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Re: All the Signs are there...

Posted by Paul on August 14, 1999, at 15:17:30

In reply to Re: All the Signs are there..., posted by jd on August 10, 1999, at 23:36:30

> Don,
> It sounds like you have a pretty good grip on what's troubling you about your state of mind and the cycles you seem to go through. Take heart that your articulateness will make the task easier for just about any doctor you see (although finding a good one is certainly important!) As you're probably aware--and as the above responses have alluded to--a major issue would seem to be pinning down how to characterize the "highs" and "lows" of your cycles: e.g., do the lows count as major depression? Are your highs just periods where you feel "normal" or do you really feel "high" or invincible, and to what extent? (Hypomania is a term you may have seen used for periods of increased energy and euphoria where a person is not psychotic or out of control, and can sometimes be very productive.) Obviously, there is a lot more to successful therapy than just getting the official diagnosis right, but your first meetings with a doctor will be helped if you can be as specific as possible about things like your sleeping patterns, eating habits, concentration, sense of self-worth, and how all of these have developed over time (both over the last year and over the last 20+ years). If it's any consolation, your worries about "saying the right things" to a doctor may have more to do with the more-or-less negative way you've been feeling lately than with your actual ability to communicate. In fact, any sensitive professional should be able to get a decent opening sense of the complexities you describe in a session or two, although there will obviously be a lot of issues and questions that cry out for further pursuing. On your end, feel at ease about trusting your instincts about whether you'd like to work with a particular doctor on a longer-term basis.
> Congratulations on taking a first step toward improving your quality of life--Be sure to let us know how it goes.
> Best,
> JD
> > I have been reading through nearly all threads this evening for the first time and have been enjoying all the insights and what not. I would like to ask whoever will answer for some information from experience.
> >
> > I believe I am bipolar. I have very fast cycles (monthly, weekly, and even daily) in between one or two major cycles (yearly). My "up" times are not quite as significant as my "down" times. In other words, I don't get psychotic, seeing visions, etc. On my "up" days, I sleep about half as much as normal, experience a very optimistic feeling, feel as though nothing at all can get me down...generally, I feel energized and tell myself, "Well, you're finally going to get things organized in your life and become productive and live up to your potential." These times usually give way to a semi-depressed period of time, which gives way to a fairly deep depression, in which I cannot seem to get out of my mind such things as conversations I'd had in the past (even years past), past failures, etc., all with intense feelings of regret and total failure. I probably don't need to go into great detail with many of you who know well what I am saying.
> >
> > I'm now 22 (almost 23) and, since these problems don't seem to be getting any better, and my attempts at "strong-arming" my way through the depression and related physical problems are failing miserably, I am going to seek some professional help. Can any of you give me advice on how to initiate the visit with the doctor? What to say at first to get him to look in the right direction at first? I've spent hours and hours researching this problem and am nearly 100% sure I am suffering from bipolar disorder...and am sure I am very tired of suffering from it...and I especially want the trip from point A to point B to be as strait as possible. Thanks for any input.

Great ideas, just wanted to add something that works for me. I chart my moods on a calendar three times daily. It took me a long time to realize that if I saw the doc. on a " good/up day", that he would assume that everything was going fine. I've found that it's tough to remember being down when you're up, and vice versa. Bringing notes is also crucial. I fax my concerns, questions I plan to raise to my doc. about a week before our monthly meetings. We all wish you well. Paul




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