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Bipolar and Aspergers - How to Spot the Signs

Nell is a qualified psychologist and counselor who studied both Aspergers and Bipolar during her Oxford course for psychology.

How can we tell the difference between bipolar and aspergers?

How can we tell the difference between bipolar and aspergers?

Mental Strain

Living with someone who has bipolar can be an exhausting lifestyle. Whether you help them full time or see them a couple of times a week it can be a gauntlet of emotions and sometimes rather like walking through a maze with your eyes closed.

The first thing you have to learn to do is keep your temper. I know this sounds awful, but to speak to someone with bipolar is rather like stepping on the old proverbial eggshells and can very quickly turn into a slanging match.

We are taught to always be caring where mental illness is concerned and its not nice to actually hear someone like me say, 'Well he drives me nuts'. But the facts are there. We are only human and sometimes we have to walk away from the situation.

And does the Doctor always get it right? My personal experience with a family member shows that this may be the wrong diagnosis of bipolar.

So, is it Bipolar or Asperger's?

My Brothers Story.

My brother was born different. That's the only way I can explain it. When I was sitting amongst the mud and dirt of our back garden, he would be inside washing his hands or playing with his toys in a nice warm cozy room.

I would chase my older by a year and a half, brother around the garden and if I smeared dirt on him he would hit the roof. But on the whole he was normal most of the time. Or so I thought from a five year old's point of view.

But when I found an old photo of him with our ancient and formidable aunt Liz, I noticed something rather strange. He was three years old, it was summer, and he was wearing gloves.

The signs were there but I of course didn't know what they meant at the time.

Looking Sideways.

He also never watched the TV without staring sideways as though he was turning his head and looking out of the corner of his eyes. When he had an eye test they proved to be perfect.

More to the point, he never ever looks in my eyes or anybody else.

Over the years, what with looking after our sick parents, and other problems he has got worse.

He had a nervous breakdown in 1992 and had continuous medication for a while after. These days he has Prozac but nothing else.

His behaviour can be totally erratic at times, and hence the arguments.

Asperger's Syndrome

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The Light Suddenly Dawned. Aspergers

Its taken me all these years to realise that actually I think he has more than bipolar.

There are many people on TV or in the general public who have bipolar, but there is more to my brother. I believe that he has undiagnosed Asperger's.

Asperger's is a form of autism. But unlike the full blown autism it sometimes cannot be seen. Its only if you look closely that the signs are there.

  • He never looks me in the face or speaks to anybody without looking at the floor.
  • He can't interact with anybody or he finds it very difficult.
  • He is very intelligent in fact above and beyond the norm.
  • He will never phone anybody, I will always do it for him.
  • He doesn't know how to make friends, and really doesn't want to.
  • He has no interest in other people, or even hobbies or TV.
  • He is unable to understand nuances that people may use when speaking or gesturing.
  • Very sensitive to light, sound, and taste.
  • Bad headaches, but mostly emotional. His words.
  • And most importantly, his routine must never change.
  • Holding his head when nobody is looking and shifting from one foot to the other.

So what does this mean?

Long story short, if we go out he will always walk on the left side of the pavement nearest to the wall or houses.

His routine must be the same. If it changes in the slightest he will get confused, and sometimes become aggressive.

His house must be spotless, and everything, even in the drawers of cabinets, or cups in the cupboard must be in a certain specific order.

And he hates to be touched.

His OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) can sometimes become so bad he literally gets a terrible headache trying to stop himself from doing the repetitive action.

Mind you, saying that I tend to be like that sometimes too, so it can be a symptom of various mental illnesses.

Don't Breath On Me.

One of his main phobias is germs. He is scared to death of being breathed on by others.

If we are out shopping and somebody coughs or sneezes he will more or less run to the other end of the shop to escape them.

I understand where he is coming from in this, as I don't want to catch anything either, but his is to excess.

Rather like Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory TV Series on Television, he can be funny when he does this, and bless him he does try to turn it into a joke.

