Bipolar Disorder/Multiple personalities or bipolar?
Hey, thanks for reading, and I give an advanced apology for the long-windedness of this question.
Currently in therapy
Previously diagnosed with borderline personality, general depression and OCD.
Throughout my life, I've always been the weird skinny kid in the back of the class getting called Rain Man. Throughout grade school, I had no real friends, just people that I made jokes with and entertained. I got in trouble a lot for hyperactivity and eventually got expelled for unwittingly injuring another classmate when I threw a pencil across the room. I continued to be quite a terror through school, though I calmed down quite suddenly in eighth grade (the very end of junior high). I suddenly became very self-conscious and withdrew into myself, no longer making jokes with anyone, no longer talking to people, and failing grades became acceptable (whereas it used to be that only straight A's were acceptable). This point in my life was full of an unstable home; moving house a lot, parents fighting, my little brother being a little puke, my grandmother moving in with us. I began to self-harm rather seriously, and as I went into my freshman year of highschool, I had become the kid in the corner with no friends and very severe anxiety. I never talked, I let people take advantage of me and my formerly close bond with my parents became strained.
The next year of high school was a bit more optimistic- I scaled through four different medications and eventually settled on Prozac, which has been very beneficial. Lately, it's been less effective, but that's a different story.
Anyway, back to my main concern.
Freshman year was when I started noticing the change in myself. Certain times would, for no reason at all, be much better than others. I'd go to school, joke around with my "friends", and everything would be like I was in grade school again.
But the next month, I was down again, and everything - *everything* - sucked. I never ate, I was extremely self-loathing, the ONLY good thing that happened was that I grew incredibly thoughtful and seemingly more intelligent. However, I grew darker and darker and I'd self harm more and more and I was getting scared that I might do something bad until BAM HAPPY LET'S GO DO THINGS I LOVE EVERYONE EXERCISE TIME LET'S GO TO THE GYM AND RUN FOR FIVE HOURS.
I'd get really annoying in these 'up' stages, honestly. And I noticed it, but I couldn't do anything about it until someone pointed it out, at which point I'd go down again.
While this sounds like textbook bipolar disorder, here's the only thing that makes me question.
When I'm in a state, either one, everything is absolutely different. While the only exposure I've had to dissociative identity disorder is Sybil and various Google searches, it makes me really question if I do have multiple personalities. I have a completely different set of likes and dislikes, people I like and don't like, reactions I have and don't have, etc. When I'm down, I'm able to have long, intellectual discussions about myself or the world or others. I can write long things like this message, or stories or poems or music, and I can concentrate more. However, I'm also very depressed the entire time and sometimes find it hard to drown out the negative thoughts long enough to be productive. But I'm infinitely calm, that's the point- everything moves slowly and I'm lucid enough to understand and comprehend.
While I'm up, everything is wicked fast and I can't catch my breath and my stress levels and anxiety are so ridiculously high and my skin crawls and I have delusions and it's just crazy. But I make friends while in this state and then they talk to me while I'm down and they don't even recognize me.
I even have different handwriting in these two states.
So, my question is, should I bring this all up with my therapist? What's your opinion? Bipolar, multiple personalities, personal weirdness or something else entirely?
Thanks for messaging me. It sounds to me like you're having a tough time of it at the moment. Changes to your family environment I believe have affected you greatly, the stress of that could have easily kicked off these bipolar symptoms. You said you were settled on Prozac, how long have you been taking it? It may be just that your body has got used to it and with the change in events in your life the stress has led to other symptoms. It does sound like classic bipolar to me. And also it has been a stage in your life where there are also hormonal changes. You're a teenager, and hormonal changes will lead to mood swings which make things a whole lot worse feeling for you.
When you're up you're really up and when you're down you're really down and that's one major sign of bipolar. I think if you had multiple personality disorder you would not really be so aware that you're different at different times, I think that when you're in low mood on your really low you find yourself in your darkest corner thinking things that you wouldn't normally be thinking, and the opposite when you're up. During adolescence people tend to be more emotional due to hormonal changes so what you would normally be experiencing is heightened, that and in combination with the major changes to your life situation with your parents not getting along, your grandmother moving in, they're all very major stressors in your life. It is possible, not necessarily in your case, but it is possible for psychotic features developing in bi-polar, usually at the "up" and of bipolar but can happen also in the depressive phase. If that is the case then a change in medication might be a good idea at this time.
So, it may be time to change your medication to something else and/or change therapy strategy. What therapy are you doing at the moment? Talk therapy? Cognitive Therapy? And talk through what is happening to you with your therapist.
In looking at the best therapies for bipolar I can make a suggestion: Most major cases of bipolar are treated with a combination of mood stabilizing drugs and anti-psychotics or antidepressants, I think it might be a good idea to mention to your therapist that the prozac is not working as effectively as it used to, obviously the stresses in your life plus your stage in life in combination, have almost elevated your bipolar symptoms, and more effective treatment is needed.
I hope that this is of some help to you.
Take care Riley and I hope things improve for you soon.