Bipolar Type 2 is a common form of Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression). While those with Bipolar I experience periods of true Mania, those with Bipolar Type 2 experience periods of "Hypomania," - a lower intensity mania that does not include psychosis (delusions, hallucinations, or paranoia).
Mania and Hypomania can both include experiences of:
Elevated mood, high energy, insomnia, decreased judgment, impulsive behavior, racing thoughts, hypersexuality, increased goal-directed activity, and grandiosity.
However only in Mania are there delusions, true paranoia, or hallucinations/psychosis).
Generally speaking, those who are Manic are much less likely to maintain enough objective self-awareness to know that they are in a manic state. But it will be absolutely obvious to everyone else that they are either manic, or high on some kind of stimulant.
In hypomania you may have an easier time observing your own state and recognizing what is happening, but not always. In a hypomanic state you may be able to function at a high level and can do twice as much as anyone else can, and in less time. For this reason, those with hypomania are often recognized for their talents and accomplishments and rewarded for their productivity. In this state, socializing may come easy to you, and even if you are normally shy and reclusive, you might find that you are now the life of the party. You probably have a decreased need for sleep, heightened creativity and interpersonal magnetism. You may have an increase in sex drive, and you might attract more sexual attention.
So what, you may ask, is the problem with all that??
Maybe no problem, if you can maintain that state indefinitely. But hypomania is for most, a fragile and temporary state. Various factors including a build up of stress, and emotional trauma, or a deficit of sleep can tip the balance in either direction, and when this happens, you may find yourself suddenly in the depths of depression, or soaring to new heights in a manic state. Neither could be seen as a good thing no matter how much of an optimist you are.
Depression in Bipolar Type 2
There is a wide range of variation in Bipolar Type 2 (and Type 1 also). The frequency, duration and intensity of episodes is different for each person, and may be hard to predict. "Rapid cycling" is when you have 4 or more episodes of mania/hypomania or depression within one year. Some people may have several changes from mania to depression within a month, or even a week (Ultra-Ultra Rapid Cycling).
One of the most painful experiences for those with Bipolar type 2 is the dramatic loss that comes when you fall from a hypomanic state, where everything may seem to be positive - to a state of depression where everything is dark, gloomy and hopeless. Not only is there the loss of all those powerful feelings, and the charismatic personality, but even so called "normal" functioning, getting up and going to work, taking care of basic daily tasks, may be like climbing a mountain. Confidence may be gone and in it's place only fear, dread, anxiety and despair. This may last from days to months at a time.
Others with Bipolar Type 2 may experience less positive aspects of their hypomanic states. While some people love being hypomanic, others feel uncomfortable, agitated, restless or out of the body when in this state. They may have the high energy, but not the positive rush of excitement and optimism that some feel. There may be a lot of anxiety and intense emotions. There can be hightened sensitivity to other's energy and an inability to shield yourself from the influence of other's moods. You may be easily agitated, over-react, have petty arguments and feel that you are being run by your emotions. Life may get very dramatic and chaotic and you might exhaust and confuse the people in your life.
Mixed-Episode in Bipolar Type 2 When these less pleasant elements are a part of the hypomanic experience, it is called a "Mixed State" or "Mixed Episode." It has the energy and intensity of hypomania, but the negative thoughts and feelings of depression. This can be a very dangerous state to be in if you have self-destructive thoughts, or thoughts of suicide, because unlike the low state of deep depression, you have the energy to act on your impulses. Mixed States are extremely confusing, not just to yourself, but to those around you. One minute you may seem happy or grandiose, and then next you may be enraged or wanting to die.
The most important thing in your recovery, is to learn to recognize the early signs of an episode as well as recognizing the triggers in your life that may place you at risk for an episode.
Learn more about self-care techniques and Alternative Treatment for Bipolar Type 2