You all know I'm on medication for depression. Right? I've mentioned in someone else's blog that we (my doctor and I) have been trying to figure out for years if I have Bipolar II disorder.
From the website link above: Bipolar Disorder has many variations. Bipolar II is one of them. You'll read here about those forms which do not have "mania" to make them stand out or easily recognizable. Depression is the main symptom, including especially sleeping too much, extreme fatigue, and lack of motivation. What makes bipolar depression different is the presence of something else as well. But that "something else" often does not look anything like mania: "hypomania", which you'll learn about here, can show up as huge sleep changes, irritability, agitation/anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. And finally, some people can have some bipolarity without any hypomania at all. Really. Wait a minute: isn't there concern about overdiagnosis of bipolar disorder? Yes, we'll talk about that too, after you've learned some basics.
Me again: It's really confusing and quite scary when it's first brought up, which for me was several years ago. Yes, several YEARS. If you read the information you'll understand why it takes so long to make any sort of diagnosis. Of course, I've been on anti-depressants for several years, and when I first started it I was trying to get off it in six months. Patience is required. Which sometimes I don't have a lot of.
But time has gone by, and more and more we (the team of my psychiatrist and I) have come to realize that I likely have Bipolar II. I sit here right now 'humming' and I was just about ready to smack my boss if I could reach her, which I can't because I'm at home. Thank goodness. And it's not normally like me. Last month, I was doing ten billion things a day, and not really tired.
Now, don't start with the what if's and do you really know's. Because I've gone through them for years. I'm finally comfortable with this diagnosis, or at least the possibility of this being my reality. And though I would miss the higher times, being on a medication that makes sense for me will be the best thing overall.
What I'm being put on is Lamictal. It's a scary drug in some senses, because one of the potential side effects is a rash that can kill you. No kidding. So you have to start really slowly. There's other possible side effects, of course, but many people have really good experiences with it, and I'm hoping I'll be one of them. No weight gain, get my sex drive back, etc. The other drugs for this are really no fun, and not sure what I'd do if I had to try something else. I guess I'd have to try some non-medication alternatives then...but not sure I believe in them.
So, cross your fingers for me.
Interesting: Wikipedia lists the following as treatments:
Treatments for Type 2 Bipolar:
Social rhythm therapy - Maintaining a regular daily schedule.
Interpersonal therapy - Acceptance of the illness.
Behavioral therapy - Limiting toxicants like alcohol, maintain a healthy body by exercising.
Cognitive Therapy - Relying on only positive, helpful thoughts.
Psycho Education - Learning about the disorder.
Light therapy - Light therapy used mainly for the depressive symptoms.
Family-focused therapy - The family acknowledges the disorder and helps