But whenever we get home, he washes his hands for at least 20 minutes.

By staying indoors he feels safe. But because of the lack of exercise by going out only occasionally he has become pale and suffers with many aches and pains.


Bipolar or Aspergers?

According to the doctor, he is Bipolar. And that's that. They won't listen when I mention the word Aspergers. According to them he should just take his tablets and get on with it.

I do believe he suffers from bipolar. He has had so much stress in his life that something definitely made him mentally worse. And with Asperger's this is not being helped by ignoring it.

His whole life and conversations literally revolve around the word stress, ill, and panic. Even the smallest thing, such as someone turning a tap on in the flat above will cause him to panic because he believes that there will be a leak, which has happened before. But has now been sorted out.

He will latch onto the smallest thing, and make it huge. For example, if he has a rash on his leg, instead of seeing the doctor he will continually talk and worry about it for weeks. But never go and see the doctor.

This is mentally draining for me. I say the same things over and over. I tell him to go and get checked out for the rash, the earache, the headache, and so on. But he never does.

And more to the point, once one illness is over, he will automatically latch onto something else straight away.

For example he recently had a bad back. But I knew when it was better because he 'found' a small sore in his gum. And so on.

Asperger's Documentary.

The Outcome.

To be honest unless the doctors admit that he has Aspergers or something like it, I don't think he will ever change.

My personal opinion is that he has both. Bipolar and Asperger's. The symptoms such as racing thoughts, and irritability sound like bipolar. But the rest, to me, sound much more like Asperger's.

All I do know is that helping him is a full time job, which I willingly do. But it can be exhausting, frustrating and so on.

For anybody going through this I would suggest talking to the Doctor yourself. And getting in touch with the Bipolar and Aspergers Webpage or helpline.

I have recently been in touch with them myself. And so far even talking to them has cleared the way to seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you know someone who has been diagnosed with bipolar and they seem to be getting worse, get another check up. Make sure that it is bipolar. I am sure that many cases are undiagnosed Asperger's. And it has been known that people who have thyroid malfunction are actually being told they have bipolar and given the wrong medicine.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Nell Rose


Nell Rose (author) from England on January 06, 2014:

Thanks so much MPG it is a strange thing with my brother, he can't see that he has problems but they really are quite bad. So I will mention it to his Doc when I see him, because I tend to go with my brother to the doctors, thanks so much for reading, nell

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on January 06, 2014:

Thanks for sharing your very personal story Nell, your brother is lucky to have such a caring sister. Two people close to me have Asperger's, and once they were diagnosed, everything fell into place for them and the people who love them. I hope your brother is diagnosed soon and receives the treatment he deserves. Medication is not the answer, understanding and love is. I wish you both luck in finding the right diagnosis.

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 04, 2014:

Hi SimpleGifts, that is so true! medication is a quick and swift thing the docs can give us, maybe a bit of love and patience is all we need, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 04, 2014:

Hi Meg, yes my brother can be like that too as well as the other symptoms, I do think its a mix of problems, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 04, 2014:

Thanks so much viking, that must have been difficult for you, knowing that something was going on but not sure what. I am glad you eventually got your right diagnosis, and yes that's such a good idea to try to get my brother to write it down, I will tell him when I see him, thanks so much!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 04, 2014:

Thanks so much Audrey, I used to argue with him, but now I just smile and realise that actually he can't help it. He still refuses to believe that he has aspergers and maybe i am wrong, but the way he is I am sure that he has it, but hey I will just accept his 'differences' and just be glad I have a lovely brother, thanks again, nell

SimpleGiftsofLove from Colorado on January 04, 2014:

Very good, thorough article Nell. It would be so much more helpful if people in this world stopped treating anyone who is different as though they don't deserve an opportunity to shine. Yes it is difficult, but love can make a huge difference. Why we spend billions of dollars on medication, instead of adjusting our lives to make room for the difference and places for assisting them in having the quality of life that every human should, should be sobering to our medical community. Excellent!

