View Full Version : ADHD + traumatic experience vs. hypomania.


mrh235
06-18-17, 06:42 PM
I've never had spiraling emotions, never been manic or hypomania. Before I got my ADHD under control 6 years ago I was basically just depressed from the way I was treated and struggling with my ADHD. Since having my ADHD under control I've had extremely consistent balanced emotions. I've also been with the same doctor for 6 years so he knows me pretty well even though he's a bit weird.

However, I encountered some pretty terrible circumstances in school about 7 months ago. The professional school I went to was very corrupt and discriminatory against me because I have ADHD and turned the littlest things about me against me. My doctor was astonished too. The last month I was there was absolute hell on earth for me emotionally, and even professors who liked me were so intimidated by admin.

I became very depressed, but unlike the times I was depressed beforehand, I refused to let the depression and anxiety during that time undermine me. I kept pushing forward, I focused on what I can do to get out of and overcome these horrific circumstances, and pushed through. I also refused to let other people's comments and the bullying I encountered for no reason hurt me because I know who I am. I also built myself up from pretty much nothing self-esteemwise since I got my ADHD under control, and have a pretty strong self-esteem now.

I did end up developing PTSD like symptoms temporarily though. Long story short I got out and my life slowly improved and I overcame these obstacles.

My doctor in the last session tried to say that my behavior during that last month I was dealing with that stuff resembled a "mixed episode/hypomania". I asked him his reasoning, and he said stuff about being more goal oriented, having severe trouble sleeping while at the same time being depressed, being more impulsive, and talking fast. He said something about watching for bipolar symptoms in the future [what].


I told him I don't believe that I was hypomanic at all because I was in very stressful circumstances. I became more goal oriented because I was able to since getting my ADHD under control, and that's how I pushed through these circumstances. I had trouble sleeping because I was dealing with serious abuse and my life that I've worked so hard at was falling apart.

I wasn't more impulsive, but I did have to learn to make decisions rapidly, which is something that was always hard for me because of having ADHD. As for talking fast, quite honestly that was the only way I could get a word in edgewise with this horrific school. I had to push push push because everything I said was pretty much ignored in favor of using everything about me and my mental health against me. Also these circumstances did make me anxious.

I asked him if he believed I was bipolar because having a hypomanic episode would say that. He said no. I asked him if he recognized that what would like that is probably just my ADHD mixed with experiencing trauma. He did say ptsd could look like it. I also asked him if there were any other signs that would point to me being bipolar or anything like that. He said no.

I can’t help but be annoyed about this and the more I read about hypomania/mixed episodes the more I see that ADHD can easily be mistaken for them. Especially since he told me this and left it pretty unresolved and I’m not seeing him again till July.

What are your thoughts on this situation? Do you really think any of this would point to hypomania/mixed-episodes? Why is it so common for doctors to mistake ADHD for bipolar disorder? It really grinds my gears. Sorry this is long, I'm just very frustrated and couldn't find a shorter way of writing this. It really seems like he got the idea in his mind that you can't be depressed and exhibit strong non-depressed behavior too. It seems extremely messed up to interpret my behavior as something it just isn't.

mrh235
06-19-17, 08:40 PM
Update: My doctor just confused a bunch of stuff. It's obvious I didn't match the bill for hypomania. I'm pretty sure he mistook me for another patient. I hate when doctors do this. It's so annoying. :(

sarahsweets
07-02-17, 07:19 AM
I dont know how I missed this thread, I am very passionate about bipolar and am most interested in disspelling myths, getting the right info out there.





My doctor in the last session tried to say that my behavior during that last month I was dealing with that stuff resembled a "mixed episode/hypomania". I asked him his reasoning, and he said stuff about being more goal oriented, having severe trouble sleeping while at the same time being depressed, being more impulsive, and talking fast. He said something about watching for bipolar symptoms in the future [what].
I do not get why he even included being goal oriented as a symptom. And if this hasnt been your pattern at all or in a long time then I question his ideas.
If you had experienced this before in the past over an over maybe I could see his point, but this sounds new to you.

IME, people with bipolar do not wake up one day and have an episode...at least not in the way where it would be a first time.
Bipolar dx's should be considered when the patient has experienced symptoms that seem like bipolar and seem like they have developed a bit over time. I had always had some symptoms of bipolar since age 16 but it wasnt until about age 20 when all the symptoms sort of collided and began happening frequently, and with many symptoms all at the same time.


What are your thoughts on this situation? Do you really think any of this would point to hypomania/mixed-episodes? Why is it so common for doctors to mistake ADHD for bipolar disorder? It really grinds my gears. Sorry this is long, I'm just very frustrated and couldn't find a shorter way of writing this. It really seems like he got the idea in his mind that you can't be depressed and exhibit strong non-depressed behavior too. It seems extremely messed up to interpret my behavior as something it just isn't.

I dont know for sure why it seems like bipolar is the soup du jour. About 5 years ago or so when a celebraty had some kind of breakdown it seems like bipolar jumped to the front of the line.
But I know since then, erratic behavior, criminal acts, weird news stories, bad, combative behavior, extreme mood swings, being a total as*, have all been lumped into the layman's idea of bipolar.
Maybe its social media. I think its a "psyche doc cop-out" when they have no idea what's going on, or just want to slap a dx on you, or their ego wont allow them to admit a mistake.

