My very quick journey to bipolar disorder diagnosis

Hello lovelies,

I've wanted to put fingers to keyboard many times over the last 5 and a bit weeks since James dumped me, but I haven't been able to find the will. But I've been writing on Instagram most days, and here's something I've brought over from there and expanded upon in case it helps others - how I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder so quickly. I began exhibiting symptoms of extreme mania the day after James brought home his shitty Dear John letter.

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I believe what helped me get to such a quick diagnosis with bipolar is a video I took in desperation on my most manic day. I went through hysterical laughter, tears, anger and heartbreak in the space of 2 minutes of video. It must've been terrifying for people to watch (I uploaded it to social media as I was so desperate for people to believe me) and it was certainly terrifying living through it.

When it comes to diagnoses you can try to explain how you feel, you can take notes of your symptoms, you can note down other people's impressions of you, (especially if you're losing your grasp on reality or disassociating) but having a video of yourself in a very manic or very depressed mood is even better. I showed my GP and my psychiatrist the video I'd taken round my cousin's flat on the day I REALLY lost my grasp on reality. I'd been to a walk in centre that day and the doctor seemed to think I was just a neurotic woman going through a break up and was otherwise fine. I felt so let down by that GP and I wanted proof things were really bad. Also I was disassociating so badly by then that I needed to look at myself in photos or video to know I was still real. I wasn't sure I existed any more. My cousin had to patiently explain the day's reality to me as I was so out of it.

That terrible day I'd had a little dance with a 90 year old man in a packed Wetherspoons pub in the middle of the lunchtime rush, and got so loud and sweary over lunch that strangers looked scared of me. I didn't miss James at all and was joking I'd been "drowning in cock" one minute, then 2 minutes later I'd be in racking tears of heartbreak, quickly followed by hysterical laughter I couldn't stop. Loud noises made me want to punch people, my eyeballs were rattling around in my head, I hadn't been sleeping, I was shaking so much I couldn't pass people money, I was sweating uncontrollably and my heart physically hurt. I was in an awful state. The doctor I saw at the walk in centre did give me some Diazepam, which at least helped me to sleep, because I'd only been having 1-2 hours a night. This was less than a week after James ended things.

As soon as I had my kinda fruitless experience at the walk in centre I called my own GP and went in a few days later, showed him the video and all the symptoms I'd written down. He could see I was a mess anyway - I was shaking uncontrollably, sweating heavily and my resting heartbeat was galloping along at twice the speed it should've been. He gave me beta blockers to stop my heart exploding (lol) and sedative antihistamines to help me sleep. Less than 2 weeks after that I had my psych evaluation, which took about 90 minutes and was incredibly in depth. I was asked about my sexual history, childhood, jobs, parents, health and so much more. At the end of it I was diagnosed with Bipolar II.

Doing the video definitely helped my speedy diagnosis. So my advice would be video yourself (no matter how painful it is to do when you're manic or very depressed), list all your symptoms as best you can, and ask your loved ones to describe how you've been acting if you've been disassociating or losing your grasp on reality.

But most of all, trust your intuition. If you KNOW things are out of control for you, don't give up until you get help. I know mental health services vary in different countries. I know they vary in different areas of the UK. Some doctors are effing useless when it comes to mental health. Persist if you can and lean on your loved ones while you're undiagnosed. Believe in yourself and your ability to know what's right and wrong in your own body and mind. You know yourself better than anyone else.

I've been medicated for 2 weeks now and I won't lie, some days are hell. I'm only getting 5 hours sleep a day at most. I wake up at 5am every day without fail. I still disassociate sometimes. I shake, I sweat, my heart races. I've gone down a dress size so quickly my hair thinned. I've been throwing up or heaving almost every day for 5 weeks. Today was the first time I could bear to eat my 5 a day. I'm missing meals and when I do eat I'm eating 1/3 of what I used to. Some days I'm high as a kite and other days I'm as low as a sausage dog's knackers. There's no predicting it. It's HARD and there's no guarantee the anti psychotic tablets I'm on are the right ones for me. It's going to be a process to start feeling better.

In my next post I'll talk about how I had undiagnosed bipolar for many years. Big hugs to my mental health fam and all suffering souls out there.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo