Am I bipolar?

In the last couple of years, I’ve reached out and reacquainted with a couple of others from secondary (high) school. Though I wasn’t really close with them at the time (with the exception of Dan, who was a best friend from day one – literally, we actually met on the very first day), we’ve found commonality as time has gone on.

I have also realised who I am, and the people I get along with. One of these, Harry, who also happens to be a brown guy (Sri Lankan), has a similar story to mine. He is the eldest son in a family of four, also with a younger brother, has had an interesting relationship with his father, was similarly ‘intelligent’ at school, and dropped out of university. He’s also dealt with his own demons, and mental health issues.

I actually shared my blog with him recently and he sent me this message:

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 17.36.46

After months of radio silence, he got in touch – and I should be seeing him soon. He confessed that he’d had a scare, but was back on the up, and we’re going to catch up when he’s feeling a bit better. When we last met, I remember him saying, “Sometimes I wonder if I’m bipolar, man. I have these ridiculous mood swings”.

We were both comparing how sociable we were around people we were (though reigning myself in at time of writing), yet were introverts and could shut away and turn into hermits for a while. How we experienced real ups and downs. How we seemed to be a couple of weirdos in a world were folks just seemed to be happy in jobs that they really couldn’t give a sh*t about.

As I’ve been paying more attention to my mood and mood swings (e.g. how I tend to feel better in the evening after I’ve ‘warmed up’ during the day – getting out of the house helps), I’ve begun to question whether I am on the bipolar spectrum. I mean, I guess we are all somewhere on the spectrum, but I mean significantly on the spectrum, or at least significantly enough. Aaaaaagh. #overthinking.

It was actually something my psychiatrist suspected and mentioned at one stage, though was reluctant to give me the diagnosis – and then he later backtracked, saying “I don’t think you are”.

Update: I actually saw my psychiatrist last week, and talked to him about this as I’ve been reading others’ experiences online and connecting some dots. He told me that I may be ‘slightly’ bipolar, but that it could also be seasonal affective disorder, or SAD (I feel better in the summer, and get low in the winter) or just this thing beginning with ‘c’ where I just have cycles in mood. Either way, I don’t want any medication as such for the bipolar, I think it’s more just because I like to categorise and make it feel like I have ‘something’ that others have and am not just a weirdo!

The last thing I want to do is incorrectly diagnose myself. But I was thinking about this yesterday. I googled it, and clicked on the first link to take a short test. There were about 10 questions, and I selected a mix of ‘sometimes’ and ‘often’ options for each one. The result was that I possess a ‘moderate risk’ of having bipolar – though continues to say that this was just a test and – of course – could not replace the opinion of a medical professional.

Whilst I’m sure everyone can relate to changes in mood, my swings can be pretty monumental. I can also get hyper when I’m around people, and music. This is also linked to my high-sensitivity (HSP). One of the questions on the test particularly stood out, asking about whether I swing between low-confidence and over-confidence. I thought about this time last year, when I was travelling and watching various sporting events (ah, dreamy), and I became convinced that I was going to become this big-time sports coach and that I had ‘the gift’ – yup, there’s those ridiculously high expectations again. I was in Europe and the US watching tennis and boxing. Acting the part and lapping up the mystique and attention I got from being this guy there on his own. I put on this swagger and this front, tryna act like someone special.

I like it too much. I became a person I’m not used to being. I went ape-sh*t when I thought someone had stolen my wallet at one of the tournaments, and then again at the train station when I missed my train and they couldn’t do something as simple as giving me another ticket at the kid – instead, asking me to go online and booking my ticket from there. It was ridiculous thinking about it, but I really got angry at them, made a scene in the whole place, and it was out of character. I usually avoid conflict or any form of tension at all costs.

I felt like I was an actor playing this part. It felt like O was important, and respected, even though I wasn’t being myself and was actually distancing myself from those around me (kinda like I do now at my gym – a post coming up on this soon). It felt good. Before it all got too much + then it came crashing down.

by Jas

✏ Written: Tuesday, 13th March 2018 @ 9.20am

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What about you? 🤷🏽‍♂️
Do you find that you have moodswings? Are there any patterns that you have picked up on? Whether you’re bipolar or not, I’d love to hear your experiences – or anything that you feel like sharing 💙

10 thoughts on “Am I bipolar?

  1. Hi, ABG. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog over the past few days! I did want to share a little feedback, as I work in the mental health field. Diagnosis is a process and can vary depending on who you see. Yes, you are correct in your statement that everyone experiences mood swings, but not everyone has a disorder. We must be careful using the term “bipolar,” as there are two types (I and II) and involve a lot of symptoms. Unfortunately, it is everyday language for people to say things like, “I’m so bipolar.” Only a qualified clinician, physician, or therapist can diagnose bipolar disorder. My goal in commenting here is to inform and to contribute to the conversation. I hope that it’s insightful. Feel free to reply if you have questions.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for this comment! I think it is very easy to throw around labels and it is obviously very important to find out what is going on with your mental health, however I am Bipolar and one thing I can give you some insight on is the fact that while events can trigger episodes, manic episodes or even hypo-manic (if you’re Bipolar II) episodes tend not to be brought on by social situations as you mentioned being around people and music.

      If it is a manic episode it would be likely for you to be around people and music but the actual environment wouldn’t onset an episode. I am sure your doctor has explained the criteria and you have done some research on your own, the best thing is to find out because it is a serious mental illness and I wouldn’t be able to function properly without medication, mood monitoring, a set sleep cycle and a routine.

      If I get off routine/too stressed or overwhelmed and fail to take care of myself then I am very easily triggered to have a depressive episode. Also, a sign that you are about to have a manic/hypo-manic episode would be a lack of sleep. That is the biggest sign, increased energy and a decreased need for sleep.

      At the end of the day I know you are just processing your thoughts but just be mindful because for most people, there isn’t any confusion as to whether they are Bipolar or not, because either they end up being hospitalized or worse case scenario they end up harming themselves and/or others.

      I hope this wasn’t too condescending or anything. I just wanted to offer insight because after all I live with it every day.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Trust me – you don’t want a diagnosis and definitely don’t want the medication. You can check out my blog – maybe try some healthy lifestyle changes and supplements to help you swing away from it if you feel like you might be. Once you know, there’s no denying it and you can’t go back. Best of luck. betterbipolar.wordpress.com

    Like

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