My Bipolar Disorder

Some of you reading this know that I have Bipolar Disorder II. I was first diagnosed in 2004, when I had a hypomanic (a mild form of mania, marked by elation and hyperactivity) episode that caused me to stay up all night, clean obsessively, watch t.v.s in two different rooms, and spend money recklessly. Once I learned about what hypomania was, I realized that I had been experiencing it for many years. I used to have hypomanic episodes often when I traveled. I thought that my lack of sleep, hyperactivity, and high energy level was because I was staying in an unfamiliar place and was revved up because I had to speak in front of a group.

My illness has progressed over the years, and I am not the person I used to be. I have limitations today that I did not have in the past. I left my career of 14 years in 2007 and have been receiving disability ever since because I am unable to work. It has been hard to accept that things I used to do without thinking I now have difficulty with. I often have trouble being in crowds, so I don’t go to concerts, etc. very often. I am happy overall, and I have learned how to work with my limitations and recognize that I am not my illnessI have an illness. My medication needs tweaking a few times a year, and during the phase where my current medication is not working I go through a period of depression. But I have learned to view it objectively, telling myself it is just chemical, and remind myself that “this too shall pass”. I don’t allow my distorted thoughts to win out – I challenge them with facts.

I read an excellent article in the New York Times called “The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder“. It is very well-written and interesting and I could relate to a lot of it. Though my condition isn’t as severe as hers (I’m not delusional, I don’t hallucinate, etc.) I could really relate to the parts regarding grieving for our old self.

Storytelling Psychological Perception Test

Take a very interesting picture storytelling psychological perception test that has been
used to determine personality characteristics since the 1930s.  My result:  Realist.  “Based
on what you saw in these images, you are the realistic type. Some would say you are
pessimistic because you can identify the cause of many unpleasant situations, correctly
evaluate the current state of events and predict how they would turn out, based on your
practical, logical and solution-oriented thinking. Basically, you see things just as they are
and this doesn’t make you a pessimist. You can successfully accept that sometimes things
don’t go as we want them to in life and you can easily adapt to that. You’re smart and
introspective: you tend to think of more than others do and can appreciate some alone
time. You are independent and persistent, you fight for what you believe in, making you an
inspiration to others.”

Are You “Gritty”?

Are you “gritty”?  Grit determines if and how you’re able to push through challenges and be successful (in whatever you do):

A professor named Angela Duckworth, as a doctoral student, sought some way to make sense of the qualities that go beyond IQ: “People who accomplished great things, she noticed, often combined a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the obstacles and however long it might take.” (New York Times Magazine, Sept. 14, 2011). She named this quality “grit” and came up with a scale for measuring it. To find out if you are gritty, take this brief quiz and determine your result. A result of 5 is extremely gritty, a score of 1 is not gritty at all. My score was a 4.