Were you diagnosed with BP or is it just irritating you that it was even mentioned?

mrh235
07-03-17, 02:49 AM
I dont know how I missed this thread, I am very passionate about bipolar and am most interested in disspelling myths, getting the right info out there.




I do not get why he even included being goal oriented as a symptom. And if this hasnt been your pattern at all or in a long time then I question his ideas.
If you had experienced this before in the past over an over maybe I could see his point, but this sounds new to you.

IME, people with bipolar do not wake up one day and have an episode...at least not in the way where it would be a first time.
Bipolar dx's should be considered when the patient has experienced symptoms that seem like bipolar and seem like they have developed a bit over time. I had always had some symptoms of bipolar since age 16 but it wasnt until about age 20 when all the symptoms sort of collided and began happening frequently, and with many symptoms all at the same time.



I dont know for sure why it seems like bipolar is the soup du jour. About 5 years ago or so when a celebraty had some kind of breakdown it seems like bipolar jumped to the front of the line.
But I know since then, erratic behavior, criminal acts, weird news stories, bad, combative behavior, extreme mood swings, being a total as*, have all been lumped into the layman's idea of bipolar.
Maybe its social media. I think its a "psyche doc cop-out" when they have no idea what's going on, or just want to slap a dx on you, or their ego wont allow them to admit a mistake.

Were you diagnosed with BP or is it just irritating you that it was even mentioned?

He didn't diagnose me with bipolar and recognized I'm not, but he did put the label "hypomanic" out there and it just seemed like he was really close to labeling me bipolar because I've been treated by him for depression in the past, even though he recognized there were no other points of evidence that I was bipolar.


The goal oriented stuff...just ugh. That ticks me off because trying to be more focused on goals now that I have my ADHD under control is a compensatory mechanism and I was also working as hard as I could to get out of a horrible situation.

He basically saw I was very depressed during this time because I was very close to having my life ruined by this school, like so depressed I literally couldn't enjoy the taste of any food, completely just dead and super down. He then related that to the fact I had sleep issues as in I literally couldn't sleep [due to what I through] and apparently he thought that's means more "mixed" than depressed? He also saw the fact that I was rightfully anxious, so I talked a bit faster, and irritable as "hypomanic."

The main reason he pulled the bipolar card was the irritable part, and the fact that my self-esteem remained strong throughout this experience, and I kept giving it my all to move forward. He could have easily seen that even though this was some of the worst depression I've faced since getting my ADHD under control that I handled it probably the best I've ever handled crippling depression in my life.
The whole thing really aggravated me, it seemed like he saw one symptom and just tried to toss the label on me when it didn't fit. Also most of the symptoms of hypomania/mixed episodes overlap a lot with ADHD, so I feel it's too easy for this doc to interpret things incorrectly even though he knows better.



I can't stand how doctors see "irritable/angry" and automatically assume bipolar. It couldn't possibly because were going through tough experiences, ADHD is an annoying condition to deal with, or we're irritated with doctors making all these irritating assumptions about us. Thank you so much for your post, I'm very sure you hit the nail on the head about it being a psych doc copout or egoism. It never ceases to blow my mind how arrogant and narrow minded doctors can be. Even more disgustingly, the whole experience I went through that put me in the gutter had to do with medical school, and their abusive lack of understanding about my mental health and bullying in the most ridiculous condescending ways. It's like I went from one abusive horrible experience to being labeled horribly because of the fact I went through this horrible experience.

I agree with you so much about how annoying it is that bipolar has become the soup du jour. It's like how autism has become the soup de jour too when I feel like a lot of what is too quickly labeled autism comes from not enough interaction and too much being on the computer/texting.

mrh235
07-05-17, 08:10 AM
Sarahsweets - do you think I sound bipolar at all? I just don't see how. This guy reached for straws in like the craziest way ever. I'm seeing him later today and will of course clarify, but during this time in that professional school, I dealt with some of the most short-fused and explosive people I've ever dealt with in my life.

I was a huge diplomat there, but they tried to paint so much stuff about me in the most negative light possible to get rid of me.

mrh235
07-05-17, 11:13 PM
I asked today, and he clarified I didn't think I was either. He was just bringing it up in conversation to basically say some conditions can be seen totally differently depending on who looks at them. Finally a doctor informed enough to recognize something like that.

sarahsweets
07-06-17, 02:51 AM
Sarahsweets - do you think I sound bipolar at all? I just don't see how. This guy reached for straws in like the craziest way ever. I'm seeing him later today and will of course clarify, but during this time in that professional school, I dealt with some of the most short-fused and explosive people I've ever dealt with in my life.

I was a huge diplomat there, but they tried to paint so much stuff about me in the most negative light possible to get rid of me.

If I am going by what I experience with bipolar II, then I dont think you sound like me. There are other ways of seeing bipolar I suppose but my gut leads me to believe that this isnt the case for you.

mrh235
07-06-17, 03:35 AM
If I am going by what I experience with bipolar II, then I dont think you sound like me. There are other ways of seeing bipolar I suppose but my gut leads me to believe that this isnt the case for you.


Thank you so very much for your response. Yea I'd be a pretty boring for bipolar 1, and too straight up depressed for bp2. I really appreciate your help. :) I'm glad this worked with this doctor.

I didn't want to have to lose another doctor to their usual arrogance short-sightedness.