I know this is long, but I think I need help. Someone please read

Posted by Manni @keltothemoon, Feb 5 5:38pm

Hi, so um, not exactly sure what I'm expecting from this but here we go lol. So ever since I was about 14 (I'm 18 now), I've struggled with my headspace being a mess. All over the place, I mean. From age 13 to about 15, I struggled on and off with a certain addiction I don't want to get into, and I've always been an extremely disorganized person. Well around late 14, I was trying hard to quit my addiction and even got to the point that I considered myself worthless, and tried (though I will say extremely half-heartedly) suicide. I don't know what caused it. I have a great life. Parents that love each other, and two sisters who are great. We live in the suburbs and have never been at any kind of disadvantage besides the fact that we're Black (and even then it's not like everyone is out to send us back into slavery lol). I just felt worthless. Well, I didn't go through with it and continued to struggle. I finally beat my addiction about midway through being 15 (thank God), but by 16 I noticed a pattern. I would have moments of feeling like things were gonna work out and that everything was fine, but those moments rarely lasted long and were often overshadowed by feelings of highs and lows. At around that same time, I first heard of Bipolar disorder, but immediately shrugged it off because the internet said that if I had it, I would be a lot more manic or depressed, and I didn't want to claim a mental disorder if I didn't have one. So I buried it. But the mood swings continued. Midway through being 17, those swings worsened. I would be happy for a week at a time feel like I could do anything! I was efficient in school, I had fallen in love with a girl (who is currently my girlfriend, and things are going great, thanks for asking), and I was finally doing great in football. But then like being hit by a semi-truck carrying a ton of bricks, I would be sad. Like really sad. I felt like nothing was going right and nothing could help. Those stability moments were getting shorter and shorter. Then 2020 hit. I'm not going to go into detail because I could honestly write a whole book on that. But by May, I had gone through more mood swings than I could remember. I cried more last year than I probably had the last 5 years combined. I didn't see my friends or my girlfriend (who at the time was just my crush) for about 3 months and I felt hopeless with all the death. Then, out of nowhere, I felt stable again. And then, once again out of nowhere, I felt a little bit of a high, but then George Floyd died. And then when all the division started, and I sided with the side that fought for racial equality, I saw that not everyone I once called a friend, was really a friend. Then June hit, and football started summer workouts and I was killing it in my summer class and things were going well with my crush. I felt great and on a high for a couple of weeks, and then came down to what was my longest period of feeling stable I've had in the last calendar year. Then more division and dissension occurred, and I was back down. By the time my senior football season had started (early September), I had gone back stable. School hit, and we started losing, and I started to feel anxiety about any and everything, including pressure to make things official with my crush (I'm a Christian so there's a process for us lol). But then I did it. I made things official, we started winning games, I was getting college interest, grades were good. I can go on and on about all the different swings (sorry that I have up to this point), but imma stop. Now it's Feb, and I don't know where I'm at. Sometimes I feel great and like things are amazing, but at other times I feel hopeless. Sometimes I'm irritable and rude to my family for no reason at all, and even when they're asking me why I'm so rude, I outwardly shrug it off, but inwardly wonder why I am. When I'm on a high, I can go 2 weeks straight with only 4 hours of sleep a night, but when I'm on a low (which I have been for the last 2 weeks), I can't sleep right. At all. The insomnia is INSANE and I haven't had a good sleep in a while. And now I have the ACT tomorrow and a ton of work due and I'm stressing out and feel like breaking down. I haven't had what I considered a mental breakdown since November. It was terrible and I was crying and felt like I was going insane. I need to get better because it's affecting my work and relationships, and I can come off as rude to people who don't deserve it, and that I love very much. I'm scared to talk to my parents about this cause they're very practical and will think I'm being dramatic. They'll tell me to pray and move on, WHICH BY THE WAY I'M NOT KNOCKING, BECAUSE I'M A CHRISTIAN AND TRULY BELIEVE IN GOD AND WHAT HE CAN DO AND I DO PRAY ALL THE TIME AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO (sorry for all of that just had to make sure that point got across lol). I believe that God provides peace, but I also believe that He knows that people have mental disorders and has given man the knowledge on how to help them. I haven't told anybody about this ever. Not about the mood swings, about the suicidal thoughts years ago, the breakdowns, or my suspicions. Speaking of my suspicions, I don't actually think I'm bipolar. I don't really have extreme manic episodes and I don't think my symptoms are as extreme. I think I have cyclothymia, which, believe it or not, I just found out about today. I'm concerned though, because this could turn to Bipolar according to the Mayo Clinic (I think is who said it), and could continue to cause harm to my life. I match up with most symptoms listed on about every site I could find (though my highs and lows seem to be a bit shorter than the ones I've seen talked about), and I really think I have it. Or that I'm going crazy and that I shouldn't self-diagnose.

