Funny thing, though. I wasn’t your classic disruptive ADD/ADHD kid. I was always fairly quiet and well-behaved. Even in today’s school system, my behavior might have been under the radar. Just your average mild-mannered under-achiever.
Prior to beginning this series, I posed as a Question of the Week a series of queries on your experiences with ADD. A number of you zeroed in on the diagnostic chaos. Kane, who four years ago was diagnosed with bipolar II, commented:
It was a year ago the psychiatrist and I zeroed in on the ADD. Ritalin came into the picture. It worked like a miracle. The obvious benefits were what it primarily functions as, a concentration aide. However, secondarily it helped immensely with energy, and as a major perk, helped elevate mood! In other words it was the missing piece of the mood stabilizer. It lifted the lows to normal. Concentration and focus allowed my natural talents to shine and success followed.
Reports Willa, who was introduced to the dark side of bipolar II after being prescribed an antidepressant:
[My bipolar II] might look like ADD. But ADD, just like bipolar II, is a symptom silo. Until we start identifying what is going on inside the brain, it's like we're playing gin. You can combine your cards in any variety of ways to justify another diagnosis and another drug to try. Good luck trying to sort this one out.
And from Tabby:
It's not about the symptoms that are felt, that the patient struggles so. It's the behaviors that the patient manifests from the symptoms felt - that all find dysfunctioning and intolerable.
One final point: The DSM keyword that everyone misses is “maladaptive.” Somewhere along the line, I learned to adapt. I also learned to adapt to my bipolar symptoms. So - do I have both bipolar and ADD? Or one or the other? Or maybe neither or none? What about you?
Questions, questions ...
Previous bipolar-ADD/ADHD pieces: