Things I Still Don’t Know After 8 Years Diagnosed Bipolar

Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been 8 years since diagnosis! It’s been a long and interesting journey, but I’ve learned so much along the way. Here are 10 things, though, that I still don’t know…Β 

  1. Whether symptoms I am experiencing are attributed to my anxiety, ADHD diagnosis, bipolar disorder, or a combination of them.
  2. How long you can stay hypomanic or manic, and what hypomanic truly means, especially in contrast to mania (and yes, I’ve read a lot about it – still puzzled)
  3. Why people are still so ignorant about mental illness… (venting)
  4. If my thoughts are due to “symptoms” or it’s just my personality (sometimes I obsess over it)
  5. If I actually do have ADHD or if it’s symptoms from another one of my diagnosed conditions (diagnosis of that was in high school…)
  6. If my meds are doing any long term damage…
  7. Sometimes I struggle with when to stick it out and when to go to see the doc.
  8. Why it’s so hard to manage my irritability and anger sometimes.
  9. How do I truly know if my meds are working or not, especially if I’m getting symptoms? Will I always get symptoms, even when on meds, and how do I know what’s just “normal symptom action” and what is a sign of an episode?
  10. Will their be improvements in treatment for bipolar disorder during my lifetime? Maybe even an answer to WHY?

Do you ever ask these questions, and wonder the answers? Perhaps you have an answer to them? Comment in the Kat Community Below!Β 

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21 thoughts on “Things I Still Don’t Know After 8 Years Diagnosed Bipolar

    1. Hey my man! There’s gotta be — I think I’ve even seen that somewhere…I think they might have diagnosed me young as ADHD before bipolar but it doesn’t hold up. I think some of my “ADHD symptoms” are actually either BP or anxiety.

  1. It’s been nearly 8 yrs since my dx too, and I’m right there with you on #4, 8 & 9! I think #4 is especially problematic because we can’t help but see ourselves through the lens of bipolarity, so we never really know for sure what’s “just us” and what’s “us under the influence of bipolar symptoms.”

    As far as knowing whether meds are working or not… a lot of the time it feels as though they’re not doing a thing. But there have been occasions where I’ve missed doses (run out, late order, etc) or I’ve had to cut way back in order to not run out, and after a few days of that, I realize that it may not feel like it helps but I can definitely tell a difference without it – moodswings are much worse and harder to manage.

    1. Thanks for the comments, PL! I think #4 and #9 are two of the toughest for me. Has anyone ever given you any insight on how to “know” about #4? How do you cope with it? I can definitely, definitely relate to the missed doses issue. I can really tell, too, but I still, after 8 years, struggle with my meds. Sometimes I just hate them. But they’re crucial. I know it.

      1. Hey Kat… I feel that I’ve been pretty fortunate in that I’m still seeing the same therapist I began with nearly 8 yrs ago. She’s become familiar enough with me that she can provide an outside perspective & say, “That’s a BP issue” or “nope, that sounds like you all the time.” So I can usually rely on that if I’m feeling uncertain. Outside the office, though, I still struggle with sorting it out, especially since I deal with anxiety on a regular basis.

        Thanks for writing this post – lots of good points that really resonate!

      2. Great point. I’ve had my therapist now for I’d say 4-5 years and you’re so right, it does help to have the long-term relationship. Actually, she moved from here in town out of state, to Virginia, so now we meet over Skype. Definitely less conventional than what I’m used to, but I didn’t want to lose the relationship. It’s working out pretty well and what you described is such an advantage. It is nice to have people around us that know our true selves that can help us distinguish. But you’re exactly right, when it comes to evaluating ourselves, it’s much tougher! The key is being able to get used to hearing what we don’t want to hear about ourselves from others. Maybe?

  2. Mental health is a really young branch of medicine, they are making improvements all the time, but unfortunately the stigma, and the fact that many therapies immediately become contraband due to possible narcotic or social abuse is not helping progress. Hang in there.

  3. I wonder about these things ALL. THE. TIME. I’ve only been diagnosed for three years and I still don’t have the answers to those questions…..It is comforting to know that someone who’s got more experience with BP than I do is still working on the answers.

    Thanks for this post, Kat. πŸ™‚

    1. Hey, at least we can wonder together! And then hopefully get our answers πŸ˜€ I’ll let you know if I find one! πŸ˜‰ Always good to hear from you, love. -KAT

  4. One that I always deal with is how to know I am having symptoms when my mind lies to me and says it is normal?

    1. Exactly, Jon-Paul! I agree. Sometimes it’s hard for me to discern if I’m not doing well, but I’m getting better at it. I think it takes practice to realize your triggers and symptoms. But doesn’t make anything easier! I think this also leads to self-doubt, because we aren’t sure if we are talking out of “sickness” or we are just expressing ourselves sometimes (as I alluded to in the blog!). Nice insights!

  5. This is a great post! I have struggled with # 7 sometimes. These days I go by the philosophy that it’s better to be safe than sorry, so I make an appointment!

    Re #4 – Sometimes “symptoms” can be an exaggerated form of personality. For example, a tendency to worry (personality) can develop into anxiety (mental health symptom). One way to try and distinguish between the two – if the thought is interfering with your ability to function it is a symptom.

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