General Question

nerevars's avatar

I think I have Bipolar Disorder for 4 years and just realize it now. What should I do?

Asked by nerevars (216 points ) October 6th, 2013

For 4 years I have this extreme mood swings. At first, I thought people surround me are just being a jerk which makes me depressed. But, sometimes I feel so happy and full of energy. This makes me really awful and unproductive.

That makes me questioning about my life, do I have a sad life or a happy life? And then I stumble upon an article about this depression type.

So, do I need to go to psychiatrist? Since I think it gotten worse these day with stress from college and some family issue. Or is there something I can do myself to cure this mental illness?

I really want to live as a normal person and not dwelling in my sadness.

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22 Answers

janbb's avatar

Definitely go see a psychiatrist. S/he will help you determine if your mood swings are a “normal” part of growing up or bipolar. If you are bipolar, there are a lot of ways you can be stabilized and balanced but it should be treated. A counselor at your college can help you find a referral.

jca's avatar

This is not something you diagnose yourself. This is something diagnosed by a professional.

marinelife's avatar

You need to see a psychiatrist who can work with you on an ongoing basis. You will need both therapy and medication to learn to function with your illness.

It is good that you have recognized that you have a problem and are seeking help for it.

This is not something that you can deal with on your own.

oneSasyRN's avatar

Step one is find a GOOD psychiatrist. Step two is find the right medication is recommended. This along with counseling to learn about this diagnosis, you will learn about yourself and how to recognize when your mood swings happen. I was diagnosed with dysthymia several years ago and just knowing I was not crazy…having a name for it, i was able to research it, recognize it and learn more about myself, my triggers and grow from it. Today I am on NO meds and no therapy needed. Great first step….you are seeking information already!

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I have bipolar disorder also. I went to both a therapist and a psychiatrist. This is important. One without the other is like trying to make a sandwich without the bread. The therapist will help you come up with a plan to balance your moods and give you tips on how to control your swings. The psychiatrist will help find the right medicine. Be patient with the medicine as well as yourself. It often takes a few different meds before you find what works for you. I tried so many different ones that I actually took a break for now and I’m trying to just overcome this naturally with my willpower.

Don’t be discouraged if you have set backs. They’re bound to happen. This disorder is a tough one. It’s mentally exhausting and trying to control it is even more tiring. Stay strong but cut yourself a break if you slip up and have a terrible mood swing. I also highly recommend “coming out” to close family and friends if it turns out you do have bipolar. Support from loved ones is extremely important. It won’t necessarily give you a get out of jail free card when you lose your cool around them, but it’ll help them understand that there is a reason behind why you act irrationally sometimes.

anniereborn's avatar

All the advice so far has been good. I have Bipolar disorder myself, so let me stress this. See a psychiatrist for this, NOT a general doctor. They are not trained in psychological disorders.

drhat77's avatar

Mood swings are a normal part of life. To have bipolar you need to have mania so bad that you sleep only a few hours a night, and you are so excited about your passions that you make terrible decisions, like putting a second mortgage on your house to finance your dream of a pet rock comeback.

janbb's avatar

@drhat77 Not necessarily true. There is Bipolar 2 in which there is a hypomania phase which is not as extreme as in Bipolar 1.

drhat77's avatar

@janbb true but most people think mood swings=bipolar which is not true.

anniereborn's avatar

I just wanted to second what janbb said
” There is Bipolar 2 in which there is a hypomania phase which is not as extreme as in Bipolar 1.”
I have Bipolar2, the highs are not as high.

Sunny2's avatar

Start with your college medical clinic. They can advise you what to do next.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Check natl alliance for mentally ill website, they can help & are everwhere. They help before, during & after diagnosis.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@nerevars Welcome to Fluther, and thank you very much for being so open with us and asking this question with details.

I have bipolar disorder type 1, and it devastated my life. I was diagnosed 12 years ago. The change in my life was so extreme I lost my job, my house, my cars, and most importantly, my self-worth.

