So, last spring I was diagnosed with Bipolar II. It’s like Bipolar I, but the mood swings are slightly less extreme (hypomanic instead of manic, etc.) Now, I would like to point out that I am not a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, nor have I seriously studied psychology in any way. These are simply my opinions and knowledge gained as a layperson.
I was diagnosed with depression about 3 years earlier in 2009, but the funny thing about my depression was that it would come and go, and sometimes I’d actually be really happy for a few days or a few weeks. I was on anti-depressants, and they were certainly better than not being on anything, but they never really seemed to “solve” my problems. I always figured that medicine simply wasn’t perfect and that was just the way it was going to be.
But then my psychiatrist moved out of state, so my therapist, Dr. Jill Weber gave me the name of a new psychiatrist. Her name is Dr. Deborah Pacheco and I highly recommend her. She’s in Northern Virginia in the McLean area, and she is the absolute most thorough medical/psychiatric person I have ever met in my life, and believe me I’ve been through plenty (probably 5-10). She talked to me for an hour and a half on my first visit, then had me come back and report on my life several times. After meeting with me for a few months, she said we should consider a diagnosis of Bipolar II. The words were a little shocking and somewhat scary.
I didn’t know much about Bipolar Disorder, but as I did my research, it seemed to fit me more and more. Dr. Pacheco was very kind, she walked me through it every step of the way. She changed my medication and added mood stabilizers. I am happy to report that after months of being on them, I am doing much better. She also told me not to think of it so much as “Bipolar Disorder,” but instead to think of it as more of a “cyclical depression.” Bipolar disorder sounds so severe to me that it’s hard to admit I have it, but a depression that comes and goes and gets extreme and has really high points where I get lots done is EXACTLY my personality. So to anyone who’s been diagnosed, don’t be scared! It’ll be okay. I have my ups and downs, but for the most part the mood stabilizers do their job and I am much better and more controlled for it!