As someone with bipolar type II (turns out that ever since I was hospitalized, my diagnosis has been bipolar type I), I know that my symptoms are less severe than others. That’s not to say that I do not cycle or that I’m asymptomatic.
I’ve screamed at and hit my son. I’ve flipped the kitchen table and slammed doors. I’ve been psychotic and struggled with intrusive thoughts and impulses. I’ve also rapidly cycled and had mixed episodes. I realize that some of these symptoms sound pretty severe and could qualify me for a diagnosis of bipolar type I. I usually do not even state which “type” of bipolar I have, for MY mental illness is somewhat fluid.
BUT – and this is a huge BUT – I know that bipolar disorder is a spectrum disorder and that some of us have it easier than others. That is why I was not diagnosed as bipolar for decades. Hypomania looks MUCH different than full-blown mania. MUCH. Mania can be incredibly destructive. Hypomania (aside from the irritable bitchiness and rage) can result in overachievement and make one look more like a superstar than someone struggling with mental illness. In fact, my workaholism IS a symptom, but a very DIFFERENT symptom than others.
Some people’s depression and bipolar disorder does NOT respond to treatment, to medication, to ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), to CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), to mindfulness, to ANY medical, psychotherapeutic, nutritional or alternative treatment, and it is NOT their fault.
Thank you for this honest post, Zoe of Trash Diaries. It is WRONG for us to deny each other, to put each other down, to expect life to be positive all the time. In fact, there is no positive without negative. There is no light without the dark. Reality is complex.