Diagnosis Doubts

I’ve always known I was a little too sensitive. To the point that I have to keep the mantra “Do no harm, but take no shit” in mind. When I saw a psychiatrist last year and he diagnosed me with Bipolar II after 2 appointments, I was a little dubious, but the symptoms fit at the time. I didn’t really doubt the diagnosis until I read a book about HSP (Highly sensitive Person). I’d never heard of it before, but after thinking on it for a couple weeks, I feel like it fits better than Bipolar. When I was diagnosed, I was taking a high dosage of Viibryd, which seemed to make me act Bipolar. When I really examine and break down my moods, it seems there is always a outside factor involved, which isn’t all that consistent with Bipolar. I quit seeing the psychiatrist when he handed me a medication sheet for Bipolar and told me to pick one. All of them required blood testing to monitor my liver, so I refused them all. He wouldn’t treat me unless I took one of those drugs, so I dumped him and went back to my regular doctor. We settled on Prozac to level me out just enough. I’ve been doing pretty well in the last year with that.

Anyhow, a Highly Sensitive Person has an overactive nervous system and responds more than normal to medications, smells, sounds, etc. I took the self test here: http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test.htm

I got all of them save 4. I’m ok with Pain, although I’m afraid of it, I deal. I am not overly moved by the arts or music, however, music can turn my moods. I don’t startle all that easily, mostly because I have excellent hearing. And I’m OK with violent movies and TV shows, but I avoid horror and thrillers.

One that really stands out to me is sensitivity to caffeine. I’ve never been able to drink Coke because I’m so bad with caffeine. Coffee and caffeinated teas are out too. If I drink a mouthful of Coke, I’m going all day. A whole Coke and I’m up and running for 2-3 days.

Another is hunger affecting mood. I get intensely unpleasant when I’m hungry. Seriously. Just keep me fed, it’s easier that way.

And these all seem to go together for me: 1. I try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things. 2. When people are uncomfortable in a physical environment I tend to know what needs to be done to make it more comfortable (like changing the lighting or the seating). 3. I am conscientious. 4. Other people’s moods affect me. 5. I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment.   These all speak to me of being overly aware of your surroundings and people around you. I am rarely in someone’s way or forget things, even minor details. I’m always afraid I’ll hurt someone’s feelings or irritate them. It’s not that I REALLY care if someone is irritated with me, I just can’t help it. I know rationally that I can’t make everyone happy, but I still try entirely too hard.

Finally, the sensitivity to scents. I can’t stand perfume and the like. A great example is my last trip the the grocery store; we walked past an endcap with laundry detergent. A bottle had started to leak and the smell was so offensive to me I avoided that entire section and got my cheeses from another store.

I always thought this was just me being a freak or antisocial, but it’s possible my nervous system makes me act like a weirdo. This realization doesn’t really change anything for me medically, the Prozac is working well, but I will discuss it with my doctor the next time I’m in (since she always has trouble with medicating me especially with anti-biotics) and be aware of it so I can work myself through unpleasant situations. Luckily, I’m stubborn, so mind over matter works most of the time. The most important part of this whole thing was written in the test’s paragraph about scoring: “If you answered more than fourteen of the questions as true of yourself, you are probably highly sensitive. But no psychological test is so accurate that an individual should base his or her life on it.”

If it sounds like this might be you, check out this book (It’s free on Amazon.com from time to time) http://www.hsperson.com/pages/hsp.htm

Here’s another (less formal) list test:


If you can relate to six or more of the case scenarios below, (or parallel ones you imagine in your mind), you are probably among the 20% of the population that has been gifted with this heightened level of sensitivity:

1. While others usually interact socially with many people at surface levels, you prefer to connect with just a handful of people but at very deep and meaningful levels.

2. While some merely watch movies, you participate in them on an emotional level nearly akin to the characters themselves, and use the ending credits after movies to transition from the world on the screen, back into the world around you. Oh! And did I mention we always bring tissues? 

3. While others seem to move through public education with no problem, you feel oddly out of your element restricted by the ringing bells, the buzzing florescent lights, the deadlines on assignments, the superimposed pace, the lack of creativity.

4. While some may only notice the “lovely” sounds of birds, you can’t help but to decipher the tone of the bird calls and realize that they are not lovely at all, but distress calls, in which a larger bird is targeting the fledgelings of another for its next meal!

5. While others can enter a room without having its details faze them, you notice everything from the stain on the left curtain panel, to the cooking smells from the previous meal, the texture of the couch upholstery, its temperature, lighting, how close the traffic sounds are, and any residue tension lingering in the air from the argument that transpired in the room before you even entered it.

6. While others can run with the monotonous rat race at urban speed, through multiple tasks, rush hour traffic, complaining bosses and many co-workers, day after day, year after year, your constitution is more suited to working at your own pace, in peaceful surroundings, or you may become rattled.

7. While most will just walk by a crying child being ignored by its mother in a supermarket cart without incident, you feel your heart beating faster as you’re compelled to relieve it of its discomfort.

8. While most people can go from work, to shopping, to socializing in a single day without even blinking an eye, you find yourself needing to pace yourself and take time to recharge in between stimulating activities or events.

9. While most people can rush through an art museum ingesting one work after another in a short amount of time, you prefer to take time to absorb the essence of each piece at a more gradual, thorough pace, usually involving connecting with the emotional make up and mind-set of each artist.

10. While most people can go through lovers like fashion styles, your erotic encounters are whole person experiences with someone you love, leaving you feeling as if the whole room is spinning, and in need of recovery time from your intense lovemaking before you can participate fully in the next activity.


~ by accordingtoleanne on September 21, 2013.

One Response to “Diagnosis Doubts”

  1. alzandra: “Does anyone else experience really low energy during their hypomanic states?” I am feeling that way right now in fact. I was in the shower earlier, and all of these ideas and questions for posting to this group were coming to me. I had so many great questions that I wanted to ask this group that I felt wow, I have to write this down. Then I wondered hmmm, I must be hypomanic in order for this to be happening. Not that the questions weren’t great mind you 🙂 And at the same time, and now, I feel physically tired and heavy, but still with a sort of nervous energy that is keeping me going. It actually feels like an uncomfortable caffeine sort of buzz, which is unlike any hypomanic episode that I’ve had before. I felt the same way for part of the day yesterday. Feels strange to me, not very good actually, but I guess it beats couch potato, at least for now. I’ve been taking Lamictal for only a few weeks, and Wellbutrin for 2-3 months I guess, so I’m wondering if it may be due to one of these kicking in or something. I have a question based upon what alzandra said above about skin crawling. The night before last I had a bout of what I’ve likened to “restless leg syndrome”, only it’s more like restless body. Its like my body gets so uncomfortable with the crawling and burning that a large number of the muscles in my body finally contract in one big spasm, seemingly to relieve the sensations. This is a very temporary help, and it happens unconsciously sometimes and sometimes I do it myself to try to alleviate the symptoms. After not sleeping hardly at all for 4 1/2 hours, I finally had the idea to take some Advil & Tylenol, which did help me get some sleep afterward. I’m very curious as to how many here have this skin crawling sensation? It’s really great to have a community like this for bipolar related questions and ideas. I’ve been missing out for a long time!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: