PsychConfessions – How I’m feeling post Bipolar Affective Disorder diagnosis….

3. Enlightened

My emotional reaction to the psychiatrist reeling off a number of possible diagnostic labels (e.g., emerging bipolar affective disorder, Bipolar II, etc) made me realise that I was expecting more of an exact, definitive diagnosis. But given the complex nature of mental health and the fact that many of the symptoms are subjective to the individual experiencing them and cannot be directly observed, it became clear to me that mental health diagnosis is by no means an exact science. I knew this on an academic level before entering the psychiatrist’s office, but the appointment made this much more real for me. It was a very different experience than going to my GP for something more physical in nature. I now realise that my expectation of a definitive diagnosis was unrealistic. Mental health diagnoses are likely to change and different mental health professionals may disagree on the exact diagnosis. I suppose what matters is that it leads to the individual with the diagnosis getting the right support. . .

4. Dismissed

The psychiatrist decided that I can be discharged back to my GP’s care and also informed me that there are no therapies or psychological treatments for bipolar affective disorder available in secondary care in my area. He also told me that. . . my only solutions are drugs and self-help books. The psychiatrist old me to take my medication, read up on self-help CBT for psychosis/bipolar and to get on with my life. Oh, and he also casually told me that I have auditory hallucinations when hypomanic but that’s ok because I have insight into them… Interesting. . .

6. Apprehensive

Who do I tell about my diagnosis? Asides from the DVLA and my car insurance company. Will people believe me? Will they see me differently? Will they be frightened of me? Or perhaps people will be more supportive than I expect. Time will tell.

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