What It’s Really Like To Be 22 And Living With Bipolar II Disorder
Current city you live in: Los Angeles
Occupation: Music Video Editor
What condition/ailment are you living with?:
Bipolar II Disorder
Can you give us a little background on the condition? What are the symptoms?:
Bipolar II Disorder causes extreme mood swings that are characterized by manic states or hypomanic states and depression. Manic states are usually typical of people with Bipolar I disorder, which are characterized by extremely elevated moods and hyperactivity that can actually need hospitalization. Hypomanic states are similar, but not as long or severe. These mood shifts between mania and depression can occur anywhere from several times a week to several times a year. It is different for everyone.
When were you diagnosed?:
I was actually only diagnosed two months ago.
Were you already experiencing symptoms when you were diagnosed?:
Yes. I only started seeing a psychiatrist about 4 months ago and after 2 months of consistent sessions, she says I’ve been exhibiting symptoms since I was 20 according to what I told her of my mental health history.
How does this condition affect your life?:
Now that I have been diagnosed, it actually makes a lot of sense, and in a weird way it’s relieving to know there’s a reason for why I am the way I am. I have been so depressed I can barely leave my bed for days at a time. And I have had hypomanic states where I won’t sleep for 3 days and have actually written a book in that time.
On a daily basis?:
It depends on which end of the spectrum I’m swinging on that day.
Obviously it’s scary to think that I can’t regulate my moods and emotions naturally, but it can be regulated with medication.
Does it require medication? Does the medication have side effects?:
Yes, I am taking Lithium to stabilize my moods. Not so far.
What is the hardest part of having the condition for you personally?:
Before my diagnosis it was terrifying not knowing what was wrong and why I was acting the way I was. I felt like I didn’t have control over my own mind.
How does this condition affect you differently being younger compared to those who are diagnosed when they’re older?:
Most people are actually diagnosed in their early 20’s.
What do you do personally to cope?:
I am very consistent with my medication and seeing my psychiatrist and making sure the people I love and care about understand the signs and symptoms of mental illness.