A question for YOU!

We all remember the moment of our diagnosis, our age, how long we’d been misdiagnosed, etc. However unless we are talking about our children, we rarely mention how old we were when we started experiencing symptoms.

So my question for you …

How old were you when you first started experiencing symptoms, even if you had no clue they might be related to bipolar disorder?

18 thoughts on “A question for YOU!

  1. The first symptom I had that something wasn’t quite right was back in college. I developed an eating disorder (anorexia). I got that under control and everything was alright until I got my first high-stress job. Bfore being diagnosed as BP I, I thought I was having panic attacks and having a lot of anxiety. I also had a lot of boundary issues and could never say no at work. So the true answer would be I was about 19 when I had problems with my eating disorder, but 23 with true BP symptoms.

  2. I suppose it would only be fair if I answered too 🙂 I was probably 5 when I started experiencing symptoms. I was easily hurt by friends. I remember locking myself in the bathroom while a friend was over, can’t remember why. I just know I was super upset. The real symptoms really set in around 12, but I think I’ve living an uphill battle the majority of my life.

  3. well im not primarily bipolar, my diagnosis is schitzoaffective bipolar subtype…but i would think it must have been demonstrating itself in my early childhood, hard to pinpoint ages for me, my tendency to disassociate gave me a very skewed perspective of time on most of my childhood. But my teachers more or less told the drs to diagnosis me as a.d.d because , i was erratic in my moods, being class clown one moment then staring for an hour at one spot then stabbing myself with pencils then making up some fantastic tale and drawing pretty princess pictures, the screaming at people , etc so forth. i wasn’t ever hyperactive i just didnt seem to focus on one thought, well later i was told that wasn’t add those were the signs of my real issues. after my dad died at 12 i went in a 5 yr tail dive of depression and came out of it finally quite manic- which for me usually means..or meant lots of high risk behavior, particurily sex. Eventually i ended up in the hospital my second yr of college and my road to proper diagnosis began..with many side stops in misdiagnoses land.

  4. What a great question, I look forward to reading more answers. Thank you to everyone who has answered so far, it really helps me understand what may be going on with my own son.

  5. My partner says he started showing signs when he was 9……my daughter has shown indicators since infancy but it began to become apparent when she was 4 basically overnight her speech and behaviour changed to an extreme extent

  6. come to think of it it was roughly the same for my eldest daughter although in the reverse…she went from outgoing and loud to internalising and quiet…..with a big “victim” label which seemed to be tattooed across her forehead…she became the easiest rise for bullies from about 5 has seemed to suffer from depression ever since and we are constantly having to watch that she is actually eating

  7. wow, good question. Lets see, for me Things have not “been right” for me most of my life. I have always felt off even as a child but nobody ever took notice. When I was 15 I went into a severe depression but there was so many bigger issues going on in my family that no one paid much attention. This was when I attempted suicide for the first time. I took a whole bottle of aspirin. It was all i could get my hands on at the time. It did make me deathly sick. I was so sick. i hid in my room for two days, my sister covered for me, told my parents i was just sick & couldnt go to school. they were so caught up in their own problems they never noticed. About 8 mths later I tried again. I moved out of my house at 16. At 18 I was diagnosed with anxiety & depression and they put me on paxill but i had a bad allergic reaction to it so i quit taking it. This was my first experience with the mental health system. I wasnt having a good experience. I didnt like my doctors. they didnt seem to want to listen to me. They knew more than me and that was that, I didnt go back. when I was 19 I got a little reckless. I was sleeping around alot and didnt care who with. I didnt really care where I ended up or what i was doing. I then slipped into another depression. at 21 I met and married my first husband. It was a very abusive relationship. I didnt feel anything for a long time but i guess my symptoms were masked because I was self medicating for several years. when I stopped self medicating i divorced my husband in 2003, and I started having severe symptoms. I became manic and met and married my second husband in one week. we moved to oklahoma because he was in the army. the army doctors rediagnosed me with anxiety. i lived through three years of hell episode after episode. but i didnt know it. I didnt know what was wrong with me, i just knew something was wrong and i had no control over it. when i moved home after three years i saw a psychiatrist & he told me i was bipolar. it made since but i couldnt believe it. it took me a while & another psychiatrist that i knew & trusted telling me again before i accepted it. I am 35 now. I have been diagnosed for 4 years now. Its been a long road.

