Hi. I was wondering what the symptoms are of Bipolar II? I just found out that there were different kinds of Bipolar when I was in the hospital for depression. I've read that with Bipolar II, there are more depressed times than the high times? Please let me know what the symptoms are. I'm wondering if I've been misdiagnosed for the past 10 years?
I was just diagnosed as bipolar2 a few months ago. I suffered with depression for about 15 years. Sometimes it was bad enough to make me see a doc, sometimes not, but I've had these issues since I was probably 18 or so (I'm 36 now).
This last time I went to my docs because i thought i had a thyroid or hormonal problem. For a couple weeks I was sleeping 13 hrs at a stretch every night, and could barely drag my *** out of bed even after sleeping that long. Then I'd go 3 or 4 days without any sleep at all. I wasn't tired though, lol. I was having hot flashes alot at night as well, so figured this may be hormonal or thyroid.
I went to my doc, he explained that I was "cycling". He did bloodwork just to passify me cause i didn't want to believe i had a mental illness. But after I got over the initial shock of the diagnosis and did some research it made SO much sense.
Bipolar2 is described as a less severe form of Bipolar. It typically has mostly depressive episodes, with some occaisional hypomanic episodes. The reason it is so hard to diagnose, and is often misdiagnosed as depression, is because when in a hypomanic state we don't think anything is wrong and therefore don't go to the doctors, lol. While hypomanic I feel good, energetic, I have self confidence, a decreased need for sleep. I'm very flirtatious when hypomanic, I also noticed I become a much more aggressive driver. I talk more, almost rambling, lol.
I'm sure I"ve left some stuff out so if you have any questions ask and I'll do the best I can to answer. Oh, another thing with bp's, we tend to forget things, lol. I get dates and times mixed up all the time, I have trouble remembering things (I have to write things down immediately to help with this). Also, while manic of hypomanic alot of people spend $ they typically wouldn't.
Fallen Angel has covered most of the bases, but I wanted to add one point about hypomania. Many people make the mistake of thinking that since they've never had a manic episode, they must not have bipolar disorder. However mania has more associated to it than "euphoria" and that "over-the-top: feelings. Mania is the set of symptoms that usually get people into lots of trouble -- wild spending sprees, hypersexual feelings that can result in affairs, one night stands, etc...stuff the person would not normally even think of doing; excessive drug and/or alcohol use, wild, crazy behavior and a feeling that the individual is right and everyone else in the whole world is wrong.
Hypomania however, is MUCH more common and it can present as irritability, agitation, anger, uncontrolled rage, feeling out of sorts, etc. It is not necessarily a dramatic change from the one most of us feel at one time or another -- just a bit more intense.
You might want to check out the website for NAMI. (www.nami.org) It is a national organization that has state and local chapters all over the U.S. They provide educational programs and support groups for all ages, and are an excellent source for information and referrals. On their website is a good, FACTUAL description of the various disorders as well as excellent info, including side effects on the drugs used to treat the various mental disorders. Please go there and read up on Bipolar disorder.
Not to further confuse you, but bipolar disorder is now thought of as a spectrum. In addition to bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 there is a whole group of classifications that are being lumped together as "soft bipolar disorder." There is a terrific book published in 2006 called Why am I still Depressed? Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder by Jim Phelps, M.D. You might have to look for this on one of the online book sellers, but it is a wonderful, extremely helpful book . There is a whole section of "The Consequences of a Mistaken Diagnosis."
The Bipolar Clinic at Harvard's teaching hospital now uses what they are calling a "Bipolarity Index." Rather than telling a patient you do or do not have bipolar disorder, they ask lots of questions and use testing to determine how much bipolarity you have!! They want to know where on the spectrum the individual falls....and then determine how you should be treated. I think this is the way everyone will be doing it in the near future.
If you are concerned you might have BP, I encourage you to read as much as you can, and keep asking questions and posting on this board. There are lots of terrific people on here who are generous in sharing their knowledge and experience.
The sticky at the top of the Bipolar Board called "For Newbies..." has the symptoms and differentiations.
I guess I'm Bipolar II as well.
My current doc doesn't really like to try to distinguish between mania and hypomania. He says it's all mania, it all interferes with your life, and it responds to the same treatment so why worry about the distinction. Makes sense to me.
Anyway, one thing you should know that I wish I'd known years ago. That is, hypomania/mania isn't always experienced as a good thing. Alot of us never have the euphoria and increased energy that others with BPD have. For me, mania starts with about 2 days of feeling better than usual (not euphoric, but better). After that, I can't sleep no matter what, I feel like poop from lack of sleep, I am angry, agitated, irritable, and pick fights (verbal) with everyone. I can't concentrate and I can't relax. It's as uncomfortable for me as the depression is.
I started reading up on bipolar for my son and now I'm wondering if I am also bipolar instead of just having depression ~ from fineanddandy's description, that sounds exactly like me, but I'm confused, couldn't that also be just depression, because a sign of depression can be sleeping too much OR insomnia, and then the insomnia leads to not enough sleep and feeling cruddy, crabby, irritable, etc, like you said ~ it's so hard to tell the difference between just depression and bipolar! ??? (since there are different degrees of bipolar)
Last edited by campingirl72; 10-04-2007 at 10:37 AM.
