Life vs. Bipolar II

The past two days have been beautiful here in Chattanooga. Temperatures have been hovering around sixty degrees, with bright sunny skies. But I haven’t been able to enjoy any of it. I’ve been suffering from bipolar type II for a long time. Probably since high school. I wasn’t diagnosed with it, however, until about three years ago.

Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I in that it causes one’s moods to cycle between high and low over time. Unlike type I, however, in bipolar II the highs never reach full-on mania, only hypomania. Hypomania is actually pretty fun. I have an excess of energy, am really outgoing, and generally fun to be around. The problem with hypomania is that it can lead to unhealthy and erratic behavior. Think shopping sprees, promiscuous sex, drugs, and other such destructive tendencies. I think for me, it leads to a need for constant excitement and stimulation. Physically, mentally, and sexually.

Before I started seeing a therapist and taking medication often I would sink into a depression for weeks or more at a time. Now at most it’s only a couple of days. Unfortunately it was the last two days of beautiful climbing weather. Often (as was the case this time) it’s the stupidest little thing that will set off one of my moods. When I’m depressed I have no energy to do anything, even things I love. I spend a lot of time in bed, trying to sleep. What suffers the most is my relationship with Faye. While depressed I’m miserable to be around. And I feel guilty about it. I think to myself that Faye would be better off without me. It’s not fair for her to have to deal with me. I’m not suicidal, but I don’t understand the point of life.

And then the depression starts to dissolve… and I’m back to me. Almost as quickly as it came on.

The fact that I have bipolar II isn’t a secret, but it isn’t something that I necessarily announce to people either. Being around friends helps, because I tend to ignore anything that might set me off. But the better I know someone, the more “myself” I am. Which is why Faye gets the brunt of it, unfortunately.

As most of you know, Faye and I loved Chattanooga so much that we decided to make it home for at least a little while. We signed a six month lease, and may decide to stay more permanently. The climbing here, all within two hours, is world class. You have Rocktown in Georgia, Horse Pens 40 in Alabama, and Little Rock City just outside of Chatt for bouldering. T Wall for trad climbing, and the Obed for sport, both of which are here in Tennessee. Off days can be a little slow. Faye has done a good job of taking up a new hobby in knitting. She’s been applying for jobs too. I’m looking for a job as well, but only in the sense that I’m telling people I’m looking for a job and hoping they’ll just magically hire me. I could use a hobby as well, I don’t think masturbation counts.

The downside of living in an apartment, as opposed to camping at a place like Miquel’s or Roger’s is the community. I feel a little isolated from other climbers, even though all of my friends here are climbers. It can be a little too easy to hole up in our apartment. We would love it if we had some friends from up north come visit, and some of them have said they would. You always have a place to crash!

The pictures below are from LRC, the aquarium, the zoo, and Hannah’s parking lot. All photos taken by Faye Miller.

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Posted on January 26, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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