All that to ask: what the heck am I supposed to do. I need help. I need guidance. Someone who won't shrug it off. Should I talk with my parents? My sisters? My friends? My girlfriend? A therapist? If I'm going to go see someone about this, then I'd have to talk to my parents, which I'm scared to do. Is this something that gets helped through therapy? Time? Medication? A mix of all 3? I just need answers because I'm tired of having questions. Also I'm just tired. Someone please help me. God bless.

Thanks in advance to anyone who actually takes the time out to read this through and help me 🙂

REPLY

Good evening Manni, @keltothemoon, and welcome to Connect, So, from 14 to 18, life has been been quite erratic and challenging for you, Because of your self-diagnosing and research you are leaning toward a diagnosis of cyclothymia which can lead to Bipolar. So far, you have not been treated and have been rather quiet about your behavior and symptoms. My mental health training is very old and so am I. However, I want to tell you that we have been dealing with a similar situation. My granddaughter is a born “helper” and was majoring in mental health after suffering through years of OCD including residential treatment,

Her boyfriend, for whom she is caregiver and to some degree therapist, is Bipolar. He has been in a residential treatment center several times, required EMC by helicopter which prevented one of his self harm episodes and is quite a talented artist and musician. Because of COVID, he gave up his Stand up Comedy routine.

Somehow, someway, they have been able to help each other, e.g. he helps her choose her outfit for the day because decision making is too stressful for her. She comes when he calls……always worrying about the severity of an episode. He is honest with her and she with him. Recently he began getting ketamine infusions, Unfortunately they became too expensive and so he went back to meds and talk therapy.

Are you still with me? They participated in our Holliday Zoom programs, first time he had all 12 of us in front of him. Within a couple of days they were driving back to the city after doing some volunteer care duties for farm animals. On the way back, he mentioned to her, “please drop me off at the Mental Health hospital….I am not getting over this. I am too suicidal.” After admission he told her he would probably be there a week to work out all of the manic symptoms that had built up.

He was right, and he is now back home working on his next recording, The point here is……do not be afraid of the diagnosis or the treatment. Find help where you know you will be cared for and treated with respect at all times. Be just as honest with the members of your therapy team as you are with yourself.

What would be the first 3 items you would like help with……….
1._________________
2._________________
3._________________

May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm.
Chris

REPLY

@keltothemoon . Hello Manni. This is Gina. I'm so glad you connected with this forum. There are so many people here that will genuinely hear what you're saying. I just want to tell you that I understand the symptoms you describe. I'm a senior now, but I've experienced serious stuff as you describe. I have three sons who have varying degrees of mental challenges. I want to encourage you to reach out for help in a manner that makes you feel safe. I'm thinking that the mentors here will be able to guide you as to how to find safe help in the city you live in. You've already taken a big step by sharing what you're going through with us. You are being heard. Blessings.

REPLY
@artscaping

Good evening Manni, @keltothemoon, and welcome to Connect, So, from 14 to 18, life has been been quite erratic and challenging for you, Because of your self-diagnosing and research you are leaning toward a diagnosis of cyclothymia which can lead to Bipolar. So far, you have not been treated and have been rather quiet about your behavior and symptoms. My mental health training is very old and so am I. However, I want to tell you that we have been dealing with a similar situation. My granddaughter is a born “helper” and was majoring in mental health after suffering through years of OCD including residential treatment,

Her boyfriend, for whom she is caregiver and to some degree therapist, is Bipolar. He has been in a residential treatment center several times, required EMC by helicopter which prevented one of his self harm episodes and is quite a talented artist and musician. Because of COVID, he gave up his Stand up Comedy routine.