Go up a couple posts in this thread and read what I wrote about BP being a "mood spectrum" -- also I highly recommend the book I recommended. It has a lot of information you won't find anywhere else about this very topic.
Many people think they are depressed up until the point when they have their first hypomanic episode -- which may or may not be recognized for what it is.
thanks tsohl ~ I haven't had time to read past page 4 yet in the book ~ I'm sure it'll get clearer to me the more I read ~
we're going camping this weekend and it's supposed to rain all weekend, so I should have plenty of time to read then
Thanks so much all of you for your great posts! When I got on this board tonight I did happen to see the moderator's sticky. What does sticky mean? I don't remember a night where I actually got NO sleep at all. I have nights where I don't feel tired at all & I stay up until 3 a.m. or so but I do sleep. A few years ago, we had moths just horrible in our pine trees by our house. They got into the garage & in the house & I would sit up until 2 in the morning in the dark using a flashlight so they'd go to the light & then my dog would eat them. I'd do this for hours & hours. Then one night my kids came home late from a date & I was in the garage in the dark & had a drop light over a bucket of water trying to drown them. My then future daughter in law thought I was losing it right then & there! So, I think I might have a form of OCD. I do get a little paranoid sometimes when I'm real depressed. I emailed my Psychiatrist about wondering if I've been misdiagnosed all these years & he wants to talk to me about it when I go to see him in a few weeks. I will go to the suggested websites & read up on Bipolar II & try to write down a few things I do that I think may be symptoms. As far as hallucinations, when I'm near sleep I think I see things but then I realize that I must have been sleeping & write it off as that. Thanks again, everyone!!
A "sticky" is like a sticky note that stays permanently at the top of the board. Only moderators have the ability to put them there.
Originally Posted by campingirl72
... from fineanddandy's description, that sounds exactly like me, but I'm confused, couldn't that also be just depression, because a sign of depression can be sleeping too much OR insomnia...
It IS all very confusing. Really, the only way to know for sure what is going on with YOU individually is to keep some kind of a record of your moods. I've started simply graphing irritability/insomnia and depression.
I am 50 years old now so I've had alot of time to see how the cycles play out for me. And yes, I've been misdiagnosed alot along the way. Even with this last hypomanic phase, my GP called it "agitated depression". Fortunately, I know myself well enough to know that it wasn't and said "thanks, but I really need to see a psychiatrist".
Look at when you have insomnia and how it relates to your mood. Personally, I always have trouble going to sleep so that means nothing. When I am depressed, I sleep better, not worse. Waking up at 1am and not going back to sleep is always a sign of impending hypomania. Is it the first sign of hypomania or does it actually cause the hypomania? I couldn't tell ya. But, I know the end result is the same.
Unfortunately, it's a very individual thing and you have to look for your own patterns. Hope this makes sense.
thats a Great idea to keep track of my moods, sleeping, etc ~ I'm going to do that for me and my son
can I ask you guys ~ do you think it's a waste of time for me to bring my son in to a regular pediatrician to talk about this next week? we also have an appointment in 3 weeks with a psychiatrist ~ after reading a bunch of stuff on here I'm almost tempted to just cancel the pediatrician appt. and just talk to the psyc about bipolar ???
I see you haven't left for your weekend of fun in the rain yet!! My husband has to drive to Hayward today for the weekend and he'll have the rain to enjoy, too.
I think you will most likely get misinformation from your pediatrician. Research on BP + children is ongoing and the results are coming in monthly. Pdocs have trouble keeping up with it; it is doubtful that your pediatrician will have the latest information. He will more than likely be uncomfortable with the topic and will tell you that it is the current fashion and that too many kids are being diagnosed. Even if he is knowledgable it is unlikely he knows the latest prescribing information. If I were you, I would just wait until you see the pdoc.
The meds take a month to work and you can't just start and stop them; you have to be weaned off them...so I would wait until you see the pdoc. Do you know if the pdoc has experience evaluating children?
we decided this morning not to go camping, which is kind of a bummer because 1. there might not be many more weekends left for camping before it gets too cold for 8 months, lol and 2. we already had a site reserved and paid for and it's too late to get a refund, so that's $40 down the drain
but it was thundering and lightning and pouring all night and supposed to continue all weekend, so we dont really feel like going ~
anyway (sorry for rambling) that's what I was starting to think about the pediatrician too ~
I was just looking at the packet they sent me to fill out and bring in to the appt in a few weeks ~ and it says the name of who our appt is with and says its a psycologist ~ I thought it was with a psychiatrist ~ do you think I should call back and ask about that ~ I want the appt to be with someone who can prescribe meds if needed ???
I just called to check and the appt Was with a psycologist ~ the 1st opening with a psychiatrist is not until Dec. 14th so now we have to wait til then bummer!
Last edited by campingirl72; 10-05-2007 at 09:55 AM.
What???!!!??? December 14th? That's absurd. What if you try getting in to a different group of doctors?
As far as your son with a psychiatrist vs. pediatrician... My question to you would be this: are you absolutely, 100%, positive that your son needs medication? Is there any doubt in your mind? If you take your kid to a psychiatrist, it's highly unlikely that you will leave there without a prescription for him. Psychiatrists write prescriptions for psych drugs. It's what they do.
Please bear in mind that I am new to the board and don't know your son's situation, so bear with me.
If you aren't entirely clear if your son needs meds or not, then talking with a pediatrician and a psychologist might be useful.