I have bipolar but I am afraid to get help

Posted , 4 users are following.

I'm pretty certain that I have Bipolar disorder (without mania, just hypomania). I've felt like this for a long time and my partner also agrees. My Dad has bipolar too (but much more severe).

I really want to get better. I'm generally low, and it's having a real impact on my ability to thrive and acheive. I so desperately want to feel 'normal'. I would give anything not to battle with the constant self-doubt, self-hatred, frustration and self-blame. I have tried talking therapies to deal with anxiety, but there is incredible pressure to 'take control of your symptoms', and start to mange the condition myself. Trouble is, I feel physically unable to do this because I don't feel in control of my mood. I've lived with an awful lot of self-blame because the techniques 'should work', so I blame myself for not trying hard enough, and I hate myself for turning into my Dad because I've been trying so desperately to avoid this my whole life.

I know it isn't my fault and I should seek help but I am utterly convinced that receiving a diagnosis will have dire consequences for my future. I have worked incredibly hard to get a good degree - in Psychology would you believe, and if getting diagnosed means I will have my driving license revoked or it will some how stop me working with children, or in clinical psychology, I just can't bear it. I've seen the diagnosis/disorder have devastating consequences for my Dad, but in his case, like I say, it's much more severe. He's been sectioned under the mental health act.

It may seem irresponsible of me to not get a diagnosis, but I'm not a danger to myself, or to others, in general life or on the road etc. I'm just sad (or agitated in hypomania). I'm aware of how my symptoms affect me and I'm responsible and relatively in control (I don't take substances, don't engage in dangerous risk taking behaviour etc.). I'm sure many people feel this way, especially those with milder symptoms. Just to be clear, I am in no way implying that those with bipolar are dangerous or irresponsible, I just mean that I'm terrified that my doctor/others will hear bipolar and automatically assume the worst possible/most extreme symptoms, and treat me as though I can't be trusted to know my own mind, or I am somehow incapacitated. As if I 'need help' because I 'can't cope'. The latter may be somewhat true, but I'm not a moron, I'm just someone who doesn't know how to feel happy. I am emotionally unstable, but I don't unpredictably 'flip out' and I'm not unstable as in I can't be trusted to make good choices and be a reliable, trustworthy person.

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow but I just don't know if I can go through with it. I feel like I'm going to get given a life sentence which I will never be able to take back and will live to regret terribly. I'm so afraid that later on, I might feel that I'm better, or maybe I was mistaken and I don't have bipolar, but it will be too late and I will have to live with the repercussions of my actions - actions which were carried out when I was feeling very sad and in need of help. I think I'm confused because I understand the assessment process, and I know the meaning of the questions/statements on the bipolar scales. I'm scared that I might accidentally be too persuasive in convincing the doctor that I have bipolar because deep down I am motivated by the desperate need to find meaning in my experiences and because receiving a diagnosis of bipolar might mean that all of this isn't my fault, but more importantly, maybe I can get better.

I need to be fully prepared for the consequences of receiving this diagnosis. Anyone who can be honest and give me some clarity will be greatly helping me in my time of need. Please don't hold back and only tell me the positives. I want to know the negatives too. Thank you.

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    i know how it feels to want a proper diagnosis.  All i would say is a biploar diagnosis is quite hard to get.  especially if a dr (who can only refer you a psychiatrist for a diagnosis as they arent able to give one) or a therapist or psychiatrist think that you have a predisposed idea of what you may have.  the absolute worst thing you can do is say to a dr or anyone else "i think i may be...".  it makes a degree of sense, if we a re predisposed to thinking something, we can subconciously start to display those characteristics.  The best idea is be honest with a dr, tell them youd like an assessment by a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, explain your symptoms and leave it like that.  Any diagnosis is better than being left wondering, but try not to diagnose yourself, i guarentee it will only leave you frustrated
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  • Posted

    as for worrying about the dr - a dr cant and wont make a mental health diagnosis beyond run of the mill depression, they have to refer you onwards if they suspect or you ask.  a bipolar diagnosis unless you are showing severe symptoms is quite lengthy, but it will be a psychiatrist who does this, not a dr
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  • Posted

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I'm aware that I will need to be referred to a psychiatrist, really I'm referring to the psychiatrist and GP when I say 'doctor'.

    The difficultly I have is that I don't know how else to explain my experiences without putting my symptoms in the context of bipolar/cyclothymia. It feel that it is almost impossible for me to not indicate this because I've studied Psychology for 4 years and have a Father with bipolar. I don't know how I can get through explaining how I am feeling without talking about highs and lows, which in itself would very much indicate bipolar. It feel a bit frightened by the comment which says that admitting my fears to a doctor would be 'the worst thing to do', I don't really understand how else to go about this. People tell you not to worry, and that you won't be judged etc. but it seems like what you might be suggesting is that they will pass judgement on me if I am honest about how I feel. Thanks again for replying.

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    • Posted

      all i would say is just explain your symtpoms, dont try to fit them in anywhere. if the dr thinks they sit in a particular diagnosis then thats great. the problem is when you dont get a diagnosis of anything, thats even worse
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  • Posted

    Would it be a good idea to say that you are concerned, as your father has a bipolar diagnosis, and you feel you are possibly showing similar traits?

    A diagnosis is what I am trying to avoid but by avoiding it you avoid support and the right help. If you ignore it it will get worse. The questions you are asked I don't feel you can really answer dishonestly even if you've done all the research in the world. Xxx

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  • Posted

    Hi there. My dad too had bipolar 1 he was very very bad when he wasnt well and would stop his meds cos he said he felt better. I too have just been diagnosed with bupolar 2 so not the real bad one. Hang on in there and go see your gp. Write down your symptoms everything you can think of. Don't suffer on your own x alway here to chat anytime x
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  • Posted

    Hi!

    just come across your post and i am really glad to see you sharing your experience. I am 25 year old girl with a bipolar diagnosis soon to be approaching a year. Also depression/anxiety. Anyway, i just wanted to say from reading your post you already have your own answers and know what you need to do.

    I was mortified at my diagnosis, i thought i am 24 what the hell this is shameful and all of those ridiculous thoughts. Through psychiatrist help and a psychotherapist along with escitalopram and lamotragine since 0ct 15, i am well on my way and i am a COMPLETELY different person to what i was a year ago.

    You have nothing to worry about and believe you me they have more severe cases walking through their door i'm sure, every single day. So dont panic, be honest be open, and embrace it. Because you can get through it and you will.

    If you need anything pls dont hesitate, i no how hard it is and can be !!

    lots of love to you!

    Georgia

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