Managing the Highs and Lows of Bipolar Disorder
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2 when I was in my late twenties. The symptoms of this mental illness are severe depression and hypomania. Hypomanina is like mania but it is not as severe.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by extreme highs and lows. Bipolar disorder is treated with psychotropic medication. Usually with type 2 bipolar disorder the individual is on a mood stabilizer and maybe an anti-depressant. Psychiatrists have to be careful when prescribing medication to someone with bipolar disorder, though, because anti-depressants on their own can induce a manic state in those with bipolar disorder.
Symptoms of Hypomania
My main symptom as someone with type 2 bipolar disorder is the depression, but I also have the hypomania. Some of my symptoms of the hypomania are racing thoughts, decreased sleep, hypersexuality, overspending, inflated self esteem, and grandiosities. When I am hypomanic, I feel like I am on top of the world and can accomplish anything. And then the depression hits and I feel like shit and don’t even want to get out of bed.
Managing the Hypomania
So, how does one manage these highs and lows. Well, it is a tricky tightrope walk. When I am hypomanic, I need to be careful about how much sleep I am getting. If I am starting to spend a lot of money, I have to talk myself out of buying ridiculous things. I don’t have the hypersexuality anymore, but I used to have a lot of one-night stands and I was a player.
Symptoms of Depression
My symptoms of depression are (sometimes) suidical thoughts, crying spells, hypersomnia (oversleeping), lack of motivation, lack of interest in things, and poor concentration. Since the depression is more obvious than the hypomania, that is what usually gets treated first. For example, when I first got on medication, I was being treated for the depression only. No one knew that I suffered from hypomania as well as the depression.
Managing the Mood Swings
It is just as important to take care of the hypomania as it is to manage the depression because what goes up must come down and the further up I go, the further down I will crash. When I start to feel too good, I know I need to slow down. When I am depressed I need to do the opposite and push myself to do things.
How I Manage the Mood Swings Now
I am still trying to get a handle on my highs and lows. The minute I think I have figured out how to deal with them, they throw me for another loop and I have to almost relearn how to treat myself so I can get rid of my symptoms.
How Do You Manage Your Bipolar?
If you are bipolar, what are some things that you do to manage your highs and lows? What do you think is easier to manage the depression or the mania/hypomania?