I’m thinking about the time between when I was diagnosed with depression and when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I received my first diagnosis from an actual psychologist in late 2003 to early 2004. It’s not that clear to me because it was not that big a deal to me. I had, in the past year, come off a bout with cancer which turned itself around in pretty short order. I wasn’t quite feeling like myself, more down than usual. So I went to a psychiatrist, was diagnosed with depression, got a prescription for an anti-depressant and went on with my life. I figured it was all part of the healing process, part of having cancer and so would become part of my life. I took my anti-depressant as I should. I stopped drinking as I should. I saw my doctors as I should. Everything was as normal as it could be.
In the spring of 2005 I was given the opportunity to move across the country, from Virginia Beach to San Diego. So I did. When I got to San Diego, I found a new set of doctors and went about my merry way. But something was different. I went out a lot more often, spent money more freely, had a lot of one night stands. I also had more and more bouts with depression. At first I attributed it to being worn out from the increased pressure to perform at work. I didn’t even identify it as depression. When I talked to my psychiatrist about it, I told him I was having a hard time sleeping and he prescribed Ambien. This worked for a while, I was rested and work was easier to deal with but my highs were getting higher. I was spending more time at work or I was working at home in the evenings, on top of that I was still going out at night. Pretty soon the candle was about to meet in the middle and boy was I going to get burned. I told my psychiatrist that I was having problems sleeping again and he prescribed Lunesta. I took Lunesta for about a week or so and then things started going sideways. I was having problems at work, I wasn’t treating my co-workers and customers with the respect they deserved then I started hallucinating. The main hallucination had little men trying to get into my apartment. The rest of this story has been told earlier in this blog and I don’t think I need to rehash it here.
The thing I came away with when really looked at it, is that I should have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at least as early as 2005. The problem is that no one could see it. I was in a new town, with new friends and we were all just out to have a good time. This would have been fine if I hadn’t previously been diagnosed with depression and on an anti-depressant. If I had the Bipolar diagnosis at this time I believe there would have never been as psychotic break. Up until I had the psychotic break my anti-depressant prescription never changed. After that, I was diagnosed with psychotic depression which made more sense and different medications were given. It wasn’t until I moved here in 2012 and had a full psychiatric work up by my current psych-doc that I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and started on the path to figuring out just which medications are right for me. I am finally getting the treatment needed to make me level.
To some, Bipolar Disorder sounds like a horrific diagnosis. For me, it sounds like music to my ears. To me it means that I’m getting my life back.