Category Archives: PsychConfessions

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.

Read the rest of the story! Visit How I’m feeling post Bipolar Affective Disorder diagnosis…. | PsychConfessions.


I feel like I’ve broken some kind of unwritten rule by trying to be open about my mental health disability to members of the academic team.

It’s strange, because you’d think that there would be less mental health stigma on a clinical psychology course, yet in some ways there is more stigma. It’s as if psychologists should somehow be immune to mental health problems (despite the fact that 1 in 4 people have a mental health problem). As trainees, we do not speak openly about our own mental health. Stigma also manifests itself in less subtle ways. The other day, whilst having a group conversation at university, another trainee noticed a packet of diazepam in my open handbag. She looked up at me and awkwardly apologised for looking in my handbag and then zipped it up, to ‘protect my privacy’. Would she have had the same reaction if it had been paracetamol or an inhaler that she’d spotted in my bag? I doubt it.

Luckily, some people are amazingly supportive. My clinical tutor recently told me that my own experience of mental health problems will make me a better therapist, as I know what it’s like to be on the ‘other side’ and receive therapy and take medication. I hope that she’s right.

Read the post in its entirety! Visit On being a Trainee Clinical Psychologist with Mental Health Problems | PsychConfessions.