I am 21 years old and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about a month ago. I know it is early on but I was just wondering if anyone else had a hard time accepting it? I saw a few doctors who all came to the same conclusion about my illness and had blood work done etc...but it just makes me sad to think that at the age of 21 I am already suffering from a mental illness. I already struggle in the dating scene (haven't had a date in 3 years-mainly because I have been abused and am now afraid of relationships) - but being bipolar is not going to help me open up to people (especially guys). I have started taking lamictal and it helps a ton. I have never felt so balanced and at peace in my entire life, so I know the help I am getting is good for me- it is just hard dealing with it because I am in college and far from my family. I confided everything in a friend of mine who took it upon herself to tell almost everyone we know-including teachers (which did not make my life easier). I am just wondering if anyone else had a hard time accepting their illness. Any advice on how to be at peace with everything? Advice on dating? Maybe I just need someone to talk to. Any replies are welcomed.
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replied May 28th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
It can be difficult to come to terms with any life long diagnosis. Keep in mind that bipolar disorder does not define you. You are not bipolar disorder but a person that suffers with the disorder. It is one aspect of you but not the whole of you. Finding medication that works well is a big part of the equation. Lamictal is doing the job and that is wonderful. The other aspect of things is therapy. Many people have breakthrough symptoms. Therapy can help give you the skills to cope with life through the rough spots.

Give yourself time. It takes a bit to be able to digest all of this. Knowledge is power so I encourage you to empower yourself and learn about bipolar disorder when you feel ready. Know the symptoms and behaviors associated with each aspect of the disorder so you can recognize when you are starting to cycle. Mood charts can be found on-line. Google search for mood charts. There are many different types. Some are very simplistic and others go into great detail. Find one that you think will work for you. Use the chart to keep track of your moods. This will help you to see any pattern in your moods and will help you see progress in your treatment. It is a wonderful tool for the doctor in treating you. You won't have to try to remember everything when you see the doctor. You will have it all on the mood charts.

There are support groups to help and offer support. NAMI.org is a site that has wonderful references listed by state. Go to the site and there will be contact people to assist you with finding local support groups.

We are always here. This forum is designed to offer support, advice, suggestions and just listen. Always feel free to post questions or vent your feelings. Just know you are not alone in this.

Let us know how you are.
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Users who thank antigone for this post: sunn 

replied May 29th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
I was diagnosed back in 1985 with BPD. At that time, it was very hard for me to understand since I had not heard of the disorder. Through the years I learned more and more and how devistating this is on ones life. Not only for yourself, but for those you love around you. I found it best to have people close to you do some research and try to understand the disorder so they can better understand you.
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replied May 29th, 2008
I go through phases when I am absolutely convinced that there is something wrong with me and that it is bipolar disorder, and phases when I think that I'm just overdramatizing everything and that I am normal. I'm not sure that I'll ever be 100% sure of the diagnosis short of a infallible biological test that becomes available. It's difficult because for many of us, this sort of tumultuous existence is normal; we have no other measure against which we can compare our experiences. It is especially hard for me because I do not have psychotic features that can tell me in no uncertain terms that something is off-kilter. Also, I find that my memory is highly dependent on the mood I am in: if I am up, I only remember the manias, if I am down, I feel like I've been depressed my whole life.

My psychiatrist told me, when I was having trouble sticking to my meds, that it takes many people years and many destructive cycles to finally accept that something is wrong and will be wrong for the rest of our lives. It may take something to happen, he said, like an arrest, a commitment, serious injury or worse, to fully illustrate to individuals the gravity of the disease. However, for most of us, that is exactly the path we are trying to avoid.

It's not fair, it sucks, it is difficult as heck to swallow, but...what are our other options? Leave it alone and it'll convince you, but at what cost?
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replied June 5th, 2008
well i got told i have bipolar disorder by 4 doctors but i am pretty sure they are wrong. the problem is, they use a checklist to determine this and everybody is different. my personality (i am a hard worker) makes them think i'm hypomanic or manic. i can admit to depression but thats about it. i have mood stabilizers and antidepressants. i am going to trick the doctors and make them think i'm taking the mood stabilizers to prove a point. i will just take antidepressants. i would bet all the money in the world i am just depressed and they will say i have improved. i dont think anybody else should try this, but i am pretty sure i will be fine. it's too bad theres not a blood test to tell me for sure. let me say again DONT ANYBODY ELSE TRY THIS. you might really need your meds
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replied June 6th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
candelight wrote:
well i got told i have bipolar disorder by 4 doctors but i am pretty sure they are wrong. the problem is, they use a checklist to determine this and everybody is different. my personality (i am a hard worker) makes them think i'm hypomanic or manic. i can admit to depression but thats about it. i have mood stabilizers and antidepressants. i am going to trick the doctors and make them think i'm taking the mood stabilizers to prove a point. i will just take antidepressants. i would bet all the money in the world i am just depressed and they will say i have improved. i dont think anybody else should try this, but i am pretty sure i will be fine. it's too bad theres not a blood test to tell me for sure. let me say again DONT ANYBODY ELSE TRY THIS. you might really need your meds


