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Ryan LCSW, Mental Health
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Individual and Family Therapist
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Do I have a mild form of polar? I spent teenage years being

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Do I have a mild form of Bi polar?
I spent teenage years being intelligent and capable - yet forgot homework and equipment / was totally disorganised / late for everything / got into trouble a lot / I wanted to be good but found trying just to be organised extremely hard work. The only subjects I found easy were art and drama. I did Costume design & making at university but I only just passed due to having moments of great creativity but never finishing projects due to long bouts of what I assume were possibly depression.
Now I am 31 and my life has always felt like it is stuck in a rut I feel like I am not getting anywhere and I still have moments of energy where I try to do something about this & feel very positive about it & then they fizzle out & I dont get passed the first step - I have been in the process of tidying my room / losing weight / reducing my debt for at least 10 years! I'd say I definitely have periods of funny outgoing positive creativity & periods of depressed empty lack of appetite / insomnia & anxiety. I am reknowned for my disorganised forgetfulness and inability to finish something ive started and for rediculous & continous thoughts & speach. I have often questioned if I have some form of depression or mental illness but have always dismissed this as an excuse for my own laziness. However it would be a relief to think maybe I am bi polar and i can feel less bad about not always fulfilling my potential
Thanks for your question. My name is ***** ***** I'd like to help you out.

Based on what you've described, it is possible that you have bipolar disorder, although a professional diagnosis would be the only way to know for sure. As you may already know, bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings. This may explain some of your bursts of positivity and periods of depression, which can contribute to the forgetfulness and inability to finish things that you've started. If you do have Bipolar disorder, then receiving proper treatment should make a big difference in your ability to manage these things.

Some would argue that people who are very creative tend to be a big more forgetful and have more difficult staying organized. This can also be symptomatic of attention deficit disorder, so it may also be important to rule this out as well. Even if you do not meet the criteria of a clinical diagnosis for Bipolar or ADDD, I would certainly not underestimate how difficult periodic bouts of depression can be, and if they came during tough periods of your life, that could be a perfectly reasonable explanation for what you've experienced.

I've attached a link here to an online Bipolar test from a very reputable website that should give you a pretty good idea of whether this applies to you.

I've also attached a link here to an online Attention Deficit Disorder test so that you can see if this is a diagnosis that may apply to you.

No matter what the results, if you are having some concerns about yourself I would certainly recommend having a professional evaluation by a therapist in order to get a better understanding of what exactly may be behind these problems. In that way you can start taking some measures to get this under control.

I definitely wish you the best, ***** ***** there is anything else I can do to help you can certainly send me a reply.

All the best,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I had already done about three online tests before I felt the need to try & ask someone - I swear I wasn't deliberately angling for a particular score, they all scored me reasonably high - which I thought i'd be upset about, but actually I was surprised but relieved. I don't think my moods are often very extreme or change particularly suddenly. I don't do insanely risky things. (Is 'insanely' an acceptable word to use on a mental health page?!) But after poking round the internet for a bit I'd discovered the term hypomania, which seems to fit much more with my general behaviour. I would be happy to talk to someone for a professional diagnosis - but I don't know where to begin. Do I go to my normal Doctor or am I supposed to find a private therapist / psychologist / pschciatrist - which one?? do they cost lots? and if I went to them separately from my normal doctor would they put anything on my medical records. - I am worried what effects this could have
eg. Having worked in insurance, I know that anything to do with mental health can cause great problems with applications especially if a condition suggests suicidal tendancies - which would be unfair as I have never really experienced any. You might think insurance is a weird reason to be anxious about this - but I'm at a point in my life where I may need a mortgage, which you cant get without insurance, which you can't get if you are supposedly at risk of suicide! (which i am not!).
I can definitely understand your concerns about insurance and being labeled with something extreme, however if your assessment it done properly, then you shouldn't be given a diagnosis that would indicate a possibility of suicide. The diagnosis' that we've discussed are fairly common and would not automatically indicate the possibility of suicide. There are different types of Bipolar, so even though your moods don't change suddenly, there may still be potential for that diagnosis. Hypomania can be closely related, so I can understand how you would identify with that too. Based on your findings it does seem like it would be worth getting evaluated, and I think that you will find that you'll be able to make great improvements once you have a better understanding of exactly what you're dealing with.

I know the UK system is slightly different than the US system, but I believe that you would have to get a referral from your regular doctor for insurance purposes. Most insurance plans will cover this, so hopefully it will not cost you too much money. A Psychiatrist would be the ideal person to see, and they should be able to diagnose you properly and make recommendations for proper treatment, which would typically be therapy and sometimes medication. A lot of Psychiatrists accept clients on a sliding payment scale, so if you're finding it to be very expensive, I would certainly explain your financial situation and see if they would be willing to work with you on the cost.
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