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Recognized Types of Bipolar Disorder

Rashmi Nemade, Ph.D. & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D., edited by Kathryn Patricelli, MA Updated: Feb 27th 2017

bipolar word collage Recognizing the different types and intensities of mood episodes, the DSM-5 (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the book that describes mental health diagnoses) has divided the diagnosis of bipolar disorder into seven basic categories. Each one is defined by a particular pattern of severity and length of manic, hypomanic or depressive symptoms that occur.

"Bipolar I Disorder" is used with patients who demonstrate full-strength manic and depressive episodes.

"Bipolar II Disorder" is used with patients who demonstrate full-strength depression, but only hypomanic episodes rather than full-strength manias.

"Cyclothymic Disorder" is used to describe patients who demonstrate repeated mood swings which are never quite severe enough to qualify as major depressive or manic episodes.

"Substance/Medication-Induced Bipolar and Related Disorder" is used when the symptoms happen during or soon after taking a substance or stopping use of a substance that is capable of producing the bipolar symptoms. You can read more about this in our section on Mental Health Conditions Similar but Distinct from Bipolar Disorder.

"Bipolar and Related Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition" is used when symptoms are produced by a medical condition (not another mental health condition).

"Other Specified Bipolar and Related Disorder" applies when symptoms cause significant distress or impairment, but do not meet the full criteria for any of the other disorders in this category. This is used when the clinician specifies the reasons that criteria are not meet (for example, not quite enough days or symptoms displayed to trigger the full diagnosis).

"Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorder" is used to describe situations where the clinician chooses not to specify the reason that the criteria for one of the other types are met or when there is not enough information available to make a more specific diagnosis.

We'll have more to say about DSM bipolar diagnoses in the chapter on diagnosis.

Length of and Changing Mood Swings

Besides the energy or intensity, the other important factor relating to bipolar mood swings has to do with how long each episode lasts, and how rapidly they change (sometimes called "periodicity"). Most of the time bipolar mood swings happen slowly over periods of weeks and months. Usually, less than four complete mood cycles occur within a given year, and each mood episode might last up to two months.

There is generally a period of relatively normal mood that occurs between mood episode extremes. However, some individuals with bipolar disorder do not experience this. Instead, they experience this period as a point in time when their mood symptoms are milder than normal (rather than being completely gone). For example, a person who is clearly between episodes might still feel low on some days or slightly manic on others.

Though less common than the longer cycling forms of bipolar disorder, a rapid-cycling type of bipolar disorder is also recognized. This specifier is used when manic, hypomanic or major depressive episodes have happened at least four times during the previous 12 months. Rapid cycling bipolar conditions are thought to occur in 20% or less of all bipolar patients.

Rapid cycling in any form of bipolar disorder tends to be associated with a poorer long-term outcomes. Those with rapid cycling bipolar disorder often have more difficulty holding their lives together than those who have bipolar disorder with longer cycles between mood episodes


Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Confused - - May 28th 2012

I am 37 years old. I think I might suffer from Bipolar. I know I suffer from depression. I don't know what to do. I have two kids and as I get older I am getting more...? IDK! As a kid I was messed with by someone, my sister made me sleep with a guy because she wanted to be with her boyfriend. So she said, she was going to lie to get me in trouble if I didn't do what she wanted. When I was young a van tried to take me, when I was riding a bike. Then at the age 18 I got in an abusive relationship and been with ever since. So it just been one thing after another. I have no one in my corner. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. SO over time I have been dealing with so much that its gotten worst. I was in a car accident from hit and run when I was 5months pregnant in 2001, Which left me disabled. It just seems like I am not happy with my life. I think my kids embarassed by me. I never let them do anything because I was so afraid of what happen to me. Im think I ran them crazy. I am not with my kids dad( the abuser) but we be around one another. Now he says I am drama, always want to start with him. I am the devil, I am this and that. I know I need help, never told anyone about my abuse kept it for years. What do I do?

