My life

Lurching from one disaster to another...just a suburban princess trying to get by!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

My B.A.D

Warning: This post contains details regarding mental health concepts.
  The information supplied is from my personal experience and should not replace professional medical advice.
Two and a half years ago, after I had my meltdown,  I was eventually diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Since that time I've done a fair bit of research, as you do, and have become more and more confused as time went on.
We all experience mood fluctuations in response to our everyday lives.  Bipolar is different in that the sufferer can experience wild swings in mood, affecting our work, family and social lives.
I was initially diagnosed as Bipolar II, typically characterised by episodes of both hypomania and depression but no manic episodes.  That's where the confusion arises, as I've experienced long periods of mania, not psychotic, but manic nonetheless. Bipolar I disorder is said to be present if one experiences episodes of mania and periods of depression.  Like me.
Also, the information online regarding my medication states it is for Bipolar I.  As I said, confusing.
I recently had a chat with my Psychiatrist about this very thing.  He told me that in Australia we have moved away from the whole Bipolar I vs II definition and now the illness is termed Bipolar Affective Disorder...same thing, different title.
He went on to tell me that the distinction between Bipolar I & II is mostly used in the US for the purposes of medical insurance.
In Australia the PBS and Medicare refer to Bipolar Affective Disorder as one condition, not distinguishing between Bipolar I and Bipolar II.
This made a huge load of sense to me,  as I used to have periods of mania...brilliant fun but destructive, depression...just awful and even mixed affective states where you have both at once...not good.  Now I know it's all one condition I'm less confused. 
Now that I am heavily medicated I don't get the mania or hypomania aspects of this illness, but I constantly have to battle the depression. 
I wish it was the other way around, life is a lot more fun with a bit of mania.

References:    Sane Australia    Black Dog Institute    Queensland Health

If you are suffering a mental illness or considering suicide,
please talk to someone, see your GP,
 call Lifeline on 13 11 44 or go to your local hospital emergency department.

If you are in physical danger please call 000 (Australia only).

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