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on January 04, 2014:

Susan Boyle, the singer (SuBo) was recently diagnosed with Asperger's after many years of being thought to have "learning difficulties". I have known two people with bipolar and it is VERY draining for their families but neither of them had the symptoms you describe, which could be asperger's. The people with bipolar would often be on a "high" and they were thought to be fantastic communicators until the "slump" came with the downer.

L M Reid from Ireland on January 04, 2014:

Yes once the people in the lives of Aspergers sufferers realise the reason their loved ones act the way the do it can become a lot easier and happier environment for all those living with this condition.

Maybe you could use your brother's obsession with his health to your advantage? Ask him to write down how he feels when he is stressed out, what stresses him out and why. Also to write down how he alleviate this stress and what coping mechanisms he uses.

If he takes on the challenge as most Aspergers people would then it will help him to focus his energy towards coping better because it will be written down. As an adult female of 58 with Aspergers I find this helps me.

Of course we are all different with this condition but if your brother could do this then you and he would also have his inner thoughts, fears and coping routines written down for this so called doctor.

I also agree with other comments here, if you cannot get this one to diagnose Aspergers Syndrome seek a second opinion.

I spent over 40 years knowing I was different and feeling inadequate because of it. I realised I had AS when I was 50 and the internet gave all of us the power of knowledge. It took until few years ago to finally get the diagnosis of AS.

Do you know what it did for me. It made me realise it was not my fault the way I was growing up. I was born with this condition and had coped very well with my early life.

I believe when your brother is diagnosed he too will become proud of himself and realise he can condition himself to deal with stressful situations in his life.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on January 04, 2014:

I have a whole new respect for you Nell. How draining and frustrating this must be. You're an angel of a sister. Your patience is really being tested! This hub will help many people by what you have written. ~ Audrey

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 30, 2013:

Thanks again MInnetonka, it is easy to lose our temper, purely because we don't or can't understand exactly what they are going through or why they do those things that they do, I must admit we have had major arguments in the past, and he can be so hurtful sometimes, but now I have changed my attitude for the simple reason I now know what's wrong, and count to ten! lol! I hope you have a Wonderful New Year, and thanks.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on December 30, 2013:

Well I am sure the fact that you know how to manage your stress so well is a true blessing for your brother. You are his sisterly angel. God Bless Nell and Happy New Year.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 30, 2013:

Thanks Minnetonka, it can be hard sometimes with him and I do get annoyed and have to take a deep breath because he can be difficult but saying that I am aware of why he is like it, so we do get on really well.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on December 30, 2013:

It can get really tricky making a true diagnosis. It does sound like your brother is struggling with a few disorders. I think you have it right Nell-OCD, Aspergers and Bipolar. I feel for you and your brother for the difficulties that are brought on with these diagnosis'. You are a true sister to your brother and it's ok for you to admit you get frustrated and angry. God Bless you for sharing your story of your brother and I know it will help so many others that are struggling with mental health issues.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 28, 2013:

Hi Wiccan, thanks so much, yes it suddenly clicked! I should have seen it before, but it just didn't dawn on me, thanks so much for reading, nell

Mackenzie Sage Wright on December 28, 2013:

This is really interesting, Nell. I'm sorry about the difficulties your brother has and how it pains you; it's a shame how back when we were younger they didn't know about a lot of this stuff. The whole not looking people in the eye/not connecting is a huge red flag for the autism spectrum. I wouldn't be surprised if you were right and he has several disorders-- aspergers, bipolar, OCD, etc. A lot of times they go hand in hand.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 21, 2013:

Thanks Enlydia, I hope you have a great Christmas!

Enlydia Listener from trailer in the country on December 20, 2013:

Nice to see you again too, Nell. I was never diagnosed, but I recognize things that make me feel different. Seems harder as I get older.

