View Full Version : I'm very confused - Can somebody help me with diagnosis please?


demian
04-02-13, 04:57 AM
Hi everyone. Lately I have been feeling very confused and kind of desperate, and I need to express someone what is going on with me, maybe someone can give me a word of advice or an opinion.
I'm 24 years old and recently I have been seeing a psychiatrist, worried that something maybe wrong with me, my suspicious being (after doing some research) that I may have ADHD and/or Bipolar Disorder.

My life for many years has been very chaotic, messy and stressful, I have been through depressive states many times, sometimes more profound and longer than others, feeling trapped, very tired all the time, sleeping too much and feeling really bad, not wanting to get out of bed or going out much of the time, reaching to the point I started harming myself. I've felt that I had been failing at every aspect of my life so far, and I didn't hold much hope for the future. I didn't like anything about myself, I felt dumb and incapable of anything, I didn't like how I looked like or how I was, so I started cutting myself and having suicidal thoughts, although I have never seriously planed to do so, it was a way of relieving myself and getting out the bad feelings I had, as it also served as a way of punishing myself. My selfsteem was buried underground, I felt like a total loser, and I felt like this almost all the time for very long periods, sometimes I would be profoundly depressed for whole weeks or months, losing hope and interest in everything, giving up on many things.

Every time I tried to get things straight and change I felt like I couldn't progress at all, like there was something keeping me from changing, and having more difficulties than most people at doing things or being worse at them, no matter how simple they are. So I started looking for help and restarted going to a psychoanalyst (I had seen one before), and told him everything that I felt and had happened to me, from being nearly sexually abused as a child, getting bullied, feeling extremely depressed and lonely, being anxious, hurting myself, my everyday troubles especially at studying, focusing and advancing in my career, etc. After two and a half years of treatment and telling the whole story of my life and not getting better or progressing at all, I stopped going, because I felt that it was just a waste of money and time.

Sometime passed and I started feeling better, although I didn't get significant changes, and certainly not progressing in my studies, I started to accept myself a little more. But from time to time I would suddenly get depressed and anxious again, like out of nowhere I had been hit by a lightning of depression and snapped, and when that happened I started feeling sad and hurting myself again. Other times I was just a little low on mood, being pessimistic, which was a common personality trait in me.
For a little more than a year now, I haven't been getting in extremely depressive states, just low moods form time to time, but even when I'm not in low moods I still cannot progress at all, and I feel there's something wrong with me, like there's always something that refrains me. I couldn't exactly express what it was, lack of concentration and not being able to focus, not being able to study, extreme procrastination (I ALWAYS leave EVERYTHING for the last minute, to the point I once lost a flight because of this), getting late everywhere, forgetting things, events and chores, feeling messy and very lazy, like without energy, getting nothing done, being absent-minded, daydreaming and fantasizing a lot (I've always been like this, like I have a whole other world of ideas inside my head, that I unwillingly submerge into very frequently even if I try not to). I feel in general that I can't control my life, my actions or my time.

This obviously conflicted with my brother, whom I live with, and who told me that unless I started getting things done (like cleaning the house at least) he would kick me out. So I started seeking help once more, and I started going to another psychoanalyst, thinking maybe this time it would be different, maybe I'd be able to open up more and find a solution, maybe I had subconsciously been sabotaging myself in ways I didn't know and needed to be profoundly analysed by an expert. Although I didn't expect that much from it, I restarted therapy.

I ended the last year really stressed and disappointed about everything, feeling hopeless. Then summer vacations started (about 2 months ago) and little by little I got to feel better, and I mean WAY BETTER. I decided that this time I would definitely change and be more assertive and productive. I began trying to eat healthier, exercise, sleeping well and getting up early, making a good routine and good habits, changing all by sheer willpower. I began trying to learn speed reading and study methods and all sorts of stuff that I thought would set me in the right path.
Before I knew it I was feeling totally great, really good, optimistic, energetic, I started feeling great about myself, and my selfsteem was really high. I felt like I could take on anything, very productive, like I was extremely smart and special, all while actually not getting done any of the things I decided to do, but I didn't really care as I was feeling extremely happy, for no reason at all. I did try to study though, but I just couldn't advance, it was like my mind was a machine gun firing a thousand ideas per second, if I had troubles focusing and reading before, now I just couldn't get past a simple paragraph, I trembled and every word would provoke an idea that would produce another one and another one, and before I knew I would be lost in my own train of thought. I went from being determined to strictly study and exercise, to trying and planning to do lots of stuff at the same time, sometimes I would lose time with things I knew didn't help me at all, for example, studying particles physics for three days (yeah, I know it seems stupid, I study sociology by the way, and I chose that career because I've always hated and sucked at hard sciences, but at the time I just thought like I could do it and it was really hooked by it). When the summer ended I hadn't done any (or very little) of the things I said I would do.

