Officially? I have an unspecified mood disorder, but according to my psych NP, I have all of the hallmark signs of bipolar type 2. Before that is set in stone – as much as any mental disorder can be, I suppose – she just wants to be 100% sure, but it’s both relieving and upsetting to finally be diagnosed with the thing that explains the difficulties I have simply living a functional life. With therapy and medications, I can actually start to improve, which is absolutely thrilling: that light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel feeling. But another part of me is terrified of the stigma surrounding bipolar disorder, in general, and this overwhelming anxiety just washes out any happy feelings I may have.

Thankfully, my therapist and I have been going over anxiety and the different types of coping mechanisms I can use to combat it. I didn’t realize how much anxiety plays into bipolar disorder; apparently, they are comorbid conditions – basically, it’s not surprising to find the other when one is present, kind of like cardiovascular or renal (kidney) conditions and diabetic patients – and both rule my life. My anxiety often leads to manic episodes for me, starting with an extreme version that weirdly focuses on death. Well, not death itself; the concept and process of death don’t bother me. It’s the idea of never experiencing something again, like listening to the Star Wars soundtrack or feeling a sea breeze in my hair, that sends me into this insomnia-driven despair that keeps me awake for days on end. The exhaustion leads to anxiety and a depressive phase, after which I’m normal for about a week maybe, right before the cycle restarts itself.

As you might expect, this experience is taxing. I never accomplish anything, either, which is demoralizing: either I have all the energy but the anxiety keeps me from using it for anything meaningful (I’ve sat in a room and stared at a wall for three hours before), or I am so physically and emotionally drained that remembering to feed myself or shower is an achievement.

I’m on a couple of medications now, and they seem to stabilize things for the most part. I don’t forget things as much as I used to, and my mom even mentioned that I’m not nearly as emotionally volatile as I have been my entire life. Nothing about mental health is for certain, but I’m truly hoping that what I’m doing now will get to the bottom of the ridiculousness that is my brain. I’ll be doing a series of posts on this topic, sporadically of course because LOL nursing school, documenting the progress I make … or maybe don’t make? Maybe I should do a couple TikToks, too?

Dammit, there goes my overly-ambitious manic self. No, self, you have three papers to write.

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