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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have recently come to the conclusion that I am probably

Customer Question

I have recently come to the conclusion that I am probably suffering from bipolar II. Very long story, have suffered periods frequent periods of stress including bereavements, which I have not coped with, followed by periods of depression. I have been on / off antidepressants since the age of 19.
I have approached my GP on numerous occasions recently, the last time was a week ago. She was very supportive and said she would refer me to the local crisis resolution mental health team. I stated that I did not intend to commit suicide, as I know the pain it causes other people (my mother took her life quite violently in 2005).
My difficulty is, I am setting myself goals (I finally see my counsellor on tues) but the goals are feeling more and more unattainable, especially with regard to lack of input from the crisis team. I have been waiting for help for around 7 weeks now, my attempts have been thwarted for different reasons.
I am quite desperately fighting the urge to attempt suicide. I have tried to explain my feelings to my close family, but it has been implied by two people that I am 'attention seeking'. I know 'normal' people don't understand mental health problems so I am faithfully waiting for professional help for myself without scaring other people. But I'm losing patience and losing energy to sustain my hope. Can you offer any advice as to what to do now? Do I ring the crisis team to see if they have received a referral? or do I present myself to A&E in desperation?
There is one small problem; my brother is also experiencing similar symptoms as I am since the sudden death of his long term partner on Jan 28th. I promised him I would be able to help him more when I get myself sorted out so don't really fancy being in hospital for a long time. I am usually a strong person who looks after my family, and I am also a trained (not presently registered) mental health nurse, employed as a social worker (although presently on the sick). Any advice would be greatly appreciated because I am struggling to find a way out of this mess
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

If you are feeling suicidal and feel you cannot wait until you see your counselor, it is a good idea to present yourself to the emergency room for an evaluation. At the very least you may be able to be prescribed medication (or a change in medication) to help you until your therapy can be effective.

You are correct, it is very common for those without mental health issues to see those with them as hard to explain or hard to cope with. Since others in your family have no way of understanding mental health, then they try to explain your symptoms away in the least distressing manner. That is probably what you ran into when you tried to explain your situation to your family.

Regarding your possible Bipolar disorder diagnosis, have you ever experienced a hypomania episode? This is necessary before you can be considered Bipolar (as you probably already know). It sounds like you need a new evaluation to determine what exactly is your diagnosis so you have a better chance of addressing it with medication, therapy and self help.

Bereavement can complicate matters when you already have depression. The fact that your mother committed suicide violently and that your brother is also experiencing similar symptoms, plus the loss of his partner, puts enormous stress on you. If you are in a caregiving role in your family, this exasperates the situation even more.

It is good that you are starting therapy soon. But as you begin the process, you can also help yourself feel better by taking some steps to build up support and guidance. Here are some resources to help:

Some books that may help:

The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by ***** *****, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn

Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You by Richard O'Connor

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-by-step Program (Workbook) by William J. Knaus and Albert Ellis

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.

Finding support through support groups and relying on others who understand loss and depression will help you work through your symptoms. And, if you wish, you can share these resources with your brother as well. Relying on each other may help you both recover and feel more positive about the future.

I hope this has helped you,

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or want clarification?