Anyways I felt literally at the top of the world, but I'd also get irritable and nervous at times, and really restless, like needing to move most of the time, walking from one room to the other non stop. And then my sleeping problems worsened. I've always had trouble getting to sleep, since i was like 4 or 5 years old. I'd feel restless and fidget in my bed for hours until I got to sleep, having difficulties to wake up early and feeling tired through the rest of the day.
At the second night of not being able to sleep I decided to find out what I had, I knew something was not right, so I started making some research and after investigating through the internet I found a sleep disorder definition which best described what I had: Delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS). Basically I feel most energetic and awake at night, feel drowsy during the day, and have troubles getting to sleep till around 3 to 5 o'clock in the morning, waking up tired afterwards, like I hadn't rested at all, sometimes waking in the middle of the night. I was satisfied with this description, until I read that it was comorbid with other disorders, specifically ADHD and Bipolar.

After reading both disorders description I felt so incredibly represented by both of them, I couldn't believe it, I thought I had found IT. After all I have always been inattentive and absent-minded my whole life, to the point that when I was 5 my parents took me to a phonoaudiologist because sometimes I wouldn't respond when talked to and be totally absent-minded, which was also a recurrent claim from my teachers. The phonoaudiologist determined that I had no listening problems, that I was just easily distracted (which I was). And the hyperactive part was accurate with many of my behaviors, like feeling the need to move, stand up and walk around constantly, fidgeting very much, having racing thoughts, and I mean even when I'm in a low mood. (plus I was REALLY impulsive when I was a child. I did things I regretted later, felt like I wasn't in control of myself and was ashamed).
And at the same time I've had bad mood swings since I was a teenager (not recognizing them as that tough). And the high mood I was experiencing at the moment, although I knew was rare and very high, didn't feel unfamiliar at all (in fact I just thought that I was going through one of my "positive moments").

Now, I wasn't going to make a mistake and autodiagnose myself, so I decided to see a psychiatrist to be properly diagnosed, and see if I had any neurobiological disorders that needed to be treated, something only a specialist could understand and treat.
At the first meeting with the psychiatrist I told him what I thought I had and what I felt and was going through. I also told him that I didn't want to get medicated over nothing, and that I was mostly interested in having a diagnosis done. He told me that it was his policy not to medicate if it wasn't strictly necessary, and that he treated what patients felt and their symptoms, not wanting to just put labels on them. He also told me that he saw I was angstious and needed help, and that the diagnosis would take some time, around 6 months at least, and asked me to take a lot of blood and medical tests to rule out other causes like hyperthyroidism for example.

Now on the second meeting he prescribed me with sertraline (25 mg. for 6 days, and 50 mg. from then on, in the morning) and clonazepam (0,5 mg. at night for my sleeping problems). This surprised me as I wasn't expecting to be prescribed so early. This he prescribed after I told him that at times I would suddenly get irritated, apathetic and angry over nothing, or from small things or certain situations, and when I got irritated and furious I wouldn't have total control over myself, sometimes yelling at people or treating them harshly (of course I would say I was sorry afterwards), sometimes punching walls and other stuff till I hurt my hands badly, other times harming myself (I remembered that I was irritated and really angry at myself when I used to cut myself). Most recently my bouts of anger made me break a cell phone by smashing it onto a chair, and breaking a pint glass by throwing a spoon at it (I got furious because my phone signal was very bad), this last episode made me realize that for a long time I would get irritated like this and that I just wouldn't see it as a real problem, but just as a way of relieving myself. Anyways he said he saw me really anxious and that the medicine could be of help, he wanted to see how I reacted to them. I haven't even told him about my high mood episode during the summer yet.

So far I'm at day 7 taking the meds and I'm fine (although I feel some side effects), today I started with the 50 mg. dose of sertraline as indicated by the psychiatrist. Now I'm kind of scared because I have never taken anything stronger than ibuprofen, and now I have to take these pills which don't exactly know what will do to me. And everywhere I look over the internet I see people complaining about their medications, saying that it would make them feel worse, that they were better without them, that it increases the risk of committing suicide, that it has withdrawal issues if you want to leave them, and that psychiatry is all a big fraud made my pharmaceutical companies to sell pills and make money. (I'm not sure about this last, but I am aware that pharma is a big profitable business, and that selling pills is central to the hegemonic medical model).

Now I don't know what to think anymore. I don't know if there's something wrong with me, if I have any disorders at all, or if I'm just a whiny middle-class *******, that is looking for a justification for being a failure and an under-achiever. I'm feeling kind of desperate, don't know what to do or expect. I haven't told anyone yet that I'm taking antidepressants.
I know I can't ask any of you to diagnose me, but I was hoping maybe somebody can give me some advice, an opinion, share something, maybe somebody can relate to me. I'm sorry for the length of this post, but I really needed to express this. Thank you all for reading this.