Lawrence........ - - Jan 7th 2012

If she has been off of her medication for that long, then being off meds is not to blame for her reprehensible behavior and getting back on them isn\\\'t going to transform her back into a girl who is worth your time and effort. Being bipolar isn't any excuse for her behavior either. Bipolar people know the difference between right and wrong. Quite frankly, she's trash. Selfish trash. I know it hurts a lot right now. I can relate as I was hurt in a very similar fashion by someone I cared deeply about. You will get over her eventually. It may take more time than you'd like it to and there will be heartache, but you\\\'ll feel better in time. And when that time comes, you will look at her differently than you do now. Right now, your strong feelings for her are clouding your judgement and you can't see what a truly awful person she is. The day will come when you will be glad some other guy is setting himself up to be her next victim instead of you. That's how I now feel about the girl who did pretty much the same thing to me. I feel sorry for whoever she is with now and am thankful that it's not me. Women like her don't change. They do things like that to men throughout their entire lives. They don't care about anyone's feelings but their own.You're so much better off without someone like that in your life. It will be rough going for a while but you'll get through this and be stronger and wiser then before. There are much better women out there for you. Take lots of time to heal and then go find yourself a good girl! 

What to do, I'm confused... - Lawrence - Jan 6th 2012

Ok, here's my Story and Question: I met my girlfriend Aug. 28, 2006. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She is Bipolar, and for the last four years, she hasn't been on any medicine because she can't get her prescriptions renewed. Well, She has been getting very distant and just before thanksgiving of 2011 She got mad at me and call a guy she knew and left out with him. That saturday, she came back while I was at work and took most of her stuff, and now lives with him. She lied to me about where she is at, cheated on me by having sex or intercourse with him (No protection, and she told me), betrayed me by leaving. And tells me that instead of her building a friendship with him, like I was told by her, that in fact, she was building a intimate relationship with him. Now, she has found a job, and in a month will have insurance, and in another month will be level headed. Should I wait to see if in two months down the road, that she will come back? Or is there a law about taking avantage of a bipolar person? Or, should I just forget about her all together? The reason I'm asking is because I Care SO Much for her and LOVE her to the point that life doesn't mean anything to me without her and I miss her So Much. Thanks for any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions.

To Terri - Yood - Aug 25th 2010


Blessing a bajillion to you!  We need a MOVIE that teaches us your attitude and endurance. From Glass Castle to the Boy Named It to the movie Precious to the book This Much I Know Is True--

The stories of abuse and (worse) being given the WRONG relationship tools and misperceptions about society have, I think, played a part in what I want to call adaptive behavior that (my theory) accompanies bipolar--I DO WONDER how influences such as family dynamics, authority/peer messages, self perception, and related chemicals (cortisols) affect this mood disorder.

It is fascinating (to me) that psychiatry has statistics about men and women who are diagnosed as bipolar/ADHD trouble with the law, in trouble with drugs/alcohol, promiscuous or taken advantage of sexually and that many churches have fairly strong notions about mental illness and trouble with authority...

...the obvious counterpoint is that perhaps some of the shaping behaviors of a belief or self image was molded by authority figures in the family, school, church, society.

I don't want to emphasize the external influences (such as the social groups in school and adulthood who send out "oooh, untouchable" vibes) as I want to explore the sense of self-forgiveness, resetting your compass, individuation from family (and/or those who cannot dismiss or separate because of damn good compassion for family members who are stuck in a dynamic you kne since you were 2 and now understand).

That is my plot summary: How to have a spiritual faith and centeredness, to find and adhere to a presence of self, to forgive the unforgiveable, to not care a fig about social standards (even in the church--or the family--or in business). This loyalty is poetic and may be why some self-destruct -- being stuck on a family/peer/work/church vision/image/goal that does not permit consideration of other truths.

OK, I had to write that down, lest I forget. Your story cut through ALL of that and can be an encouragement for seekers. Finding a sense of self is...a gift. And a blessing. I'm so glad you did--and I'm so glad you shared.