I took a vacation from HP, when we moved a year ago. Things were very busy. I just came back to look, yesterday. Blessings

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 19, 2013:

Hi Enlydia! How are you? Long time no see! lol! yes that's a good point, I wasn't sure if there was any meds for it or not, that does sound right, high end Aspergers and OCD, the lights and noise totally drive him mad, I didn't realise that you had Aspergers, great to see you, nell

Enlydia Listener from trailer in the country on December 19, 2013:

Hi Nell, I am not sure if there are special meds for Aspergers, so even if they said he had it, it might not change treatment. Sounds a lot like high end Aspergers and OCD...

Sounds like it is irritating, yet mostly functional. I saw bits and pieces of me in this.

Noises, and lights overwhelm me. I also don't like making phone calls.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 15, 2013:

Hi rebecca, thanks for reading, I never realised that actually someone could have more than one disorder, I was very naïve, but now I need to tell his Doc, and if he doesn't listen I will get another one! once again, thanks!

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 15, 2013:

Hi Christy, thanks so much, he is so 'normal' to talk to, but when its just us I can definitely see that something is not quite right, thanks again, nell

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 15, 2013:

Thanks for sharing such a deeply personal story. I'll bet it helps a lot of people. It is not unusual for people to have more than one disorder. I would say you are right.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on December 15, 2013:

Thank-you Nell for sharing this story from the heart, about your brother, with the hopes to help readers. By educating us, you are helping us embrace him as we begin to truly understand the illness. Voting up and sharing.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 14, 2013:

Thanks so much beth, yes its difficult to diagnose my brother, but I am pretty sure he does have aspergers, nell

Beth Perry from Tennesee on December 13, 2013:

Nell, I am so sorry to hear of your brother's issues. And you are a very good sister to be so concerned about him. You are both in my prayers, sweetie!

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 11, 2013:

Hi Sky, thank you so much! I will take him back to the Doctors until they listen to me! And I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too, hugs, nell

skye2day from Rocky Mountains on December 10, 2013:

Precious Nell Rose. I admire your perseverance dear sister. Truly I can only imagine your frustration and that of your darling brother.

I pray that each day you are strengthened in His might and that you be led to the Doctor that will help in the treatment of your bro. (James 5:1 If any of you lacks wisdom ask and it will freely be given unto you) I love that scripture and I am so grateful for Gods promise to His Children. God can move mountains dear girl. There is nothing that El Shaddai ( Almighty God) can not do!! I am praying for you sweet nell rose. I am praying for your brother and healing. I know nothing of Asperger's. The few I have known with Bi Polar seem like they are doing well with the right medication. I truly hope you find what you are seeking precious one. I love you and I wish you a lovely and Merry Christmas. May Gods Spirit move in you and comfort you and strengthen you always. Phil 4:16 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Easy not always. God can, we can not! Matthew 6:32 Keep Going my friend. Love, Skye

shared voted

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 10, 2013:

Thanks michelle, yes that's so true, my brother is just like that, thanks so much for reading, nell

Michelle Liew from Singapore on December 09, 2013:

Those with Aspergers really must adhere strictly to everything, but are the most brilliant people I know! Thanks for sharing, Nell!

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 09, 2013:

Thanks so much MsDora, yes its difficult to convince the docs that my brother has this, but I will keep on trying to get them to agree with me, thanks so much, nell

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 09, 2013:

Nell, thank you so much for sharing your experience with your brother. I hope you have the patience to keep promoting your point about Aspergers until somebody listens. God bless you in your labor of love. All the best going forward!

