My Bipolar II Disorder

My extrovert behaviour is one of the upsides
My extrovert behaviour is one of the upsides

This is a little off track from the rest of my blog but many people think I am positive all the time and don’t have any down days when actually (like anyone else) I am not perfect and struggle with certain things too.

I am hoping this post will give hope and reassurance to some of you.

For all those that think I am always positive; I wanted to let everyone know that I suffer from Type II Bipolar disorder. Not many people know about it and I wanted to share because at least 4% of the population suffer with this, often behind closed doors

Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depression but for many like me this doesn’t describe the condition at all because both the manic episodes (high energy, outbursts, irrational and extrovert behaviour) and/or the depression stages can be at lower levels and can come on slowly followed by periods of near normality. It’s not necessarily extreme mood swings and violent or delusional behaviour which can be more associated to type I bipolar sufferers.

Type II bipolar has affected nearly all of my relationships, including friends, girlfriends, marriages and my children. Mostly it’s under control and I have more “mania” than depression which enables great creativity, energy and enthusiasm. However it also comes with mood swings, irrational fears and phobias like being in places with lots of people, which makes airports, busy shopping centers and cinemas a nightmare for me.

On a professional level it has helped me in many ways and occasionally held me back, but mostly I have seen it as a blessing for propelling me forward as an entrepreneur when I needed a high level of blind confidence and enthusiasm to keep me going when others said I couldn’t. On the flip side my personal life and relationships have suffered terribly because of it.

Irrational behaviour that can sometimes seem fun and outgoing can quickly become tiring for those closest to you, especially at 4am in the middle of the week when I couldn’t sleep and I was dancing and singing along to MTV in the living room with a bottle of wine in my hand! Or when I was bored waiting for my wife in the dentist waiting room and I made 200+ paper airplanes from the leaflets in the rack and started throwing them around the room to entertain myself. And these are just some of the light hearted examples, other outbursts were more embarrassing or scary for those around me. The great thing for me now is that because I understand it I have become incredibly laid back and I now notice the aggression displayed by others which motivates me to keep my condition under control.

For years I didn’t know or understand my bipolar condition but now I do it makes it so much easier to control and use to my advantage. Many people don’t get diagnosed or seek advice because of the stigma that goes with mental health issues. Just understanding or getting diagnosed could help millions to deal with this. I don’t need medication, I can control it myself and with the help and support of those around me.

It was the film Silver Linings Playbook that first made me think about telling people and being more open about it. That film also opened my eyes to how people close to me were affected by my behaviour, it gave me the perspective of looking at my behaviour from the “outside” for the first time.

If you know someone you suspect of having Bipolar disorder or any form of depression, talk to them and urge them to get advice and information. Just knowing and understanding is a relief and a huge step in the right direction.

A lot of my “work” recently has been coaching and counselling people, and that has included assisting people achieve professional or business goals but also I have been helping people overcome personal problems, bereavement, depression and a host of other things that we can all struggle with. This has been immensely rewarding for me to share my own experiences and using it to help others.

From business advice to personal problems I see a lot of so called experts and professionals out there chucking out advice and thinking they have all the answers when they have never run a successful business or been through the personal problems or conditions they profess to know so much about. I have recently been asking myself and other: Would you take your dog to a dog trainer that has never owned a dog? Would you take your car to a mechanic who had never owned or even seen a car and the only things he knew about cars was what he had read in a book or looked at pictures on the internet? So why do we put ourselves or our careers in the hands of people who have not experienced or learned first hand what they teach? Yes, seek advice but don’t just take it from one person, talk to a few, get armed with your own research and truly understand your own specific needs so you can help yourself and others in the future.

I hope this post helps someone and if you are struggling with anything and need someone to talk to then please feel free to contact me via the form on the contact page. Any information you share with me or conversation we have will be in total confidence.

4 thoughts on “My Bipolar II Disorder”

  1. Thank you Matt, for your honesty. I myself have suffered over the years with mental health issues. I believe that I have Type II Bipolar or Cyclothymic disorder. Although, I have only been diagnosed with depression.

    1. You’re welcome Keith. Over the years (from 16 until now at nearly 36) I have been diagnosed with depression (during down times), A.D.D and separately ADHD (during manic times) but it was only through my own experiences and research that I first thought I might have a form of bipolar. BTW I think all the previous diagnosis were wrong or only partially correct because they were not looking at the whole picture. What stopped me initially from getting formally diagnosed with Bipolar II was my fear of the stigma associated to “manic depression” because that term doesn’t describe my behaviour at all. I don’t feel the need to take medication or get any further treatment now, my friends and family know me and support me, I know and understand it and I can actually use it for my benefit. Everything good or bad can be used to our advantage, any condition doesn’t have to spell disaster or an excuse.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. My 15 soon to be 16 year old daughter is also bipolar type II as well. Although she struggles more with a lot of depression and self worth issues. We have been involved with many great professionals including our church pastor and counsel which have been tremendous blessings. She does have her manic states as well and she is usually very in tune with her feelings. She has had much training and is aware of her actions most of the time. As a parent, it has been one of the hardest things to have happen to one of my children, knowing I can’t make it all better for her. She has so much to offer the world. She is a talented musician and music as always been her passion. I just have to trust that God will always take care of her and guide her to make healthy decisions.

    Best wishes to you on your journey. I believe that knowledge, awareness and being in tune with your body are the most effective ways of dealing with this disorder. My prayers to you and your family.

    Lore

    1. Thanks for your reply Lore. I can totally associate with the more depressive states coming at a younger age, I found the same. Along with quite a lot of destructive behaviour which ultimately lead to me being a homeless teen. However please tell your daughter that it WILL get better. I am quite literally living the dream despite the difficulties AND because of them. Bipolar is associated with immense creativity and I’m not surprised your daughter is a talented musician, if you haven’t already done so look at this link on Wikipedia of the people with Bipolar

      If you or your daughter would ever like anyone to talk to about this I would gladly chat to you. Trust me this is a blessing, it’s like a roller coaster, it’s scary but it can be fun and it’s NEVER boring! All the very best to you and your family.

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