This is the way it is diagnosed. If you meet the criteria (which are very complex) in most cases are right on the money. If four doctors have come to this diagnoses, then you probably are. My advice to you is get out of the denial and start to accept. You say you are a hard worker. Did you know that hyperness (at work or at home) is a symtom of Bipolar. You say you are depressed. How long does that last. Do you have times when you are overly happy? Do you do things at the the spur of the moment without thought? These are all part of the disorder. How can four doctors be wrong?

BTW: You would get more replies if you were to start you own topic.
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replied June 7th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Candlelight,

I agree with CarolDiane. You need to listen to what the doctors are saying. Mania presents in many ways. It can result in making poor choices and acting on impulse which can lead to trouble. Depression is one side of the disorder. Mania/hypomania needs to be controlled as well. Taking an antidepressant without a mood stabilizer will escalate mania. I hope you will reconsider your decision to withhold the mood stabilizer. Have you done any reading on the disorder? I suggest you do some research on bipolar disorder. Once you have the knowledge you can discuss your diagnosis with your doctor. I hope you will do this for yourself.
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replied June 7th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
antigone wrote:
Candlelight,

I agree with CarolDiane. You need to listen to what the doctors are saying. Mania presents in many ways. It can result in making poor choices and acting on impulse which can lead to trouble. Depression is one side of the disorder. Mania/hypomania needs to be controlled as well. Taking an antidepressant without a mood stabilizer will escalate mania. I hope you will reconsider your decision to withhold the mood stabilizer. Have you done any reading on the disorder? I suggest you do some research on bipolar disorder. Once you have the knowledge you can discuss your diagnosis with your doctor. I hope you will do this for yourself.


antigone is right. This is your life we are talking about here. You can choose to live it in misery or get some help and start living a close to normal life that will even surprise you. Just like antigone said. Please do some research, it will be the best time you will ever donate to research. Right now you are denying yourself a better live. Why? Because you feel this can't happen to you. Well it can. And there are more then one of us on this board that can atest to that. Go get some help.

Edited due to many typo's. Really must have been tired when I wrote this one. sleep Still might be some.
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replied June 7th, 2008
sorry for taking over this topic. i just read that and then felt like responding.

i do impulsive things and get into trouble a little bit but i think that is from my childhood problems. i have done so much research on it and thats why i think i dont have it. i dont worry about stigmas or anything. i just honestly dont think i have it. i dont feel elated moods or hyper; i just sometimes have a lot of goals that people dont think i can accomplish. the only time i think i cant do them is when i am depressed--which is often
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replied June 29th, 2008
Candlelight a response and My Personal Story
Hi Candlelight,
I enjoyed reading your post. It definitely took some courage to put this on the forum. I totally understand what you are saying and I know how you feel. I have never posted on this forum before, but I felt that this subject was the best place to start. I would like to recommend an awesome movie to you to give yourself some perspective about people with bipolar condition. It will open up your eyes to a new world. Watch it to open up your mind and you will enjoy it, it is very well crafted. It is one of the best documentaries I have seen in the last 5 years. It is called Manic Depression and Me with Stephen Fry a very successful and well known British Comedian and Actor.

http://www15.alluc.org/alluc/showmovie.htm l?uid=271382

Just click on the button and it will take you to Veoh I think. You need to download their software and install it, takes like 5 minutes. It will be worth it.

You were mentioning the fact that the doctors didn't take any blood samples and can't officially diagnose you scientifically with a disorder. That is true and obviously makes the practice of psychiatry a suspicious one. It also doesn't help that a lot of these doctors can be socially awkward, with a large ego and a superiority and power trip complex that makes them seem inhuman and insensitive. Just because they have their problems, doesn't mean they are wrong either.

The reason I recommend the movie is many fold, but predominantly to show you that there are catscans and MRI scans that are being done by researchers to help them understand the complexity of conditions. They have done genetic testing with animals and doctors have been using chemicals and mineral baths to help different mental conditions ease their suffering hundreds of years (for instance with natural lithium baths). Watch the video, keep an open mind and take care of yourself in the way that you feel is best for you right now.

