What I Know and Don't Know About Bipolar 2 - From Experience

Marcia Purse Health Guide
  • Everyone who has bipolar disorder has their own specific problems. And while I know quite a lot about bipolar, my personal experience is limited to occasional hypomanic episodes and a ton of depressive episodes. I've never experienced mania or hypersexuality. I've never had psychotic symptoms.


    My Hypomania


    Impulse buying and financial irresponsibility are big problems for me when hypomanic - something that got much worse when I discovered I could buy things over the internet. That's just too easy. At the same time, hypomania makes me confident, decisive and focused - all good things. I get over-enthusiastic about projects, often leaving myself with a mess when the hypomania ends.

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    I had a single hypomanic episode where I felt great on just a few hours of sleep... but my body couldn't handle it and I got extremely sick at the end. I was in theater then, and finally realized that I came down sick at the end of every play's run. After the last production I was sick for three months and regretfully decided I'd have to get off the stage.


    My Depression


    Racing thoughts are a symptom of hypomania, but I've had them more during agitated depression, often to the point where I just wanted to bang my head against the wall. When depressed I can beat myself up unmercifully about being a useless slug. My sleep, without meds, is dreadful. It used to take me an hour to fall asleep, then I'd wake up again and again, and finally get up unrefreshed, tired at the start of the day.


    In my worst depressive episodes I'd become horribly indecisive and feel worthless, hopeless and guilty. I could be extremely irritable or feel paralyzed and overwhelmed.


    Knowing My Moods


    I know depression best. When I look back at hypomanic episodes, it's more like being an observer: "Yes, that sure was hypomania." It's easy to remember how I behaved and what I thought about it, but hard to remember how I felt.


    Is that "normal" for someone with bipolar? To have difficulty remembering how you really felt during one type of episode when you're not having that type? I think maybe it is. When you're absolutely confident, you can remember the fact that you have no confidence during depression, but not how it feels.


    As you can see, there are many facets of bipolar that I know from experience, but also many I don't know from the inside. That's true for all of us. It's rare, maybe impossible, for anyone to experience all the possible symptoms of bipolar disorder.


    One of the most important things I want to bring to you here is the lessons I've learned about living with Bipolar 2. Thanks for reading.

Published On: January 22, 2012