I’m 56, female and I have bipolar 1 which was originally diagnosed as bipolar 2. It’s a mental illness that affects my moods and the way I manage my life. I was diagnosed in 2006 having previously been misdiagnosed since teenage years with bouts of major depression. Psychiatrists and psychologists I consulted did not investigate deeply enough to uncover the fact that I’d also experienced moderately manic episodes and one major episode. I did not know enough about bipolar to ask if the mania (or hypomania as it mostly was at that time) was relevant. Hopefully now, with all the information online about bipolar, things have changed and people will feel more encouraged to see a psychiatrist and seek the correct diagnosis.
I’ve also been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder traits.
After having achieved some stability on medication in my late 30s early 40s, I began to experience major episodes of both depression and hypomania again in my late 40s.
Some would say predictably I completed a psychology/sociology degree in my 30s to understand more about mental illness, behaviour, social issues, welfare and mental issues relating to the criminal justice system. I would have liked to have worked in any one of these fields but bipolar instability prevented me from doing that so I worked in other less demanding areas. I admire those who can maintain careers while having bipolar.
Currently I’m still mostly unstable with depression being predominant but with both hypomanic and mixed affective states occurring two to three times a year and two full-on manic episodes recently (thankfully short duration due to treatment).
In depression I am in the deepest, darkest hole, crawling through thick mud which threatens to engulf me. Daily life is a struggle, I live with the constant urge to self-harm and suicide is always on the agenda. In a hypomanic/manic states I bounce off walls, believe that I can achieve the impossible, attempt multiple tasks that turn into chaos, laugh hysterically at nothing, talk so fast I could beat a machine gun, can’t sleep, get jumpy, get irritable, have difficulty distinguishing reality from unreality, behave impulsively, have heightened sexuality and spend far too much. Hypomania/mania can feel great at the time but it’s exhausting and decisions made in this state are never good ones.
In my effort to achieve stability my ongoing treatment consists of regular visits to a psychiatrist who manages my medication regime and also guides me through psychotherapy. My medications are a frequently changing “cocktail”. It is not unusual for people with bipolar to take a number of medications to remain stable and there are numerous combinations. No one combination is perfect for everyone.
The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences and thoughts about bipolar disorder, about the treatment I’m having and how bipolar affects my life, the lives of those around me, and what impact it has on other life events.
Disclaimer: I’m not a mental health professional nor a scientist and the opinions stated on this site are those pertaining to my personal experience. They are not a recommendation. There are many sites online that are written by professionals and which contain validated scientific information and I encourage you to seek those out.
A MOOD CHART
This chart is a free download you can find at MOOD CHART
I keep a modified version of a Mood Chart with daily entries for my medication, sleep hours and quality, my mood on a scale of one to ten and a space for a general comment.
As well I write a journal which details activities, interactions, feelings and thoughts.