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 05, 2013:

Hi Deb, thanks so much. It can be so subtle but after realising what it is then I have learned to adapt to him, for example tonight we went out to a Christmas fair, and I knew which way to take him, or where to keep away from people and so on, he won't have it, but I just know. Thanks for reading, nell

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on December 05, 2013:

I know that is so hard. I lived with a highly intelligent individual that was borderline as pie among other things, and it was quite a chore. I understand.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 05, 2013:

Hi ziyena, thanks so much for reading and sharing your story, yes it seems that doctors choose a symptom and stick to it, I am sure my brother has aspergers too. and yes those stories, lol! my brother did make me laugh one time though, he did a Sheldon Cooper (big bang theory) he was at the hospital picking up meds and went in to wash his hands, because he is so fastidious he kept them under the water for ages, then it got boiling hot, he flinched, chucked his hands up in the air and totally and utterly soaked the guy behind him! the poor man came out dripping wet! Haha!

ziyena from the Somewhere Out There on December 04, 2013:

Hello Nell .. thanks for this awesome article. Over the years, my son was diagnosed with everything under the sun, including ADHD, Bipolar, and Developmental Delay, but what it all boiled down to was Asperger Syndrome. Thank God those days of constant guessing & speculating are over ... Aspie people are a delight, and then again, they can be down right infuriating. I have 25 years of experience, and boy the stories I can tell! Voting UP

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 04, 2013:

Hi Audrey, thanks so much, yes I will try to find out more, that's if my brother wants me to, I have to respect his advice, if he is happy the way he is then I will just carry on with his opinion, but I do wish he would come with me to check, thanks for reading, nell

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 04, 2013:

Hi Nell. Good article. Bipolar disease effects so many people, and is hard on the person and the relatives. I wish they could find better medicine. My brother was bipolar. If you think he has Aspergers, don't give up on trying to get the doctors to listen. Family members can make things happen. You are a good advocate. Blessings. Audrey. Pinned and shared.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 04, 2013:

Hi Kitty, that's fascinating that your mum has bipolar and your brother has aspergers! yes I do think they are connected, either by chemicals of the brain, or a certain part of the brain affecting both, thanks so much for reading, nell

Kitty Fields from Summerland on December 03, 2013:

This was well written and very interesting, Nell. I find it extremely intriguing because my mom is bipolar and my younger brother I believe has aspergers. I wonder if there is some sort of connection there and that is why they are mistaken for each other sometimes? Thanks so much!

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 03, 2013:

Hi pras, thanks so much for reading, and great to see you!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on December 02, 2013:

Very informative hub. I had never heard about bipolar or aspergers before. Good job, Nell. You always give the best for us as your reader. Voted up (useful, interesting, awesome). Take care!


Nell Rose (author) from England on December 02, 2013:

Hi drbj, thanks so much, its true that doctors do not always get mental illness right, my brother insists on keeping the same doctor but I keep telling him to change him, but its another one of his 'has toos'! thanks for reading, nell

drbj and sherry from south Florida on December 02, 2013:

Diagnosing mental illness is not an exact science unfortunately so it is not unusual for different physicians to make different diagnoses. Your brother is fortunate to have such an intelligent and loving sister who wants to provide the best care possible for him. And I know he appreciates that even if he cannot tell you himself.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 02, 2013:

Hi denise, that's so true about the roller coaster ride, my brother bless him is fine when we go out, he does take ages to figure out his money, what he has to pay in bills etc, but I let him get on with that unless he asks for my help. the trouble is he comes across as more or less 'normal' hate that word! lol! but its when we are alone I can see his problems, thanks so much for reading, nell

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 02, 2013:

My daughter has had emotional issues since she was a child. She was diagnosed with Asperger's as an adult, and since then, has also been diagnosed with Schizzo-affective disorder (bipolar and schizophrenia mixed). I believe that most people with mental health issues have more than one diagnosis. There are so many overlapping characteristics, it depends on who they are seeing at the time, and what symptoms are readily evident, as to what diagnosis they are given. It is hard to live with someone who has mental health issues. It is like being on a roller coaster ride without being able to get off!

