Hi Brandy. Welcome to the Bipolar board. We're glad to have you. I know I started this journey in much the same place -- sitting in the emergency room, certain I was having a heart attack at the ripe old age of 23. We're not the only ones either, by far. Panic and anxiety are the most common co-existing condition with bipolar.
I also have Bipolar II, so I'm happy to tell you about
it. And there are a few others on this board as well. There's a few websites which discuss the difference between BP I and II, and a couple of good books. The basics are more or less what your doctor already told you: The "poles" of the "bipolar" are a little closer together with BP II -- the depressions are just as awful, but the mania is called "hypomania." It isn't as frantic or, frankly, as dangerous as true mania. We're not as likely to put ourselves into truly dangerous situations when we're hypomanic. Like you described, hypomania is often irritated, angry, confused, having too much energy, but not always in a good way -- your mind races, sometimes my speech can't keep up with my thoughts, stuff like that.
The real key to bipolar though, as I understand it (and remember -- I'm no doctor, just a patient like yourself) is the extreme mood swings. Like you said: sometimes are much better than others.
I got irritated with a manager at work and I was so angry I went into his office a week ago in tears, to confront him about
a scheduling mistake. He was very kind and gentle and fixed the problem and apologized for upsetting me so much. Last night I went in to check my schedule, I saw the same manager for the first time since then. I was feeling extremely cheerful and really silly, cracking jokes. "Wow," he said, "you're in a much better mood." Yep, that's me. "I'm a girl of extreme moods," I laughed. Which is true -- he just doesn't have to know why.
Each day brings a new mood. Sort of
. And that's when I'm stable.
It's also true that SSRI antidepressants can bring on mania in bipolar patients, which is one way docs often find out that depressed people are actually bipolar. If you were feeling depressed and you started zoloft and then started feeling really fidgety and MORE anxious and irritable -- that might have set off a red light in your doc's head.
If you're not sure about
your diagnosis -- get a second opinion. It certainly can't hurt. But let me assure you that we all had to adjust to the drama of the diagnosis (I'm WHAT?!?!?!?) and once we take our treatment in our own hands we do okay.
Welcome. We have a great board here. I hope you find the support and community you're looking for.
SerafenaCo-Moderator, Bipolar ForumAsk me about my Bipolar Disorder!
Post Edited (serafena) : 10/12/2007 7:42:58 PM (GMT-6)