Bipolar changed the course of my life - Apps - Jan 4th 2010

I am a survivor of all the good times and bad times; to know about my life story buzz me on my email!

daily struggle - sharon - Jan 4th 2010

I have for years had what I now know to be ADD. I've also had bouts of depression, some almost unbearable, but I always thought it was just the scattered, disorganized sharon who seldom finished anything. Just me! About four months ago a bout of depression so severe I was not sure it would ever end. I could see no light, no hope. My Dr diagnosed me with Cyclothymia. Looking back, I see risky behavior, no concern for consequences and lots of sadness. I'm the caregiver for a totally disabled 31 yr old son so I try to put up a front. Right now, can't hold a job or relationship. When the manic phase hits, I love the rush. Right now, not lovin' it. My past has lots of pain that was never worked through, just kinda stuffed down. I wonder if I had allowed myself the luxury of grief in the past, would I be here now?

seriosly!!!! - kia - Jan 3rd 2010

im not really sure how i am supposed to do this but i will try because i do really need advise, im 18 and im try to get help but no one will take me seriosly i mean refer me to storm and stuff but its not helping i will go on one over nothing at all i just moved back home with my mum after 2 years and i did calm down but i feel like im about to exploed one miniut im  hyper as any thing but not offtern im like it then im  about to kill some one im not sure what im supposed to do i dont want to leave the house but then for some reason i feel like i have to then i will loose my mind i really need some one to take me seriouse because i cant handle my self any more its bin going on for to long now.

England - confused Laura - Jan 2nd 2010

I'v been told i have Hypomania Bipolar! I'm up one second then i'm down! Hyper and happy, depressed and lonely! Ruining my marriage,driving my children batty. I have no sense of danger, never really did,Family think i can cope with all life has to throw at me....I can't..But they never see that side of me..They just see unreasonable behaviour as they put it, If i'm upset they say i'm over reacting, if im not smiling im miserable! so i cant tell them this as the response would be get over yourself! No-one understands, im tired of trying to be calm and happy, I question myself everyday,"Am i being reasonable? Am i overreacting, My head hurts often as a result, I don't like the negative thoughts i have as my children are my world and i love them dearly, i don't want to do anything stupid. I feel im not liked very much by family and friends or maybe its just how i feel about myself thats clouds my judgement! I'm saying sorry on a daily basis to my husband who quite clearly is stressed out by my unruley personality and who can blame him..I refuse to pop the pills they offer and continue to fight good guy/bad guy in my head..Im a believer the good shall conqure all....As im tired of battle of wills! I just had to put this down in words as people listen but don't often hear so well... Thank you

it can be hard - ?????? - Nov 16th 2009

i am another 32yr old mum who has bipolar disorder i have suffered with this for the past 6 yrs now and i hate it  most times i feel ok then you know the other part but my problem is i tell my cpn n doctors n people who try and help me  AM FINE !!!! just so they will leave me alone , which is the wrong thing to do i know but being on my own all day i the way i want it i have nobody to see my moods everybodys at work and school.none of my family gets the rough endof them if there not in.

bipolar 2 mum with autistic daughter - caz - Apr 25th 2009

Hello! I am 32 and have Bipolar 2, noticeable symptoms since at least 15 years of age, but was not diagnosed until 31 years of age thanks to a break up in my marriage. Very hard to convince doctors that there was something wrong! lol! Lucky I now have a very caring doctor here in Australia who tells me off if I forget to make an appearance every so often for my lithium blood tests etc, and a woman therapist who finally saw through my smiles and giggles and cheerfulness and realised there was something seriously wrong.... she came with me to a suicide prevention part of the hospital after she realised that I had changed my funeral insurance details to cover my daughter ready for when I finally killed myself. If she hadn't come with me, the psychiatrist wouldn't have taken my symptoms seriously as usual. lol. I have noticed there are a few BP parents with special needs kids in here, but was wondering if there are any who have to try and raise an autistic child? I have a beautiful 7 year old autistic daughter and would love to keep in touch with someone in the same position. Sometimes I feel I don't do enough for my little one. Bit hard to raise a child who is in her own world and can't tell me how she feels when I'm also disappearing into my own world from time to time! Wish sometimes that her life could be a little more stable....she deserves so much more! But when I hit my severe depressions, I just can't seem to rouse myself to spend the quality time I need to with her. Just want to know if it's just me or not......Anyway, to everyone else, I just want to say thanks for putting your feelings out there. Yes a lot of it may sound depressing (and I'm hoping the few who said they wanted to kill themselves decided to make it for another day...), you help the rest of us out there to understand that what we feel is 'normal' as bipolars of every type. That we aren't as crazy, lazy or stupid as we thought and that we are definately not alone. We are all part of one giant exclusive and interesting club! We have character and we are definately not boring people!I stick with this when I remember to........but a good friend of mine told me  FIGHT ONE BATTLE AT A TIME AND TAKE EACH DAY AT A TIME.

