for a teenage girl. but I just sat and watched the film 'Cry Baby' on a loop for weeks on end. I practically did nothing else for a while. I know I was not 'myself', I remember feeling 'odd'.

I can remember walking into the kitchen one day and it quite literally felt like I was walking on air. I can remember looking out the window and thinking how beautiful the world was. I was 'in love' with Johnny and he was going to come and get me. I have a vague recollection of bewildering my mum with whatever nonsense was coming out of my mouth. (none of this was usual for me)

I wrote a 'profound' poem at one point and was crushed when my mum didn't say it was good enough to be published. So I tore it up. (again, not usual behaviour for me).

And then I crashed into a huge depression. I was probably sleeping for over 20 hours each day. 

And then my anxiety went through the roof. Like, THROUGH THE ROOF!!

Can't think where in the timeline but my health anxiety was BAD. A 'deathwatch' beetle kept coming in our house for a time, and I was convinced it was a sign. It was coming for me. I really thought this.

This 'weirdness' went on for months. I was never treated. Eventually, it maybe took up to a year, I started to feel 'normal' again.

Since that time I have always been plagued with anxiety of some sort. It's always there.

I have had a number of severe depressive episodes over the years. (complicated by the fact I met my narcisstic ex at 19).

I also have problems with irritability, and rage

The narc left three years ago. I had a breakdown (scared life out of kids who left to grandma's for a time).

Was prescribed Mirtazapine (on for 6 months). Great for sleep. But I went odd again! Checked horoscopes umpteen times a day. Started to live life by them. Made many plans. But tbh it didn't help my anxiety and I went from depressed to thinking everything was going to be great.

Terrible withdrawl.

A few months later life seemed hopeless again.

On Sertraline for 6 weeks. Worst 6 weeks on my life (up till now).

Changed to Citalopram for 18 months. One year on 40mg. Maybe helped a little at start but I struggled the whole time on it. Mood swings all over the place. Extreme irritability and anger. Still able to be silly and have a laugh though. Nearly took my own life. Had emotional screaming meltdown in public after ESA refused (embarassing redface)

So changed to Cymbalta 10 weeks ago. AWFUL. More depressed. Apathetic. Not left flat since June. Feel ill. Doc put me up tp 120mg last week but I've dropped myself back down to 60mg as felt like I was going to die. Insomnia (which I had anyway) worse than ever.

I also was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in Feb, after years of trying to find out what was wrong. I've read there is a link with bipolar.

I get obsessions. Have done since that time back at school. Will buy lots of books on a subject, thinking that is what I will study and do with my life, only to lose interest or energy in it. Or other sorts of projects. Usually take on far too much and things are left half finished or never started.

Only seem to have short energy bursts. Strange but I used to have times where I would have to pile all the cushions up on the seat and sit as high as possible. Or other times I would get really confident and 'happy' and sure life was going to be great, but that only lasts for hours, not days.

Haven't really felt like that in a long time now. Last time I think was maybe pre-antidepressants.

I was also on prozac for a short while at Uni but felt completely out of control on it.

Sorry, that was quite long and I could have added so much more! 

I keep being told by GPs I am depressed. Yes, but not all the time!!! I go up and down. Yes, more down that up these days. And I never go very far up. Not like that first time.My anxieties are always there. I get hideously irritable. Of course the fibro doesn't help as it frustrates me. But I'm not always in a 'depressed' mood.

Anyway, if anyone has bothered to read this far I would value some input. I'm not looking for a diagnosis from you. Just whether, with your knowledge of bipolar, whether there is enough there to warrent me mentioning my concerns to the psychologist. It's actually health psychology for the fibro, but the mental health team couldn't give me pscyh appointment as I already had this one!

THANKS!!!

 

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    It sounds like general anxiety to be honest, all of these things occur with anxiety very commonly. Doesn't sound at all like bipolar to me, so that's a good thing

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  • Posted

    First off, mention everything you discussed here at your next appointment, in fact, print out your posting and take it with you. A diagnoses depends on the type of honest "here's what's going on with me" information you have provided here.

