Q. Hi, I’m terrified of what I’m becoming. I feel I’m slipping over the edge, one minute ok, the next not. I suffer from depression, panic attacks, anxiety, claustraphobia & agraphobia.I have been on 3 different types of anti-d’s. each one worse. Lately and after watching a docu on Stephen Fry(english actor) I fear that I may be bi-polar. If my partner questions, or gives out about anything I can fly off the handle. Mostly I supress the inner rage to smash things or lash out, but sometimes I had broken things and hit my partner with a pillow, remote control etc. I’m finding it harder not to actually really hit and am terrified that i have turned into this monster/asshole. I’ve huge shame and pain. I want to cry but cannot. I go from thinking of killing myself to running away from everything. I have had fights with so many people that they can’t all be wrong. I hide my rage and pain in work and it only explodes the odd time. The closer the poeple are to me (partner, friends, family) the more they see the real me when i have a mood swing. Some background is; leaving school early with poor results up to then, hopping from jobs, dropping out, going back into work, writing and making low budget films(winning awards) then crashing out again, unabale to function. then back into work which I find not to run away from. Any advice on the best way to get a proper diagnosis as I’m afraid to say this to any practioneers face. The guilt & shame is overwhelming. Please remember i live in Ireland. its not easy to say this anyone. Also resources for professional help if not finacially well off are non exsistent. Thanking you.

A. Thanks for the detailed e-mail that you have provided but it is impossible for me to give you a true diagnosis without interviewing you in person. Even if I were able to diagnose you online, there is little that you can do with a diagnosis without having access to treatments. If you were indeed bipolar, you would likely need medication to control your mood swings-at least that is the best method of controlling bipolar disorder here in the USA. In the USA, it is hard to get help if you are not financially well off but most cities and towns have community mental health centers to help meet the needs of those not able to afford expensive help. Is there anything like this in Ireland? Is there truly no form of help that is available to you? What about doctors and medication? Do you not have any access to doctors or medication? Before I finish answering this question, would you mind writing back and let me know the answers to these questions. I thank you for having the courage to write the first time given the difficulty you experience with guilt and shame. I hope to hear back from you.