Besides all that I also wanted to share my personal story. It was more of a thing I wanted to share for others, and I am not necessarily saying it applies to you Candlelight.

I also had numerous diagnosis before I even considered it to be a valid label. I had two psychologists who 'diagnosed' me in like 5 minutes. That was insulting, since they didn't even get to know me. Then in the hospital 2 doctors diagnosed me in record time and they were super aloof and super rude, so I ignored those guys. Then I had two other doctors who were convinced I was bipolar and I felt they weren't being considerate or decent towards me either. Then finally two more doctors diagnosed me as bipolar and they didn't treat me like an adult, but at least they were more professional. I went through 2 rounds of horrendous forcible injections, which was a nightmare!!!!!!!!!!!! (Prolixin turned me into a zombie and then oral Abilify made me tweak like a meth addict, it was a combination from hell). The only reason they injected me is because I refused to take mild oral medications, I do not recommend this resisting a court order. Prolixin screwed me up for 6 months, and then once they gave me abilify to combine with it it drove me to the brink of suicide. Don't force them to inject you, because they will and they can. I tried two different oral medications that were a nightmare and concluded that all these people were all wrong and I didn't have a mental condition or a biochemical imbalance. I was never completely convinced of their diagnoses anyway, so as soon as I could, I quit even faking to take the meds.

Like Candlelight I considered myself to be a hard worker, industrious, ambitious, curious and determined to live a great life. I have high standards, I have been well trained and well educated and I figured most of the complaints and opposition people brought against me came from their habitual party pooper lifestyle. I ignored them as haters and losers who had destined themselves to a mediocre life. Although I was already once placed on court ordered treatment I decided to continue to experiment with my life and to push things to the limit. By the second time I was in the hospital I definitely wondered if I might be bipolar, because so many of my symptoms overlapped with the diagnoses, but I always came to the conclusion that it wasn't a perfect match. I had to figure this out for myself, I couldn't rely on these doctors who are obviously trying to hide something and trying to force me into things. What I found suspicious is that they never spent any time trying to educate me, nor did they give me access to any substantial or useful medical or scientific information while I spent 60 days in the hospital (2 different visits). I continued to ignore them. I should mention that I had only had manic sort of symptoms up until then. It wasn't until I reached a period of 4 months where I was at a point of extremely low energy, I could barely do anything. Showering only happened a few times a week, I wouldn't change my clothes, I wouldn't leave the house, talking became difficult etc etc. I wasn't depressed, I wasn't sad or melancholy, I just had super low energy. My mind also felt strange, like my brain was melting or something uncomfortable like that. What finally convinced me to take medication was the fact that I had now very clearly shown to myself that I absolutely do cycle from high to low and although I do have some control over the whole process, I had gotten myself into a lot of trouble. I hadn't developed my career for over 5 years, I have no substantial recent working history and can't get loans now because of that. I don't have any nice car, I am still weak and out of shape, my college debt is still 30,000 and hasn't gone down, I have no savings, no family of my own etc etc. My final thought was however that if one happens to be Manic Depressive or Bipolar as I was noticing myself to be and one continues to keep cycling up and down unhindered, the cycles can become more intense and more rapid to a point where there is no more hope for the person to have a normal life. That was it for me. I gave up with my fight, and I fought hard, and started taking the medication. I am currently taking Lamictal and I love it. I even know when I forget to take it, because of how my best friend responds to me. I can't very easily tell myself when things are going wrong with me, because it is like watching a fun movie that is my life, but I can tell when other people trip out around me. I have trained my friends to help me recognize patterns and then I take that info to the Doctor. The hope is to stay out of trouble, out of the hospital and absolutely away from forcible injections. Now that I am not 'experimenting' with my life, I am making money again, developing a career, developing and cultivating my friendships and getting out of debt. Hope that helps someone.
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replied June 29th, 2008
Re: hard to accept diagnosis
sunn wrote:
I am 21 years old and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about a month ago. I know it is early on but I was just wondering if anyone else had a hard time accepting it? I saw a few doctors who all came to the same conclusion about my illness and had blood work done etc...but it just makes me sad to think that at the age of 21 I am already suffering from a mental illness. I already struggle in the dating scene (haven't had a date in 3 years-mainly because I have been abused and am now afraid of relationships) - but being bipolar is not going to help me open up to people (especially guys). I have started taking lamictal and it helps a ton. I have never felt so balanced and at peace in my entire life, so I know the help I am getting is good for me- it is just hard dealing with it because I am in college and far from my family. I confided everything in a friend of mine who took it upon herself to tell almost everyone we know-including teachers (which did not make my life easier). I am just wondering if anyone else had a hard time accepting their illness. Any advice on how to be at peace with everything? Advice on dating? Maybe I just need someone to talk to. Any replies are welcomed.


