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Reasons why Bipolar is difficult to diagnose:

It has different components, which manifest at different times, so often the doctor has only what s/he sees at a given time to go on, eg:

– has similarities to other illnesses such as major depressive

– when presents as psychotic, any disorder which includes psychosis

– may present as a normal, well person, etc.

This can also apply to someone who is seeing a psychologist for crisis evaluation or a psychiatrist for emergency med management, you can seem normal then too. How? Read on if you wish. (Be warned, it’s another of my personal horror stories, very recent)…

All few of you who read this blog know I’ve been struggling for some time now with a great depressive epoch, and have recently found that some of the symptoms of my “depression” are actually more symptoms of mania. . .. therefore I’m rapid cycling like the wheels of a bicycle racer near the finish line. (please forgive the obvious metaphor, I’m not too creative at the moment, heh).

My life is unpredictable, my family never knows what will happen next. I don’t either. I know something is wrong with my meds, yet I’m reluctant to have them adjusted, especially by a doctor who no longer is familiar with my case, because of the release I’ve experienced on my current meds from cognitive dysfunction, and having regained a lot of my lost memory on the current regimen.

Yet, I sensed a crisis impending so my husband, who also sensed it, did what we both had sworn we’d never do. . . call that place for crisis help again. In this oddly rare instance, a “crisis counselor” was not available, though we’d expressed our reluctant understanding of the need to jump through that deplorable hoop before seeing a psychiatrist. It turned out that we were referred to the main crisis guy, over the phone, who mysteriously was able to produce an opening in the psychiatrist’s schedule on the spot!

Wonderful, we thought. So we saw her, and she, after only a few minutes, pronounced me normal and doing well and no adjustment of my meds was needed and she would see me again in 6 months. No opportunity to dispute that was apparent. Period. Then (unbeknownst to us) she canceled my previously scheduled appointment with my regular psychiatrist, which had been coming up fairly soon. A week later, I had the crisis my husband and I had feared.

Something triggered my destructive half, and I knew I was losing it fast. I felt rage and frustration and knew I was going out of control. So I went to an area where someone had stacked T-posts without consulting me and where I did not want them, and began heaving them out of there. What I was doing appeared like random destruction, to observers, but I had every intention of re-stacking them in a more appropriate place when I was done heaving them out of the stupid place. The kind of thing I had been counseled to do, take out my feelings in a safe way without hurting myself or exposing my family to my “episode”.

The observers (hubby and daughter) did not know what I was doing or why, and so hubby attempted to interfere with my work. Well, he successfully interfered with it, and there I went, set off. An argument ensued, which quickly escalated into something beyond my control and I began to self-harm in my usual way when out of control, which is to start bashing my head into things.

I was being yelled at to “just stop it! Please stop!”

What my interferer didn’t know was just how hard I WAS trying to stop it. I was bashing my head into the horizontal 2x4s of the horse stall wall instead of the 8×8 cemented support post that I FELT COMPELLED to bash my head into. For example. Also, how when I was smashing the bowl in the kitchen, my body/brain was screaming at me to smash WINDOWS. And other things, which I was given to understand made me a bad person who was acting out on purpose. It ended up hours later with me lying on the thin, softening ice of our stock pond trying to “cool off” but preferably go to sleep there and actually perish of hypothermia.

Unfortunately, my crying kids found me there and begged me to get off the ice. I was heartbroken, for them, but could not move. Then my husband showed up and was a little more belittling than I felt he need be. I felt, soon after I had been gotten into the house, that I was being treated the way Therapist K had treated me all those months ago, calling the police to the mental-health facility, like I was a sub-human animal who was acting out on purpose.

The horror of the whole thing for me was that I had all these self-harm/suicide prevention strategies hard-wired (I thought) into my brain. And yet they were not sufficient.

All this about a week after the psychiatrist had pronounced me normal and in no need of a medication adjustment. Boy were we glad I had another appointment already scheduled with my usual psychiatrist  (who was to be leaving the institution soon).

The next day, of sound mind, it occurred to me that I’d better check that. Make a call to confirm that appointment, since I already knew the system was broken, the front desk people were overworked, and the policies were often stupid and usually detrimental to the mental health patient.

So I called to confirm the appointment and surprise, surprise, there was no appointment. My recently-visited psychiatrist had cancelled all other appointments in favor of the one six months away. I was a bit disappointed about that, considering what had happened last night, and insisted the appointment be rescheduled since I had been suicidal. Oh, no, that appointment was already filled, did I want to be put on a cancellation list?

I explained how important it was that I see a psychiatrist immediately, so I got an appointment for three weeks hence. And I was told I am on the cancellation list, although I’m pretty sure that if I were, I’d have gotten in by now.

