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What it's Like to Live with Bipolar Disorder

My personal experience

By Rene PetersPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
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What it's Like to Live with Bipolar Disorder
Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash

I am definitely over simplifying this but that because it is meant to share my story, not really educate on the disorder as a whole. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by very high highs and very low lows. There are two main types, bipolar type one and bipolar type two. What you have is characterized by how long it lasts and your symptoms.

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I have been seeing a psychiatrist since I was 16. I was diagnosed with having major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder when I started to see her. After learning a little about bipolar in a college psychology class, I realized I had symptoms of both depression and hypomania at 17. I told her my thoughts about having bipolar disorder and she brushed it off. Less than a month after I turned 18, I had my first hypomanic episode.

For four nights, I did not sleep at all. During the day, while my family was gone, in a total of five days, I hooked up with five different guys. I downloaded an app and asked them if they wanted to come over. Obviously, since they were 18-23, they said yes. My thinking was so out of it that I forgot my dad had cameras outside the house. He saw one guy's car on the camera. I was kicked out for a couple nights. Luckily, I was close to my neighbor at the time and she let me sleep there until stuff settled down. After the hypomanic episode ended, I went into a deep depression, as I had many times before. I got very self destructive, hurting myself however I could and even trying to end my own life.

That led to a psychiatric emergency room visit where they actually determined I was fine to go home. Like I said, not the first time. I didn't want inpatient and I knew what I had to say to avoid it... The truth. Doctors didn't seem to realize how bad my mental health had gotten even though I had been to the psychiatric emergency room countless times.

My psychiatrist asked at my next appointment about that emergency room visit. I told her about the hypomania. Every symptom, all the bad stuff I did, how hard I crashed from it. She didn't believe me.

I was too scared to start fresh with a new therapist so I stayed with her, on the wrong type of medication, until I was 20. At that point, I started seeing an adult psychiatrist. I told him everything about my past and he immediately agreed that it was bipolar. However, he said it was type one. I knew that was wrong, as my hypomania has never lasted a week. It has always been 4-5 days, meeting criteria for type two, not type one. Eventually I stopped seeing him because I was discharged from the program he works at.

I then, at 22, started seeing the psychiatrist I have now. My first appointment was a little over an hour because there was so much in my history that I knew she wanted to hear from me. I told her everything... How I was misdiagnosed for years, even after having several hypomanic episodes, how I was then told it was type one, and so much more.

When I told her he said it was type one, she asked me how long these episodes are. I informed her that they are always 4-5 days with the same symptoms every time. She told me it is type two like I suspected for years. What I didn't know is that there's another name for it, bipolar depression.

I have been on the same mood stabilizer since I started seeing her in February 2023. It has been great at preventing hypomania until this week. I didn't see the signs until yesterday but it explains a lot of my behavior that is, for me, abnormal. The first sign that was there, that I thought nothing of, is how on Monday I wrote four pieces. I have never done that before.

treatmentstherapyCONTENT WARNINGbipolar
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About the Creator

Rene Peters

I write what I know, usually in the form of poetry. I tend to lean towards mental health, epilepsy, and loss/grieving.

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  • Kalina Bethany3 months ago

    Thank you for the courage to share your story - it's inspired me to do the same. If therapists aren't always helpful or encouraging, you can try receiving support through podcasts and YouTube videos.. it has done wonders throughout my bipolar II journey to validate my feelings as therapists and psychiatrists failed to ♥

  • David Heitz3 months ago

    It's great to be productive during manic phases, almost makes them worthwhile!

  • I wasn't always completely understanding of my ex-wife's struggles. I have done far better with my daughter, but sometimes it is still difficult to understand her choices. Thank you for sharing your journey. A good support network and positive self-care are essential. 🤗

  • James bergeron 3 months ago

    You write this so well you know im always there for you and will always listen when you need someone

  • Celia in Underland3 months ago

    I am so glad you have found a therapist who listens x A very self aware piece x Take care of you and am always around 🤍

  • Gosh I'm so sorry you were kicked out of the house. I mean, your dad was angry/upset but you were so out of it. He should have approached this in a different better way. I think what hurts more than being misdiagnosed is when they done believe what we say. I just don't know what to say. I'm so glad you're on the right medications now!

  • Mariann Carroll3 months ago

    I am glad you are self aware. It sad when we get the wrong therapist . When we get older we learn what’s best and we fight for our healthy boundaries. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope it help others who are in the same situation. I hope it empower them . This help me understand my brother’s ex girlfriend a little more .

  • Shirley Belk3 months ago

    Wishing you the best.

  • Andrea Corwin 3 months ago

    Hi, this is a well written piece and I appreciate you having the courage to share it. I hope you continue to work with first class therapists and get all the help and support you need.

  • Mother Combs3 months ago

    It's a long hard road for you, IK. I'm always here whenever you need to talk.

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