Hi Sunn,
I commend you for being so honest and wrestling with your doubts. My hope is that the Doctors were professional and compassionate dealing with you. I'm sure your friend meant well, but I am sorry to hear that she went around telling everyone your business without consulting you first. She must be a great friend though, if you trusted her enough to confide in her and feel she is enough support for you. You said that you live far away from your family so you need a trustworthy person as a friend. Just make sure you let her know how she made you feel and all, because you two need to be honest and open with each other, in case you really really need help. I know sometimes I really need my friends help and I have to know that I can totally trust them, before I throw myself at their mercy.

You said it is difficult for you to consider yourself suffering from a "mental illness" so early in your life. I don't know how severe your symptoms are, but some people do very well with medication. I have been on medication myself and doing well for about a year now. I don't consider myself ill in the sense that I have a disease, I consider myself deficient of a specific brain chemistry, the same way some people might be vitamin deficient. I take my meds, it helps me. If and when I tell people about my condition, I never say I am 'mentally ill', it has such a terrible connotation. Sorry, I don't mean to lecture you. All I am saying is this, as you learn more about the process and the science you might see that you can use different words to describe yourself, use different words to describe your life, because words do make a difference. Find labels for yourself that give you hope and help you persevere.

I am so happy for you that you are having such substantial success right after your diagnosis, as am I. I am also on Lamictal (tried 3 or 4 other meds I didn't like), but I am 28 and now on track. I didn't start complying till I was 27. Think of all the time I wasted that you still can live to your fullest. I left college at 21 and worked a job I hated, hung out with people that treated me like garbage, got in trouble with the law, destroyed all my personal relationships 3 times, lost my car, wrecked my career, became unable to get loans, unable to get a real job, was homeless, lived with bums, had my life endangered numerous times and increased my debt even more from age 21 till age 27. You can skip all that. If I had taken my medication like you are, and worked a real job at $30,000 per year I would now be $180,000 dollars richer.

You asked at the end if we had a hard time accepting our 'illness' and in my case the answer is yes and no. My condition has allowed me to experience, learn and do things only a few people in history will dare to, that's nice. I felt like all that experience I developed was worth more than a wife, kids, family, money or relationships and it is true, but now that I have accomplished my goal I don't really have anyone to share my experiences with. That sucks. If it turns out that I can't ever have a wife or a serious job, then I will be a bit bummed, but right now my goal is to avoid trouble and to maintain longterm health. My hope is that my condition becomes very stable so that I could maintain a decent relationship and lifestyle. The final thing that makes it easy to accept, besides the mania, is the fact that the research the scientists are doing is out of this world amazing. They are learning so much and are developing such sophisticated medicine, that we are lucky to be alive in this age. I hope they can keep developing breakthroughs and am considering studying science myself.

Here is some info that helped me learn more about the Bipolar Manic Depression than anything else:

Here is a podcast series (probably 8 different programs and more coming) where patients and Doctors are interviewed about different themes every month or so. It is called Health Talk and you can listen to it on the web or get the Podcasts through Itunes

http://www2.healthtalk.com/go/mental-healt h/bipolar-disorder/audio-video


Oh and PBS or Nova did a special about Bipolar in kids that was also very informative. It is called "A Medicated Child". You can watch it online right now. They'll show you all the most modern procedures they are using to develop their understanding. We are talking cutting edge stuff.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/me dicatedchild/



Documentaries about the DNA Research - Lay Person Documentary
They will show you the basics of how DNA works and how they discovered it
as well as what they are working on. The first 4/5 videos are amazing. The last one is a little boring

http://www15.alluc.org/alluc/documentaries .html?action=getviewcategory&category_uid= 47576&from=&partner=no

If you have never heard of the Teaching company, then check this out. Get it on ebay whatever it is worth it. There is 18 hour Neuroscience DVD set. Each section is in great 30 minute segments that can be watched independent of each other. The last DVD has the most relevant stuff about Mania, Depression etc. This will give you some insight into the science of it all.

