Well, it’s official. My doctor has changed my diagnosis from major depressive disorder and severe anxiety to Bipolar II with anxiety. My inability to have any balance for so many years, and especially since she has been seeing me has led to a change in diagnosis. She was slow to change things, but it is clear to her now.
On one hand, I’m a little sad by this diagnosis. I’m worried about my long-term prognosis with something like this. I have no idea what to expect long-term. Will this lead to more long-term struggle?
On the other hand, I am relieved. So many years of not knowing how to just live life… of either being extremely happy or irritable to extremely depressed. I am hopeful that with the current diagnosis, I can be treated correctly and move forward with life.
I have struggled to function and be stable for so long (years and years). Now it makes so much sense.
Hopefully with the right treatment, I am on my way to a stable life. Only time will tell. I’m now praying that God will help me to make the right decisions for my treatment.
Here is what the Bipolar II diagnosis looks like (typically I’m not a fan of Wikipedia, but I feel that this has been the most accurate explanation of myself):
Summary of what Bipolar II is: Extreme ups and downs… the inability to live in between. Like that of Bipolar I, but the manic episodes are called hypomanic (not as extreme). They have shorter intervals between the depressive and hypomanic episodes.
HYPOMANIC EPISODES (just listing the ones that apply to me):
Hypomania is characterized by euphoria and/or an irritable mood. In order for an episode to qualify as hypomanic, the individual must also present three or more of the following symptoms:
- Decreased need for sleep
- Increased talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Overactivity, especially in goal-directed areas
It is important to distinguish between hypomania and mania. Mania is generally greater in severity and impairs function, sometimes leading to hospitalization. In contrast, hypomania usually increases functioning. For this reason, it is not uncommon for hypomania to go unnoticed. Often it is not until individuals are in a depressive episode that they seek treatment, and even then their history of hypomania may go undiagnosed. Even though hypomania may increase functioning, episodes need to be treated because they may precipitate a depressive episode.
It is during depressive episodes that BP-II patients often seek help. Symptoms may be syndromal. Depressive symptoms may include:
- Low energy levels
- Cessation of usual activities
- Black and white thinking
- Unrealistic pessimism
- Automatic thoughts
- Maladaptive assumptions
- Dysfunctional personal schemas
- Isolation from people
Now that I have a diagnosis that makes total sense, I am working on a treatment plan that will lead me on the road to recovery. I desire balance so much, and maybe, just maybe, it’s possible now.
I’m glad you’re getting some answers, Courtney. Praying for you, friend.