Testing The Bipolar Waters

It’s kind of a big deal writing this, and I guess that’s our good old friend ‘stigma’ meddling with things. But, it’s better for me to put it out there, I’m a firm believer in honesty being the best policy.

So, my psychiatrist is considering the possibility that I have Bipolar II Disorder, formerly known as manic depression. I have periods of ‘highs’, in which I’m busy, excitable, I take too much on, have a million ideas. And then come the more drawn out ‘lows’. I’m suddenly overwhelmed by all the plans I made, I become stressed and anxious, wanting the world to go away, even wanting to kill myself.

A trial of Lithium has been suggested, a word that immediately brings Nirvana and Evanescence to mind. Nice dark, moody music. Pretty fitting. I’m beginning the process of blood tests and ECGs, to make sure I’m fit enough to even try the stuff. Testing of this kind isn’t stressful for me, but coordinating doctors visits and work and childcare is. I’m not sure how I’ll manage the anxiety.

How do I feel about a mood stabiliser? What if I become void of emotion completely? Sometimes the hypomania is productive, I tidy the house, I’m brave enough to go out. I just wish I could balance it better. Maybe that’s what the Lithium will do. Would I trade those highs to avoid the desperate lows? Hell yes.

What will a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder mean for me? More stigma? A simpler way to explain my mental health issues? Employment difficulties? My abilities as a parent questioned? I guess we’ll see.



Posted on June 23, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. All the very best and thinking positive for you with your anxiety lovely lady.

  2. There probably is some stigma to it, but there shouldn’t be. Someday I hope we have a world where mental illness is no longer a stigma, and that more people are able to have a fulfilling life despite it. Going thru a rough patch myself right now. Thinking of you.

    • Me too Sue, I think that time will come. We just need to keep talking about it.

      Sorry to read you’re struggling, sending love and peace.

      • Thank you, and sending love and peace to you also. I read your previous post too, and understand the hurt and anger that caused you to pen those words. Being a parent is hard and full of pain. Seriously full of pain. Part of my struggles right now are because it hurts me so much to see my child struggling as an adult herself. And my initial bout with depression/anxiety was post partum. But – and I know this is lame- I am often reminded of the song called “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. Had I never become a parent, I could have avoided the pain. But then I would also have missed the dance. I’m not willing to give up the dance part of being a parent and I would willingly go thru it all again. I’m not trying to say “you should feel this way too” – every persons journey is different. But I do pray you will find that Joy of being a mama again, and that you will have healing in all aspects of your being.

  3. Hypomania, like anything else that is addictive and makes you feel euphoric – should be seen as a dangerous intoxicant.

    If you view mania for what it is – a dangerous addiction – you’re a lot more likely to be able to maintain perspective and stay the course with your meds.

    Bipolar II here. A lot of the time I feel flat compared to my old days, when Hypomania was my default position a lot of the time. I get a lot more done now that I can safely bet on consistency.

    Don’t worry about side effects or being a zombie. The worst side effect comes from NOT taking meds and that is being unwell.

    A book worth getting would be An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. It’s quite short and easy to work through. It is entertaining and has specific reference to Lithium doses etc.

    There are a LOT of us on here with BPII, if you ever want to talk about anything without worrying your family/friends, fire me an e-mail through the form on http://www.thebipolarbum.com

    All the best,

    • Thank you so much for this response. I will order that book.

      Feeling less positive about it today, it’s comforting to know there’s a supportive online community.

      • There’s a necessary process of grief for your ‘normal’ life, if you want to call it that. Things may seem confusing and tumultuous at first – these feelings pass. I don’t have any reason to lie about it.

        Missing mania has been the greatest hurdle for me but the book I told you about really helped me get perspective. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never had a total psychotic break – reading about it doesn’t leave me curious about having one either. I’m glad I caught this and got on meds before I lost it.

        There are LOADS of reasons for you to be grateful for your situation, when you read a few accounts of how bad some of the others have had it you’ll see. But I’m not going to tell you that you SHOULD be grateful right now. Hearing about your Bipolarity is like you’ve won some evil lottery at first and to tell someone “Think positive” at first is like telling someone to “Think oxygen” if they’re drowning.

        Go through the grief. Get angry if you feel like. Know this though – this early stage of confusion and upset DOES come to a close and then you can start moving forward, learning about what triggers you and putting a support network in place.

        All the best,

      • Honestly, thank you so much for your comfort and guidance.

  4. Hugs. I hope you get some answers soon. X

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