I've had severe mood swings for as long as I can remember. My family always brushed it off, because "she gets over it eventually." I started dating my current boyfriend in December 2013. About six months into the relationship, he said: "This isn't normal. You need help." Out of everyone in my life, he was the first one to tell me that.
Shortly thereafter, I found myself in a local therapist's office discussing my symptoms. She concluded I had bipolar disorder type 2. A diagnosis was a double-edged sword for me, because on the one hand, I was happy to find out there were others like me. But on the other hand, I was upset because this was something I would have to manage the rest of my life.
The road to stability has been long and arduous, but worth it. I started off by seeing my therapist weekly, then biweekly. Now I only see her every few months, more often if I'm in an episode. I read every book I could about bipolar, co-dependency, and other self-help topics to learn everything I could about my disorder. I keep up on new research findings, seminars, and books. I started participating in the Prechter Program's Longitudinal Study of Bipolar Disorder, because I wanted to help others like me find clearer answers and those still searching attain earlier diagnosis.
I was always an A-student in grade school, and now having the information and tools for bipolar helps me stay stable. One of my personal mantras is altered from 1 John 4:18: Perfect love casts out fear. For me, perfect knowledge casts out fear, simply because I'm not always going to believe my family and friends love me.This is true especially when I'm in a depressive episode. However, I know in the back of my mind that this feeling, too, shall pass. Whether is takes hours, days or months, I'll be stable again down the road. This knowledge is something I can hang onto in my darkest hours while I wait for the light to shine again.