Just me and mine. - Mr. Barksdale - Mar 18th 2009

I am a 30 ear old mother of two special needs son's, and a wife.  I was diagnosed with BPD about a year and a half ago.  My husband is much older than I am and unemployed.  He has a bad back and everyone knows how Social Security is.  I am unemployed because of so many reasons.  I have had a number of jobs and I have much training and experienc in many fields.  I have been a correctional officer, wattries, gas station attendent, grocery store cashier, fast food cook and cashier, home helath aide, I have even been a supervisor at a casual dinning resturnate.  Yet I have been out of work since August of 2007.  It is crazy I have up and had a bad day and it overwhelmed me so bad that I just quit.  If I am not mistaken I have bee diagosed with NOS bipolar, the one where you do not fit into the guidlines of the other types.  Sometimes I have moments where I will start to cry for no reason at all, at a stop light or sign, I have thoughts of loosing my mind completly and permantly and it scares the %^&* out of me.  Sometimes I feel so good and energentic that I will be doing 5 diffrent things at one time, litterally. This is all in the same day. 

I had to have an emergency c-section in 2003 because I went into premeture labor with twins a boy and girl.  When I woke up the doctor took me to the NICU, where I held my daughter in my arms as she passed away.  They took me back to my room, about an hour later they can back and got me because my son was not doing so good.  So I held him as he was slowly passing away.  Unfortuantly he was sufucating so the doctor 'put him out of his misery', by putting something on a cloth and putting it over his face, he died in my arms while all of this was going on.  It took a toll on me and I sort of 'dropped my basket' so to speak.  I have always been bi polar and what happened with the twins just pussed it over the top.  I still struggle everyday.  I have more down days than up.  When I was a suppervisor, I was doing ok, I was buying a truck, a house and my kids and I were doing ok.  (this was before my husband). 

Now I am still struggling everyday jus to hold on.  I am in College into my second year, I am going for my Master's.  Yet everday is a fight.  My kids are doing ok and my husband I are doing the balancing act.  Things are not as bad as they once was, so therefore I can only hope that they will get better.  I just had this on my chest and wanted to share with everyone, wish you all the best and jsut keep fighting.

I understand - - Jan 14th 2008

As strange as this sounds, I got diagnosed with rapid cycling bi polar three years ago and had no idea what that meant. I mean i knew what bi polar was; as three people in my family have it, I just didnt know what my psychiatrist meant by "rapid cycling" because no one else in my family had that...I understand it better now.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life - Lori - Sep 19th 2007

After 15 years of medications and 25 years of depression, I finally have a diagnosis. Bipolar I.

Regular doctors just don't get our concerns. I think more needs to be done at the primary care level to help patients like us get the proper professional help. Depression patients are not apt to seek help, so they must be able to recognize our meds don't work.  

I am not cured by any means. It will take months (hopefully, versus years) to get the medications right for my exact condition, but I now have hope thanks to a counselor who I could finally talk to.

Don't stop searching when things don't feel right. There are so many options, it just takes some time. Look to others for support (although I know how hard that is to do).

For the first time in my life I feel optimistic. Here's to the future! :)

sinking down the drain.... - ben - Sep 15th 2007

 I am 30 and my situation is exactly like Shane, who wrote on March 2007. I can't hold up a decent job because when I am in an ok "spectrum", I will function very well but then, it will go to the end of the "spectrum" which is sudden out-of-control reflex and suddenly I can't concentrate(the feelings is always like you're drowning under a huge waterfalls. You tried to keep surfacing but being forced down by the current of heavy water that falls thus pushing you down below). It is really bad when concentration is lost and then the other side of spectrum emerges. That dark feelings that resulted in difficulty for me to go through the normal things in life. The despair, anxiety and most days I feel like is it worth living when all your friends had gone, no one could make out what it is that makes my mood and personality swings like a haunted carousel. I am so tired of taking medicines since I'm 20. Sometimes I just let the bitter, uncoated pills melted in my mouth because I'm just tired of going from sunny sunshine and then dark cold winter in a swift, fast-paced mode in less than weeks. I am thinking of killing me. What's the use as everyone who is "normal" will also die sooner or later. As in my case, I just wanted to end all of this because I hate being afraid, I hate that un-easy un-happy beats of my pulse. I am just TIRED.

I have 3 bipolar adult children - Jane F - Aug 31st 2007
I have 3 children who are bipolar, and mixed in are a few other diagnosis as well. I am not sure which category my oldest falls in...but he also exhibits and was diagnosed with scizophrenic tendencies. My middle one does a bit better, he holds it together for a year usually, then goes into a terrible manic phase where he sells drugs, uses drugs, gets abusive to his wife, loses jobs, and is totally out of control. My youngest is the worst of all. She cycles sometimes more than once a day! With all 3 promiscuity is common, drug abuse as well. My youngest is on disability now. I am raising a grandaughter because of my youngest childs inability to do so. She however has a husband (not diagnosed), that seems to act the same way as my kids! Tells me something I don't need a diagnosis for. He also abuses drugs and cycles about once a year. His cycle is severe, almost causing death from drugs. He is now unemployed...just up and quit, doing drugs, wrecking the uninsured car they have etc. I am just about at my wits end here. My oldest son says he thinks I am bipolar, but when I have gone for testing, in patient as well as counseling for well over a year...they said no, just depressed from issues with ex-husband and kids. My ex-husband was diagnosed 2 times, once it said psychopathic tendencies (spelling), and this last one 3 years ago said bipolar disorder. He has cycles that vary. He did do about once a year, sometimes he is worse than others. His got to the point of extreme crack cocaine addiction, stealing for the habit, no job etc. He has since gone to rehab (2 years ago). Now suddenly calling people to locate pot, for someone else to use of course...not his own use. Yeah right. I really have no support on this issue. I have no friends that can really understand my kids issues. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am beginning to feel depressed, sleep problems, anxious, and I am going through the change on top of that! I also have a mother in law who is 81, and has alzheimers, but is living alone because the power of atty is an idiot! Please help! Thanks so much.

my 08/25/07 reply - Terri - Aug 26th 2007
I realize that the comment I made became an angry and if I offended anyone I apologize. It was not my intention to be grandiose. I still believe that the necessity of stuffing my feelings, my clumsy problem solving skills, were the cause of my sudden and frequent outbursts. Aside from treatment of my bipolar condition I have to address my 'self will run riot' as well. This site has been a help to me. I once posed a question to Dr. Schwart and received a respectful reply. I have discovered another site addressing difficulties in family dynamics. If you are interested see -

