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.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.