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 01, 2013:

Hi Jo, thanks so much, I do try to help him, and these days when he says he feels ill with a new illness whether real or not I give him sympathy but also try to point out what he really has wrong with him, for example if he thinks he has a mouth ulcer, only a little thing, but I will take a look and say, no its just whatever, it seems to help him, thanks so much for reading, nell

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on December 01, 2013:

Hi Nell, so sad to learn about your brother's condition, you've done an excellent job documenting this, I'm sure there are more families in similar situation who will benefit from this experience. Sometimes it helps to get a second opinion. I think you are an amazing sister and advocate for your brother, best wishes to you both.


Nell Rose (author) from England on December 01, 2013:

Hi Pamela, thanks so much, I think many people get mental illness wrong, the docs seem to know what they are doing, but they don't live with that person, so just see them for a few minutes and give out tablets, which is so wrong, thanks for commenting, nell

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 01, 2013:

It sounds like it's very difficult to tell one disorder from the other, and like you said it sounds like your brother may have both. I have heard other families talk about the difficulties associated with having a family member with bipolar disease or aspergers. I imagine you have to work at being patient many times and it is a shame the doctors can't get a proper diagnosis, which could help him receive better treatment. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties your all suffer, including your brother.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 30, 2013:

Hi teaches, its funny how I remember it so well, even back then I could see that he was different, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 30, 2013:

Hi Faith, thanks so much, yes I will definitely go and see someone else about him, thank you.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 30, 2013:

Thanks Alicia, its just been bugging me for years, why can I see it and they can't? thanks so much for reading, nell

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 30, 2013:

I'm sorry about the situation with your brother, Nell. It sounds like a very unpleasant situation for him and a very draining one for you. You are a kind and thoughtful sister. This hub will be very useful for people concerned about a similar problem in a family member or friend.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on November 30, 2013:

Dear Nell,

I am sorry about your brother's suffering with both disorders or diseases, well, it sounds like both to me too, and hence your suffering. Having a family member who is mentally ill is very draining on one, especially when the doctors really are of no help. I do hope the situation gets better for both you and your brother and that the doctors do recognize the Asbergers.

Blessings, Faith Reaper

Dianna Mendez on November 29, 2013:

Thanks for sharing from your personal experience. It must be so difficult to live with a family member with either disorder. Your perception as a child was so fascinating! My heart goes out to those who deal with this on a daily basis.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi mylindaelliott, thanks for reading, amazing how its a similar saying! yes that's it exactly! I will look into it more, the more that I am reading on comments the more I think I am right on this, so thanks so much, nell

mylindaelliott from Louisiana on November 29, 2013:

How useful that you figured out there was more than everyone thought. In our house we have a saying 'stop breathing my air'. With two children on the autism spectrum I learned what they meant really quickly.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Thanks Mike, I really appreciate it, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi Linda, you could be right about prozac, it does seem to affect him in other ways, I have never heard of Zoloft, I will look into it, thanks so much Linda, nell

Mike Robbers from London on November 29, 2013:

Neil i wish the best for you and your brother, thank you for sharing this one with us

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on November 29, 2013:

I feel for your brother and you! I can't imagine how mentally exhausting it is for the both of you. As you know I'm not a doc and I've never been on Prozac, but I know people who have been and they had more side effects from the drug itself then they did from their disorder. Just wondering if maybe this drug might be too strong for him. I'm with you...get a 2nd or 3rd opinion. My daughter has had OCD since she was a wee one. She lived with it for years before the doctor finally took her serious and put her on Zoloft. She also found the right therapist who helped her a lot! She no longer needs her services, but they are Facebook friends. I wish your brother the best of luck with his treatment and being correctly diagnosed, if need be. Rock on Nell! :)

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi Flourish, that's a great idea, I will check out the behavioral specialists, thanks so much for your help its great, nell

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 29, 2013:

