Hi nrs2b! Congratulations! I bet you are very excited.
How bad was it before dx? I'm always curious, what meds have you tried thus far? I know it's darn hard to find the right ones, it definitely takes a while It has took me a year of trying almost everything! We finally got the cocktail right, now doing very well.
Are you type I or II? I'm type I, originally II.
Like you I was a highly functioning BP; actually got dx at age 25, but had all the symptoms since elementary school. But it started getting in the way of relationships, so I figured something was wrong. I always knew it, just didn't know what. Needless to say, I was shocked at the dx! I went on lithium, but didn't like the drugged feeling and the pain in the ass of getting frequent blood tests, so I stopped. I didn't really believe I had it anyway. Went on and off every few years, but didn't like it and stopped. I actually DID do awesome work (people were amazed at the multitasking LOL!), but it started to get harder and harder to deal with the stress. I worked for many years, stopped working after a couple hospital stays, my pdoc had recommended stopping working for a couple of years, but I am very stubborn and proud! I am 40 now, and now I stay stable, due to very little stress in my life. But that's me, when it turned to type I, I really couldn't control it on my own. Even on meds, it's fragile. I have to baby myself and keep an ever so close eye on symptoms. I still have more mood swings than average people, but no psychosis, hallucinations, voices, illusions.
Anyway, I started out in internal medicine - best way to learn everything! When you work in an office setting you learn TONS - about diagnosing, treating, names of and how most meds work, constantly learning more and more, way more than school ever taught me. It's an excellent way to start out. Most docs will teach you tons.
After several years in that, I went to psych. It was really fascinating! You get to really see the symptoms, not just what you've read. But yes, it took a huge toll on me, just too much stress. I absolutely loved nursing with a passion; I was very proud of what I had learned over the years and I adored helping people. I still keep my license, love to continue learning about medicine. Nurses care about people, and educate patients in their conditions in many cases. I had many patients thank me for taking the time to care about, listen and explain things that the doc didn't do, because they have no time. That was the ultimate payment - no amount of money can match that. God, I am crying now. I really miss it, but can't afford to risk my health.
On the flip side, I have known MDs that are bipolar and do just fine. I think most BPs can function well. If it's not a severe case, once you find the right comination of meds, you will do just fine. If you have gotten thru school unmedicated I'm sure you will.
I really hope I haven't given you doubts about your success - The advice I would give you is find the right meds and stay on them, unlike what I did. I know I sound like a broken record but you HAVE to stay in very close contact with your pdoc. (You are seeing a psychiatrist, not a GP, aren't you)? If not DO! GPs do not have the knowledge of such a complicated mental illness. I don't care if you have to call your pdoc every week at first, if you let symptoms go, it takes much longer to get them stable. Catch them before they progress. I have to change my levels of some of the 4 meds I take about every couple of months. Being in medicine I do adjust whichever one I need to myself; have discussed with my pdoc; if it doesn't work I am on the phone double quick!
Let me tell you, getting stable feels sooooo good; I would never go back. But I didn't have the euphoric mania too much, mostly severe irritability, anger, occasionally psychosis. These are type I mania, but I just thought it was normal for me, until I almost lost me beloved husband. Then I got my ass treated! And stayed on it! Now I am the kind, caring, giving person I really am deep inside, and my hubby of 11 years and I have never been happier - almost like a fairy tale for gosh sake! No, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I'm sure you know by now that BPs have a long history of stopping their meds several times until they are so sick they reach a place where they can no longer go without. Please don't be one of them.
Well, like a typical BP, I am rambling! Please write back and tell me your story, I am always fascinated with BP's history!
I hope this has helped you and hopefully not bored you to death!