I Think I Might Be Bipolar

Reader’s Question

Hey I got a question for you guys and gals! I think I might be bipolar… well it’s funny how this whole thing started up, I was at work and one of the cooks was talking about being bipolar and one of my other co-workers was kinda joking and she was like “I bet you’re bipolar”. I kinda laughed at this but I was like whatever. So I kinda ignored what she said and went about my business and I was starting to get bothered by this. When I was younger I was diagnosed with ADD but all of the medicines had horrible effects from just making me cry to having violent thoughts towards others, so I quickly realized that those meds were not working. Adderal and Concerta had the worst side effects. I also took Wellbutrin to help me stop smoking and help with anxiety and depression. I had a particularly bad experience where I just felt really down and hated myself. I only took that one for 72 hours and said screw it. OK…let me get back on track, I took some online questionnaires and found out that I match those descriptions perfectly except I cannot see a pattern or at least one I can recognize about my moods. I know of about three incidents where I freaked out really bad. It just felt like I was doing drugs without doing anything at all except for being angry at a store. Other times when I go into overdrive it just feels like I have a buzz in my head and everything is sped up. This usually happens when I’m busy at work but continues long after I have slowed down and then if anyone asks me to do something else in the middle of an order I sometimes forget what I was originally doing. Other times when I’m talking to residents that “buzz” feeling almost blocks my ability to have a conversation, my mind is just too busy. I was just wondering If you thought I might be bipolar? and what are the ways to get help? thank you so much!

I’m really sorry if this is to long or not coherent enough. I just have been deeply bothered by this even though I have just started looking into this Monday. It was really funny when I was taking the quiz thing, for almost every question I was like that’s me! But I don’t want to tell my parents because my dad freaked out the last time when I brought up the idea of getting tested a year or two ago, he just flipped out and started yelling at me to have self control and not to get labeled and on meds.

Psychologist’s Reply

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Bipolar Disorder is a significant psychiatric disorder. When untreated, it is very difficult to work. While it’s unlikely that you have a Bipolar Disorder, it’s very possible that you have the adult version of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The ADHD you were treated for in younger years is still present — although in the adult form. We do not outgrow ADHD and as adults, the symptoms can be mental hyperactivity, poor impulse control, excessive energy, excitement seeking, sleep problems, inability to relax, talkativeness, difficulty completing projects/assignments, etc.

When considering treatment, is treatment actually needed? Are the symptoms creating problems for you? In some jobs, ADHD is actually helpful. If you have a boring job and have ADHD, you’ll likely get into trouble. If the symptoms are creating problems in you life, you may want to seek a psychological/psychiatric assessment. It’s interesting that your Dad “freaked out” and started yelling…ADHD is often passed from father to son.

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