I’m a young adult who has almost always struggled with mental health. I have been diagnosed with Persistent Depression, Anxiety and BED. But that is not what I think is wrong with me. In the past couple of months something has been going wrong and I don’t know what it is… My moods fluctuate ridiculously, in a way where I am manically happy for a bit then devastated. Then I feel normal. Of course this immediately sounds like Bipolar or something similar but I don’t have these “episodes” over more than a day. They last about 5 hours at most but are very extreme. When “manic”, I feel uncontrollable urges to do the most humiliating things, I’ve urinated on the lawn, walked around without clothes, thrown glasses at the ground and more. I’ll also want to scream and laugh, almost cackling. I legitimately look like a madman. Then in the depressive episodes, although I don’t feel suicidal, I read or watch very dark things on self-harm, suicide, and generally painful things. just to feel that pain inside for myself, I have not self-harmed in years, yet this is almost as if I am, just emotionally. I’ll also cry for hours on end, feel exhausted and lack motivation to do even the most basic things. Then there is normal me, I am like this about 80% of the time, but I have noticed the manic and depressive moments getting more common. I am very organised and in control of my life, I am intelligent, stable and honestly really happy during my normal moments. I live a fantastic life. it’s these episodes that are really beginning to impact. I work in a pharmacy and I know that this isn’t what depression or anxiety presents itself as. I plan to eventually begin medicine in Uni, but I am increasingly concerned about my mental state. I would really appreciate some help on this matter, but am too embarrassed to ask someone in person. I just want some guidance, please. I think I’m going mad.
First and foremost, you shouldn’t be embarrassed about asking for help. There’s actually, nothing embarrassing about it. Almost everyone, at some point in their lives, is going to need help. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Life is difficult and without guidance it’s even more difficult. Why not seek the guidance of people who have been trained to assist in these matters? You wouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if you had to consult a tax attorney about your taxes or a doctor for a medical condition or dentist for a tooth problem. If you wouldn’t feel embarrassment about seeking help for those aforementioned issues, that same logic should apply when it comes to mental health problems. When you need specialized help, you should consult the professional who has that specialized knowledge. The stigma associated with asking for mental health treatment prevents many people from seeking help, for treatable problems. Hopefully, you can see the wisdom of asking for help from experts with specialized knowledge, no matter the problem.
I would agree that your behavior can be extreme. You described a number of incidents and symptoms that are not consistent with depression or anxiety. You mentioned bipolar disorder and that may be a possibility. It’s interesting that you describe your life as “fantastic” despite experiencing these extreme changes of mood. It would seem that you largely consider your life to be fine, except for these instances of extremes. You notice them occurring more which worries you and you are right to be concerned. They are not the norm. Because you’re noticing them happening more, they warrant an examination by a professional.
You mentioned eventually beginning medication once you begin college but I’m wondering why you’re waiting. You shouldn’t wait to consult a professional. As you noted, your symptoms are worsening. They can be extreme and have caused you to behave in ways that are detrimental to your health and well-being. I would strongly advise that you consult a professional sooner rather than later. If you notice that something is wrong and worsening, you shouldn’t wait to seek help. The sooner you begin treatment, the sooner your symptoms will be under control. The longer you wait, the worse they may become and the more suffering you will have to endure. There’s no reason to suffer with treatable problems. All of the symptoms you have described are treatable with medication and/or therapy.
Your letter indicates that you are a bright and insightful individual. You recognize that something is wrong and are open to seeking help but embarrassment is seemingly preventing you from doing so. I hope that my letter has convinced you not to be embarrassed and not to wait to seek help. Do the wise thing and get help. With the right combination of treatments, this problem could soon be a thing of the past. Best of luck to you. Thank you for writing. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle