Dear Dr. Archer,
I'm a 24 year old female with a strong history of depression within my family. I believe I, too, am depressed. However, if I take online tests, I come up scoring very positive for bipolar and borderline personality, with high levels of stress.
I cannot, unfortunately, afford to see someone right now. I'm hoping to get your input in the hopes that you can help me understand what is actually wrong with me. I want to adjust my lifestyle until I can afford to see someone.
I have taken amitriptyline before, and am currently taking citalopram, but it no longer seems to be working. Can you help me, please?
Unfortunately, you didn't share with me your symptoms. I will say that if depression runs in your family, then chances of you experiencing depression are greatly increased.
Do yourself a huge favor, Stefanie, and stop worrying so much about a diagnosis. Instead be aware of your symptoms and address those. Online tests are not the same as physically going to a doctor for an evaluation, and should never be relied on for a diagnosis. They are for informational purposes only and often do more harm than good.
It's easy to get borderline and bipolar confused because they share many of the same symptoms. My personal view is that they are related to each other and often respond to similar treatment.
The key in treating a psychiatric condition is what are the symptoms and how are they affecting the way you wish to lead your life. Symptoms need to be treated whether by therapy or meds, the diagnosis is actually secondary. So, make a list of the symptoms that bother you and then look into low cost ways to see a professional in your area.
Mason Cooley said "Don't stare into a mirror when you are trying to solve a problem." This is especially true when it concerns your health. I recommend visiting your local mental health clinic, it’s free or very inexpensive, and this is important.
You're in control here. Please take care of your mental health.