Somehow, someway, they have been able to help each other, e.g. he helps her choose her outfit for the day because decision making is too stressful for her. She comes when he calls……always worrying about the severity of an episode. He is honest with her and she with him. Recently he began getting ketamine infusions, Unfortunately they became too expensive and so he went back to meds and talk therapy.

Are you still with me? They participated in our Holliday Zoom programs, first time he had all 12 of us in front of him. Within a couple of days they were driving back to the city after doing some volunteer care duties for farm animals. On the way back, he mentioned to her, “please drop me off at the Mental Health hospital….I am not getting over this. I am too suicidal.” After admission he told her he would probably be there a week to work out all of the manic symptoms that had built up.

He was right, and he is now back home working on his next recording, The point here is……do not be afraid of the diagnosis or the treatment. Find help where you know you will be cared for and treated with respect at all times. Be just as honest with the members of your therapy team as you are with yourself.

What would be the first 3 items you would like help with……….
1._________________
2._________________
3._________________

May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm.
Chris

Jump to this post

Thanks for replying! I don't know if you were actually asking or telling me to consider what the 3 items are but in this order, it'd definitely be: Actually getting this diagnosed if it's what's happening to me, finding a way to stabilize myself, because these lows feel so low, and it's one of the most painful feelings, and lastly how to talk with my family about. Though I'm 18, I find it hard to believe I'd be able to get help without telling them. I have no money and am dependent on them. A therapy team sounds interesting but I have no idea how to go about getting one. I was most definitely scared of a potential disorder for the longest but it's gotten to the point where I believe I need to be diagnosed in order to get better. I'm just scared about the type of response I'll get, if that makes any sense

REPLY
@georgette12

@keltothemoon . Hello Manni. This is Gina. I'm so glad you connected with this forum. There are so many people here that will genuinely hear what you're saying. I just want to tell you that I understand the symptoms you describe. I'm a senior now, but I've experienced serious stuff as you describe. I have three sons who have varying degrees of mental challenges. I want to encourage you to reach out for help in a manner that makes you feel safe. I'm thinking that the mentors here will be able to guide you as to how to find safe help in the city you live in. You've already taken a big step by sharing what you're going through with us. You are being heard. Blessings.

Jump to this post

I can't even begin to describe how great it feels to actually have people know about my challenges and offer non-vague encouragement (which is what I get when I'm "looking down", aka one of my lows). I came on here because this is all I could think of while feeling safe. I hope I can be guided to the next steps and given the right advice. Thank you sm for replying, and I'm thanking God that I'm actually being heard. God bless you

REPLY

@keltothemoon Hello and I am so thankful you reached out for support. There are so many incredible members who trade giving and getting support on Connect. Already, @artscaping and @georgette12 have come into this conversation to provide their thoughts and ask some additional questions. Based on your feedback, I can see sharing with your family is very important to you personally as well as because you will need their support in many ways to go to that next level of connecting with a professional who can help to start the process of diagnosis and then ultimately stabilizing.

I might suggest starting with sharing with them since you feel you will not be able to get to step two without them knowing. That said, it sounds like you have a very loving family yet you are struggling to find the best way to share this with them. Do you think you would be more comfortable sharing verbally or in a short letter? You are a lovely writer and could literally take your post and adapt it.

Which way do you feel would make YOU feel more comfortable and allow you to check step 1 off of your list?

REPLY
@amandajro

@keltothemoon Hello and I am so thankful you reached out for support. There are so many incredible members who trade giving and getting support on Connect. Already, @artscaping and @georgette12 have come into this conversation to provide their thoughts and ask some additional questions. Based on your feedback, I can see sharing with your family is very important to you personally as well as because you will need their support in many ways to go to that next level of connecting with a professional who can help to start the process of diagnosis and then ultimately stabilizing.

I might suggest starting with sharing with them since you feel you will not be able to get to step two without them knowing. That said, it sounds like you have a very loving family yet you are struggling to find the best way to share this with them. Do you think you would be more comfortable sharing verbally or in a short letter? You are a lovely writer and could literally take your post and adapt it.

Which way do you feel would make YOU feel more comfortable and allow you to check step 1 off of your list?