  8. This is a tricky one, as I don’t remember much of my childhood… Yeah, I know, I’m a bit young to have memory loss, but I tend to block out the bad things…
    I was always a very sensitive girl growing up… When people would tease me or saying something mean about me, I would hide in a corner and cry… I would get super upset when my parents said I did something wrong. (which happened a lot…) and they ‘punished’ me… (Which also happened a lot…) At the same time, I would go into these super high’s where I would up really early, get overly excited, run around like a chicken with its head cut off!!! None of the teachers at school ever really said anything, until I started getting angry… In about 4th grade, my teacher casually mentioned to my mom that I had a tendency of getting angry, but it’s ‘no big deal’… So nothing came of it… When I was 11 and in 6th grade, things were really going down hill for me, but nobody saw it but me… My grades started dropping from straight A’s to C’s… I was constantly fighting at home… But nobody really saw this as a problem… Then one day, I was sitting in class, just thinking of different ways I could kill myself… When I realized what I was thinking, I was like what the heck??? But of course, I didn’t do anything about it right then… It took a few more weeks, and an article in a magazine on depression, to go see my principal… I told him everything, and he told me to go see the prevention specialist… So I talked to her for a few weeks, refusing to allow her to tell my mom or anyone else… Then one day, I started getting really dizzy and after about a week of this, my mom made an appointment with the pediatrician… It just so happened that the prevention specialist knows my mom, and they just so happened to run into each other when she came to pick me up… The p.s. told my mom that I had been feeling down lately and it’s pretty serious and we should talk to a dr… So when I got to my appointment for the dizziness, my mom told him about the depressioin, and he said the dizzyness was a side effect of the depression and I needed to see a psychiatrist… So I saw one and she put me on an anti-depressant, several, actually… None seemed to worked, so she finally decided I needed to go to the inpatient psych hospital… While there, they monitored me and whatnot and they diagnosed me with manic-depression… I was 11… Eventually that turned into Bipolar 2 with aBorderline Personality Disorder… Of course, this is only a bit of my long, drawn out story… So much more happened in those few years and since then, but this is neither the time nor place!!! Sorry it was so long… I’m tired, and when I’m tired I babble… lol

  9. I started noticing that was “moody” of course I didn’t even know this term or what it meant, I would feel really happy for a little while then all of a sudden I would feel really sad. I was about 5 at the time.
    There was a precipitating event event, my parents divorced when I was a baby. Back in those days custody was almost always granted to the mother as was my case. My father was very possessive and swore he would find a way to get me.
    I was abused by a neighbor and it wasn’t reported. My father found out and threatened my mother with a full blown trial.My mother had remarried and had a baby daughter. She was terrified of losing this baby as my father was going to declare her an unfit mother, so instead of fighting my father she packed my bags for what I thought was a regular weekend visit with my dad. I was almost 5.
    When the weekend was over & I wanted to go home to my mom, my father & new stepmother said I was staying with them. Also I hag been called Catie my entire life by everyone including my father. My 2nd night there my stepmother said she didn’t like the name Catie & I was going to be called Cathy. I was confused, sad & missed my mother terribly!
    Whenever I was feeling sad I would be punished by my stepmother, so I became very good at hiding my feelings but I still felt them all the time. There would be periods of highs & then the lows. This continued.
    I remember my first thoughts of suicide were at age 8. I knew I was different from my friends & classmates but I didn’t understand what I was feeling. I was so afraid of someone finding out and me getting trouble at home I learned to hide it well. This continued into high school and worsened. The highs & lows were getting higher & lower. I had intermittent thoughts of suicide and was starting to come up with plans. But I continued to be very good at hiding it. I knew I wasn’t normal & was afraid of being sent”away”. I was absolutely miserable on the inside, but everyone thought I was great & fun to be round.
    These feelings continued into adulthood, through my first marriage, until after my divorce. I finally sought help, was misdiagnosed with depression out on Zoloft became very manic for quite some time until I crashed hard. A near successful suicide attempt landed me in the hospital where I was finally diagnosed correctly.


