Continuing with 31 Days of Bipolar, today’s questions are:
How old were you at the onset? How old were you at diagnosis? How were you given the diagnosis and are you satisfied with the way it was handled?
I can date my Bipolar back to when I was 13. I can remember so little of that time. What I do remember fills me with so much shame and regret. Put simply, I was paranoid. My first manic episode.
It was another couple of years before I was 15 and starting senior school that it made another appearance. I was depressed for half a year, manic for a year and a half, depressed for a month, manic again, and finally after 2 years at 17 years old I found myself getting diagnosed.
(Side note: Just realised I spent half my teen years cycling. I sort of feel robbed of an important part of my life)
I was very fortunate in how I got diagnosed. Many people spend years and years getting wrong treatment after wrong treatment before they find out what’s wrong. I had none of that. Even the inaccurate anxiety diagnosis I had received before that gave me the opportunity to learn useful things in therapy without being stuck with a horrible lifelong illness at age 15.
I was lucky to be correctly diagnosed and treated so early, at 17 years old. You see, the more episodes you have, the more likely you’re going to continue getting episodes. My early diagnosis saved my life.
That’s one of the reasons this blog is so important to me. Awareness of what Bipolar is really like and not the misconceptions will allow for understanding and earlier treatment.
I feel very fortunate to have gone to the psychiatrist when I did, and to have gone to one who knew what they were talking about. I hear other people’s stories and I am so thankful that mine wasn’t the same.