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Ask A Therapist: Is This Depression, Personality Disorder, or Bipolar?

Well I’m 19, but I don’t feel 19. I have so many things going on in my life that it’s hard to keep up with everything. I’m a full time worker, a full time student and a part time gym rat. I’m also in a relationship. There is no time in the day for me to do anything and everything I do always feels rushed. Even though I’m interacting with my coworkers, friends, or girlfriend during the day, I feel empty and numb to it all, like everything is just an act. As far as feelings go, like I said, I’m numb. I feel as if my best friend or mother could die and I wouldn’t care, and I feel as though to a certain extent that I don’t care even for my girlfriend. But on the flip side, I don’t want to be alone. It scares me to think that me and my girlfriend would breakup. I laugh and joke but don’t know why I do.
I really want to know what’s wrong with me because I was never like this before. Or if I was, it was deep down and is now just surfacing and I can’t handle it. I WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN.

A: There are normal ups and downs that come along with adolescence, such as mood swings and hormonal changes. But what you’re describing sounds like a lot more than that. Please watch the video below for my complete response.

Take Good Care of Yourself,

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask A Therapist: Am I Really Bipolar?

Q: I have just recently dealt with the trauma of being molested by a friend’s father. I thought all of my erratic behavior resulted from this, but now I’m hearing that I am Bipolar. I am confused and scared. I have been given lithium, but the doctor has not spoken to my family and only spoke with me once for about 20 minutes. His assistants did separate interviews with me as well. I don’t have insurance so I am paying a lot and don’t if I can afford to get a second opinion.
Facts: I was in a state of depression from February to July 5th. Attempted suicide 3 times. I attempted suicide 2 other times, once at 13 and another at 21. I have also worked overseas and traveled extensively on my own. I feel great when I am traveling. I know several languages (minor) but never stick to one long enough to learn it well, which is a habit in every study I’ve undertaken.  Jobs: Baker, Insurance Sales, Teacher, Prison Guard, Carnival Ride Operator, Counselor, PCorps Volunteer, usually stick to a job for 6-8 months and then move on. I need help.  I have no money and am in serious debt because of the way I’m living.

A: Thanks for writing in. You raise an excellent question: Is your erratic behavior due to sexual abuse history or bipolar disorder, or some combination of trauma and mental illness? While I can’t provide you with a diagnosis in this format, I can point you in the direction to get a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether or not your bipolar disorder is accurate.

I suggest that you get an additional evaluation and second opinion.  There are community resources available for mental health services free or at a reduced fee. Here’s a link to state funded mental health services in Indianapolis, Indiana. Another resource is the Find Help link at the top of this page and here is the link to providers in your city. When you contact them, ask if they have a sliding fee scale based on income. Here’s another link to help you gain more information about the causes, symptoms, treatment of bipolar disorder to empower you in your quest to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask The Therapist: Psychiatrist Talks To Mom And Ignores Me

Q: I have bipolar disorder, along with ADHD and OCD. Recently, I have started going to see a psychiatrist about my issue. But when I go to her, I feel as though she doesn’t ask ME how I am, she asks my mother. There are so many issues I need to tell her, but I simply do not feel like I can. I am worried about myself. All I want to do is lay in bed. Please, tell me what I need to do to tell her about my issues. I tried writing them down to tell her, but I did  get the chance, because she only had a 2min session with me, after talking to my mother. Help!

