So I’ve mentioned before that a while ago I was *misdiagnosed* as Bipolar II. For five years!
Thing is, I can understand now completely why this occurred. Some friends still think the changed diagnosis (depression with severe anxiety disorder) is wrong — that I do, in fact have bipolar disorder. But I don’t…
See, I have lupus, which I’ve also mentioned. Lupus is incurable and it causes quite a lot of problems — from everything to how I feel physically and emotionally, to how I run my daily life, to what I can and can’t do, etc… Right now, I’m in the process of filing for disability on both the state and federal level, as well as SSI, simply because the way lupus affects me is too harsh to hold down a real job. I’ve tried it and failed. The last job I had ended up making me really sick, to the point of me still recovering six months later, and I’ve no clue when I’ll actually be better.
Some may think that depression and anxiety and other emotional/mental issues or problems have to do with the fact that you have an incurable disease that isn’t *supposed* to shorten your life span, but in reality, it doesn’t.
And I agree that’s a pretty darn good reason to become depressed — and it may worsen the depression of a lupus patient. I know it does me sometimes, if I really get to thinking about it.
I’ve no clue what’s going to happen to me. I most likely will die of something lupus related, whether it’s my kidneys (my personal susceptibility) or a heart attack or something else. But that’s not exactly what makes me depressed. That’s not what’s caused my problems with depression and anxiety since I was in middle school.
Lupus itself causes these problems, oddly enough.
Everyone I’ve ever spoken to who has lupus (any form of it — and there are quite a few) is on an anti-depressant.
My rheumatologist was glad I was already seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist because he knew what problems lupus would cause mentally.
I honestly can’t say I know the exact specifics of why it happens … how the two are connected, but they are.
But back to the reason I can understand why I was misdiagnosed. (Brain fog — or fuzziness … problems with cognitive functioning — is another big problem with lupus, especially when you’re in a flare, which I am, so I forget what I’m writing and go off on tangents. Sorry about that :P)
I have always had bouts of depression because, well, I have depression. And I had bouts of feeling completely unenergized because even though the lupus was dormant (you’re born with it and are usually diagnosed between the ages of 15-45, on average), it still affected me. I can look back and see so many signs, it’s kind of ridiculous.
But then I’d have times I’d feel great. Heck, just last year … about a year and a half ago, I was told I might be going into remission. Where the lupus is still there, but it’s not showing up in the blood work. You stay on your main meds, to keep it under control, but you don’t have all the horrible symptoms such as pain and fatigue…
So, when you have someone who’s in their late teens to early twenties, acting depressed at times and then other times acting all gung-ho about things and has a lot of energy and is sociable and all the jazz that goes with that … along with the neutral stages — yeah, it’s going to look like bipolar disorder.
But it’s not. Some of the medicines helped me, I’ll admit. Seroquel was a dream for sleeping and there are a few others, but they weren’t really treating what was wrong.
What was wrong is that I have lupus. And depression is a part of that. I’m not so sure about the anxiety. I know a lot of us have it, but it *could* be something totally separate. Just a condition on its own. Which makes sense, because for me, it’s pretty darn severe. I’m on an anti-depressant my doctor and I chose because it treats anxiety more than other drugs (at least for me), and I also take Klonopin twice a day. I’ve no clue what I’d do without it.
Point is, I think it’s interesting how diseases can cause mental illnesses when it’s not even a cognitive, mental thing. I’m sure it’s something most people don’t know. Especially since most people don’t even know what lupus is, it would only make sense that they’d have no clue depression is physical symptom of it. So I thought I’d share 🙂
I’m looking forward to seeing how other diseases are connected to mental illness in the weeks coming up. It should be interesting!