We’ve decided to change your diagnosis!
I hear these words come out of my Psychiatrist mouth and my stomach clenches, my lower intestine feels like it’s full of acid, I get heart palpitations, I feel my blood pressure spike and a migraine start to form, my palms start to sweat and I clench my jaw so hard I’m worried I’ll crack a tooth.
I have no idea how other people react to hearing that their specialist thinks they got it wrong and they now having worked with you as a patient for sever months think that maybe you’re not Bipolar that maybe you have ADHD but the full on melt down panic attack was my reaction.
When I first got my diagnosis of Bipolar Class II Rapid Mood Cycles it was both a relief to know what was wrong and a catastrophic life changing event. Finally they could find the right medication combination, toss in some therapy and then I’d be ok I could have my brain and my life back. Then we started down the path of mood maps, thought diary’s, symptom listing and drug trials.
The more I mapped my moods, wrote down my thoughts, listed my systems and took the drugs the crazier I began to feel. Mostly it was the drugs every single antidepressant, anti-anxiety or mood stabiliser they trailed me on I developed server counter reactions to and had to stop taking them.
However we (my psychiatric medical team and me) struggled through the reactions, the mood swings, the panic attacks, the meltdowns, brain fog, cognitive impairments and all the rest of the crap that happened. Being the person that I am I looked up my mental illness, read blog posts and articles on living with Bipolar Class II Rapid Mood Cycles and mentally adjusted to the fact that my life was NEVER going to be the same as it had been.
Somewhere in the back of my mind was a voice telling me that reading other peoples experience of living with Bipolar Class II I somehow didn’t totally fit the criteria. However everyone is different and my psychiatrist is far more qualified than me at knowing what was wrong with me. So I told the voice in my head to shut the fuck up and I embraced my new diagnosis as a part of me and how I react to the world around me. I put it on Facebook and Twitter, told friends and relatives that yup we had a confirmation that I finally had a diagnosis of Bipolar Class II and we were working on getting medication & therapy correct so I could function normally and go back to work.
Then my psychiatrist rather tentatively and possibly slightly embarrassed asks me if I would be willing to see another psychiatrist for a second opinion because well he thinks my original diagnosis may have been wrong!
WHAT THE SHIT BISCUITS, WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU GOT IT WRONG!
I’ve just spent 6 months getting comfortable with my diagnosis of Bipolar Class II Rapid Mood Cycle. I’ve swallowed enough pills to rattle, I’ve told the world I have a diagnosis, I’ve started psychological counselling to cope with being BIPOLAR and you now tell me you think you got it wrong…………….
So I went and sore the Second Opinion and sure as unicorns pee rainbows I got told “We’ve decided to change your diagnosis”. Apparently I don’t fully meet the criteria for Bipolar and my symptoms and drug reactions are more atypical of someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
Tomorrow is re-diagnosis day where I officially switch from being Bipolar to ADHD and get new medical certificates for CenterLink (Social Services), start my new medications, shift my psychology therapy to managing ADHD rather than surviving Bipolar mood swings and start my new life.
This should be a good thing right??? It should be but now I have to adjust my mind set to having something totally different with different symptoms, different medications and different reactionary symptoms to monitor. It took me 6 months to get sort of comfortable with the idea of being Bipolar and now I have to totally readjust my entire mind set and start again on learning what my triggers are, what the reaction to medication might be, symptoms I’m not coping well and what restrictions this puts on my life. Not to mention the fact I now have to explain to my friends, family, beauty school class mates and the world at large that “ops they got it wrong”.