What Helps Individuals with Bipolar II Disorder Successfully Manage Their Illness
For the first three decades of Julie Kraft’s life, every day was a struggle. “From the minute I woke up to the moment my head hit the pillow each night, my mind would spin with worries and fears—most of them irrational—about the past, present and the future,” Kraft said.
“I was anxious over every aspect of normal daily life—showering, driving, shopping, paying bills, answering the phone, school drop-offs, birthday parties. There was rarely a waking moment when my mind was quiet.”
Outside of her home, Kraft did her best to hide these struggles, which only exhausted and frustrated her more. Inside, however, the pent-up emotions would escape. “I became short-fused, cruel, impatient, and distant with the people I loved the very most—my husband and children.”
Eventually, Kraft sought help and was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder at 36 years old. It took time for Kraft to accept her diagnosis and stop seeing taking medication as a sign of weakness. Initially, she was also terrified of telling anyone about her diagnosis (let alone the entire world).
Today, Kraft is a mental health advocate and author of the book The Other Side of Me: Memoir of a Bipolar Mind.
“I am, without a doubt, the most stable I’ve been thus far,” Kraft said. “Life isn’t perfect. I still have good and bad days, but it’s much more manageable than ever before.”
And that is thanks to treatment. Kraft is committed to managing her bipolar disorder. She made a promise to her husband, their kids, and to herself to stay well and be the best wife and mom she can be. “They deserve nothing less.”
Bipolar II disorder can be a devastating illness. However, when it’s accurately diagnosed, “it can be safely and effectively treated and well-managed over the individual’s lifetime,” said Michael Pipich, MS, LMFT, a psychotherapist who specializes in mood disorders in Denver, Colo., and author of Owning Bipolar: How Patients and Families Can Take Control of Bipolar Disorder.