Recently Diagnosed Bipolar II & ADHD

After watching @Greg’s talk at RubyConf I realized that I had a bigger problem than I thought. His story seemed way too similar to something that I have been suffering with for years. It prompted me to seek real professional help, and to stop relying on GPs.

Ever since puberty I had problems in school, generally not giving a shit and finding stuff boring. I tested highly gifted, so I was given a free pass. “Things are just not challenging enough” was a great excuse for a while, and I had no problems getting grades until high school when shit really hit the fan. I never had a problem doing well in classes that I found interesting but things that I disliked were completely ignored. I started falling behind, at the beginning of my final (4th) year I needed 10 credits to graduate when I should have only needed 6. I was basically fucked.

In the summer before my final year I became obsessed with loosing weight. My whole life I’d been slightly overweight, not fat but overweight. I started going to the gym, running, lifting weights and taking an ECA stack to help. For those unfamiliar with what an ECA stack is, it is Ephedrine, Caffeine and Aspirin. Ephedrine is a stimulant, and was used in the treatment of narcolepsy before Amphetamines were synthesized.

Holy shit, everything changed after that summer. I lost 30 pounds in two months and felt great, I went back to school and felt like I had some super human ability. I vowed to graduate on time, 4 extra credits be damned! I took the maximum allowed 8 credits + 1 night school credit and was allowed to complete a special assignment for a class I barely failed the year before. It was incredible I could focus on anything for as long as needed, I was never bored or tired. I went on to University, I stopped taking the ECA stack after a bad experience and struggled to graduate.

After graduating is when I had real problems, 3 different jobs in 1 year. No joke, I was job hopping every 4 months. I would always start a job full of hope and raring to go, impress everyone my first few months then I would grow sick of it, get bored, focus on stupid things, grow resentful, sleep in, not give a shit and eventually stop going in or showing up late.

I never thought I had anything other than occasional depression. I never even considered ADHD, despite the obvious behavioural changes that were prompted by taking a drug that is a substituted amphetamine. Even though I knew all this, I still never made the connection.

I was lucky to watch @Greg’s talk, lucky enough to find a good psychiatrist, lucky enough to have a supportive partner, and lucky enough to be hypomanic during my initial evaluation. For the first time in my life I am hopeful; I feel like I have the answer to why I am the way I am.

I will miss my hypomanic episodes. I will not miss my depression.

tl;dr Bipolar II & ADHD. Never diagnosed until rapid cycling caused problems with work. Diagnosed, on meds, hopeful.

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You just told the story of my life.

Altough I never tried ECA, the gym/diet had the same effect on me. After a couple of months though, I stopped hitting the gym as everything else I try to do regularly. Mild depression and productivity issues came back.

Good thing you got diagnosed, keep us updated !