In December (happy birthday to me) I was diagnosed with Type II Bipolar Disorder. For anyone reading this who does not know, Bipolar Type II is what I like to call ‘Bipolar Lite.’ All the taste, half the calories. Generally, a person with Bipolar II has less extreme periods of mania, called Hypomania, but just as severe periods of depression. But the funny thing about Bipolar Disorder, and really probably mental illness in general, is it manifests differently in everyone. If you have a cold, the symptoms are the same for most people – sneezing, congestion, maybe a cough, some sinus pressure. Check your symptoms off the list and boom – you’ve got a diagnosis. Bipolar is a little more complicated, and for me, I think being Bipolar II made things even more complicated.
I am still learning, little by little and day by day, about how I cycle, the symptoms I have and how to deal with them. I am suspecting I am a rapid cycler. That means my cycles last less time, as in a week or a month, versus a few months. I am suspicious of also having mixed episodes, which means periods where you have symptoms of both depression and mania/hypomania at the same time. I have had times where I am crying for no reason then in the best mood of my life ten minutes later. I also know there are times when I feel very sad and hopeless but still have a lot of energy and rapid thoughts. Again, this is all very new and I am trying to figure it out as I go. But knowing how Bipolar manifests in me is important because the more I know what to expect, the more I can catch my moods changing and be able to take necessary steps to lessen the effects.