I decided to do a separate post in response to my re-blogging of Dopamine Queen’s post https://upsdownsfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/interesting-bipolar-disorder-statistics-the-dopamine-queen; original post by Dopamine Queen: https://dopaminequeen.com/2019/07/16/interesting-bipolar-disorder-statistics/.
In my case, I was going to a mental health facility for their (mental health facility) weekly time to let parents have some alone time when I was around 13 – 15. Back then, diagnosing a child with Bipolar was something not done. However, the mental health facility staff didn’t notice anything that indicated I should be tested for mental health issue. From later discussions with a therapist, I was displaying clear-cut bipolar I symptoms by age 8. By the time I was 26, I went to a therapist due to a personal safety issue that wasn’t bipolar related. She didn’t notice depression or bipolar symptoms although, in hindsight, they were clearly present and visible during the couple of months I was seeing her.
My first diagnosis happened bit over 2 years later when I went to a mental health agency. Their diagnosis: low-grade depression. They ruled out bipolar as I wasn’t showing manic symptoms at the time. Again, had they asked some probing questions, they should have figured I was bipolar and at least do additional testing. After getting involved with a different mental health nonprofit and talking to clients there, it became obvious to me that I had bipolar. I didn’t try convincing my therapist or psychiatrist as both professions tend to ignore patients who question an original mental health diagnosis. Yet, the evidence was obvious to both if they had chosen to see it. Worse, the anti-depressants were aggravating the manic symptoms.
I have family members who have clinical depression and other mental health issues.
My bipolar episodes (mania / depression) have no set time frame. They can range from multiple times / day to 6 months – a year or longer.
I have been homeless as a result of undiagnosed bipolar I.
In terms of mis-diagnosed, first few times I wasn’t diagnosed with anything, much less bipolar I. Next incorrect diagnosis was low-grade depression. First correct diagnosis of bipolar I was several decades after the initial mis-diagnosis. Later, some psychiatrist decided I was some other diagnosis. Eventually, other psychiatrists went back to bipolar I. Much later, a psychiatrist switched it to bipolar II. Again, not sure why as most psychiatrists go with a major manic episode – of which I have had plenty, rules out bipolar II.
Medicines have been a mixed bag. Lamictal works decently for me; other meds have either not worked or made the bipolar worse.
I am not sure I agree with the 9.2 years less than average as I have seen reports ranging from 9 years to over 25 years shorter lifespans. It really depends on which report you want to believe and whether or not they factored in suicide into the equation.
I don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.
I am not obese right now although some psychiatric meds have made me gain weight in the past. Given my family history of obesity, I make it clear to my mental health providers meds that have caused me weight gain are off the table.