PS: Have in mind that I am from Argentina, and that the mental health field is probably different form other countries, like the US (imagine mental health field is a mess by itself, I know cause I have a lot of friends that are psychology students). In here it is not really common to see people diagnosed by psychiatrists (not saying there aren't, but I know very few persons who has). The public information and knowledge about disorders like ADD and Bipolar is little to nothing, and the media doesn't mention much about them (if they do at all), so I have no one to talk about it. In Argentina it's much more common psychoanalysis treatment (freudian stuff, you know), so much that almost every one I know is seeing a psychoanalyst or has seen one in the past. I myself keep seeing one while going with the psychiatrist.

Addelicious
04-02-13, 01:15 PM
I know it is not good to take anti-depressant if someone is bipolar, but it seems like there isn't clear pattern of mood fluctuation (from what I read) I imagine you will be OK. I am sorry for your pain and suffering in the years of life when people are expected to learn, grow, establish themselves in lives.

Like you, I feel like I am trying to figure things out just like you are doing, mostly by myself because professionals seems not to be helpful. One says oe thing another have different idea, so many different medications, some of them are potent controlled substances, and they are making me worse.
One of my provider said, "you know it's like when you get pancreas problem, then liver is next, and heart, and everything else goes out of wack." referring to longer list of specialist I see, 3rd, 4th opinion I needed and med list that gets longer and longer.

My brain feels like juice mixer.

I am sorry I am not having cheerful things to say, but I wanted you see that someone saw your post and paid attention. :grouphug:

dvdnvwls
04-02-13, 01:23 PM
I want to come back and read this post. You have worked hard writing it down and it deserves attention.

Fuzzy12
04-03-13, 07:15 AM
I'm really sorry, I couldn't read the entire post. I did read though that you are taking sertraline now. I started with sertraline and it worked great for my depression. No other anti depressant I've taken since then improved my mood as much as sertraline. It did make my mood swings worse though. Drastically. I was also all the time very restless. Couldn't sit still.

I'm now taking a mood stabiliser and it seems to have evened out my mood a bit.

What does your psychiatrist say about the possibility of you being bipolar? (Sorry if you've said that already).

dvdnvwls
04-03-13, 01:55 PM
I have ADHD and I did have something like DSPS.

My ADHD medication has mostly eliminated the DSPS-like symptoms. I do still tend to go to bed a bit too late because I want to do "just one more thing", but with just a little evening reminder I can go to bed and sleep, and wake up at a normal time in the morning each day.

demian
04-04-13, 02:19 AM
Thank you all very much for replying! and thanks to everyone who took the time to read through all the stuff I wrote. I looked again at what I wrote and realized it's way too much! I don't blame anyone who didn't take the time to read it all (I think I wouldn't). I guess I was feeling a little too much excited, and overdid it. The pills I take tend to put me kind of energic i've realized, which is strange because the PIL says that it doesn't have a stimulant effect, although it does says that it provokes hypomania in some cases (but if you get hypomaniac with pills it doesn't count as having BD, right?).
Well I'm feeling pretty energetic lately, could it be hypomania? I'm actually more hyper than before, but not at the same level as in the summer (I think), until I take the clonazepam pill before going to sleep, then I'm sleepy until I take the sertraline again (in the morning).
That doesn't mean I have been more productive, I'm still struggling with the ADHD kind of symptoms. I'd like to know, does the symptoms I described earlier sound like ADHD?

Addeliciuous, I don't know much about mood fluctuations, I agree with you that there doesn't seem to be a clear pattern (or I still haven't figured one out) but I tend to fluctuate a lot! It was worser when I was in my teens (I would be fine and cheery, then snap and yell at everyone and storm out of the room depressed, or the other way around and be gloomy and then suddenly be waltzing through life, although the later was rare). Nowdays I still tend to have mood swings, sometimes more intense than others, sometimes REALLY intense (as in shutting down from one moment to another, or going logorrheic and social) I just described the stronger ones because I thought it was the ones that matters, the rest being less intense. Lately I've put in question what is really normal behavior, although I think everyone in this forums is struggling with the same. I've had lots of high moods before, but I had never questioned them (of course someone never questions himself when in good days) till I found out about Bipolar Disorder, I'd only worry about the depressive moments. And even when I haven't had major depressions lately, I've been in low moods now and then. Sometimes I change moods within a day, but I hardly think that isn't normal. It is really nice to see that there is people that care and understand. About your brain being a juice mixer, do you mean that you are being prescribed with lots of different medications? can't you tell your doctor that you want some limits? is it actually better that way?

