Just want to start by saying that this has to be the most nerve racking thing I've written or contemplated doing, but I think I'm Bipolar. I have a knot in my gut that wont go away, its been there for months it seems. When I'm excited, it fades, when I'm down it feels like a lead weight and its dragging me with it. Most of the time I just feel tense because of it. While on my normal introverted sunday night at the bookstore, I came across a book in the psychology section (Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder) and spent nearly 3 hours reading it. Far too much of it hit too close to home, so tonight I looked up an online version of the Goldberg screening test for Bipolar disorder and scored myself a 42. I had a near essay written on what leads me to my conclusion that I've spent the last hour or so typing, but then suddenly IE crashed and I'm left with nothing to show for my effort (yet again). The backround story I've rewritten below for those interested in knowing whats led me to my above conclusion, but most importantly my question: How did you take that first step and get help? I'm frankly terrified of doing this. What was your wakeup call? What made you go in? I have to work tomorrow, but I'm thinking of going somewhere Tuesday. Who/what kind of doctor/hospital/clinic should I go to? For the time being, I dont want to involve my family until I'm ready to. To write it again, I've basically felt like I'm worthless for about as long as I can remember. I've never made friends easily, especially after most of the people I considered my good friends when i was little turned on me in middle school. I just dont let people all that easily and for the most part I dont feel the need to interact most of the time. High school was awful most of the time, I hated myself for not being able to make new friends, for not being social, for not being able to wear or say the right things, for being so lonesome all the time, for liking being alone most of the time, and more. But there were also relatively good times as well, and it was easy to track as I look back on it by my grades throughout the year. Happy Dave is a straight A student, 'normal' Dave is A's and B's, sad dave skipped class and school altogether in search of soemthing else and was in danger of failing. By my senior year, I really started being somewhat more social, had a network of aquaintances (I wont call these people friends because I never saw hem outside of school or sports), but still going from happy weeks to sad weeks. Still, I managed to keep good grades and get into a very good private engineering school and majoried in mechanical engineering. College was were I really got bad and really started to think something is wrong with me. I moved halfway across the country from everyone I ever knew and started again fresh like I always wanted to do. Freshman year was fine, I even learned to be mostly social and joined a fraternity but by the end of it I really started to feel depressed all the time. I never got used to the accelerated schedule the college ran on (12wk semesters that alternated between academic terms and co-op terms). By the time I got settled in wherever I was working, it was time to leave and the courses ran too fast for me to get my depressed brain around what was going on. By the time happy Dave would have shown up and saved the day it was too late, so he stayed away while I just suffered. Having to deal with class all day and then with frat stuff just drained me. I had gained 75pounds (40 of which I still have) and felt disgusting. More than once I cried myself to sleep in that house (I managed to get my own room all but one semester) and more than once I would just lock the door and turn the lights off to avoid whatever was going on in the house at the time. It was one of those lock-ins when I picked up a knife, held it to my wrist and saw if I would actually cut myself. Fortunately(?) I only gave myself a paper cut, threw the knife away and sat myself outside that night and watched the sun rise just thinking about what transpired. I never told anyone about it either untill now. It was then I started looking for what the hell is wrong with me, and during that search I found this forum and followed some of the links in the info sticky. That was nearly 3 years ago, and shortly after I finally failing out of college because I was too scared to disappoint my family more than I feel like I already have by dropping out. I've moved back home and hopped from job to job as my interest in it rises and fades. Sometimes I feel like nothing can stop me and that everything is going to work out, I start making life plans and set goals. Some of the time I feel like everything is in my way and is mounting an assault against me suceeding. Sometimes I feel like I've already lost the war and why should I bother. I can't sleep right anymore, it takes forever to fall asleep some nights because I cant get my mind to slow down while others I'm so exhausted mentally I cant stay awake. I'm getting about 5 hours of sleep during the week but upwards of 12 on my days off, most of the time I just want to lie there and forget the world exists untill I have to use the bathroom or I get hungry enough to move. I hate feeling this way, which feeds the self hate more. I think what I hate most is the fact that I know I've been happy or that I'm supposed to be happy, but I cant be. I hate myself for swinging from unstoppable to invalid. I just want to be normal dammit, whatever that is. I want to be able to commit to doing something without worrying that I"m just going to relapse in a few weeks/months and waste my efforts, but I know thats exactly what I'm going to do. So again, I ask: How did you take that first step and get help? I'm frankly terrified of doing this. What was your wakeup call? What made you go in? I have to work tomorrow, but I'm thinking of going somewhere Tuesday. Who should I go to? For the time being, I dont want to involve my family until I'm ready to.