Created by Dr. Ron Pies and Dr. Jim Phelps
It took 25 years and 5 psychiatrists for me to finally get the diagnosis that saved
my life: I have a bipolar II brain on the bipolar spectrum. The doctor who
diagnosed me correctly was dedicated to understanding the complexity of bipolar.
He used one of Dr Jim Phelps’s book Why Am I Still Depressed which includes a
simple bipolar spectrum test that was created by Dr Ron Pies. He asked:
“Did your first incident occur before age 25?”
“And do you have a family history of mood swings?”
“Yes. Both my mother and my grandfather suffered terribly. My mom called it
the cruelest disease . …”
“And when you were put on an antidepressant, did it seem to work and then stop
or make you worse?”
And with that and a few more incisive questions, it took Dr Pearlman all of fifteen
minutes to correctly diagnose what had eluded the medical world for a quarter-
century: I have a bipolar II brain on the bipolar spectrum. The medications he
prescribed as a result gave me back my life.
In response to my memoir BrainStorm: From Broken to Blessed on the Bipolar
Spectrum, many readers and listeners have asked for the test. Dr Jim Phelps, one
of the creators an expanded format of the test, generously gave me permission to
share it with you here. You can download the test – which is in the public domain,
but not to be used for profit at the link here.