“I believe that I have bipolar disorder. I’ve been struggling with crazy and random mood swings for a while now. Started going to a counselor but for some reason can’t seem to open up and I always leave feeling like I wasted my time. The problem I have is that my mood swings can be so random that they changed often. And anything can tip them off. I find myself so frustrated and irritated but I don’t know why. Whenever I feel like it’s my breaking point and that I need to tell someone I need help, it’s like my mood swings switch and I just think wow I’m being dumb, why am I do dramatic? I’m pushing people away, and snapping at everyone and I never have a reason why for my bad moods. So my question is, how do I convince someone I need help when I confuse myself anyway?”
Quite often, it’s hardest to admit to yourself that you need help, and to figure out exactly why you need help, and what you need help with. With bipolar disorder, as well as any other mental illness (probably even every physical illness!) there is a lot involved and it can be very difficult to pin-point exactly what is going on. It’s not uncommon at all to be confused over what is going on with you. I was diagnosed mentally ill when I was 11-I’m now 26. I still confuse myself quite often! It’s really hard to get a complete grasp on everything you are going through. It’s also quite common to feel frustrated and irritated for no apparent reason. Heck, I get frustrated or irritated on pretty much a daily basis! Sometimes more than once! And I usually have no idea why! The thing that matters is what you do with that frustration and irritation. You need to find healthy, positive coping skills to deal with these feelings.
I think most bipolar people’s mood swings can be random and seem to have no precipitating event. Sure, sometimes there is something that sets off a mood swing, anything from the weather to lack of sleep to stress. But that may not always be the case. And, yes, moods can shift quite often. Even with a person that doesn’t have bipolar, they can still have frequent mood swings. It’s just for us with BP, our mood swings may be more drastic. If they are happening really often, say daily or weekly, you may have rapid cycling BP. This just means your moods cycle faster than people with other kinds of BP. Of course, I can’t make that diagnosis, so it’s important that you find a way to communicate with your counselor.
So how exactly are you going to communicate? I know it’s very difficult. Especially in the beginning. At one point in my therapy, when I was having a lot of problems discussing how I felt and what was going on in my head, my therapist suggested something that really helped. We wrote to each other. If I felt so inclined, I could write a note before therapy saying how everything has been going since the last session, how I’ve been feeling, what negatively impacted me, what positively impacted me (it is very important to keep in mind that there are still positives in your life!) Then I would show the note to my therapist when I got there. If I felt I could, we would talk about it. If I couldn’t, then she would write a note to me, and I would write back to her. We would write to each other throughout the whole session. Sometimes I was ok with her asking me questions and telling me stuff aloud, but sometimes I needed her to write it out. It can be a lot easier to get things out of your head and put them on paper.
One more thing-you are not being dumb or dramatic or anything of the sorts. This is just the way you are feeling. You have to accept that you are feeling the way you are, and allow yourself to feel it. Realize its ok to feel however it is that you may be feeling. You just have to learn to let those feelings escape in a positive way, possibly by talking to (or writing to) your counselor.
I wish you the best of luck in finding a way to talk to your counselor and get a proper diagnosis. Stay strong!