Welcome, Empty Reflections! -- That delay in diagnosis is, sadly, all too common: thank goodness the medical profession moved forwards, though, in the end. -- For all the ignorance that remains, things really have come on a lot. Great to meet you, and hope that you'll be comfortable here and find good support. -- Feel free to post whenever you want, in response to others or in a thread of your own (just click on "New topic" at the top-ish left of the page). :)
This thread is really revealing. I wonder what results we would find if we thought about what year the diagnosis was made? -- Would we find that there was a kind of "breakthrough" decade or something, in which the results of the medical world latching on about bipolar start to filter into diagnoses? Hm, just gave me pause for thought... .
Well, as many of you know, I'm just a unipolar depression gal. I can remember depressive tendencies (often exhibited in terms of food as well) from the age of 7 at least. I had to go to a child psychologist at 15 because of an eating disorder, but it never occurred to anyone that this was a symptom of my depression rather than the root problem (which it wasn't -- as is often the case with eating disorders). It wasn;t until I was suicidal at uni (20 years old) that I was given an anti-depressant. Sadly, I had a massive reaction to it (worst part was a kind of hyper-vision, in which I felt like leaves and stuff were attacking me), so I hid in my room and lasted about a week on this med. When I went back to the doc and said I wouldn't take that med any more and told him about the effects, I was in a terrible state, but he was happy to let me stop that med and not go on anything else... . I still hadn't been "diagnosed" as such. That year was about my worst. A couple of years later, I had a fantastic year, at the end of which a couple of bad things triggered it again and I slumped hugely again. This time my (new) doc put me on different anti-depressants (that actually worked this time) and got me in counselling (which didn't work, because the problems weren't the *cause* -- in fact, partly created by my odd reactions! -- and nor was my childhood, which, as usual the counsellor kept pushing for). I've been on and off anti-depressants since to good effect, and I know my depression well (and my anxiety, which leads into it), but I've never actually been formally diagnosed! Doesn't make me doubt that I have depression -- just seems to be the way with treatment of depression in the UK (treat rather than diagnose).
My ex was diagnosed with bipolar at 32 years -- after, from what I can tell, many many years of showing signs of the condition (some very obvious!). He's said that that's how he's always been (and hence doesn't see the diagnosis as right, just thinks it's him...).
Best to all,
People are not like fish: they do not work well battered.
When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded...
Moderator, Bipolar Forum