I’ve recently had my mental health diagnosis changed from ‘depression’ to ‘bipolar 2’. I still haven’t decided exactly how I feel about that but there it is. I’m now a little crazier than I was before.
Bipolar 2 is a less extreme version of bipolar disorder. I found a good definition from the Mayo Clinic website:
Bipolar disorder — sometimes called manic-depressive disorder — causes mood swings that range from of the lows of depression to the highs of mania. When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood shifts may only occur only a few times a year, or as often as several times a day. In some cases, bipolar disorder causes symptoms of depression and mania at the same time.
Bipolar II disorder. Bipolar II is less severe than bipolar I. You may have an elevated mood, irritability and some changes in your functioning, but generally you can carry on with your normal daily routine. Instead of full-blown mania, you have hypomania — a less severe form of mania. In bipolar II, periods of depression typically last longer than periods of hypomania.
So, that’s ‘now’ me. It’s actually been me for quite a while, I just didn’t realize it before. Now I do and can move forward, I hope.
Mental illness is very much like getting any diagnosis… it’s scary, it’s unnerving, you go through denial or anger at it… but that doesn’t change the diagnosis. This one is hard for me because it’s ‘that one’, that’s the one person that someone knows that snapped and did something stupid or dangerous and suddenly have everyone mad at/afraid of them. I don’t want to be that person, I don’t want that disease! But I also didn’t want my allergies and definitely don’t want the asthma… just things I have to deal with. Just need to add this one to the pile of ‘who I am’.
I wouldn’t be ashamed if I had diabetes… or was short…. or had irritable bowel syndrome… Why should I be ashamed of this? Why is this disease one that people still step back and start talking very gently to you when they find out… or ask ‘What are you sad about?’ or ‘There’s nothing wrong with doing things out of the ordinary, that’s normal’. There’s no education to regular people about what’s really going on, how to really handle and talk to someone that suffers from this disease. It’s all news reports about how this person had mental illness and killed his family or robbed someone at knife point, or just snapped and drove through a crowd. They don’t put the person that drove to work, did their job, had lunch and drove home without anything going on. That’s boring, that doesn’t make people watch. But it would help those of us with some form of mental illness get through a day without getting a sideways look from someone that knows we have it. It would show that the extremes are not the normal way we react, the way we handle ourselves day to day.
My meds have been changed and that’s taking a little time to adjust to. Been over a week now and I’m better this week than I was last so that’s a step in the right direction at least. Just hoping they work, the ‘med-dance’ is not my idea of fun., but it has to be done. My dancing shoes are just old and don’t protect me so much anymore.