Jump to this post

First off, thanks for the compliment on my writing, I pride myself on writing and it's nice for people to notice. Secondly, whether I tell them verbally or through a letter is something I need to think about. I think a letter would be better as I often get tongue-tied and anxious. It is very important to me that I share this with my family, but the reason I have it as such a high priority is because I don't think I can get help without them knowing. But is there? Because I know for a fact they'd respond the best if I came to them with words from someone that they'd listen to. Like is it possible to talk to and get diagnosed online or through calls? Does anyone have any suggestions for how a broke, dependent 18 year old could go about this without talking with my parents? I'm so sorry if these sound like dumb questions, I'm extremely unknowledgeable about the subject of mental health altogether and am just asking whatever comes to my mind and hoping they're legit questions and not dumb ones lol. If not, and my parents are the only way, I'll probably go about adapting my post and sending it to them.

REPLY
@keltothemoon

First off, thanks for the compliment on my writing, I pride myself on writing and it's nice for people to notice. Secondly, whether I tell them verbally or through a letter is something I need to think about. I think a letter would be better as I often get tongue-tied and anxious. It is very important to me that I share this with my family, but the reason I have it as such a high priority is because I don't think I can get help without them knowing. But is there? Because I know for a fact they'd respond the best if I came to them with words from someone that they'd listen to. Like is it possible to talk to and get diagnosed online or through calls? Does anyone have any suggestions for how a broke, dependent 18 year old could go about this without talking with my parents? I'm so sorry if these sound like dumb questions, I'm extremely unknowledgeable about the subject of mental health altogether and am just asking whatever comes to my mind and hoping they're legit questions and not dumb ones lol. If not, and my parents are the only way, I'll probably go about adapting my post and sending it to them.

Jump to this post

I think talking to a therapist would be great for you because they cannot talk with anyone about what you talk to them about

REPLY
@keltothemoon

Thanks for replying! I don't know if you were actually asking or telling me to consider what the 3 items are but in this order, it'd definitely be: Actually getting this diagnosed if it's what's happening to me, finding a way to stabilize myself, because these lows feel so low, and it's one of the most painful feelings, and lastly how to talk with my family about. Though I'm 18, I find it hard to believe I'd be able to get help without telling them. I have no money and am dependent on them. A therapy team sounds interesting but I have no idea how to go about getting one. I was most definitely scared of a potential disorder for the longest but it's gotten to the point where I believe I need to be diagnosed in order to get better. I'm just scared about the type of response I'll get, if that makes any sense

Jump to this post

Good evening @keltothemoon. Manni…..those 3 items were for you to complete. And you did a great job. You want a diagnosis, stability and a supportive environment from your family. And I need to explain to you what a therapy team does. First…..Mayo Clinic is the forerunner of working in teams so that everything needed to be understood is shared by all of the clinicians involved. In a normal environment…..you would have a psychiatrist, a therapist and someone who advises and works on your exercise and body health routine. Or something close to that. Notice that you knew the answers and just had not responded on your own.

Do you live in a city? A rural area? That can help determine ways in which a treatment program can be put together for you. And now for my last inquiry for the evening…….do you know about Rogers Behavioral Health? If you wouldn’t mind….take a look at its purpose and its programs. I have been to the one in Wisconsin. At your age…..it might have appropriate support systems that will work including financial assistance.

Let me know what you think.

I like your idea of a written introduction to your family. As you discuss, you can then make up a list of questions or issues that need answers if available.

The other item I am noticing is fear. You need some positive responses about your concerns to become a tad bit more confident. You don’t have to do everything at once……you just need to have a plan that moves you forward.

‘Night……..I applaud your efforts and feel that you know more than you think you do. You just need us to help you with the “lingo”.

May you have a lovely sleep and wake to a day of comfort and ease.
Chris

REPLY
@keltothemoon

First off, thanks for the compliment on my writing, I pride myself on writing and it's nice for people to notice. Secondly, whether I tell them verbally or through a letter is something I need to think about. I think a letter would be better as I often get tongue-tied and anxious. It is very important to me that I share this with my family, but the reason I have it as such a high priority is because I don't think I can get help without them knowing. But is there? Because I know for a fact they'd respond the best if I came to them with words from someone that they'd listen to. Like is it possible to talk to and get diagnosed online or through calls? Does anyone have any suggestions for how a broke, dependent 18 year old could go about this without talking with my parents? I'm so sorry if these sound like dumb questions, I'm extremely unknowledgeable about the subject of mental health altogether and am just asking whatever comes to my mind and hoping they're legit questions and not dumb ones lol. If not, and my parents are the only way, I'll probably go about adapting my post and sending it to them.

