I am blogging today about World Mental Health Day. I have what's called Bipolar II. Bipolar II disorder (pronounced "bipolar two") is a form of mental illness. Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time. However, in bipolar II disorder, the "up" moods never reach full-on mania. The less-intense elevated moods in bipolar II disorder are called hypomanic episodes, or hypomania.
A person affected by bipolar II disorder has had at least one hypomanic episode in life. Most people with bipolar II disorder also suffer from episodes of depression. This is where the term "manic depression" comes from. In between episodes of hypomania and depression, many people with bipolar II disorder live normal lives.
I was only diagnosed with Bipolar II in 2007, but have been hospitalized, been to many doctors and counseling over the years and I have had issues with depression and hypomanic episodes since I can remember. Having Bipolar II has been very difficult for me at times, but over the last few years, with the right diagnosis and medications, I am more stable. I still have my ups and downs of course, but they're no where near as often or as bad as they use to be.
Unfortunately, I still fight the stigma of having Bipolar II. There are those who aren't interested in trying to understand the illness and don't even won't to be around you, but there are a few of those that do. My wish is that one day the stigma of mental illness will be less dominant rather than being the dominant.
If you take time to get to know those with mental illness you will find they are human beings just like you. We just may have higher ups and downs than the average person, but we are still human and deserve to be treated as such. So won't you please take the time to better understand mental illness and offer your support in what ever way you can? Now is a great time to start, after all, it's World Mental Health Day.