Fuzzy12, I still haven't told my psychiatrist about my Bipolar suspicious, I felt like I would be forcing a diagnosis, and he would think I was stupid for trying to do that, I did told him that I thought I had a mood disorder though, but he didn't say much afterwards, he just said that before attempting to treat the attention deficit symptoms, we should focus in the mood and depression symptoms, that could be causing the other ones (although I wasn't actually depressed when I saw him, just desperate), that's all he said for now. Maybe I should ask him again more directly what he thinks about me having BD or Cyclothymia, altohough I think he'll say it's too early to aply a diagnosis (he wouldn't say much when I told him I thought I had ADHD, only that this matters take time and are complex, which I agree). I don't know if my pdoc is good for all I know, just got to have a little faith I guess.
About sertraline, it seems to have toned down my irritability (I still get irritable sometimes, but it doesn't fly out, I feel more in control, at least most times), and I have been more energetic lately (not "happy" though). Until I started with the 50 mg. doses I would have more anxious and down moments, now I feel more hyper. The worst part is that I really miss alcohol. I used to drink a lot! (sometimes I abused it)
Another question: are mood stabilisers' side effects as bad as some people say? do they make you foggy and/or tired?

dvdnvwls, I thought that ADHD medication actually made you more hyper, that sleep problems would worsen or appear (that's a relief though, in case I have to start taking some). What are you taking? My sleep problems have lessened with clonazepam, although it kind of worries me that it's just because of the pills, and it is hard getting up in the morning. (I still keep being up late at night sometimes, don't know if it's DSPS, or bad habits, maybe I should see a general doctor for that).
Thanks for the comment!, I am working hard in writing this down (specially because I'm writing in a foreign language).
My main worry and concern is that I feel the possibility of getting really depressed is still latent somewhere, just waiting for a catalyzer, and it could strike again, and that even when I'm fine I'm still not finding my way into progress, like I can't use all my potential.
And I REALLY miss how I felt during the summer (I'm guessing it could have been hypomania). Can someone describe how a hypomania espisode is and feels like?

Ok I wrote a lot again so I'm gonna stop. See you around, hope you all do fine!

dvdnvwls
04-04-13, 03:16 AM
dvdnvwls, I thought that ADHD medication actually made you more hyper, that sleep problems would worsen or appear (that's a relief though, in case I have to start taking some). What are you taking?

ADHD medication, if it works right, usually makes hyper ADHD people less hyper. (It does make normal people more hyper.)

If you take too much of any stimulant, it will stop you from sleeping - but on the correct dose, somehow, this has actually helped my sleep. (For a few days I was on a dosage that was a bit too high. On those days, I couldn't fall asleep.)

I'm taking Vyvanse. I don't know if it's being sold in Argentina - but its effect is very similar to dextroamphetamine.

Fuzzy12
04-04-13, 04:51 AM
Thank you all very much for replying! and thanks to everyone who took the time to read through all the stuff I wrote. I looked again at what I wrote and realized it's way too much! I don't blame anyone who didn't take the time to read it all (I think I wouldn't).

Fuzzy12, I still haven't told my psychiatrist about my Bipolar suspicious, I felt like I would be forcing a diagnosis, and he would think I was stupid for trying to do that, I did told him that I thought I had a mood disorder though, but he didn't say much afterwards, he just said that before attempting to treat the attention deficit symptoms, we should focus in the mood and depression symptoms, that could be causing the other ones (although I wasn't actually depressed when I saw him, just desperate), that's all he said for now. Maybe I should ask him again more directly what he thinks about me having BD or Cyclothymia, altohough I think he'll say it's too early to aply a diagnosis (he wouldn't say much when I told him I thought I had ADHD, only that this matters take time and are complex, which I agree). I don't know if my pdoc is good for all I know, just got to have a little faith I guess.
About sertraline, it seems to have toned down my irritability (I still get irritable sometimes, but it doesn't fly out, I feel more in control, at least most times), and I have been more energetic lately (not "happy" though). Until I started with the 50 mg. doses I would have more anxious and down moments, now I feel more hyper. The worst part is that I really miss alcohol. I used to drink a lot! (sometimes I abused it)
Another question: are mood stabilisers' side effects as bad as some people say? do they make you foggy and/or tired?



Don't worry about writing long posts. I write novels though I, myself, am pretty bad at reading them. :rolleyes:

It's usual that clinicians want to treat mood disorders first before they consider treating ADHD. Bipolar disorder and ADHD have a lot of overlapping symptoms, including cognitive impairments. Also, stimulant medication can make you manic so usually they try to get your moods under control first.

Regarding your question about the side effects of mood stabilisers: It differs from person to person. I am taking 50mg of lamotrigine and I don't have any side effects at all. I got a lot more side effects from anti depressants. I am tired but again, I'm pretty sure that's my anti depressant. I had all kinds of side effects from sertraline (and also duloxetine, which I am taking now): Tiredness, restlessness, restless leg syndrome, dry throat, constipation, etc. The worst though were the extreme mood swings (which tipped my GP off that I might be bipolar.)