Neuroscience ($90 new, sell it on ebay for $85)
Teach 12
Science Lectures
Biology Lectures
Any of the Biology lectures would probably be helpful for instance

48. Gregor Mendel, Founder of Genetics
49. The Discovery of DNA
50. The Genetic Code
51. Reading the Genetic Code
52. Genetic Engineering
53. Cancer and Other Genetic Diseases




I love the documentaries and movies, because I find it easier to learn visually and with audio as opposed to reading. Also when I am 'low energy or 'depressed' I can't concentrate on a book, but I can watch all day long. I highly recommend everyone learn as much about your condition as you can. The doctors don't have the time and probably don't want to educate you, because you can then second guess what they are telling you. They are lazy like anybody else. Don't let your treatment be second rate. Get informed.

Sorry this was so long, I got way into it. I need to start my own blog or something. I was just so happy to finally find a cool bipolar forum that actually had interesting posts. I never synthesized all my info till just now. Thanks again.
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replied June 29th, 2008
Who called me Bipolar?
I think for everyone acceptance is the hardest to overcome and is a process of us thinking and rethinking, ruling out everything else in our minds before we are actually able to settle on the diagnoses. As of yet, there are no definite tests or exact sciences that can 100% say you are or are not bipolar.

The majority of people that do have the illness don't require medications and function fine in society, its only when it develops into a problem that we are captured. So here is the scoop....we all are different and have a different degree of the illness, if you are having problems and it is creating havoc, its time to get into some form of treatment.
www.mentalhealthus.com
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replied June 30th, 2008
thank you so much
boomstick37, for replying so thoroughly to us. that was really nice of you and it is much appreciated. i'll watch the documentary asap. i just ant accept i have the condition. i recently got back on my meds because the doctors could tell i have been off of them because my depression got out of control.

i'm still itching not to take the mood stabilizer because i want to have a manic episode as evidence that i really have the disorder. i had (what i believe is two manic episodes) on antidepressants before, but i need a manic episode to happen recently to convince me that this is really true. sounds crazy, and it is probably irritating to you all. but i feel like i need the extremes to happen to get me to understand what everybody is talking about. i have the lows; i just need to see a high. i'm on abilify right now and i want to stop taking it. i just need to buy some time because i dont want the doctors to force me to take it.
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replied July 2nd, 2008
Can't figure out how to use the forum

Candlelight, I had to see both extremes myself before I could believe the Doctors. Study up on all of the material and make sure you find some good friends and or family members that you can let in on your experiment. Your judgement can become seriously flawed if and when you get into a mania. We don\'t want you to destroy your credit, get an std or end up in jail etc. Trust me any of those things could happen. Come up with an emergency action plan.
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replied July 3rd, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Hi again everyone
I too can relate to not being able to execpt a BPD diagnosis. As I said in my previous post, when I found out 30+ years ago that I could not take Lithium (which many can't) and at that time that was the only treatment out there. I went toxic to quickly on it. I was fine on 200mg a day and felt like a wall had been torn down in front of me and I could finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. But when he was not satified with my level (and I was) he put me on 300mg daily which put me over the edge. I have then decided that I was NOT bipolar even though my blood work stated I was and went into complete denial. About three months ago my GP (who has been nice enough to treat me for my anxiety and depression for over 5 years now,) looked at me and asked " Have you ever been diagnosed with BP"? Well needless to say, my mouth dropped 50ft to the ground at warp speed. I could not believe she hit on it. It was time for a dicission and it was time NOW. I said "yes" and explained my hiding for 30+ years and having my manic episodes and anger along with some suicidal tendencies even to the point of trying to OD on pills. Belive it or not, her asking me that questio was like taking a vail off my face and the true me was under it. I no longer needed to hide. I could now live a close to normal life and I am such a changed person due to that. I have her to thank and my willingness to face my disorder head on. I am not on Depakote and Seraquil. Wonder drug IMHO. There is so much out there that can help. Why would I want to live a life is distress when it is not nessesary anymore.

Just my experience and hope it helps
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replied July 22nd, 2009
Trying to switch from Litium to Lamictal
Dr and I came to the conclusion that to stop this binge eating I have I have to try something new. I tried Lamictal for 4 days. Wife says that I have been irritable with her and at 1 point mean. I feel like I have more energy though and at work I am able to do stuff and not veg out (like I did with lithium). But it makes me talk more at work whereas Lithium kept me safe from saying the wrong thing. I told my Dr about the irritability with my wife and he suggested I stop taking it for 1 week to see if other things are bothering me. Has anyone had this Lamictal experience? Should my wife be more understanding?
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