How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC Your Own ...

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5457
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
54658078
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hello, I am feeling very confused and looking for some advice.

Resolved Question:

Hello, I am feeling very confused and looking for some advice. I'm a 26 year old male and have been struggling with periods of depression for the last 10 years. This (I think) started at the age of 16 where I was a heavy user of cannabis over a 3 or 4 month period (where I was smoking up to around 12 joints a day just to feel 'normal') which lead to a psychotic breakdown and a couple of years on various anti depressants and anti psychotics which didn't seem to help. I slowly recovered though, and have some how managed to do quite well for myself in my career (a graphic designer). However I frequently dip in and out of periods of depression which makes it very difficult to maintain a normal life and keep friendships.

A couple of months ago, when I was working on a project where I had a lot of responsibility, I went through a 2 or 3 week period where I felt absolutely incredible. More so than I have ever done, I felt high.. continuously. Having lots of great ideas, very creative, interested in everything and everyone, constantly thinking about how great I feel and how great my life is... it got to the point where I felt so good I was actually getting nervous that something bad was going to happen to ruin it, and I started to feel extremely restless. This built up towards the deadline of the project I was working on - where I started working up to 14 hours a day. When the work finished, I crashed and spent a couple of weeks in a very severe depressive state, hardly leaving my apartment. For the first time this made me question the nature of my depression and I have been reading about bipolar type II... I'm not sure if I have it or not, but I can certainly identity with many of the symptoms and experiences that bipolar people have. I know I suffer from depression, no question about it. But now I look back on my life and I can identify periods where I have been excessively energetic and creative - worked obsessively on projects, and over achieved for 2 or 3 month periods, and every time a period like this has been followed by a 5 or 6 month depression, where I struggle to even think straight. I have so many unfinished projects and abandoned ideas because of this. Perhaps even the cannabis abuse at 16 was some form of hypomanic episode, without me knowing. I remember feeling on top of the world, like I was at the centre of a film - but this was probably the cannabis, it's hard to tell if it was an episode or just the drug.

Bipolar or not... For the last month or so I have been feeling very empty and blank.. I find myself staring into space and struggling to involve myself in activities - and yet I am seemingly doing very well in my career and on the surface must seem quite content to other people. But I feel hollow. It is such a stark contrast to how I felt just a couple of months ago, and it saddens me to think that I couldn't maintain that happiness. I thought I had overcome my problems once and for all and could start a new life. But here I am again... I just can't seem to shake off this emptiness. Life just doesn't seem to have any meaning. I don't know how much longer I can keep it up. I would like get help... or at least talk to someone about it. But I just don't know who to ask or what to tell them... should I try to see someone for a diagnosis of bipolar? I am afraid my doctor might just say it's depression and give me anti-depressants again.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

You describe your symptoms very well. It sounds very much like you might have Bipolar disorder, possibly Type II. That is because you are having periods of extreme highs and periods of extreme lows. You need at least one of those to qualify for Bipolar, Type II. Type I Bipolar only requires that you experience the extreme high. You can have depression, but it is usually not that severe and may not happen at all. And Cyclothymia is mild highs and mild lows.

The best way to diagnose Bipolar is to see a mental health professional. While doctors can help with some initial information and medications, a mental health professional is trained to screen for all possible disorders, including Bipolar and the type you may have. So seeking an evaluation can help you find out what you are dealing with. The therapist can also provide you with the best treatment options for your situation. Ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional with either a Master's degree or a Ph.D.

The best treatment for Bipolar is medication and the most prescribed medications for Bipolar is Lithium. You can also take Depakote as well. If the medication your doctor put you on is an anti depressant, that may not help. Anti depressants are questionable to use with Bipolar. The right medication helps to stabilize the imbalance of chemicals in your brain so your mood becomes more fluid rather than the ups and downs you experience.

While the drugs you took in your teens may have influenced your symptoms and may even have triggered them, it is best to see a Neurologist for a full screening to be sure. Drugs can affect your mental health, but the effects vary so much that it is a good idea to be evaluated to be sure if you were affected or not. But even if you were, the treatment would remain the same if you do have Bipolar.

There are other things you can do to help yourself. Here are some links to help you:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/bipolar_disorder_medications.htm

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/bipolar_disorder_diagnosis_treatmen t.htm

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/bipolar_disorder_self_help.htm

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/self-help-strategies-for-bipolar-disorder/

Also, consider support groups either on line or in person. Talking to others who have the same symptoms as you can help you feel less alone and provide much needed support.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate












May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5457
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Kate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks Kate, I just sent a reply but I don't think it worked (apologies if you get this twice).


 


I will see my doctor and ask for a referral. It's difficult - I go from really identifying with the symptoms of bipolar, to then thinking it's all stupid that I'm even thinking about it and actually I'm just normal like everyone else and experience the same ups and downs that we all face... It's hard to gauge what is normal and what isn't when you start looking into these things.


 


I haven't thought about seeing a neurologist before - something that frustrates me is my memory, it's awful and seems to be getting worse. Trouble focusing on one thing and especially reading is very difficult for me as well. May I ask what is involved in a neurological screening? What would be achieved / what would be the outcome? And how I might go about getting one?

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
I am sorry I did not get your first response. Sometimes that happens on Just Answer. I apologize that you have to send it again.

It is normal for someone with Bipolar to feel as you do. There are going to be times you feel that nothing is wrong. That is also common with the manic phase as well. But getting it checked out is only going to help you. You will either know you have Bipolar, another disorder or nothing at all. In any case, you will at least know what you are dealing with.

I am not sure exactly what goes on in a neurological exam (it's not in my area of expertise and it also may vary from doctor to doctor) but your own doctor might be able to give you specifics about what to expect. And you may also be able to find the information on line, through a reputable site.

You can ask your doctor about referring you to a neurologist. He/she can help you find one and be able to share records so you have the best care possible.

Kate

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education