Bipolar II, Less Known But Not Less Challenging
Bipolar II is the mental health care classification a form of manic depression that isnít as well known as its ďsisterĒ disease, Bipolar I. However, even if itís not as well known, that doesnít mean that Bipolar II isnít challenging for its sufferers.
Whereas Bipolar I depression includes full-blown manias, Bipolar II has hypomanias (less than mania). Bipolar II is a form of depression that causes the sufferer to swing from extreme lows (depression) to revved up highs.
The highs of bipolar two are called a hypomanic manic episode. The symptoms of a hypomanic episode are:
--Inflated self-esteem or even grandiosity
--More talkative than usual and talking quickly
--Increase in goal-directed activity
--Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities
Hypomania is a state with which Iím very familiar. When I suffered from repeated bouts of Bipolar II disorder, I often found myself in a state of hypomania. I now have my illness managed well with nutrition and self help, so my moods donít swing up to the hypomanic highs anymore.
I canít say hypomania was a problem when I experienced it. Hypomania is essentially a very revved up state of great productivity and quickness. When I was hypomanic, I talked fast, walked fast, thought fast, worked fast, and did pretty much everything else fast. I didnít need as much sleep. I could manage multiple tasks at once with no problem. I was upbeat, enthusiastic, relentlessly optimistic and confident. Honestly, for me, hypomania was a wonderful state. Some Bipolar II sufferers, though, experience extreme agitation in hypomania.
Unfortunately for me and other Bipolar II sufferers who experience the up-side of hypomania, hypomania doesnít last. Because of the cyclical nature of Bipolar II, hypomania is always followed by a crash in mood. Hypomania always leads to a major depressive episode.
Major depressive episode is essentially just a fancy word for depression. When you have a major depressive episode, youíre severely depressed. The symptoms are the same as they are for clinical depression. These symptoms are:
--Decreased interest in life.
--Feelings of sadness, tension, or irritability.
--Loss of energy.
--Change in appetite.
--Change in sleeping patterns.
--Feeling slowed down.
--Decreased ability to make decisions.
--Lack of concentration.
--Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
--Feelings of hopelessness.
--Thoughts of suicide or death.
The major depressive episode is the downside of Bipolar II in more ways than one. Not only is it the mood downswing, itís the cost of having such great productive ups. Although you can get a lot accomplished when in the up phase of Bipolar II and you can also feel wonderful, you pay a high price for these benefits. You pay with a major depressive episode.
The downside of Bipolar II is what makes it such a painful mental disorder. Coming down off of a glorious, ecstatic high into a place of hopelessness can be devastating. Recognizing both hypomania and the downswing of a major depressive episode is key to understanding the symptoms of Bipolar II.
About the Author: Andrea Rains Waggener, author of Healthy, Wealthy & Wise--52 Life-Changing Lessons, offers depression help based on personal experience at http://www.depressionhelpishere.com