Hazel and others - Terri - Aug 25th 2007

My onset was at 16 years. This disorder is latent and with great stress and abuse, not knowing how or taught how to cope with intense life stress, I 'cracked' under pressure. It was a joke to my family. My brother had lied about and stolen from me, my sisters repeatedly told me they hated me for causing so much trouble and I endured pinching, slapping and beatings in the middle of the night after being pulled from my bed while in deep sleep. Not one, but many times. It always preceeded a beating. As a female I was introduced to people as the eldest son. I was hit and demeaned in public. I was emotional, temperamental, etc. Dating was out, friends were out, I was a literal prisoner in my parents home. I was a good and caring person, they took advantage of that. I did poorly in school and had no friends (they thought I was strange, I WAS STRANGE) but when I left that hell-hole and found work, I was repeatedly given promotions and raises because of the quality of my work. The bosses appreciated me, my peers did not. My mouth, however, rambled on and on...I was called crazy. I WAS CRAZY!!! I was crazy from having sick people attempt to 'normalize' me, force me to fit into their mold and use me to get what they needed. I was disposable junk to them. In therapy at 37 I found my anger, etc. was a friend to a point. I was attempting to stand up for and defend myself with people who had no boundaries. But, I needed to tone it down. I began treatment in March of 1992. At my first appt. my doctor asked me what I thought about being bipolar. I said I felt I was not the crazy one, but the world I lived in was a schizophrenic nightmare. I'm talking about the outer world. I asked him if that was a crazy idea. He said "No it isn't. It is one of the most intelligent statements I have heard come from a client." I had merely adapted the best I knew how. After having reunited with my family last Dec.,( due to my Fathers failing health) and not following their commands, I received a call yesterday telling me they had divorced me. Thank God they had done what I wanted to do but felt guilty about doing. It was the same pattern over again. I WAS THE FAULT. I promptly arranged an unpublished tel. #. My family is in Tn. I am in CA. The mountain range between our respective homes is a God-send. I don't try to influence anyone to split from family or marriage but, I will say that if anyone is abusing me I'm outta there. Since 1992 I have been able to look back over family history and have seen my Father was bipolar and uncontrollable, my Mother is a guilt-tripping, manipulating depressive who only accepts people who buy her out. My brother (a drug counselor) and sister (in the medical field) are like me, recovering alcoholics, but refuse to get medical help. My youngest sister is mean-spirited, a practicing drunk with a sleep-disorder. They think they are 'Normal'. With my Father on his deathbed last Dec. We made amends and held hands constantly. We could finally express the love and admiration we had for each other and to forgive each other for our sins. It was the best gift I have ever gotten from a family member. My Father told me to get out of the family situation and take care of myself. After years of his being in deep depression I had begged my mother to tell his doctor so he could be treated. She claimed she did. However, I found she ignored my plea because she "was not going to air the family laundry in public." My younger sister is succeeding in lobbying with my mother to have us cut from my Fathers will. I am writing a letter to their attorney to delete my name from the will. I had my Father back, I do not need things. Naturally, I'm not around so the blame and lies have filtered back to me and in essence they resent that I have my own life. I'm 21 years sober, have finally found the right meds., I isolate, I have attended art school using the creative ability that blossomed after my breakdown. My clothing designs, art pieces (they are in 'collections') help me tremendously, I read voraciously and can understand what I read (I WAS also ADD). I take exceptional care of myself and don't give a rats patoot what anyone thinks of me now. What matters is that I have learned that I deserve love and it needs to begin with me. I exorcised my self-hatred.  My behavior changed...I accept my illness because it has finally become my friend. I found I have a high I.Q. and am currently teaching myself the French language via a good book and listening to French interviews on the computer. Friends are helping me with it. I set goals and stick with is not my place to baby-sit ungrateful people who are in the throes of selfishness and think I should sacrifice my sanity for their insanity. I say "NO" to anything that feels fishy. I have a therapist and doctor who truly care about and understand me. They are ALWAYS there for me. Despite having had a lucrative and successful career in the music business, I had to put my ego aside, get SSDI, apply for food stamps, shop with coupons, get my own apartment with the help of a housing dept. and I find many creative, honest ways to get what I need. I budget. It is such a challenge. I have two best friends who are Blue Ribbon Prizes. I have to pinch myself from disbelief that anyone could see me as anything other than a mess and a problem. In closing please know you are valuable, worth being loved and that your illness can be the touchstone for a new, successful life. If you have a doctor who refuses to give you the meds you need...THEY AREN'T WORTH YOUR TIME...FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR WHO WILL LISTEN TO YOU AND ASSIST IN HELPING YOU TO BE COURAGEOUS AND CREATE A BRAND NEW LIFE FOR YOURSELF. Always remember that "no's" often give us the gift of patience. Things do get better, you just have to work for them and as with me, success has come slowly. I could not survive another 'life in the fast lane." Another thing...we bipolars are 'famous' for being highly intelligent.
We just need to learn common sense. Love to all of you, my sisters and brothers. Terri

