Bipolar disorder is not something I would have ever expected to have, but when I was diagnosed three years ago, it was no surprise. I was relieved and terrified at the same time. I finally knew what was wrong with me, but I knew nothing about it.
Nothing can ever prepare you for the highs and the lows that come with bipolar disorder. I was originally diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2 with psychosis. My first diagnosis was made by a doctor at an inpatient psychiatric center. Eventually that got switched to bipolar disorder type 1, which was diagnosed by a psychiatrist that was seeing me regularly and got to understand my swings a lot better than a doctor that only knew me for 10 days.
I have spent the last three years coming to terms with my bipolar disorder. Understanding that there is nothing I can do, but try my best to manage it, not just for myself, but for family as well. I am currently in therapy and have a psychiatrist who is helping me with med management. And for the first time in my life, I have a sort of routine for my medicines. I normally hate taking my medications, but I can’t help it now. I know I need to get better. I am trying my hardest to keep on schedule.
My Bipolar Symptoms
The following symptoms I will explain are what I experience. Not all people with bipolar disorder experience all of these and there are plenty more symptoms that I don’t deal with.
Manic episodes to me can either be extremely enjoyable or extremely irritating, mostly irritating. I don’t experience hypomania as much as I experience full blown mania. I feel like when people think of mania, they think it’s like a crazy-happy type thing. It’s a lot more complex than that.
Here are the symptoms I experience during my manic episodes:
- Flight of ideas (I feel like my brain is running at the speed of light.)
- Extremely fast and loud talking
- Loss of sleep
- Overly energized
- Psychosis & Paranoia (These two coincide for me because usually the paranoia is brought on from the psychosis.)
- Easily distracted
- A need to start a bunch of projects at once
I am currently in a manic episode going on day 17. Just during this episode: I have cut my own hair. I applied and enrolled in college. I started meal planning. I have forgotten to eat multiple meals. I had to delete Amazon off my phone because I started filling my cart. I took on 19 new pen pals. I cleaned and rearranged my bedroom four times. And I will probably edit this post a million times after posting it.
Depressive episodes for me don’t normally last as long as manic episodes do. For me, it’s typically between a week or two before they start to fade away.
Here are the symptoms I experience during my depressive episodes:
- Feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness
- Excessive sleeping
- Difficult to pay attention
- Suicidal ideations
- Feeling empty
- Crying spells
I have been experiencing mixed episodes for years, but I just recently was able to decipher when I was in one. During these episodes, I experience symptoms of both manic and depressive episodes. The main ones being overly energized, impulsivity, hopelessness, suicidal ideations, self hatred, and feeling disconnected/isolated from others. I personally feel like this is the worst episode to be in because looking back on my life, I have done some dangerous things while in the middle of a mixed episode. None of the symptoms I mentioned above go well together and it honestly just calls for trouble.