Is it depression or bipolar disorder?

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checkerboard
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/13/2008 12:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello all,

This is my first post, but I'm glad that this forum is available!

So let me give you some background on my situation, and maybe some of you might be able to respond:

I'm a 22/f who was diagnosed with depression in high school. Took Lexapro 10mg for about a year, but then my mom lost her job (father's estranged) and we couldn't afford meds so I had to quit. I went to college, and things seemed somewhat "okay" though I had really dark moments (and consequently swore off alcohol because it seemed to make it worse, not the easiest thing to do in college).

I was really successful in college though -- I went to a top-10 university in the US, straight As, president of the second-largest student group on campus, held a job, yadda yadda. The dean even asked once when I slept, but though I felt tired, I got by fine on 5-6 hours/night.

My senior year of college, things got really bad. I felt like everything started spiraling out of control. I started off the year basically narcoleptic -- I fell asleep everywhere (in class, at lunch, in meetings). The university doctor did a bunch of medical tests but found nothing "medically" wrong so he attributed my sleeping problems to "senior year stress." My sleep schedule never got back to "normal" persay, but it improved and I felt better in terms of getting enough rest.

However, I started noticing really terrible mood swings. At first, I thought it might be related to PMS, since it seemed to be cyclical. However, birth control and I don't get along (I've tired 5-6 different types, they all really messed with me in various ways). I would go from feeling "okay" or even "mildly happy" to suicidal in a matter of minutes. Little things my mom or boyfriend would say would send me into emotional trainwrecks; I would spend hours in bed raging with suicidal thoughts and then "coming down" off the rage into a state of emotional emptiness and feeling physically ill (stomachache, fever, chills).

No one really took me seriously though because of my college success. Everyone I talked to, from friends to family to school counselors said my symptoms were stress-related and that I should do "meditation" or "yoga." I graduated, then started studying for LSATs. During this time, I really felt my mind losing it -- I started having constant nightmares, panic attacks, insomnia, and general feelings of hopelessness/death OR I would be a really effective studier, absorb tons of material, score near perfects on the test. I never felt "balanced" during my study -- on test day, I had a massive panic attack and blew the test.

Since the test, and since getting rejected by a lot of really neat opportunities, I've further fell into this suicidal tailspin. I basically go between feeling dull and useless to wanting to die, at least once a week. My mom is quite unhelpful; she blames me for my emotions (maybe it is my fault?), and I don't have the financial means to pursue proper psychiatric care/counseling.

My question to board users -- is this bipolar disorder or just depression that's escalated? Any suggestions as to what I can do? (PLEASE don't say "yoga/meditation" -- I really can't get my mind to focus on either of those things, I've tried.)

Thanks!

shebsy
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 12/13/2008 4:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear checkerboard,

Would you like to consult an Indian psychiatrist? He will diagnose you for free but you will have to make an international call and describe your symptoms to him. You can continue correspondence via e-mail. He works with an American psychologist. I don't know if the psychologist will offer free counseling. Let me know if you would like his phone number or e-mail address. He has been my doctor for the last one year. I visited 7 psychiatrists before him in the U.S.. All of them were more or less in denial that I had a serious psychiatric problem since I was attending a good school and had excellent grades (something I managed despite having bipolar for 15 years and a troubled family life). I got into a lot of trouble because I had an episode and no psychiatrist was willing to explain my problem to me and treat me. This psychiatrist explained the disorder to me and spent a difficult one year treating me. Most bipolar patients feel guilty about their wasted years and need a lot of counseling after an episode especially since memories tend to be quite vivid sometimes. I feel my years were a waste despite having achieved a lot because I did not make any real friends during my bipolar years. Every psychiatric patient has a lot of emotional issues. I am not sure how much this psychiatrist can help with emotional issues because there are cultural differences. However, if you want sound medical opinion, you will get it.

Sheeba

checkerboard
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/13/2008 10:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sheeba,

Thanks for your reply -- what's the name of this guy (I'd like to possibly look into his background before calling and asking for advice)?

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 12/13/2008 10:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Checkerboard,

Let me welcome you to HealingWell and to the bipolar forum. We're glad you joined us.

First, let me say I'm no doctor, so I'm useless at diagnosing your symptoms, but I do know that success at college is no reason to rule out bipolar. In fact, sleeplessness and over-ambitious behavior is sometimes a symptom of mania, so I'd definitely seek out the advice of a qualified psychiatrist. Not a general practitioner.

Most towns have a mental health clinic which sees patients on a sliding scale. If you can get in with a psychiatrist there, it might not break the bank. Also, meds don't have to cost you a lot if you're honest with your doc about your financial restraints. Ask him/her for samples or ask for a generic prescription. Most major pharmacies now have some sort of $4 generic plan in place.

Good luck and keep in touch.
serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


shebsy
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 12/13/2008 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Checkerboard,

This doctor's name is Dr. Sudersanan. You probably will not find him on the Internet because he was the head of the Psychiatry department of the Armed Forces Medical College in India. He has recently started private practice. He has received his degrees from India so it is entirely your choice if you choose to trust him. Anyway, it wouldn't hurt to get his advice especially if you need it for free urgently. You can always get it confirmed by another psychiatrist when you find one in the U.S.

Sheeba
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