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Think that I am Bi-polar II - how will this be daignosed?

(6 Posts)
mulranno Tue 30-Oct-12 10:19:48

Have had 11 years of recurrent depression which at the moment is especially bad and I still have major symptoms despite being on ADs and a top up tranquilliser. My internet research (Mayo Clinic/web MD) point at bi-polar II. GP has referred me back to see psychiatrist. How would I be assessed and treated and managed differently from depression.Where can I found out more?

Pilgit Tue 30-Oct-12 13:39:47

I'm not sure about where to find out more, however I can relate my own experiences and tell you how I was diagnosed. I was diagnosed BPII in the summer of 2010. I had been diagnosed with chronic depression prior to this and had been living with it for 10+ years. After the birth of my first child I was okay, it was when I went back to work, full time, that things started to change. I have always had tendencies to hyper-activity from time to time. At certain times things just seem to move faster in my head and I get into a hyper efficient mode where more work gets done, I can connect concepts faster and produce some of my best work. However it has always had a tendency to go that bit too far and I would find myself wishing it would stop as it feels like there is a merry go round in my head that is just going faster and faster and faster until at some point it just breaks and the pieces go flying off in all directions. At this point, which up until 2 years ago was usually predicated by self harm (which was the method I often used to make it stop), I would collapse in a heap and head down into a depressive cycle. When this cycling between the two states was on a monthly or half yearly basis it was fine. However the stress of going back to work and having a small child (and all the guilt that went with leaving her) meant the cycling was happening on a daily, and at some points, hourly basis.
At this point I went to see my pyschiatrist and we discussed this and he made the diagnosis on the basis of past history and what was now happening. I know take a cocktail of venlafaxine and mirtazapine and I employ quite a few self calming techniques to keep my calm and centred (the years in therapy have been good for some things!).
Speaking with your psychiatrist will help. They will help you make sense of your symptoms. Otherwise some talking therapy to make sense of what is happening should help. Whilst I depend daily on medication, talking things through and seeing the connections between my thoughts has really helped create my own coping strategies - drugs are only one part of the answer.
Hope it goes well.

mulranno Thu 01-Nov-12 07:45:06

pilgit you could have descibed my life - saw psychiatrist yesterday he put me on mirtazapine and something else (cant read his hand writing!) and to see a psychologist to manage this major depressive episode. He did not diagnose bp2 and I did not ask but the prescription says it all as does the 11 years of effectively untreated "depession" as I have tried lots of ADs always upping the dose and adding things in. On reflection I have had this all my life with the the dep part easy to hide/manage when you dont have dependent others ie pre kids - the hypo bit is " the normal me" full of enegery always chasing after some bright new idea - working like a dog with too many things taken on....but on reflection these ideas dont get completed I let people down and my career has been bumpy as I inevitably get into bother. So today I halve my reboxetine, halve it again tomorrow and start on new drugs on Sunday. What can I expect? Were you relieved to be diagnosed, when everything is in balance does life go swimmingly, have O a lot to look forward to?

mulranno Thu 01-Nov-12 10:03:09

Will it take forever to get stable? Were you able to carry on working whilst getting fixed or do I need to take time out and focus on getting better? Did you consider in or day patient therapy?

swallowedAfly Thu 01-Nov-12 16:16:46

mul what makes you think bipolar? can you describe what the symptoms that make you think of mania/hypomania are?

bear in mind that anxiety and depression can make quite a dance together without it having to be bipolar iyswim.

dx is based on what you report and treatment options are fairly broad if you have a good psychiatrist and a history of good self management which makes them trust you to take part in the decision making. for myself i didn't want drug you up/diabetes inducing/sledgehammer type drugs.

would need to know what you are experiencing to be able to comment on treatment options. realistically if you've been managing for a decade you're not in need of heavy duty, large side effect profile drugs.

mulranno Thu 01-Nov-12 17:43:48

I have always considered the hypo bit is " the normal me" full of enegery always chasing after some bright new idea - working like a dog with too many things taken on....but on reflection these ideas dont get completed I let people down and my career has been bumpy as I inevitably get into bother. I am self employed as I cant keep down a job -- do brilliantly for 4/5 months then plummet into chaos and exhaustion. I am very implusive getting obsessed and distracted with personal projects and stay up all night reseaching and planning the next big idea. Currently I am in major finacial diffuculties due to a crazy decision to buy and rennovate a ski chalet in France and (it gets worse) speculate on some building land without planning permission whcih my lawyer said not to buy. This has resulted in major disruption for my family as I now have to take my daughters out of their private school and sell out home to cleaar the debt. My head spins confused with 150 things to do and by house is chaos. Some people find me too much in their face, loud and overbearing whilst others are attracted to my energy -- I make freinds easily but also loose them as I dont keep up friendship routines -- always to busy to or too down plan and connect socially

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