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Ask A Therapist: My Best Friend Is Suicidal

Q: My best friend is suicidal and I want to know if there is anything I can do to help her. She has already told her parents but they really aren’t doing anything to stop her. I have told a teacher at our school and the counselor but all they do is recommend seeing a psychiatrist. I am really worried about her she almost always has cuts all over her body arms, legs, and stomach. Her mother has been in and out of prison even before she was born. Her mother is also in right now and has been since she was 7. In the past few years she has had a lot happen, she lost her grandmother on her dad’s side two days before Christmas in 2008. Right after that she moved from a big house to a small one and in the process lost connection with her former best friend. Many of her animals outside died and she sat with one of her cats and had to watch it die after it got attacked by a dog. This past year she had her aunt on her dad’s side die and lost a lot of her friends. She also found out that her mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder by four different psychiatrists and borderline personality disorder by one or two. We were in seventh grade this year and for most of the second semester she was labeled a whore because of how she dresses and who hangs out with. This past summer is also when the cutting started it started off pretty bad but not frequent. It then went to minor burns and small scratches and then blew up again to bad cuts and they were very frequent. At the current moment she only has scars but is thinking about cutting herself again. I would just like an idea of what I could say to her to get her not to cut anymore. Thank you for taking the time to read this (and respond if you do).

A: First of all, your friend is lucky to have such a mature and concerned friend like you. For 13 years old, you are wise to get some advice on how to handle this serious situation. You mentioned that your friend is suicidal. Has she told you that she has plans to end her life or are you suspecting that she is suicidal because of her cutting behavior? Often intentional self-harm, or parasuicidal behavior, is a cry for help without an intention to die. The two are related but don’t necessarily go together.

Does your friend acknowledge that she needs help to address her cutting? If so, she may want to ask her parents to take her to their family doctor. Sometimes parents are more willing to take their child to get “medical” help than “mental” help. Also, have you talked to your parents or guardian about this situation and asked for their help and advice? It may be a good idea to sit down with your friend and both sets of parents and express your love and concern and see how you and your parents can support your friend.  Another possible resource is Childhelp national hotline. You can tell them about your concerns with your friend and they will identify resources in your area.

If your friend’s parents are fully aware that their daughter is cutting and in need of psychological intervention and they refuse to get their daughter the treatment she needs, then this may be a case of medical neglect requiring or your parents to report the situation to child protective services. I hope it doesn’t come to that. Thank you again for writing in to Ask the Therapist.

Take good care of yourself.

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask A Therapist: I’m Sexually Attracted To My Therapist

Okay, so recently I started getting therapy for a few issues in my life and I have this therapist. Obviously, it’s their job to listen and what not, but it’s such a new thing for me to have someone listen and understand!! I have normal relationships and what not, but I don’t talk about what’s going on in my life. And well, like I said, this therapist, he listens!! And I don’t know how it started, but now I’m attracted to him and think about him all the time. Yikes! And I had therapy the other day and I was feeling a bit awkward sometimes because in my head I was thinking about him sexually!! And he was right there in front of me. Not good but so good at the same time! But yeah nothing will happen anyway because 1. he’s my therapist and that goes against code and 2. he’s married anyway. But it doesn’t stop me from thinking about him that way. I don’t know if I have control over my actions but don’t want to lose him as a therapist! And if I ask him for help about it, I guess I probably will. I can’t ask anyway… too awkward. And I don’t want to start again with a new therapist. So please give me some ideas! Oh, and if this helps in anyway, I have bipolar…. but I guess I’m not the first person in the world to be attracted to my therapist so maybe it doesn’t! (18 year old female who recently started therapy)

A: How wonderful that you are able to open up to your therapist and feel listened to. You are not alone in having a sexual attraction to your therapist and there’s a name for it — erotic transference — and it’s actually a quite common experience in therapy.  Transference can be worked through in the therapeutic relationship and that process can help you experience and resolve the deeper issues in your life. I hear that you are afraid of losing this relationship if you disclose your feelings to your therapist and that you’ll have to start all over.  Assuming your therapist is skilled and experienced, he will be able to help you work through this attraction.  Start slow in sharing your feelings. Let him know that you’re scared to share these feelings and that you want help to understand what they really mean.  When sharing your transference with your therapist, remember that your feelings are information about your deeper emotional longings, wounds, and needs, and are not about your actual relationship with your therapist. You’ll get through this. Thanks again for having the courage to write to “Ask the Therapist.”

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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