Periods of severe depression interspersed with periods of mania or hypomani (depending on if you have type I or type II). Mania is essentially the opposite of depression. Excess energy, racing thoughts, strange ideas, feeling powerful and self important and invulnerable, needing less sleep, overspending or excessive gambling are often signs of mania/hypomania. (hypomania is less severe than mania but includes some of the symptoms)
I'm Bipolar 1, but wasn't diagnosed with Bipolar until almost 4 years after I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. I didn't identify with the symptoms of Bipolar at all until almost 4 years after my MDD diagnosis until I stumbeled upon a set of articles written by a man with Schizoaffective Disorder. I have Asperger's Syndrome, so I have an inherent inability to understand or identify with my own emptions, but after reading this man's account of his own life my own made so much more sense. The real kicker was that I was in the middle of what became a 2 month period of mania.
Here is are some of the things he mentioned that really helped me identify with mania:
Spending sprees are often the result of what feels almost like diving inspiration. In my case, I spent $250 on cigars, $350 on a digital camera, and $250 on a mountain bike all in a week, despite never have been interested in such things or really having a use for them, because I KNEW they would change my life and buying them were the best things I had ever done. After the manic phase ended the cigars were smoked, the mountain bike had never been used, but I did manage to sell the camera on eBay for $20 less than I bought it for. I've done simaliar things many other times throughout the years, so now when I feel a manic phase coming on I put my check card, credit card, and check book in a lock box I keep in my closet and they stay there until it ends.
Mania can be either euphoric or dysphoric. I don't feel mine are one way or another most of the time, but this may be due to having Asperger's.
And on a personal note, if you still think you have Bipolar I would suggest going to a psychiatrist about it instead of a GP. I mentioned to my GP once that I thought the antidepressant he prescribed me was making me hypomanic and he seemed shocked and started asking questions about if I had delusions that would cause me to commit homocide or hurt someone :con I understand why he had to do it, but it made me feel like a criminal for talking to my doctor about a side effect of my medication. Psychiatrists see people with Bipolar multiple times per day, so they have no reason to be scared of them.
well, ill ask my question in this thread of you dont mind, because it's also about bipolarity.
today i went for the first time to the psychiatrist after about 25 days of paxil (that my family doctor prescribed). after a londg descussion with the psychiatrist he suggested that i might have a slight bipolar disorder, of the kind that meds ignite. i truly recognize my life as being a bit bipolar (my uncle and my grandmother are bipolar) and the paxil had definetly ignited a strong manic-depression cycles. nevertheless the paxil hasn't "lifted" my constand mood for even a bit (being taking 20mg).
the thing is that the bipolarity symptoms i feel are not the usual ones but they most fit this description of "Cyclothymic Disorder":
"Chronic fluctuating mood disturbance involving periods of hypomanic symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms. It is a milder form of bipolar disorder; the periods of both depressive and hypomanic symptoms are shorter, less severe, and do not occur with regularity. Many, but not all, people with cyclothymic disorder may ultimately develop a more severe form of bipolar disorder."
my question is, whats the chances that my ups and down are more likly to be SA symptoms or is it really a mild case of bipolarity?