Will I Always Feel Like This
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Q:  Will I Always Feel Like This


Dear Dr. Phelps,

I'm not sure were to start. I guess I should tell you first that I was (finally) diagnosed, 2 days ago, by a (California) "Board Certified Psychiatrist" as having BiPolar II Disorder. The diagnosis was done for the Social Security Administration.

Secondly, I have just come from your web site, psycheducation. I am trying to do as much research on this as I can. I had never heard of BP II before 2 days ago. I've heard of BiPolar, but that never seemed 'quite right'.

I took the BiPolar II 'test' you have on there. I even had my ex-husband, who has known me for 20 years, (he let's me live with him and takes care of me. I haven't, can't, worked in 10 years and am 41 years old.)  look over my answers to see if he thought I was being honest, he knows me better than anyone, even myself, and he thought I had answered honestly. Then I scored it. On the 1st section, the 13 yes/no questions, I answered ALL 13 yes. Section 2, yes. Section 3, Serious. As I'm sure you are well aware, I was not a happy camper. But in a way, relieved.

As I have went thru your site, I noticed that most every disorder associated with BP II, except Social Phobia, I fit to a T. Life has been absolute hell. On top of it all, I couldn't have children. Finally found out why last year. My uterus was covered in tumors and my Doctor said I had to have a hysterectomy, so I did.

The PTSD stems from 1993 when I found out a man I had been sleeping with and TRUSTED for 6 years had AIDS, was diagnosed in 1984, killed a hell of a lot of people (teenage boys, girls, men and women) blew his brains out on Mothers Day, in front of his mother, and left a note that said it was all my fault and that I pulled the trigger. 3 days prior to this I had informed him I was going to testify against him in court. A woman, who I had introduced him to, was suing him in civil court for giving her HIV. She had 2 small boys. I ended up being the "star witness" for certain reasons that's not important here. I found out the TRUTH from his file at the Huntsville, Alabama Health Dept. when I was sent there for a HIV test while I was at Charter Retreat Hospital. I had checked in there because I couldn't handle what was going on. The head of the AIDS dept. (illegally) let me see Chris' file SO I WOULD KNOW THE TRUTH.  Afterall, we were talking about life and death. Murder.  Anyway, I DIDN'T GET HIV!!!!!! I'm the only one we know of that didn't contract it from him. I think most all of them are dead now. 17 last count. That was 1995. Not me. I'm still here.  &*%$#%& He was an up and coming attorney. I trusted him. He reminded me of my daddy. He died in 1983. At the age of 54. Strokes and heart attacks. I have 2 sisters that are practicing alcoholics. Daddy was supposedly a sociopath, both sisters are, maybe I am too. I don't know. They, my family, says I am.  That's hard for me to imagine. It absolutley kills me if I think I've hurt someones feelings.

As far as medical history goes, there's quite a bit of it. In and out of hospitals, all different kinds of meds. Most didn't work. Trilepitol with Valium. That's the only combination that I have noticed an improvement with. That was last year. I don't have insurance anymore (I moved in Sept. from Missouri, my mothers house, back to California, my ex-husbands house,(not a "physical" relationship) and lost my Mo. state ins. and don't qualify for Ca. state ins. because I don't have children!) and am not on any psych meds. anymore. I can't afford it without insurance.

I guess my question is, Is there ANY hope for me? Or am I going to feel like this the rest of my life? Will I EVER be 'normal'? Is life going to always hurt this much? I'm not even sure I know what happiness feels like. Or if I ever have.

Can you help me, please? Please? I can't take this much longer. The SSI hasn't been "formally" decided by the judge (The diagnosis was just done Thur.) (she, the SS Judge, was really nice at the SS Hearing in Feb). When the SSI goes into effect, I'll have Ca. state ins.

I know you're a very busy man, but if there's anyway you could find time to reply to this letter (I'm sorry it's soooo long, but I wanted you to get a feel for what's going on with me) I would truly appreciate it.  I feel like my days are numbered if I don't get help soon. I've had many suicide attempts in the last 20 years. But for some reason it seems to be getting worse as I get older. I can't take it anymore. Please, if you can, help me. I used to be pretty strong, but that's completly gone anymore. All I do is cry anymore. Everyday. on and off all day. I never know what's going to set me off. I'm EXTREMLY emotional. And I'm scared. More than I've ever been.

Thank you for listening. It's good (I think) to know I'm not alone.

Sincerely
 

Dear Ms. P' -- 
In one way it's certainly understandable that you feel so low in hope, after all you've been through.  At the same time, you basically just got diagnosed with what may have been a substantial part of the problem all along -- not all, as the PTSD part is superimposed on top of whatever mood disorder piece you've got; and the life circumstances you've faced separate from the PTSD part also will have had and will continue to have an impact on mood.  So it's still complicated and will be so for a good while yet. But in one sense the "treatment" part is just getting started (that trial on Trileptal was a good indicator that this really is the right direction).  

So, when you get your disability status and have the means to pursue it, get lined up with a good therapist and hope you can get reasonable access to a reasonable psychiatrist (the latter part is often harder) who will take charge of the series of trials of medications you read about on my site.  You're really just getting going, remember that.  (I'd guess you're in your mid-forties, as that's when these symptoms seem to peak; if our experience with "borderline personality disorder" is any guide, and I think it is, things seem to cool off after 50 for most women with symptoms like these (not that I think you have that diagnosis, as you may already have read about), so you might have some easing up to look forward to even with no treatment, if I'm guessing right.)  Good luck to you.  

Dr. Phelps

 

Published April, 2002

 

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