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An interview with someone who has Bioplar II
by TeenHelp June 12th 2022, 01:04 PM

An interview with someone who has Bipolar II
Anonymous and Chantal (MsNobleEleanor)

I had the privilege to interview someone who is diagnosed with Bipolar ll and while discussing the questions we hope that it sheds some light on how Bipolar ll is challenging for someone just like it is for others facing with it today.

1) What are you diagnosed with?

I am diagnosed with Bipolar II, Borderline Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD.

2) Did you know you had Bipolar II or was it difficult to get this diagnosed?

I wasnít diagnosed with bipolar until I was about 23 or 24 years old. Before that point, I was misdiagnosed with depression. I spent about a decade untreated, and then with the wrong diagnosis. I knew that there was something else going on besides regular depression, and when I did my research bipolar fit. I asked my provider and she did a screening and I fit the criteria for Bipolar II.

3) How did you feel when you received a diagnosis of Bipolar II?

I felt relieved because I finally had an answer. My prescriber told me more about Bipolar II and some of the characteristics, and it definitely fit me. It felt good to have everything start to make sense and become clearer. It helped me understand why I did certain things or felt certain ways. It was like putting the puzzle pieces together.

4) Do you feel it's harder when you are an adult to be diagnosed with Bipolar II?[/b]

I feel like it's easier as an adult since you're over 18. Of course, misdiagnosis with depression or other conditions still can happen, but a minor is still developing. I can't say for certain, but a mental health provider may be hesitant to diagnose someone under a certain age.

One thing from my own experience that prevented me from getting diagnosed as a child/teen is my parents, since they weren't as supportive of my mental health and didn't believe anything was "wrong."

5) Can you explain what would one of your Bipolar II days looks like?

I have depressive episodes, hypomanic episodes, and mixed episodes. With depressive episodes, I can get very low. For me, these are worse than the hypomanic episodes because it makes it difficult to complete tasks like going to work or cleaning the house. I just want to sleep and I tend to isolate myself from others. Iíll start to feel like a failure or that I canít accomplish anything because I am so depressed, and then I start to believe it. Itís hard for me to practice self-compassion when I am in this state. For some reason sometimes it is harder for me to tell when I am hypomanic. I get a burst of energy and itís a lot easier for me to get things like cleaning done, but it still isnít a good feeling. One of the things I experience with my hypomania is impulsive spending, where I buy items that I donít actually need, or I could wait to get. I think that the items are going to make me happy but itís only due to the temporary rush. I get a lot of anxious energy and donít know what to do with myself to take away some of that energy, so I get fidgety and restless. My thoughts start to race but my mind is in a million places at once. Mixed episodes are a little bit of a combination of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes. This is where I seem to be a lot lately. During mixed episodes Iím more likely to experience thoughts of self-harm or suicide and am more likely to act on the thoughts of self-harm. Itís like being on both ends of the spectrum at the same time and not being sure how you feel in the moment or why youíre reacting the way you are.

6) What are coping skills or tools that help you while you are going through the symptoms?

Sometimes it is hard for me to remember to use my coping mechanisms when I am deep in an episode. I do try to do things like play games on my Switch or phone or color, and I'm trying to get more into reading lately. I am currently doing Intensive Outpatient Therapy to hopefully learn more coping skills and self-compassion.

7) What is the hardest part about living with Bipolar II?

Right now I am still working on my self-confidence and my independence. I get worried that I won't be able to get a full-time job, drive, or live far from home. I am hoping that as I go through therapy and develop the right treatment plan that I'll be able to cope better on my own, but right now it's definitely a struggle! I know that people are capable of doing anything with bipolar, so it's just a matter of getting there.

8) Earlier on you mentioned you also have diagnoses of BPD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD; how has this impacted you also having Bipolar II, and has this made it more challenging to cope?

It has made it more challenging for me to cope (or whatever word you use) because I have to work on a treatment plan that helps in all of these areas. I can't ignore one mental illness and focus on another. I find that I recognize my bipolar and anxiety symptoms the most, so I do need to work on better identifying when my other disorders are playing up.

9) Would you say there's a stigma around Bipolar Disorder?

I'd say that there's more stereotypes (I don't think this is the right word?) than anything. A lot of people throw around the word bipolar and say things like "the weather is so bipolar today" when they really mean that the weather is changing quickly. Or, they use it to describe someone having normal mood swings. Neither of those things accurately represent what bipolar is. Our moods aren't changing every second!

10) What helpful advice would you like to share to others who have Bipolar or who think they may have it?

Therapy is super important for someone with bipolar. You don't have to go through this alone and a therapist who has experience working with people who have bipolar can really help. Also develop coping mechanisms and find safe things to do for the various things you feel and experience. It can help to have plans and coping strategies set up before you have an episode so you have steps to take. Also, don't give up! It can be tough sometimes but have confidence that you can accomplish the things you set your mind to and live the life you want. This is a part of you but it doesn't have to define you.


Some more readings on Bipolar:
My experience with Bipolar 2 Disorder
The Grey Bipolar Area
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