I have a diagnosis of Severe Depressive Illness [apparently!].
Unfortunately, a diagnosis doesn't come about in one session or meeting. Originally it was an "Adjustment Disorder", but sometimes it takes time to assess an illness. My psychiatrist and various GP's have written a whole variety of different things on assessments and sick notes.
Personally, I'm pretty neurotic about BPAD. I have a strong family history of BPAD on my maternal Grandfather's side, and depression on my Father's. I didn't know any of this until after my 4th depressive episode [except about my Grandad, that was after my 2nd], so I do not count myself as "self fulfilling prophecy" in terms of Depression at least.
I do worry about BPAD, purposely inform my Doctor of the family history as I know some medications have a greater likelihood of triggering a manic episode, and I do worry more now because most of my BPAD family members had their first manic episode in their late teens/early twenties [I'm 19].
Sometimes, I hate being more like my Grandad. His siblings had a diagnosis of BPAD and in terms of medications etc were managed relatively "consistently".
My Grandad was the least understood, I still don't know his official diagnosis as they just weren't sure. I suppose the closest they came to it was again, Severe Depressive Illness. Cue a long stream of anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, good old Lithium and countless other treatments. Chuck in a load of inpatient admissions and you'd think they'd have an answer by now.
I know that if I became full blown manic, I would probably be unable to see anything wrong. I'd be in complete denial. It's a mixed state that I'm more concerned about.
My Grandad' siblings have an alarming habit of what I presume to be mixed states. Either that, or they like blood when they are high as a kite. There's a lot of slashy-slashy going on just when they seem to be out of the Depression. The mood lifts, you think they're fine, then you find out Aunty-So-and-So is back on life support or has giving herself some interesting arm decorations.
Grandad himself... A mystery and yet the person who understood me best? I don't know. He would be so low for so long, then be irritable, argumentative, then decide we had to go to the Millennium Dome. Again. Suddenly this need to go to a museum, where he'd refuse the wheelchair until he couldn't walk any further, which usually meant he would use it like a Zimmer frame whilst pushing me around in it. Art galleries, where he would get so excited.
Yet, somehow, he was never as manic as, well, manic. He seemed to gain this "zest for life", but I don't know if that was part of his personality or his illness, because by the time I arrived he had been ill for many years.
Then, one day, he took to his bed and stayed there for 8 months. I couldn't bear to see him like that, partly because of my family's reaction to it, and partly because I would do the same thing when depressed. My Nan went out for an hour to get some shopping, and he took every prescription medication in the house.
They wouldn't let me see him. My Nan said he wouldn't have known I was there, "better to remember him how he was". I regret that so much. Two long weeks of tremors, fits, coma... Then he died.
I'm 19, I'm on my 3rd antidepressant, I'm messing up my life and all I want to do is stand at the weekend of Walton Pier where the lifeguards scattered Grandad's ashes, and cry and cry and scream and cry. I want all the pain and anger to wash away with the tide, and if it doesn't then I might as well throw myself of the f*cking pier rather than struggle for another 55 years before topping myself in a similar fashion.