I`m really desperate. Please help ! - Hazel Caruana - Aug 10th 2007

Hi. I´m Hazel. Diagnosed as BPD, but am sure my symptons are more Bi-Polar. My mood swings are horrendous, without warning or reason and therefore un-predictable. I am unbearable to live with most of the time. When I feel bad I withdraw, sometimes almost completely. Don`t answer the `pnone, or the house door, don`t see people and drive around inmy car for hours on end. I am most of the time irritable, with a great fury that I can`t explain. I have times when I`m manic and communicate with my husband only in sung rhyme. How crazy is tha ? Most people think I`m totally doo-lally, which I guess I am. I flip-out and lose control very easily. I self-injure `cos I hate myself so much. All of the time I want simply to die. In addition, am often suicidal. Have tried desperately to persuade my Physchiatrist to prescribe me Lithium. No luck there ! Thre is absolutely no quality of life with this vile and cruel illness and I hate it. Living in Germany there are no self-help groups, so afew emails from you wonderful people who I have read about would be so welcome.




Long-term Bipolar Survivor - Stormy - Jul 12th 2007
I am a 43 yeyear survivor of BPD. My  main problem is with treatment-resistant depression.  You may see my life history at


Wow. reading the coments is depressing - Liza - Jun 24th 2007

I want to meet succesfull bi-polar people to find out how they did it, because I only know people who's lives are down the drain.

Rapid cycling bipolar - Shane - May 24th 2007

I'm 31 and have been suffering from depression for about 15 years. I had to drop out of uni due to it and I'm currently unable to hold down a job which frustrates me cause when I'm ok I put my all into what ever I do and I know I could be places now only for this demon. I've been diagnosed as having Rapid cycling Bipolar and have been on more treatments than I care to remember and none of them have worked, in fact some have made me worse. I could feel ' normal ' for an hour then sink into a black hole for the rest of the day or week. My hyper states can last for days or sometimes weeks then 'normal for months. There is no pattern to it and at the moment I'm going out of my mind and have been feeling suicidal for weeks now. Today I can't even leave the house to cross the road to the shop. I'm so lost and there is so little help here, waiting lists to see anyone is down right stupid, up to six months sometimes.  I've lost friends due to it  and I'm unable to stay in any steady relationship because the other person just can't deal with it or I end it before they find out. I was with someone I loved very much for almost two years and she put up with so much, she was a rock but she finaly ended it and I blame it on my mental health. the ending of that made me even worse. What are folk like us meant to do? Please do write comments back.

confused. - LJ - May 2nd 2007

I was diagnosed with major depression 2 months ago.  But my friend, who's mother is Bipolar doesn't think I am... as I go through many moods.  At the minute I'm constantly hyper and can't sit still, I'm annoying most of my friends because they keep saying I'm talking too much and not finishing what I'm talking about because halfway through I start talking about something else or I get distracted by something. I keep getting into trouble at work because I can't concentrate.   This has been going on for about 3-4 weeks now.
Before that though for 5 or so months, I was really slow and lethargic I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed... I just wanted my bed to swallow me whole.  I constantly felt suicidal.  Everything that went wrong in mine, or family members lives I blamed on myself.
All last summer I was really irritable and angry all the time.  Nothing anyone did was right, I could shout and abuse my friends and family for hours and hours on end.  But then again I can feel 'normal' as my friends put it, when I'm back to 'same old LJ'

My mum's friend has noticed this in my from me being 14/15 years old, and thinks I should go back to my doctor as she thinks I'm Bipolar. 
I don't know what to think because all this is just normal for me.

