Lithium is the most commonly used medication to treat bipolar disorder

Bipolar II disorder is a bipolar spectrum disorder characterized by at least one episode of hypomania and at least one episode of major depression.

Hypomania is a sustained state of elevated or irritable mood that is less severe than mania and does not significantly impact quality of life. Unlike mania, hypomania is not associated with psychosis. The hypomanic episodes associated with bipolar II disorder must last for at least four days. Commonly, depressive episodes are more frequent and more intense than hypomanic episodes. Additionally, when compared to bipolar I disorder, type II presents more frequent depressive episodes and shorter intervals of well-being. The course of bipolar II disorder is more chronic and consists of more frequent cycling than the course of bipolar I disorder.Finally, bipolar II is associated with a greater risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors than bipolar I or unipolar depression.

Several studies have shown that the risk of suicide is higher in patients who suffer from Bipolar II than those who suffer from Bipolar I, and especially higher than patients who suffer from major depressive disorder. Comorbid conditions are extremely common in individuals with BP-II. In fact, individuals are twice as likely to present a comorbid disorder than not.[2]These include anxiety, eating, personality (cluster B), and substance use disorders. For bipolar II disorder, the most conservative estimate of lifetime prevalence of alcohol or other drug abuse disorders is 20%.

It blows my mind that i was finally diagnosed by my psychiatrist as being bipolar ii in jan 2016. Ive been in therapy since 2013 and went through at least two doctors, three therapists, hospitalization, and a clinically tricked out rehab for two months without ever being diagnosed. I asked my current therapist Susan if she had ever suspected and she said that yes she had been tracking my mood and discussing the possibility of bipolar with my first doctor but it was too difficult to diagnose because of my drug use. Was it withdrawl that was making me so depressed or something more severe? Ive been spending a lot of time researching bipolar ii and so much of it makes sense. My hypomanic episodes were being mistaken for highly functioning behavior. But fuck, the substance abuse, the suicidal thoughts, the excessive shopping and sleeping with random guys i met online (something incredibly uncharacteristic for me), the rapid cycling, the fact that anti depressants alone werent purely effective.

I must have been blessed to find my current psych during Outpatient, bevause he actually specializes in mood disorders… when i first met him for an intake he sort of mentioned that i might be bipolar to me offhand and i was like hmm thats an interesting thought and promptly forgot about it. It must have been 3-4 appts before i realized i kept seeing it written in my chart. It was delivered to me without any fanfare that i guess the realization did not sink in right away . I guess i was expecting some sort of serious intervention or something. But clearly that moment came and went already hah. Im so thankful to have found Lamictal. Its been a game changer medication for me. And if i miss the dose i feel unbelievably unwell. It was abruptly coming off lamictal that led me to overdose… After my first panic attack in 2013, I discovered I had an ear infection, which was making me permanently nauseous and therefore triggering anxiety i had never known before. Having something concrete and logical really helped me cope with my anxiety. Im thinking that my bipolar 2 diagnosis will function similarly in my life. I wasnt just a sad fuck up. ES breaking my heart triggered my mental illness. 

Its completely silly but I googled famous people with bipolar disorder and was pleased to find Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain as unofficially diagnosed. I dont know why i romanticize my seattle, drug fueled connection to them so much. Part of me still wishes i would die at 27 just to seal the deal but im far too stable now to truly consider the idea. If i were to relapse though, in fairly confident i could get to that place in a matter of three months. It was only a year ago that i was in some bathroom in new jersey tying my arm off and trying to shoot up for the first time. I recognize how stupid that was, but addiction is not about intelligent decisions. Just talk to my girls Demi Lovato, Carrie Fisher and Britney Spears (and lets be real, most likely Lindsay Lohan). Im pretty sure my tiny japanese veins are what saved my life. Instead i ended up with trembling hands, an impending panic attack and blood spurting out of my arm all over the floor. Tracii told me we would go home and put me in the shower to warm me up and try again, but strangely a few hours later the obsessive need had passed and instead i watched her shoot up for millionth time that day and nod out while we watched a documentary on another guy im morbidly proud to have originated in the pacific northwest: Gary Ridgeway.

These days im still very much into epic tales of murder, but i keep the addiction at bay with my NA meetings. I just got back from my Sunday afternoon group. Johnny Cash hasnt been coming in a few months. I realize his shooting schedule probably dictates his time in new york. Either way it was nice seeing him there all summer. Im reading a book about his brother called Last Night at the Viper Room. Another soul snuffed out by an speedball overdose. Why am i so fucking fixated on it?! Im very interested in watching more of his films now that im better acquainted with his life. God he was so fucking beautiful.

Speaking of other famous people in NA, i finally finished the last season of the Wire on HBO. Im tempted to start the whole thing over again. Anyways, i loved the story arc of Bubbles recovering from his heroin addiction and getting his life together. The scenes of him attending meetings were very powerful to me. I kept staring at his sponsor trying to figure out why he looked so familiar to me when it finally hit me that he was at MY meetings…. in real life! Last time i saw him was at my home group and he was celebrating an anniversary. I remember him saying that because of his job he was lucky to travel all over the world so he wasnt always around for that meeting. Funnily enough when I told my mother about the actors name she replied that he isnt an actor, but a singer/songwriter of the folk/country genre. Apparently he’s really well known and my dad is a big fan. Ha, what a bizarre twist of art imitating life imitating art.

