Stories of Bipolar Misdiagnosis - Cam

Stories of Bipolar Disorder Misdiagnosis

Bipolar NOT Depression

by Cam
August 1, 2005

I am a 44 year old male and I am bipolar.

Once I began looking back, my first symptoms of bipolar appeared when I was in college. I was 17 or 18 years old.

I did not know what it was at the time. All I knew then was that there were times when I was the life of the party, and there were times I would not even go to the party. There were times when I dove into my grades with such vigor, I would stay up all night studying or I would wait til the Friday before a term paper was due and write the paper. I remember I wrote one paper and the instructor thanked me for putting so much thought into the paper. She even had it published. Unfortunately, the flip side of this was also true.

I battled these ups and downs, these all or nothings, for 25 years. My downs turned into a deep dark depression. I had thoughts of suicide to the point of having the notes written, the method picked out, the location picked. I did it all except killing myself.

My manic episodes were almost "textbook," as they say. I had two affairs which I took very few steps to hide. I ended up filing for bankruptcy. Worked very hard at work obtaining promotion-after-promotion, while at other times nearly losing my job due to indiscretions. I would always work hard enough to get myself out of "Trouble."

My depression became frequent and deeper

I went for therapy, and the therapist told me I was going through a major depression. I went to a psychiatrist and she too agreed. They began trying medications for my "depression." I was not responding well at all. Many of my manic episodes continued as did my depression (cold, dark, heavy).

I was finally diagnosed with bipolar, but soon after (maybe a month or so) I was in the hospital due to my suicidal plans. My therapist now says looking back, she can not believe she did not see it (bipolar).

The treatment for bipolar disorder began in earnest and I began to respond. I then was relieved to find that I was bipolar. It explained to me why my life had been the way it was. It was such an eye-opener for my wife as well. We were both like, "That's why...".

That was three years ago and I have been able to more effectively deal with life now that I know what I am dealing with and now that I know how to deal with it. I continue therapy and medication. I chart my moods every day (since June 2002) and I keep a journal. I see my therapist regularly as well as my psychologist. I take my medication as prescribed.

I still have some ups and downs, but I know what they are and how to deal with them.

My secrets to success: Medication, Psychologist, Therapy, Charts, Journal, and Family Support.

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 17). Stories of Bipolar Misdiagnosis - Cam, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 13 from

Last Updated: January 10, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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