I am in my final year at school, doing major exams, conservative family, was just dumped by boyfriend of over 2 years. over the last few years i have been experiencing bad depressive episodes lasting weeks. i was diagnosed last year with clinical depression and had apparently “recovered”. but i’ve been up and down all this year and over the past couple months, i’ve been really energised, elated and productive, which escalated into paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, delusions and was very disturbing and distressing for me. since then i’ve crashed and have been more depressed and suicidal than ever. i’ve tried to kill myself a few times in the last week. now my boyfriend has left me, i don’t know who tp talk to. i keep seeing and hearing things and i don’t know what is real anymore. i feel like i am an illusion, like i do not even exist. will i ever be better? what is wrong with me? do i have bipolar?

A. Without interviewing you in person, it is difficult to determine whether you have bipolar disorder but based on your symptoms, it is a possibility. At this point, you are experiencing very concerning symptoms. I am especially concerned because you have attempted suicide on several occasions recently. You also seem to be experiencing hallucinations and delusions. My other two concerns are your recent breakup and the fact that there is seemingly no one who you can turn to for help. These additional stressors have the potential to exacerbate the situation.

You asked about whether it is possible for you to improve. The answer is yes but it requires seeking treatment for your serious symptoms. Effective treatments for bipolar disorder and other mental health disorders exist. For instance, delusions, hallucinations and paranoia can be effectively reduced or eliminated with certain types of medication. The reality is that should you choose not to seek treatment, your symptoms may become worse. This is why it is imperative that you seek treatment immediately.

I would highly recommend that you go to a hospital. The hospital staff can evaluate your symptoms and provide immediate treatment. They may also suggest inpatient hospitalization. You may need to be hospitalized for a short time for the purposes of keeping you safe and to stabilize your symptoms. Because you are from Australia, I am unfamiliar with the mental health system there and thus cannot provide you with a specific referral. I hope that you make the wise choice to seek help immediately. Please do not ignore your symptoms. Please take care.