    Second, I'm not a mental health professional, so I'm just guessing, but it sounds to me like major league depression with serious anxiety issues.

    I don't believe there's any bipolar.

    It sounds like getting your anxiety under control will have the most benefit for you. At your next appointment, ask about CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) it can work wonders at taming anxiety, but you have to do the work and keep doing it, and don't quit on it. It saved my son.

    Good luck

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  • Posted

    Only a professional would be able to diagnose properly. You have a lot of anxiety. Like myself. I can relate to some of your story. I have bipolar III cyclothymia with recurrent depressive disorder. It took my Psychiatrist two years to diagnose. I hope,with the right professional help you can find some meds and therapy that will be beneficial. Let us know how it goes 😊best wishes x

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  • Posted

    Thank you all for your replies. I guess I'm just tired of feeling like this, and not getting any better. I'll be 42 next month and (at the moment) feel like I'll never get any sort of life back. I suppose 5 anti-depressants isn't as many as some have tried, but it is getting a bit dis-heartening now. My 17 year old daughter (who was basically looking after everything because I can't) has decided she can't cope and has gone to live with her Dad. But she has her own problems and is seeing a psychiatrist. That's one of the reason's I've wondered about myself. She is being treated for depression (started at about 13) but I have witnessed her in what I can only describe as 'manic' moods. Is it just anxiety for her too? I don't know. Ugh! I hate this! What a mess.

    Anyway, I'm still undecided on whether to force issues with the psychologist, or just let things come out slowly. I'm quite impatient though! I just want to feel better.

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  • Posted

    Hi there, I'm struggling with whether I have bipolar as well. I was told I may have bipolar ii. If your moods don't go very far up, it's probably not "classical" bipolar (I or II) then. It could be cyclothymia, which isn't as severe as bipolar. Or your anxiety could be "overriding" your depression in a way. I have OCD and sometimes it's like a stand off between anxiety and mood disorder. 

    I tried switching to cymbalta and it made me feel like I was going to die. I'm on Effexor (and have been for about 4 years) which has been great for my anxiety but isn't controlling my depression. I tried switching to cymbalta and it kinda worked for my depression but I was SO anxious I couldn't sleep or function! Plus I felt like garbage- headaches, nausea, etc... I went back to Effexor and never looked back. Cymbalta and Effexor are supposedly very similar since they're the same class of medicine (SNRI) but personally Cymbalta sucked for me. 

    In any case, you (and your daughter) should start keeping track of your moods- whether in a journal or a smart phone app. You should write down how exactly you feel and how long the moods last. The up moods are the key to whether it's a bipolar or not and it'll be easier to see if there's a pattern over time in your moods. Keep in mind- you may have something that doesn't completely fit into any standard diagnosis since you're a human being and humans are all different! What matters is that your psych is able to understand your symptoms and help you work through and treat them no matter what the diagnosis is. I'm wishing you and your daughter the best of luck. 

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    • Posted

      Hi, yes, I've read so much about the different 'shades' of bipolar it's only made me more confused! 

      I've had OCD symptoms too over the years, but nothing that interferes with my life. My Auntie though, and one of my cousins both have proper OCD about cleaning. My Granny was always cleaning so she was the same I think. And so, there is another thing to make me wonder! My Auntie has always been the energetic, 'crazy' sister. A bit on the wayward side. (I adored her as a child!). And I know she was sectioned at one point, but that was before I was born, so a looooong time ago! My Mum, on the other hand, is deeply depressive and a bundle of nerves all the time. Her anxiety is REALLY bad! It's sky high permanently. She used to be able to laugh though. But her moods have gotten worse as she's aged. So yeah, anxiety and stuff certainly runs in the family, but I sometimes wonder if there is undiagnosed bipolar aspects too!

      Anyway, there I go again! I suppose this is futile till I actually get to speak to the psychologist. 

      That's good Effexor is working for you. I'll wait and see what I'm given next!

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