  10. Catherine, I hate how it takes something so large to finally be able to get the correct diagnosis. I’m sorry you had to go through that. And I’m sorry your child hood was so difficult. I commend you for making it through and I think you are an absolutely amazing person 🙂

  11. No need to apologize Sammi. We love long stories and I’m pretty sure each one of us has one! We’re BP….it comes with the territory. I’m glad you were diagnosed so young. I hope that has made it a bit easier to grow up. If you ever want to talk about it more let me know 🙂 I’d love to hear your story!

  12. Angel, I know the feeling of waiting FOREVER for a correct diagnosis. I was lucky to have very observant parents who at least caught on to the depression when I was a teen. Though 19 was quite the reckless age for me as well. (Hmmmm maybe we an just blame it on the age???) I ended up pregnant and engaged then married by age 20. Thank God my husband and I have been able to work through everything, but it has been a hellish road! I was only diagnosed 3 years ago and it took me a good year to accept it too. But I’m glad you are here now! I love having you around to chat with 🙂

  13. BA~STT I think the “victim” label follows many of us with BP around. I’m not quite sure why, possible just because of things that have happened to us, or maybe just because it’s so easy to be the victim when we are so easily set off and emotional. I hope you are able to seek help for your daughters. I can only imagine how difficult that must be.

  14. Nox….misdiagnoses land is SO NOT my favorite! I too was categorized with ADD at a young age. I’m pretty sure they didn’t know much about early onset bipolar at that time though. Three cheers for being old! LOL

  15. I say around 8 or 9 I was so anxious/sensitive child-crazy teachers yelling and kids making fun of me etc. then I developed Trich.-compulsive hair pulling-Oh, how fun. I mean how fucked. I got treatment for panic attacks and social phobias when I was 35 or so. Told I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder-put on Effexor/other meds. The Effexor got my Trich under control! And, now I’m in remission. Better late than never. But, it was only a year ago I got diagnosed BPII. It’s hard for me to know when symptoms actually began-I never had severe depression until I was 44. But, I was one of those people that remained hypo-manic for a long time. Years. So, I’m still trying to figure out what my “normal” mood is…so far it seems BORING. Lol Has anyone else had that trouble?

  16. I had indicators from early childhood (very moody, would fly into rages, etc) but I started internalising everything. Probably age 11 or 12 (can’t remember!) – I started refusing to go to school and got into physical fights with my mother about it. Then I had a couple of good years until I was 14-15 and had my first depressive episode – dianosed, put on antideps and BAM! first manic episode. But I don’t actually remember getting diagnosed and was not relieved or grateful at all. It wasaround or about 16, I think. My memory is very patchy though, either as a result of meds or because I don’t want to remember. I generally have to ask my mother when stuff happened, which does not lead to pleasant conversations! I’m still bitter about the countless meds foisted on me and the lasting side effects they’ve had!

  17. Carol (Mom of bipolar teen)

    My daughter says she has experienced emotion differently from others for as long as she can remember. In adolsecence this intensified, and by high school, her outbursts and abrupt comments began to distance her socially from others. She was “difficult” and “high strung.” After being a good student her whole life, her grades dropped drastically, she began using drugs, was promiscuous, and would just have these rages! That really scared me. Once she was diagnosed at 17, things began to settle down, but it took another year to get her meds right.
    One thing she says was hard was her Dad always telling her she was “too loud.” Even now, she has to work on better ways of communicatin when she is upset. Sometimes I have to hang up the phone ans ask her to call me when she calm down.

  18. This is a hard question…I had major sleep issues beginning before I was 5-years old. I was sexually and otherwise physically abused from 3-years old on so the sleep issues may have been related to that. I have do remember risk taking behavior as early as 5th and 6th grade.

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