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26 August 2017

Bipolar diagnosis – 1 year annaversary..?

By Alexa

Today a year ago I was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and while i already suspected having it for about 3 years, I was glad to have the diagnosis. Though the cause of what made the confirmation was a bit less. Lets recap a bit for that last year (and a bit longer back)…

Somewhere in 2012 I talkes with a cousin of me who’s been diagmosed with bipolar for quite a while. I visited her in the period after I had my diagnosis for Asperger’s syndrome and ADD. We talked a bit about our psychological problems and after her story I suspected I might have a bipolar disorder as well, while she thought the might have Asperger’s syndrome (which is also quite possible – she is REAL smart and pretty analytic in her thoughts, yet she is also very social…).

The thought of me possebly being bipolar kept nagging, but I didn’t give it too much attention. Late 2015 I went back into therapy for my Asperger’s syndrome and ADD. While the therapy didn’t really teach me anything new (there’s still no cure for autism, either therapy or medication), the depressions that I had from time to time kept coming.

On july 12th 2016 I spoke with my psych about my regular depressions (without mentioning bipolar!) and he came with the thought himself. He asked me to keep a mood log for the coming month and if it was possible for me to get my general moods from the last 3 years back (thank God for this blog, my Steam purchases and programming activities). The mood curve from the last 3 years showed a ‘nice’ sinus curve. This curve started with a 7-month period from depression to depression (with hypo-manic in between) and ended with about 4 to 5 months.In the mean time I was still recording the current month’s mood, untill August 8th happened.

My therapist more or less confirmed that I’d have a bipolar disorder. But she’s only a therapysts and not a psych, so it was not official (yet). My psych was at that moment on his holiday break, and I had intensive contact with my therapist in the mean time. When my psych came back I was immediately scheduled for an appointment and that was today a year ago. He immediately (after having read the reports from my therapyst) confirmed that I have a bipolar disorder.

At that moment the road for medication started. And while I’m not a fan of (chemical) medication, I figured that i’d have to give in to it. But with my history of allergic to extreme allergic reactions to different kind of medication, my psych didn’t want to take any chance and ordered for a gen examination first (CYP1A2 and CYP2C9 enzimes) first, which showed later that I’m ‘low metabolic‘ for the requested medication types (anti-depressives and anti-psychotics), meaning I need to start with a very low dosage and probably will keep side effects as long as I’m using it.
An other problem with medication is that my cholesterol is fairly high (always between 6.9 and 7.2, where normally 6.0 is the maximum), but that’s a family related thing and ever since I know of it (20 years already) it’s been around those values, whatever my weight is. This cholesterol problem also limits the ‘choise’ of medication for my psych.
So I ended up with Depakine, taking only 600mg a day (for my weight I should have around 3000mg a day ;;)), and after the first tests I already was pretty close to the therapeutical values in my blood…

Then December came and I had yet an other pretty deep depression period. This time knowing the cause, my psych proscribed Cipramil (1 drop a day, where 16 is normal), and that totally backfired. That one drop made me so fatigued that I slept through most of the day ☹ At least it did get me out of the worst part of the depression…
March was up next and my psych gave me Depakine up front as a ‘just in case’. Mut that March depression was shallow. I was tired (not overly fatigues), and down, so I didn touch the anti-depressives…
And then June/July this year. This time the ‘missing’ depression from March joined up and I had a long and deep one. This time I also took the Depakine (30mg a day) after about 5 weeks when it went too deep, and yes it helped me through it! I even asked for an other month’s ration of Depakine for the next depression period I’ll get…

In general I’m more than happy with my diagnosis. I know where I stand now when I’m both hypo-manic and depressed, and more importantly I GET HELP for it. It’s no longer a ‘Oh, depression periods  comes with autism and ADD combined’ remark (which I had a lot in the past), but I’m actual suffering from a bipolar disorder. That also means my wife can keep a better eye on me moods as well so she can see an episode (either depression or hypo-manic) coming and perhaps even before I see it myself.
…perhaps it is an annaversary after all… 😉