Confused - Sandy - Feb 5th 2007
I'm 55 and have suffered from major depression for the last 2 years.  I have also had two episodes of mania and rapid mood cycles within this time.  I've tried more medications than I can count on my fingers and though I'm better than I was, I can't seem to stabilize.  I'm out of work due to the severity of my condition and currently on social security disability (which is tough to exist on). Every day I wake up and wonder whether I'll be up or down.  Some days I just flat.  I've taken an overdose of clonazapam and cut my wrist and arm quite deep requiring medical attention.  It is very difficult to have a stretch of happy days only to crash into a tearful hopeless state.  I'm working with a terrific Psychiatrist and Psycotherapist but normalcy alludes me.  Help! Can anyone relate?

Contact the DBSA - Bi-Polar and LIVING - Jan 28th 2007

Bi-polar is a medical condition that can be helped through medication and therapy but it is a life long condition that affects mostly women. I have been living with this since I was in my teens and went underdiagnoised for YEARS, which only made it worse. My best advice is that you contact the DBSA( Depression and Bi-Polar support Association) in your area and go to the support groups offered. If there isn't one in your area Find someone to help you start one. That's what we did and we had no idea how much it would help us!! I think that the best way to help yourself is to join a Peer Led suppoet group, where you can find people who understand what is going on. Good Luck!

Editor's Note: Actually, it is unipolar depression that affects women more often than men. Bipolar disorder affects men and women roughly at equal rates.


is anyone listening? - - Jan 24th 2007
didn't see replies to the above comments. sure hope someone is replying though... just been diagnosed with Bi-polar II and, ironically, I'm happy and sad at that: happy that i've found an answer to my behaviour; sad that this is a life-long battle. am now having depression and this is affecting me badly at work. how do u guys cope with it at work? socially, i'm fine - if you can consider sleeping at home all day, "fine". it's work that I'm concerned about..

Hope - terri - Jan 16th 2007
Tracy, I am a person with bi-polar disorder,,Type II, I don't know how long you have been dealing with this. I was "diagnosed" 13 years ago. What I can tell you from my experience is that I felt very discouraged, lost jobs, began to isolate, didn't know where I started and the medicine began,,frustrated..the overwhelmed..the whole gamit..I had to walk thru that and over a period of time, sought out an excellent psychiatrist who is progressive, knowledgeable about medication that would work! and if one didn't, we would try another. Sometimes it takes a while to get this figured out..I made the mistake of going to one doctor for a long long time..not always a good idea. As for the other option,,I don't really know a whole lot about it. I would think most doctors would be hesitant to take such a step..I was offerred shock therapy at one time. I DON't think so! I would suggest that you learn as much as YOU can about this disorder as a DOCTOR can't help empower you with all the strength, knowledge, and experience that you need. Take heart, this will get better..there are a lot of chat rooms where others have insight. of all kinds. You are not alone. Peace Terri

I need help... - Tracey - Jan 15th 2007
I am suffering from Bipolar Disorder or manic depression and I am in need of severe help from a true professional. I have been on several different medications but I have found none to have worked and I have given them all time to work, but they haven't. I have also seen councellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, even been admitted to a Mental Health Unit, which didn't really help much either. I feel like I am at my witt's end, and I am very suicidal most of the time. I have no energy, have lost alot of friends, and can't seem to hold down a job. I have researched into ECT and I am thinking of talking to my doctor about having this done, but I am afraid they he will decline it. I don't know what else I can do for myself or where else to get help...please help me.

How do I get the help I need !!!!!!!! - Denise - Jan 14th 2007
I have Bipolar Disorder i do not work I am on Medicade with Humana I have seen some doctors they tell me take this medication I have also gained a lot of wight. Also I went to a massage therapy school but can't get a licence to do that type of work because I have bipolar disorder the state of Florida won't even let me take the test They say I could hurt someone so even when I want to work it is difficult I worked part time at a Chiropract ors office he just was trying to help me some Chiropratic things did help my moods believe it or not I went to him because I was in a car accident but continued to treat me if I did work for him in the office like cleanning etc. some office wrok also.. I on Christmas eve had an attack got very depressed and had not slept in like 3 days wond up in the emergency room. If you can have any help for me I would be very greatfull thank you !!!

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