As far as the diagnosis, given what I've read and what I do experience, sometimes daily, hourly, I am as good at self-examination as those professionals are.
As Susan Bernard, as close to an expert as any expert is, stated recently:
"In my experience, everyone has such a negative view of bipolar
disorder--doctors and therapists alike--that they've lost the ability to
approach it from a problem-solving perspective and to help provide answers and
services rather than a lot of meaningless conversation and ineffective
There is a strong stigma related to all things called "a disorder."
Over the past 11 years, I went on 4 different occasions to "therapists."
3 times on my own accord prior to the year 2001. Their diagnoses were all wrong.
1) Alcoholic - wrong. I can and do go weeks/months at a crack without any craving or yen for a drink. I drink to self-medicate certain aspects of BIP, I suppose. (And during those periods, I would binge drink...which I did often in college from 1990-1996, when my symptoms first manifested, but were undefined in my thinking.)
I also do not possess any tell tale signs of drug abuse. AND I do not use other illegal drugs, ever. (You, the reader, likely have smoked pot, I haven't.)
2) Slightly depressed - again, wrong. They catch me at the near term lows. Not understanding or acknowledging other points in my life. Explanation therapy has barely scratched the surface before they shuffle me off, or I shuffle myself off to another direction.
3) Some other disorder(s) - but fail to treat or define.
"Coming out" about what I know to be apart of my character is not easy. People seem to think I enjoy the self-diagnosis. I don't. Given the various other dilemmas in my life, prior to this, why would I enjoy it at all? (And it is not like I haven't explore the terrain. Since 1999, I have looked at various thoughts and analysis on Bipolar that tended me to that conclusion.)
As far as treatment, I don't (and haven't) had health insurance since early 2001. So unless I garner that, getting whatever treatment is viable and workable is simply impossible, if those things existed clearly.
The last time I was in "therapy" in late 2003. I was forced to attend 8-10 sessions at $100 per. I rode a mountain bike 7 or 8 miles to the session after 8 hours of work in a restaurant. I still owe over $600 on that medical bill since I was unable to pay for it at all. (And that was at a cut rate to begin with.)
And it did zero for me. In fact, she elected to guilt me into admission of being "a failure." (Due to thinking a 12-step program was again the solution to my ills. I still have the AA book.) She was a very unhelpful human being. But likely, making more money in a decade than I'll see in the rest of my life. So, she's a good capitalist.
Point is, I know what most think about any "disorder". The fears and stigmas they foist on others for having such a difference. It is no different from a Neo-Con talking about the abominations called "gay people."
Due to other things done in life, I am stigmatized and ostracized from the milieu of normalcy. The 9-5 job or career, the living in a decent apartment, the ability to enjoy other's company - like in relationships and families - all because, I am no longer "good enough" for many of you.
If I tell you the truth too soon, you'll say, "I don't care. Why would someone hold that against you?"
If I told you the truth too late, you'll say, "Why didn't you tell me that? (Or now I wonder what is next?)"
It is pathetic to explain it - I know - but this is a part of me.
There is nothing I can do to drastically change who I am - I can only tweek things here or there.
And I try pretty hard to do it.
But some days, I don't want much to do with anyone on this Earth.
Failure is what "it is."
I won't bother to explain this any further.