Still, 18 Years Later, Searching for a Diagnosis

I was diagnosed when I was 21 years old with bipolar, type 1. I had experienced the extremes of mania and depression and because of my short exposure to abnormal psychology in Psych 101 at Georgetown University, I already had a feeling what the doctor would say when she said, with self-assurance, “you are bipolar, type I.” In the months before my diagnosis, I had spent hundreds of dollars on gourmet cookies to distribute among my friends, another several hundred dollars on flower bouquets to give out, and hours of speeding north on the highways north of my house in Anchorage, Alaska.

The manias, or hypomanias, would crash into severe episodes of depression, when I would cut myself on my arms, or even put a gun in my mouth, crying and desperate, until I would collapse on the clothes in my closet, worn out and exhausted.

But now, I haven’t had a manic or hypomanic episode in almost three years. My current doctor now thinks I am bipolar, type 2. I have these agitated depressive episodes where I feel panicked and convinced that I am a horrible person. The “episodes” last about an hour or two and they are almost always triggered by my fear that I will harm my relationship with my husband, or that is something is wrong in that arena.

Are you diagnosed bipolar but have these strange agitated depressive episodes? It feels like my mind is racing but I do not have pressured speech or all the features of a mixed episode. My doctor seems to think I primarily have anxiety. But I know that I have been bipolar my whole life.

What does bipolar feel like for you? Mine is ultra, ultra-rapid, over the course of a few hours or day or two, but not like the “traditional” bipolar of up and down over months.




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