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Getting a clear diagnosis

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    Getting a clear diagnosis

    Hello fellow mental health warriors

    I have been frequenting doctors for the last year and I'm more or less coming up empty-handed or getting the run-around on a straight diagnosis. I understand full-heartedly that getting a diagnosis is very hard, let alone finding the right medications to help out. My psychiatrist has been more or less playing Russian Roulette with me and after pills have been prescribed, my symptoms seem to blow up more. The hard part is re-booking in with the psychiatrist, as he only books you in once a month. While seeing him, I feel as though he is trying to push me back out the door as soon as I sit down (Almost committed suicide after leaving his office in a blacked-out rage once. As I can imagine anyone of you might have experienced, when the medications go sideways on you, the sky is falling is an understatement. This process in itself is traumatic, and the psychiatrist's stance alone is making me not want to reach back out for help. This process has also been hard in the fact that I've been throwing a lot of money at this, which is exacerbating some symptoms. With this being said, I have some questions I hope some of you may be able to help answer for me, please!

    1. How do some of you approach seeking a diagnosis? I know of the DSM-5, so far my psychiatrist has not resorted to this even though I have requested further inquiry.
    2. How long do some of you stick out the side effects of a new pill before you push it aside? I still like having a clear conscious more or less and the cocktails that I have tried have made me feel out of this world and not in control of myself.
    3. What do some of you consider when asking for help? I'm fully aware of the stigma behind mental health and not everyone is equipped to support you but are there common questions or approaches that seem to help self-advocate, more than another?
    4. How do you find/build a great support team? At this point, I feel as though I am extremely intolerable and pushing everyone away as I've done systematically for years. I see how less is more some times, but being fully transparent is my main method which may be hindering me.
    5. Is there a style of therapy or counseling that seems to work more than others? I've seen a few counselors with little to no help. I have tried cognitive behavior therapy, but I still haven't been able to gain full control over my "Figurative Switch".
    6. Last, does anyone have any great tips for managing the "Figurative Switch"? In this process, I've remained sober, quit tobacco and marijuana, changed my diet, lost 40lbs and much more. Even though these are major changes, I find my moods still swing and I'm not fully in control. I'm feeling more and more depersonalized as time passes and I know that my actions aren't backing up my morals. I'm tired of being intolerable and ready for positive change!

    Thank you for reading and considering my questions! I look forward to your answers and hope this post can help me and others going through similar situations. Here's to a healthy future!

    Hello Tow42. I can't give you all the answers that you are looking for, but I can tell you some of my experiences. In regards to CBT , I found it not very effective unless I was stable in the first place. It definitely has helped me remain stable, but I had to get stable before I could benefit from it.

    In regard to how long I try a medication. When I was really ill I wasted mths and years by taking meds that were not keeping me stable. I now have a rule that if a med doesn't help me within 2-3 mths I want to try another one. Finding a correct diagnosis can be quite trying.

    The average misdiagnosis is 7years. So some people take longer and some people less. It took me 7-8 years to get a correct diagnosis. Part of finding what was wrong was an honest two communication with a good shrink. I had to learn to talk with my shrink in a way that he would listen.

    How to build a good support team. I did that by attending peer support groups and on line forums. It may seem strange that an on line forum can be a support but by reading other people's stories and reading their replies to my question I slowly started to understand my illness better, they were also non judgmental . I have very few people in my life who I didn't meet through some form of peer support. Volunteering also helped me learn about my illness.

    I am not sure what you mean by Figurative Switch.

    You seem to be on a path to feeling better. You are asking questions and have given up alcohol and pot. You might want to look at the website called Crest BD . They are a B.C. based think tank that only deals with psychology methods of treating bipolar disorder. It's a fairly large site but they do have a lot of suggestions. Take Care. paul m .
    "Alone we can do so little;
    Together we can do so much"
    Helen Keller


      Hello Tow42,

      I like being referred to as a "Mental Health Warrior": very empowering!

      It sounds like you have accomplished a lot of positive things : staying sober, etc. I am sorry that all that effort has not offered you the relief you were seeking.

      In response to your question about a support team - I have found a lot here on the forum. I lived in a pretty remote area at one point and on-line was pretty much my only option (thank goodness for my dial-up connection... haha) Folks here gave the great advice and support that I had not found anywhere else. Maybe the anonymity of the internet is good in this situation - I can pour my heart out and not have any worries about it getting around to the 'wrong' people. (As can happen in a small town!!)

      Another advantage of online forums is that they have forced me to slow down and write out my thoughts in constructive ways, (in a way. journaling).

      I have also found support in groups dedicated to mental health. I will have to admit, though, that not every day in group was good - many people (as you might suspect) had some heavy stories to share - I often found myself absorbing some of their sorrow and carrying in with me for the rest of the day.

      Groups that have nothing to do with mental health are important too (I find). I need a break from my mind, and find things like yoga, Zumba and painting classes a relief from my persistent negative thoughts.

      As for diagnosis, your story sounds all too familiar. It's a relief when they get the diagnosis right, but it does seem like a random occurrence when they do. And those side effects....

      Just a thought, but are you able to get a different psychiatrist? The first one I saw was not a good fit - I felt even more pathetic from talking with her. Our sessions eventually ended (I pretended to be better) and, as a result of this experience, I decided that I could gain nothing from talking to a psychiatrist. (This was not a good conclusion on my part). I have since talked other professionals, some helped, some did not. Kinda like making friends: sometimes two people are just not meant to be in the same room together.

      I hope you are finding some answers. As a Mental Health Warrior, keep fighting - it is the war we must win, not every battle.

      Take care,
      Warrior Kaight


        I have not heard the term figurative switch Tow42. I will do some reading.

        Humans punish themselves endlessly
        for not being what they believe they should be.
        -Don Miguel Ruiz-


          First of all all YES YES YES. Thank you all for your questions answers and comments. I donít feel like such an alien after reading all your posts. Thank you very much.

          As as for your question on how to get a diagnosis, my family doc told me without a doubt I was bipolar 2 and sent my request in for a psychiatrist. It was that easy. Unfortunately the psychiatrist I have isnít doing any good for me and I am lying to him to get off all my meds completely because I feel so crappy on this current dosage and combinations. Iíd rather be hypo. I know Iím taking a big chance of hypo manic episode but Iím willing to take the chance. Life sucks for me right now. Iím hoping a clean slate will be my best option. Hopefully. If not opps.

          I as as well love the Mental Heath worrier. Thank you for that.


            FYI itís easy to get a diagnosis when you tell your doctor youíve been setting up your phone on the dash of your truck to video yourself chasing black bears in the bush and building a hobbit house in your back yard. LOL