Nell, you are such a concerned and loving sister. It's not uncommon that people have more than one disorder, just as one can have diabetes and high blood pressure at the same time. Find a doctor who will listen to you and work with you better, and seek the additional help of other behavioral specialties like clinical psychologists. They may be helpful in honing in on the source your brother's troubles. I have found that with doctors the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Best of luck to you. You are not alone as you deal with his mental illness. It is a frustrating, confusing experience loving someone who struggles with it.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi suzette, thanks so much, yes docs can be so darn stubborn! my brother isn't obviously bad, in fact if someone talks to him he sounds more or less 'normal' if theres such a thing, but its behind closed doors that I see the real person, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi alan, lol! oh yes I remember that old fashioned word too! glad to know that you are okay, and yes those docs stick to their guns don't they? thanks so much for reading, nell

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on November 29, 2013:

We had a doctor - ex-Army - whose opinion was I was destined to be a 'mongol' child (his words to my dear departed Ma). He spent more time at the gold course at Wilton Castle (near Redcar) than he did in his surgery I think.

Once a lot of doctors, usually senior in years, make their minds up it takes an earthquake to change their opinions. It's an authority thing. I'm still here and Dr MacKay probably kicked the bucket a long time ago with old age (and senility, probably).

If you think it's Aspbergers you think your brother's got, you're entitled to a second opinion - without having to fork out.

I knew someone - a Central Line driver, believe it or not - who could never look directly at anyone he spoke to. He was friendly and obliging (probably still is but his Missus never passed on any messages I left for him, probably thinking to shelter him).

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on November 29, 2013:

Nell, this is heartbreaking to read and the stubbornness of the doctors is enough to drive one mad. I feel for you Nell. I agree with your diagnosis of his problems from what you have written. I don't know a whole lot about autism or aspergers, just limited training about it as a teacher. But it sounds like classic autism to me. I have had students with these problems you mention and they were diagnosed with autism. I wish and hope for you that you are able to get the right help for him. Medication does help. What a tortured soul he must be. Taking care of him is no easy job. Just do the best you can. I know that's not much solace . But you seem to be going in he right direction. Take care and this is a wonderful article on your brother's situation.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Thanks bravewarrior, that must have been awful! my brother has never been violent, and that's another reason to think that he is not bipolar. well, maybe some of it is but not all of it, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi Paula, I think by living with my brother, or at least seeing him everyday does make me know him more than the doc, trouble is my brother can't see it because to him his actions are normal! that's a good idea about the 2nd opinion, I am going get my brother to go see someone else, thanks as always!

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi billy, thanks so much, yes I taught a young boy with autism, it is so difficult, a bit like walking on eggshells at the least some times, thanks billy, nell

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 29, 2013:

Nell, I'm no doctor but it sounds to me that your suspicions regarding your brother's condition are well-founded. I once dated a guy who was bi-polar and he was extremely violent when he went into a manic state. I had to have him arrested because he beat me for several hours one night because another man had spoken to me.

I hope you get a second opinion so your brother can get what he needs.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi DDE, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi torrilyn, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi Ruby, yes it doesn't surprise me that your grandchild is so intelligent, that's one of the main things about it isn't it? my brother can sleep for days, then stay up for days! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Thanks so much Lybrah, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi Austin, thanks so much, yes just to make him feel 'safer' would be a great bonus, thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi Jackie, lol! thanks Jackie, yes those darn docs! thanks so much as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi Jaye, that's so true, many families have at least one person who suffers a mental problem, I will talk to another doctor, and thank you.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi Mary, yes the noise can be terrible for them, I know my brother can't stand the smallest of noises, he hears things that I just don't! thanks for telling me about your niece, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi Heather, not sure to be honest, maybe counseling, I just really want my brother and the doc to admit that's what's wrong, maybe do tests if there are any for aspergers, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi Janny, great to see you! long time! lol! yes Aspergers wasn't even first diagnosed until the mid eighties I believe so I think my brother was suffering a long time before that, fascinating about your friend, and yes you see 35 years old!

