The first type of Bipolar disorder is the one which really makes sense with the term bipolar.
Here are some of the signs & symptoms (from the National Institute of Mental Health):
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide.
About 5.7 million American adults or about 2.6 percent of the population age 18 and older in any given year,1 have bipolar disorder. It is often not recognized as an illness, and people may suffer for years before it is properly diagnosed and treated. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life.
Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly “high” and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.
Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:
Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
Excessively “high,” overly good, euphoric mood
Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
Distractibility, can’t concentrate well
Little sleep needed
Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers
A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
Increased sexual drive
Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
Denial that anything is wrong
A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.
Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include:
Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being “slowed down”
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
Restlessness or irritability
Sleeping too much, or can’t sleep
Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
A depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.
Bipolar type 2, which is what I suffer from, means you don't have the manic, or "up" times. It's just kind of a continual depressive episode, with very occasional break. If I got to choose, I would pick Bipolar type 1 because at least sometimes you feel fantastic. People with Bipolar type 1 can often achieve dynamic things during their manic phases.
Anxiety disorders are very common with people who are bipolar. I suffer from Social Anxiety disorder as well.
This has a huge impact on the people around me. My children see me down most all of the time. My husband works 60 hours a week & has to do much of the work around the house & take care of me. My parents just don't get it. They really think I should just "suck it up." It's just that they don't get it. I tried to relate bipolar to diabetes, but they think diabetes is a "real disease" and bipolar is just feeling sad.
I'm really not sure why I'm sharing this. Maybe so people will see mental illness as an illness, just like any other. A few more prayers sent my way never hurt. I'm not looking for pity or sympathy (or nasty comments, please), I'm just putting my life out there. Maybe it just helps to write about it.
I'm currently seeing a new therapist which will allow me to see a new Psychiatrist, who will hopefully find a drug combination that works with my brain chemistry.
If you're still reading this really long post, thanks. I have found wonderful friends in the blogging community, & the support I have received helps & means a lot to me.