Jump to this post

@keltothemoon I'm glad you feel supported and I think it is commendable for you to recognize you need help. There is such stigma around mental health but a mental health issue is the same as having any other medical issue. There is a lack of understanding regarding mental health. I think it's important for you to know that many successful people receive mental health treatment and most of the symptoms that you speak of are likely extremely treatable through a medication and therapy combination. (Side note- Did you know our second president John Adams likely had bipolar disorder?) Early intervention is key in the treatment of mental health. What this means is that the earlier you receive treatment the more likely the treatment will successfully manage your symptoms.

How does an 18-year-old get mental health treatment when he is dependent? Well, this can be tricky. I hope that I am not too directive and forgive me if I am. I get the feeling you are wanting practical answers to your questions.

I'm assuming you are under your parents' insurance? I think the first step may be to go to your primary care and tell them your symptoms, your concerns regarding your family member's response, and that you feel you need help. Do you have a primary care provider established as an adult yet? You could schedule this appointment as your yearly physical or something. I know it's hard but try to be honest with them at the appointment. They see this kind of thing multiple times per day.

The primary care provider will most likely give your a referral for a therapist and/or discuss medication. They could also refer you to a psychiatrist. Do you think maybe your parents would feel differently if a professional felt this concern should be addressed?

You should know that despite your being on your parents' insurance, they do not have access to your mental health treatment notes. They will have access to the bills and EOB. That is why this is tricky.

There are places that offer free and cheap mental health services, not related to your medical insurance. Often your local county Health and Human Services Department will offer these kinds of resources and/or direct you to other resources. You can also google mental health resource hotline. (Do they call it a hotline anymore?) You will likely find multiple resources in your area.

I know this is difficult but you seem extremely intelligent, proactive, and savvy regarding the utilization of resources. As I said, forgive me if I was too directive.

Take care,
Erika

REPLY

Hi Manni. I'm so sorry you're going through this. My daughter is too, and I know how scary and depressing it can be. I agree with everyone else; find a therapist. It won't happen overnight; it's a process and like you've already experienced, it comes and goes. So go talk to one, and know that you may have to go back again at a later time. God Bless You!! I'll be praying for you!

REPLY

@keltothemoon You are awesome! You have expressed to us what so many young people go through. You have the insight to be reaching out for help, which is the first step towards feeling/getting better.

A couple of things to consider as you start along this path you have opened up for yourself. If it sounds like I am rambling, it is because my mind is charging ahead faster that my typing speed LOL Rule out any physical issues. Are you on any medications? Aim for a good physical exam to establish that there are no organic issues at play here. And while you are there, open up to the dr about your concerns. Remember, as a young man, you still have hormones laying foundation in your body, and that may contribute to your symptoms. Understandably, at this age, you are worried/concerned/ excited about where you will be heading after high school, and choices to be made. Like @artscaping, I am old too, but I can still recall the sea of possibilities and OMG! how do I make a decision? Where is that crystal ball so I can see what is the right path so I do not fail. You see, the pressure we and society put on us to succeed can be so great, we buckle under it.

Okay. Now, as far as telling your parents. You will make the right decision on the "how" you tell them. But it is important that you do tell them, and ask for their support. You have a group here on Mayo Connect to support you through this, but you also need live in-person support from family and friends. You may choose to be selective who you share with, because you don't want to "outed" for seeking help. I watched a show produced by NBC Sports about athletes and mental challenges; go to nbcsports.com and put in headstrong in their search bar. Being an athlete with challenges of any kind, physical or emotional/mental is not the stigma it once was.

You could choose to share your postings here, and all the responses you have received, with your folks. They will see there are many ready to jump in and applaud your desire for help, that what you are going through is not unusual. If they do not have much experience in how to accept/understand mental health treatment, this may help educate them. Let us know what you decide, and how we can help further.

Sorry for the long response!
Ginger

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.