Wow, which forum to place my introduction in...?
I went with bipolar since this seems to be the best representation of the chaos in my head!
This is lengthy - if you are in a hurry only read the first and last paragraph - the rest is just details!
I am a US Army officer with nearly a dozen years of service and am expecting a firm diagnosis of bipolar, OCD and maybe another anxiety disorder in the next few weeks. I have been treated by a psychologist and some sort of nurse-practitioner posing as a psychiatrist (with 20 years exeperience... and I trust him - seems to know his stuff). They have both come to the conclusion of OCD, bipolar and another anxiety disorder (one came up with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the other with Not-otherwise-specified). On monday I will meet with the pschiatry side and will be referred for a full psych eval as long as he doesn't feel the meds should be adjusted. I've questioned why the meds need to be stable before the eval - he had a reason... I didn't understand. He said the eval usually is completed around 10 days from referral to it. I'm hoping to have some resolution diagnosis wise by the end of the month.
The treatment I have been on in the last month after they started focusing on bipolar has been very helpful. My wife says that I have my old spark back and that I am a more involved father. I also feel a lot better.
I spend the least time in a mania state - and very little in a "normal" state too. The rest of the time is divided pretty even between depressed and mixed. I can handle the depression. The mania sucks, since instead of an invincible/energized manifestation I am more of a agitated/irritated. When the obsessive thoughts turn negative/ruminative and really dig in at myself I call that the spiral. The mixed spiral is down-right painful. I don't know if other comorbid bipolar with anxiety disorder (of any sort) people feel the same way. I can tell you, without a doubt, I can understand why some people with mental disorders off themselves. I'm not going to do it - it would be too painful for my family. Besides, I'm getting help, I'm better for them alive than dead.
Leave it to obsessive me to be trying to identify all of the major mood places I settle, describe them and then relate how they change from one another. I'm basically building a finite state machine to model my moods. This is a tool used by programmers and, in my field, simulation. I get it, this is exceptionally OCD. But, I swear, it's a terrific idea. By understanding what can trigger a transition from one mood to another I can begin to take control of the entire system. If I could figure out how to pull me out of the mixed spiral or the depressed spiral than I would overall be a much happier person. It does amuse me to imagine if the docs will look at what I am putting together and think I am a genius, or tell me to cut it out!
So, I'm sure the big question is (as it was for me): What does this mean for my military career?
Well, simply, it's over.
The Risperdal that I am on right now already disqualifies me for world-wide deployment. A permanent medical profile stating non-deployable is automatically referred to a medical evaluation board. It is very rare that someone diagnosed with bipolar is found fit-for-duty - and usually they are initially found unfit but appeal and demonstrate many years of no issues and no need for treatment. Definitely not the case for me. I am looking at being medically retired for this. As soon as I am diagnosed, again, hopefully later this month, I will be given a medical profile and referred to a medical board. This can be a process of only a few months - or, in some cases, it can take well over a year. It all depends on the conditions being evaluated and the cases queued in front of you (and a whole bunch of other business-as-usual). In my case it will probably be pretty drawn-out because of some unusual respiratory and digestive issues that also will have to be evaluated. I'm in no hurry for the final-out... I am in a hurry for diagnosis and being started in the process. The uncertainty and doubt and questions and confusion have become very overwhelming for me. I don't think I should be described as a patient right now... I should be described as an IMpatient! I have "come out of the crazy closet" to my command just last week. They have been very supportive all around.
I really appreciate this forum - I obsessively research everything - and I find my way to Healingwell.com very often!
I would really be thankful for any insight or thoughts that anyone may have... also would like to know if there is anyone in the Kansas City area that is going through anything similar (in or out of the military).