My husband has tried very hard to get through to them. Not even my new therapist, who had replaced Therapist K on my case because she was of a more appropriate age and qualification, had anything at all helpful to offer him. So he went to the head crisis  guy, who found him to be in crisis himself! My poor husband, doing all he can with what he has, and has been doing so for 19 years! What greater love can there be from a mortal than that I am blessed with from him???? ❤ ❤ ❤

So, there’s an example of how bipolar can present in ways that result in incorrect diagnoses with potentially disastrous results. In my case, I had the diagnosis, but my status was incorrectly evaluated, or rather, not evaluated at all, because of how I seemed when I walked into the consultation room. So a patient, with or without a diagnosis, should be very sure to make certain the doctor hears the whole enchilada and doesn’t have to go only by what he/she sees in the consulting room.

…just little ole me, Underdog.”

Well this is fascinating. Just fascinating, to me, at least. I was about to commit hari-kiri on Facebook but I stopped myself just in time.

I find myself in a desolate frame of mind, trapped in my head by the pain of a stubborn migraine and what I can only describe as the fruit of rampant rumination…PARANOIA!

All I can think about is what a failure I am. And yet I don’t feel that this failure is my fault. For the first time in my whole life, I am starting to direct the blame for my self-destructive feelings outward. For the first time I am engaged in ideation of self-harm…but not because I hate myself. No, it’s because of THEM.

Them, them, them.  The twofaced people, the enemies who are trying to take me down.  I’m tired of worrying about the purpose of my life.  They have sought to negate that purpose, to reduce everything I’ve accomplished in seven years of heartbreaking and crazy-making striving to meaninglessness.  The good I’ve done is totally outweighed by my perception of their perceptions of my failings, (and my own confirmation of same).  My mind tells me I’m being ridiculous. So does my husband, on a daily basis.  But that changes nothing.

That doesn’t change my desire to tell THEM ALL to go to hell, and that on the way there THEY can CONGRATULATE  THEMSELVES for destroying me and everything I’ve worked to do, all the little differences I’ve made in people’s lives reduced to nothing and invalidated thanks to the things that they’ve said.  This is the first time I’ve wanted to kill myself not only to escape myself, but to SHOW THEM what THEY have done to me. I don’t know why this is.  I wish I knew, precisely, who THEY are.

This is so weird. My anti-suicide checklist is in my brain too, and part of me wants it to shut up. A trusted family member says I should stop pursuing the cause and pay attention to my family. But what about me? I’ve already failed as a family member. And as far as my work goes, I haven’t succeeded in achieving anything significant to me since last April. So what use am I????? In comparison with the epic heroism of  others, my efforts are a fucking joke. Why? Because I just can’t handle it any more.  In practice, I gave up months ago.  The helplessness of trying to operate in an environment that is so hostile. Last year’s newcomers to the cause, whom I trusted, but who were really just around to judge and find fault. They who think my family and I aren’t good enough to succeed in our cause, when we were succeeding just fine for six years before THEY got involved, THEY are the ones who have steered me, and my family, into crash-and-burn trajectory.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You know who you are. You have all very possibly succeeded in removing another small resource from a population that needs all the resources it can get. And you have destroyed my family by destroying my life. Congratulations, you should all feel very proud of yourselves!

See, those are the thoughts in my head! Yuck! They are there all the time, but they don’t always enrage me.  They simply make me vulnerable to frequent anxiety attacks, have headaches, and lose sleep. But everyone has people they don’t get along with, and all people who are trying to do something have challenges, people ARE assholes, and life ISN’T fair and never has been, to anyone, and there is no reason that all of a sudden I should be so filled with rage and hatred over it.

So I am trying to look at these weird, hostile feelings with interest, as a curiosity, because suicide and/or self-harm doesn’t hurt your enemies. It simply gives them more ammunition, and you are no longer around to prove them wrong. Meanwhile, it eviscerates your family and pisses off your friends. So it’s never a good idea.

And I can’t let go of the need to go on doing my small, miniscule, apparently meaningless good deeds, despite what my trusted advisor says. Letting go of the desire to help people and animals isn’t so easy as the people around me seem to think it should be.  The very Idea that I should tell the few people whom I–perhaps mistakenly–believe depend on me, to go away, is causing me even MORE anxiety and self-devaluation. Don’t the people pressuring me to do this realize that if clients & volunteers are pushed away now “for six months,” they are NOT going to be lined up at the end of that time waiting to return? Because they are NOT! They will have hurt feelings at first, and then they will go on with their lives and find a more worthy cause to support. A “six-month hiatus for re-evaluation” will simply end our organization. I can’t believe that isn’t obvious.

What can I learn? What can I take away from this that will be useful to me, what to help me be there for my family, who apparently are supposed to benefit from this mutilation?

There is a lesson in here somewhere, if I only had the wit to see it.

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