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 29, 2013:

Hi sally, thanks so much for reading, yes it's a strange and not easy thing to diagnose, and I may well be wrong, but i see my brother daily so I think I know better than the doc does, thanks, nell

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on November 29, 2013:

Nell Rose - A really interesting Hub - more especially so because I know someone who has all the syptoms that you describe as being Asperger's. He is in his early twenties and is a complete drain on his mother. I really sympathize with your situation and that of your Brother. I sometimes wish Doctors would listen more carefully to families. Their opinion is key to a correct diagnosis.

Best wishes


JannyC on November 29, 2013:

Beautiful Nell. Thanks for shining a light on this. I have a close friend who couple years ago found out he had Asperger's at 35 years old.

HeatherH104 from USA on November 29, 2013:

Nell, excellent hub! I'm so sorry the doctors aren't listening to you. I'm curious, how would their treatment differ with an Aspergers diagnosis? Can you seek the Aspergers treatment without a diagnosis? I know that's a weird question, I'm just asking that if, for example, counseling is the treatment for Aspergers (I'm not saying it is, just for example) can you get counseling for him?

Your brother is very lucky to have you. You are so strong and a great advocate. I wish you the very best.


Mary McShane from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 29, 2013:

Very good hub, Nell. One of my sisters has a daughter who has Asperberger's and her school life was a living hell because of noisy classrooms and halls and just plain teasing that kids will do. In school years, medication could only do so much. She is an adult now, still on medication for Aspbergers, and Obessive Compulsive Disorder and is able to control her environment somewhat to be able to remove herself from various disturbing environments and situations. Good hub, good information.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on November 29, 2013:

Nell - It is not at all unusual for an individual to have more than one mental health disorder, or "co-occurring disorders." I know how difficult it is to watch someone you love suffer from the emotional problems of bipolar disorder, for it's in my family also. In fact, there are very few families that are not touched by some type of mental health issue.

I'm sorry your brother's doctor won't listen to you, but perhaps a different doctor will be more responsive. At any rate, your brother is fortunate to have a loving sister such as you to try to get him the proper help.

Best wishes,


Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 29, 2013:

Oh I know what it is like when doctors just will not listen. Who knows someone better than family but I think doctors are so PO'd that anyone suggest they got it wrong that they won't even think about it. Hope the helpline told you to seek further counsel. Good luck and God bless to the both of you.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on November 29, 2013:

I hope they hit upon the best treatment for your brother soon. It may not be a cure, but I know even a small sense of 'normalcy' will be a good thing.

Lybrah on November 29, 2013:

Excellent hub!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on November 29, 2013:

Nell, I can identify with your feelings, frustrations. I have a close family member who is bipolar and a grandchild who has autism. He is super intelligent. He is only interested in something scientific. The computer is his world. In a way the bipolar is easier to deal with. She has her lows and highs. When she's low she won't get out of bed, when she's manic she buys everything in site and rarely sleeps. Neither one has the OCD. I know nothing about Aspergers. Thank's for including the video. Very interesting . Hopefully in time, a better treatment will be available. Bless you and your brother..

torrilynn on November 29, 2013:

It must be extremely hard to have a brother that is bipolar and has Aspergers. Thanks for sharing your story. Best of wishes, Nell.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 29, 2013:

Just Don't Breath On Me - Living With Bipolar and Aspergers. An informative and interesting hub I have heard of this but not in this much detail. You explained in detail and to the point

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 29, 2013:

I have taught kids who had is a difficult situation at the very least; at times it can be horrendous, for the person who has it and for the family. Excellent information here Nell.

Suzie from Carson City on November 29, 2013:

Nell, Very, very interesting. You are a sweet and concerned sister and I'm sure your brother appreciates and adores you. You have obviously put much time and effort into helping and even more, you are making so much sense, you may be closer to the actual medical facts, than the Drs.

How frustrating it must be to feel the Dr. dismisses your opinion. I will admit I've been through a similar situation with a family member and ultimately convinced the person to seek a 2nd and 3rd medical opinion.

Hang in there Nell. You are doing the right thing, with the appropriate attitude..........UP+++ Shared, Tweeted, Pinned

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