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A label…

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Earlier today, I had my second opinion meeting and review with Dr P. I wasn’t given much notice. The ward doctor, Dr C, just said he will be over in a few minutes and fifteen minutes later I was sat in a room with him and Dr C answering questions. It was a bit like the nth degree. My memory is sketchy and I struggled a little, but I gave him an overview of my moods over the past few years. He was keen to find out if I’d had any ‘up’ periods and although I have, I don’t want to exaggerate any of them so didn’t really know what to say. I just tried to explain how I was at various points in time. He had a little bit of knowledge about my history before he started and seemed keen to get an overall picture of my mood cycles. He asked about my agitiation also. It was a different approach to Dr G, who was more keen to get an idea about how I felt and what I thought. They’re polar opposite doctors, but both good at what they do.

Anyway, Dr P eventually said that based on my lack of response to ECT and anti-depressants he believes I have bipolar II disorder and thinks that ADs are not going to be helpful. I hadn’t realised that my lack of response to ECT could be seen as a test for bipolar. If I had recurrent depressive disorder, I’d likely to have had some positive response to the ECT, but because I haven’t, it probably suggests that anti-depressants are not going to work for me. He talked about how some people with bipolar II do not respond to ADs or traditional treatments for depression such as ECT and that was why he was suggesting that diagnosis.

He wants to start me on an old school mood stabiliser, so is putting me on Depakote. I am a little scared as I’ve heard bad thinks about Depakote, but everyone responds differently to different drugs and anything has to be better than the current situation. He is keen to take me off anti-depressants altogether. I’m glad it’s not lithium anyway.

He asked me what I thought and said that he suspected it didn’t really come as much of a surprise. At the time, I said not. I told him I knew a reasonable amount about the condition as I had friends with it and I had in the past suspected that it fitted. Thinking about it since though, it has been a bit of a shock. I’ve been seeking a diagnosis for so long and not received one, so to finally have one is a bit of a shock. It’s an unpleasant surprise too because I know that it can be an awful condition to have and I’m not sure I really want it, even if it does fit. After all, the last year has not exactly been a barrel of fun.

Dr G doesn’t yet know the outcome of the meeting. She isn’t in work today, but she is coming in tomorrow to see another patient so Dr C has written her a letter telling her about the meeting. I may end up seeing her tomorrow to discuss. I’m a little scared about her response to all this as I’m not sure what to expect. I presume she was aware that this was a possibility, because she wouldn’t have got Dr P involved if it wasn’t. Everyone is aware that Dr P is a specialist in mood disorders, especially Bipolar, and if anyone is going to spot it, it will be him.

Generally, I am still absorbing the information. I have suspected I would eventually end up with this label for a while, but it feels weird to finally have it. Dr G has avoided it so far and I wonder why, yet she obviously had her suspicions or she wouldn’t have got Dr P involved. I just hope she agrees with what has been said and is comfortable with it.

I think this has given me a little bit of hope. Things are changing, which is something positive. Hopefully, the new medication regime will improve the situation. I know it isn’t going to change things overnight, but it might pick things up. There is also the fact that this diagnosis should ensure I get more support. The CMHT referral is going through and they are trying to arrange a CPN before I am discharged from The Priory. The bipolar II diagnosis will give that referral more strength and also mean that the NHS pays more attention when I need support.

Aside from that meeting, I also have my GP coming to see me later today. I am a little nervous as there are a lot of things I have to cover with him, but he is lovely and I need to get over that fear. We shall see anyway.

4 Responses

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  1. Glad to hear that something is being done (although whether you like the diagnosis or not is a completely different matter!)


    Friday, 17th April 2009 at 6:10 pm

  2. It does sound nerve racking for you to go through all that and then been thrown a new diagnosis. I only hope the new meds work for you or at least put you on the right track to getting you feeling better. I hope you get to see Dr G tomorrow when she’s in. I wish right now I could FF the next couple of weeks and get to see her before the 6th because things are just not great here for me. I tried in vain to chase my NHS appointment up today but got nowhere and the CHRT are not sending anyone till Sunday and no surprise to know it’s yet again someone different… It just makes you want to give up totally. I don’t personally know how much long I can carry on going through this crap.

    L, I hope your okay over the weekend. Let’s hope with Dr P & Dr G between them they can work together and get you sorted, I have everything crossed for you. Take care x


    Friday, 17th April 2009 at 9:54 pm

  3. Thanks both.

    Alison – I didn’t get to see her on Saturday but hopefully I’ll see her tomorrow. If not it will be Tuesday during Ward Round. Not the end of the world if it is, but I really want to start on my new meds sooner rather than later. I’m meant to be discharged on Friday and I don’t want to be if I don’t know how I’m going to react to new meds.

    Please keep trying to get through this crap. I know it’s rubbish. I wish the CHRT could help you better. I know what it’s like.

    I hope Dr P and Dr G can do it too, but I don’t have much hope. I just feel hopeless, vague and useless at the moment. I’m sure you know how it is.

    Take care xx


    Sunday, 19th April 2009 at 9:02 pm

  4. It’s never nice when it’s finally confirmed, it’s kind of a relief but then not really. It sucks, I know. *hugs*.

    DeeDee Ramona

    Tuesday, 21st April 2009 at 10:42 pm

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