I felt worthless. American culture (and I don’t know if you’re an American) teaches us to be self-reliant and strong. I could no longer do that. I was forced to rely heavily on others: professional caregivers and medicine and more.

Bipolar mood swings are awful. The mania is debilitating in its loss of control over one’s decision making ability. The depression can be life threatening.

I wish this illness was easy to diagnose, but we cannot do it here on the Internet. We don’t know you. We are not trained professionals. You are very right to ask if you should seek out a psychiatrist, and the answer is an emphatic yes.

Your mood swings have led you to seek out information here, and that is a telling sign those swings are impacting your life enough to warrant finding better help.

Please, seek help.

If you have any further questions for me, you can send me a personal message.

This topic can be life threatening, thus I feel the need to address two posts on this thread.

@ItalianPrincess1217 You mentioned that you stopped taking your medicine, and the reason you gave was because you had tried many different combinations. I hope you have your doctor’s approval to stop taking the medicine. It’s quite a dangerous thing to do. It took me seven years to find the right combination. Stopping medication can lead to rapid cycling which is horrendous and leads to becoming almost entirely unable to function normally.

@drhat77 Your generalized description of mania is not helpful, and your attempt to diagnose is dangerous. No one here knows if @nerevars has bipolar disorder. Let’s answer the question about whether the OP should seek out professional help and leave it at that.

drhat77's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake you are correct. It is never wrong to seek out a physician with these sorts of questions. I was just pointing out that many people think they have bipolar disorder when their symptoms and behaviors really fall within norms.

nerevars's avatar

Thanks for all the great answers. Yes, I still don’t know if I have Bipolar Disorder or not and yes I’m not American (so sorry for my English).

I was asking this was just to know if I really need to go to psychiatrist to get diagnosed or not since just for one visit is quite costly. And as a student studying in average 3rd world country college, I think there is no counselor or something like that here, maybe just a general doctor.

@Hawaii_Jake When the first time I realized I have a mood swings often, I thought I’m just growing up, passing a puberty and something like that that makes my mood unstable, but as I grow up, I feel that my mood swings is pretty abnormal which lead me to discover this disorder. I even tried to buy some antidepressant to a pharmacy but (as I expected) they reject it because I don’t have a prescription.

Once again, thanks for all the answers here. I’m gonna saving up more to get some treatment.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Yes of course. It was actually the doctor’s idea. After I had numerous bad side effects from any and all medicines she tried with me, she decided stopping the medicine for now and cleaning out my system (and mind) is the best option. I agreed with her recommendation completely. But for others with bipolar, medicine could potentially help a lot once the right combination is found.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 Thank you. I apologize if I came across as judgemental or prescriptive in my tone. It was not intentional.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Not at all. I understand the concern. It’s potentially very dangerous to stop taking medication suddenly.

psrcr's avatar

The reason you think you have bipolar disorder is that you must have read an article or something about it and you started closely relating yourself to it. What you need is just relax, talk to people around you about your problem. Let it out.
God Bless.
MAY PEACE BE UPON YOU!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@psrcr It’s very irresponsible to tell someone that, as it is a real medical condition that can often require medication and therapy. I beg you to educate yourself as you may have a death on your hands during a manic depressive phase.

I grew up with a bi-polar mother and it affected many areas of her life and my own, and she is now a peer-counselor, suicide line mgmt, public speaker and Assistant Director of our local NAMI branch, helping others. Rapid mood swings, trouble handling finances, alcohol and drug abuse is common, interpersonal relationship dysfunction and many other aspects are affected.

psrcr's avatar

@KNOWITALL I am sorry. I think I mustn’t have commented on the issue. But yet I personally had that view and put it forward. Thanks for the enlightenment. And I am happy about your mother.
May God bless you.
May peace be upon you.

Autumn76's avatar

You should speak to a mental health professional- not a religious counselor or rely on self-diagnosis. They are the only ones who can diagnose you and then work on a treatment plan for you, one that will potentially benefit you and not cause more problems than you might be experiencing right now. Best of luck to you.

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