Writing the post: Post a Day in May For Mental Health Awareness – Post #9 – Bipolar Disorder on my blog today sparked my need to write the following one. Please read my post about bipolar disorder in honor of mental health awareness month in May. Thank you in advance. Now for this post. Please keep reading.
Did I have Bipolar Disorder or was I Misdiagnosed?
I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder with rapid cycling and mixed episodes after first being diagnosed with severe postpartum depression and after taking the antidepressant Prozac.
I will never know if Prozac caused my manic like symptoms or not but from that point on, I wore the label of bipolar disorder for over 26 years. I did not wear the label well or proudly. It took me many years to finally accept I had a mental illness–fighting angrily and making many unfortunate mistakes along the way. After I accepted, I had Bipolar, my long recovery journey began.
For over twenty years many psychiatrists concurred I had bipolar 1 disorder as I loudly wore every symptom boldly upon me. After my suicide attempt last year, I was forced off Klonopin cold turkey and became psychotropic medication free–a huge blessing in disguise.
Since that time my new psychiatrist has taken the bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) labels off my long list and left PTSD and borderline personality disorder instead as I do not have any symptoms of bipolar or anxiety at this time. My new psychiatrist cannot diagnose me with something he cannot see or is not there. Plus, he says and research (SO FAR) says you cannot live with bipolar disorder and be medication free.
No wonder psychotropic medications did not work for me and in fact made my symptoms even worse and more unmanageable. I was treated for bipolar when I didnt have it. It is all beginning to make more sense.
My psychiatrist Dr.S. has taken many patients off benzodiazepines and they are doing well–much better, but they still had some anxiety, not as bad but still some. He is pleasantly surprised that I don’t have anxiety anymore–little to none I would say. I experience some anxiety and maybe it is more than most people but compared to the severity of what I use to experience this is NOTHING and I will happily take it like it is. Maybe it is a normal amount of anxiety. I, of course, do not know what “normal” is, but I am learning and am very happy to be finally experiencing what that so-called “normal” living without mental illness interference is.
They have also determined (not exactly sure who they are… lol) many people with borderline personality disorder can learn to cope better, recover and live psychotropic medication free and that is what he says has happened to me. He also states most of my adverse symptoms were caused from PTSD (undiagnosed for years) and taking the Benzodiazepine Klonopin (Clonazepam) too long putting me into a constant state of Klonopin withdrawal. I was addicted for years and never knew it.
“Borderline personality disorder is often misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder, leading to ineffective treatment and unnecessary suffering. If you believe you have been misdiagnosed, understanding the causes and prevalence of misdiagnosis as well as how to differentiate between the two illnesses can give you clarity into your own situation and help you decide whether to seek a new diagnosis and treatment.” ~Elisabet Kvarnstrom, Bridges to Recovery, October 5, 2107
So, was I wrongly diagnosed, or have I achieved recovery and have been healed? That is a question I will never know the answer to for sure. Only God knows. Depending on your spiritual beliefs you most likely will make your conclusion accordingly. Many times, I go back and forth like a pendulum–convinced at times God healed me and other times believing it was a little bit of everything–learning how to cope better, recovery, misdiagnosis, adverse reactions from psychotropic medications, maybe I am in a remission like season of my life and the significant amazing power of prayer and God.
When I look back over the years, it seems like I had to have bipolar disorder because I had every symptom and was like a poster child of what bipolar disorder is, but borderline personality disorder has many similar characteristics so it is very possible it was a misdiagnosis and I am accepting and embracing all of it the best I can. What choice do I have? Right? So, I accept it and run with it–with the gentle breeze of my new life.
Even if I do not have the answer to whether I was healed, reached recovery and wellness, am experiencing remission or it was a misdiagnosis altogether, I ecstatically embrace not wearing the bipolar disorder label right now or anymore. It is a burden I happy relinquish–my load is lighter–I am so much lighter and freer and life is easier, better and happier.
After living with mental illnesses of bipolar 1 disorder (misdiagnosed possibly), anxiety, PTSD, borderline personality disorder and Benzo addiction, I am beyond blessed to have survived, reached recovery and achieved mental wellness. There is a sunshiny newness to each day. Even if the sun isn’t shining. I have learned to make my own sunlight sometimes during the darkest days. I still experience some darkness–some dark days–a little is normal, but overall… I have MENTAL WELLNESS.
Recovery, healing and mental wellness are possible. I am living proof.
Keep fighting. You will make it.
Never give up.
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