Its nice to see the city of new york advertising Narcan/Naloxone. Can you imagine the amount of lives that could have been saved if this drug had been around thirty years ago?? Seattle just opened its first safe injecting site. I know this stuff is controversial but I am 100% for harm reduction methods. People will find a way to do it anyway, no matter the cost.

2016 Book Review

SPOILER ALERTS In no particular order….

Unsticky by Sarra Manning
I was looking for some lighthearted chick lit last year and randomly though of a YA book I read in middle school called Guitar Girl. I checked what else that author had been working on and saw that she had published quite a few adult novels in the UK. It doesnt seem like shes achieved a huge amount of success in terms of numbers, but after I picked up Unsticky, I was hooked. Perfect romantic plot with a funny depreciating female protagonist with a massively huge shopping problem. I obviously found all her issues with emotional shopping and debt completely relatable. Now if only I could find a hunky rich art dealer with amazing skills in the bedroom to create a weird pseudo escort contract with…. Finding contemporary romance fiction that I enjoy is extremely difficult because when you search for newly released books they take you straight into the cheesy Romance genre meant for horny housewives. Finding Sarra Manning is like striking gold for me.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I actually listened to this on Audible. British audiobooks tend to have this one particular voice actress that I cannot stand. I listened to Girl on a Train with this actress and hated her weird melodramatic tone so much that I wont listen to anything else she has worked on. Luckily Me Before You had a different voice actress. This is one of those best sellers that is on every front facing Barnes and Noble fixture. It was also turned into a film adaptation starring Khaleesi and Finnick Odair that I thought did the story justice. Now to be frank, this book FUCKED ME UP. I binge listened to it until like 3am trying to finish it and then spent the next two hours tossing and turning and SOBBING over the ending. The idea that quadriplegic Will falls for his caretaker Luisa, but STILL actively chooses assisted suicide was too fucking heartbreaking for my sensitive self. God I love a love tragedy so much. You gotta love him so much that you have to let him go, even if it literally destroys you. Sound familiar?

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
This had been on my to read list for ages before I finally picked up a copy. The author is a former editor at one of my favorite magazines Cosmopolitan and her fashion humor was on point. Most of the story is spent dancing around this horrific episode that occurred in the protagonists highschool years. You spend all this time laughing at the ruthless quips of Ani until all of a sudden it turns in a Gus Van Sant movie. Reese Witherspoon is producing a film adaptation of Luckist Girl Alive and my personal pic for the director would be David Fincher since he does dark & morbid with an appealing seduction that perfectly fits this story, but I know I gotta dream on. I gave my copy to my work husband Robert to read after I had finished it. Highly reccommend.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
After reading so much heave, depressing stuff I needed something kind of silly and indulgent. Outlander is 100% a bodice ripper and 100% ridiculous. I loved the fantasy + historical fiction mash up but then it got really weird in the end when her love interest was raped repeatedly by her husbands doppleganger. Their relationship was not the same after that, and neither was my view of this series. I did buy the second one to read already but honestly you arent missing anything if you skip this one. Also I didnt love the casting choices for Jamie in the Stars tv show version.

Confess by Colleen Hoover
Full transparency, I bought this because I liked the cover art. I had already read Hopeless ages ago and knew Colleen Hoover was a melodramatic romance author. Like I said before its so hard to find a book with a love story that isnt utterly absurd and poorly written!! I wanted to like this; I really did. I kept picturing Owen as Christopher Abbot in Girls which was hot, but I still couldnt get on board with this supposedly awful secret life he lived protecting his opiate addicted father. Using the social stigma of addiction as a plot device to tear this couple apart was just not believable to me. Reminder to myself to stop reading Hoovers fluff as it has already disappointed me twice.

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
The synopsis for this drew me in with the below:

On Halloween, 1991, a popular high school basketball star ventures into the woods near Battle Creek, Pennsylvania, and disappears. Three days later, he’s found with a bullet in his head and a gun in his hand—a discovery that sends tremors through this conservative community, already unnerved by growing rumors of Satanic worship in the region.

In the wake of this incident, bright but lonely Hannah Dexter is befriended by Lacey Champlain, a dark-eyed, Cobain-worshiping bad influence in lip gloss and Doc Martens.

There wasnt enough plot in this book. It was very well written but it was too much existential self questioning and not enough substance. Boo.

The Mazer Runner by James Dashner
Again, embarrassingly I picked this up because I thought the guys in the movie were really cute. But seriously, the storyline here is like a way better post apocalyptic mind fuck than Divergent or the Hunger Games. The latter of which straight ripped off the Japanese movie Battle Royale which came out 8 years prior. I also found the characters way more relatable then Katniss Everdeen (forever ruined by Jennifer Lawrence’s forced girl next door appeal). Im definitely going to read the whole series. Im not ashamed to admit I love YA. I worked for Delias for three years dammit! Im a juvenile delinquent at heart!!

The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
I cant remember if I had already posted about this on my blog pre database corruption…. I was so excited for the fourth millenium book to come out. Anything that involves my beloved Lisbeth Salander is going to get my money! The fact that this was written by someone other than the original author was definitely noticeable. But that didn’t make it bad. It still had the dry simplistic journalist style and another ‘government using technology for evil’ conspiracy plot. I really liked it! Now can we please get Rooney Mara back into her emaciated, eyebrow-less, gotchic costume?!?

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