At the age of thirty ( I am now sixty), after the birth of my second child, I was diagnosed with a mental disorder. I had thoughts and feelings that I didn’t understand, I knew that they formed part of another me, and I was really afraid. There was nothing real that related to me, I was very scared, all day with this going round in my head as if an octopus was eating my brain.
I started to get depressed and we went to the GP. The doctor diagnosed depression and gave me medication. But as I went on and on about the strange ideas I was having, and the fear and the anxiety, he sent me to see a neurologist. He said I was suffering from neurosis and prescribed vitamin supplements and tranquilisers. That helped me a lot.
For those who do not know, thirty years ago psychiatry was not like now, doctors took shots in the dark, tried drugs and depending on the result they then prescribed one thing or another. There are not many profound studies on mental disorders, some doctors went to the US symposums and returned with some new kind of medicine. This was my case.
I ended up in the hands of a great private psychiatrist in Barcelona, Dr. Joan M. He immediately told me that he would treat my depression with Tofranil, he explained that the illness was of genetic origin and that there were also external influencing factors . It was true, I had many problems with my parents and my brother. They questioned everything, they did not trust me, my mother was not at all affectionate, they called me greedy, that I had pushed them aside because I went to live in Granollers, they are not good parents … I felt guilty when, in fact, it was them manipulating me, now they gave me affection, now they took it from me, as it suited them.
The Dr. advised us to distance ourselves from my parents and to look for a behavioral psychologist and psychiatrist, since he did not monitor patients.
He gave us a name, I went for almost four years, also to a psychologist. I I spewed out everything, to the point I am now calm and I try not to think about the past with my parents .
Tofranil worked for many years, until a time arrived when it stopped having any affect on me. The doctor recommended a MAOI, but when he explained all the possible consequences of taking it, I immediately said no. Then I was very surprised because Joan M. replied that there was nothing else he could do for me. The fears returned.
From then on the entrances to and exits from psychiatric centers were continuous, they were continually changing my medication. It was not stable. I spent periods euphoric, aggressive, hyperactive, talked excessively and had a huge amount of energy, it affected my thinking, judgment, the way I behaved with others, involved me in difficult situations, I spent a lot of money … or I was depressed, crying, realising that I would never get out of it.
It was only beenfour years since I had a really bad crisis because I had stopped medicating. I was admitted to the Santa Catalina de Sau Psychiatric Hospital (Girona); There I was stabilized until now, and I was finally diagnosed with a Bipolar Depression Type 1. It has taken almost thirty years to have a clear diagnosis.
Doctors say: “The classic form of bipolar disorder alternates periods of strong mania with those of depression and is termed type I bipolar disorder. In these patients, the manic and depressive phases are very pronounced.
“I have put an image to the text that explains exactly bipolar depression.
And in the euphoric state you do not admit that you are sick, in contrary to when your in the depressive state. I encourage young people who have a mental disorder to have faith in the doctors and medicines, of the latter there are very good ones these days; With regards psychiatrists, it goes without saying.
Some advice for young sick people: don’t take drugs, don’t drink alcohol, always take your medicine and follow the advice of the psychiatrist and therapist.
Ma Antonia Domingo