Possible Development of Bipolar Disorder
I am 23 years old and work 30 hours a week and go to school full time. I live with my fiance and have for the past two and a half years. We have been having issues that have built up over time and have started to cause personal issues to come to light.
When I was younger I went to court ordered counseling and was diagnosed with manic-depression. I was taking a variety of different medications for roughly a year until I decided to put on a smile and pretend my way through sessions and stop taking my medication. I have been with my fiance for approaching six years now and recently got engaged. I did propose partially as a way of fixing our issues.
She is really a great person who has tried to help me in every possible way she can. Her family even has taken me into their own and helped me when needed. She has bipolar-1 and is taking medication and going to counseling for it. I feel that I am not fully there for her because I cannot concentrate on the important matters in our life. Sex has become a large issue of the past 2 years gradually decreasing to non existent(this is because of my reduced interest).
Well lately I have stared to have the habits that I did growing up. Although not as violent I am having more trouble controlling my anger. While with others I become overly boisterous and over all “too much”. I know that bipolar can manifest more when a person hits their 20’s but honestly I don’t know what is going on anymore. Like many people I grew up in a broken dysfunctional family, am currently in a tumultuous relationship, and cannot seem to put the pieces of my life together faster than they fall apart. I have no insurance and can not afford even sliding scale therapy in order to get on medications or receive counseling that I may need.
To sum it up, I just want to know if it is imperative for me to get help at this point. I would gladly go back on medication if it would help me focus on and solve the issues stacking up in life.
A: Hello and thank you for your question:
If I understand your question, it sounds as though you are not taking your medications. If you have been diagnosed as bipolar (the old name is manic depression), there might be a real problem with not having professional help. Many of my bipolar patients feel as though they can get by without taking meds, and the truth is, some actually can.
Here’s the problem, however: Many cannot. Bipolar disorder is a very hard disorder to control on your own. Eating the right things and exercising certainly is great for anyone, but it sometimes isn’t quite enough to control the issues that arise with this illness. And it is actually an illness for which there is help. There are websites devoted to bipolar disorder, there are therapists who specialize in it, and there are medications that could manage both your anger and possible mood swings as well.
Unfortunately, what I tend to see in my practice are patients who begin to feel better in the spring and stop taking their meds. They are often OK until early summer when they become agitated and can swing into the hypomanic or manic phase. That’s when they often get into trouble with relationships, school, work, and addictive behaviors such as going on spending sprees or gambling. These problems can ruin a person’s life. I would honestly hate to see that happen to you.
The short answer to your question, is yes, I think you deserve to get the care you need to have a normal life. You owe it to yourself and your fiance. You can have a great life, but only if you don’t gamble with your mental health.
I hope this helps,
Dr. Diana Walcutt
Walcutt, D. (2009). Possible Development of Bipolar Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/07/31/possible-development-of-bipolar-disorder/