Even after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I often doubted the diagnosis. The reason was that my "up" periods were so rare, my depressions so frequent and so long. I thought major depressive disorder was a better diagnosis.
Later I learned something important that I want to share here: people with bipolar II spent about 10% time ill than with bipolar I, and about as much as a whopping 40% more time depressed than people with bipolar I.
Also, as I wrote about in the SharePost Bipolar II - Why Don't I Feel as Good as I Used To?, folks like me with bipolar II often tend not to come all the way back to a good stable mood between depressive episodes. This can leave us going between very depressed and feeling slightly depressed for a long time. I've experienced that often.
As far as symptoms go, there's no difference between the criteria for depressive episodes of bipolar I, bipolar II, and major depression. But having hypomanic episodes occasionally - as I do - does mean I have bipolar II and not clinical depression.
The good news - for me, anyway - is that the right mix of medications can make a difference. I've been in a good stable mood for quite some time now. It's not perfect - there are bad days now and then - but I'm content. I hope you can get there, too.
Published On: December 10, 2011
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