Four years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2.
For my whole life I had known that something was different about me. I had always struggled with depression and anxiety, and what eventually turned out to be hypomania. When I was 22 I had my first big depression episode and had to start taking anti depressant medications. However, it would take me six more years before I was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2.
The tricky thing about having the diagnosis of bipolar type 2 is that you are not experiencing the typical manic episode where you are over-energetic and nearly psychotic. Instead, you’re hypomanic, which means that you’re socially well functioning. You’re not psychotic. You actually feel really good. So the problem is that you don’t end up going to your psychiatrist saying that you feel too good. At least I didn’t.
The reason why my psychiatrist found out I was bipolar was because he couldn’t get me out of my depressions. At first, my psychiatrist diagnosed me with depression and ADD. But these diagnoses didn’t fit. When I didn’t have the right diagnosis, I still had my large mood swings, and a lot of anxiety. When I was diagnosed with the ‘right’ diagnosis, of bipolar disorder type 2, it actually felt really nice. A lot of things made sense. Suddenly I could see why I had felt how I had for most of my life.
I really believe that Monsenso could have helped my psychiatrist diagnose my disorder earlier, because the app helps me to keep track of my mood and really helps me to become more aware of how I feel. Due to the app, every single day I have to pause and take a moment to think about how I’ve actually been doing before putting my answers in the app. After doing this, when I go to my psychiatrist we can together see how I’ve actually been. The good thing with the app is that my answer to how I’ve been is not only based on my memory but how I actually answered that day. Logging all of this information has helped my treatment. My psychiatrist and I can better plan how to avoid my future depressive or hypomanic episodes, because we can clearly identify when I am having mood swings.
In August, my documentary about being bipolar aired on national danish television. The reactions have been overwhelming. So many people have messaged me, thanking me for talking about the disease. I had originally made the documentary so that people would not be ashamed about having the disease. I think I have succeed.
My hope for the future is that people will be diagnosed earlier with the disease than me. Of course, that will take a lot of other factors, however I truly believe Monsenso is one of the things that can help. My hope is that other psychiatrists and patients alike will start using the app.