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Dr John B
Dr John B, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  PhD in Clinical Psychology, registered clinical psychologist.
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I'm a 27 yrd female and have been suffering from depression

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I'm a 27 yrd female and have been suffering from depression for more than 10 years now. I used to cut myself when I was 15, never understood why I did it. I stopped that "practice" at about 23-24.
I'm suspecting that I might have a bipolar disorder. Because I live in China at the moment and I've heard some horrifying stories about their medical care system I thought I'd ask someone somewhere else, like here. I've been doing some research on the internet putting my symptoms together, separately the closest most logical explanation I can think of is bipolar disorder.
-At times I feel like I'm at the top of the world and nothing can bring me down. Then the n-ext moment I feel like scum and wish my mother would've gotten an abortion or something.
-I'm either sleeping a lot or getting by 4-5 hours of sleep a day without feeling tired.
-One moment I can be care-free and happy and the next I'm sad and in tears.
-Some days I eat a lot, some days I can get by with very little food.
-I get easily irritated.
-I have irregular bowel movements.
-My hair is falling off (I know it's not really a symptom but who knows)
-Sometimes I can't shut my mouth and others you can hardly get me to say anything.
-I hate myself most of the time. And I have to push myself hard and even then I don't think I'm good enough and it's a constant battle within.
-Concentrating on things is very hard.
-Within a year I've lost about 44 pounds. I ate very little amounts of food. Have been just concentrating on my studies day and night.
-Often (2-3 times a week when I'm not feeling low) I get absolutely obsessed with cleaning my apartment. Every little crack and corner has to be polished and scrubbed kind.
-I worry about all sorts of things big and small, my business and none of my business. Sometimes I can't sleep because I'm feeling sorry for all the cages up animals in the world, about polar bears etc.
-And the scariest thing is that I'm constantly thinking about death. I've tried to commit suicide twice before.
Lately, I've been feeling down again (it kind of comes in waves, if you know what I mean). It's been really hard for me to even walk to the bathroom and take a shower. I'm usually quite organized and clean and my brain was telling me that I'm spiraling down. I started heavily flirting with men other than my boyfriend, sometimes even in his presence. I know it sounds horrible but it felt nice to be liked by others.
Last Thursday, I went out with my friends and we were having fun at our local pub. I got pretty drunk and decided to go home. As soon as I stepped out of there I felt the "world" crashing onto me. Every little problem I've been dealing with, every little things that I've been sweeping under the rug fell on me. At least that's how it felt. The next few moments I don't think I was my own person. I remember picking up a bottle off the ground, breaking it on a wall and stabbing my wrist with it. I didn't even feel any pain. I only came to myself when I saw blood trickling down on to the ground. I was sorry, but not because I did it but because I didn't succeed.
I don't think that any of my family members were ever diagnosed with any mental disorders but I think it's important to say that my mother tried to kill herself 3 years ago when my father left her. I guess she was always easily irritable and also very vulnerable and sensitive. But I always thought that was because she was always so busy and got tired by the end of the day...
I don't think my father has any health issues and conditions worth mentioning. A flu here, a cold there. When he was in his 40s (more than 15 years ago) he got a laser eye surgery. That's about it.
My older brother has hepatitis. I'm not sure which type. He's been on medications for over a year now.
My sister has some thyroid enlargement or something, I'm not sure.
Any ideas what could it be?


I'm sorry to hear of the situation. Your description is complex and you describe a range of symptoms that don't all necessarily fit into one discreet diagnostic category. This is actually quite a common situation and so we usually try to determine if there is a primary (main) diagnosis. Keeping in mind that it is impossible to diagnose someone via JustAnswer, my initial reaction would be that you may be describing (as a primary problem) Borderline Personality Disorder. The cutting, mood instability (of quicker frequency than usually seen with Bipolar), suicidal ideation, irritability and eating problems are hallmarks of the disorder and it is frequently miss-diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder or recurrent Depressive Disorder.

I'll post a brief description of the disorder below and wait for your response to it before proceeding further.

The main feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. People with borderline personality disorder are also usually very impulsive. This disorder occurs in most by early adulthood. The unstable pattern of interacting with others has persisted for years and is usually closely related to the person's self-image and early social interactions. The pattern is present in a variety of settings (e.g., not just at work or home) and often is accompanied by a similar lability (fluctuating back and forth, sometimes in a quick manner) in a person's emotions and feelings. Relationships and the person's emotion may often be characterized as being shallow.

A person with this disorder will also often exhibit impulsive behaviors and have a majority of the following symptoms:

● Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

● A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation

● Identity disturbance, such as a significant and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self

● Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)

● Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

● Emotional instability due to significant reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

● Chronic feelings of emptiness

● Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

● Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms

I will be away from my computer for a while but I will respond further as soon as I return.

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