Darcie Bakes //

Baking from scratch… because good things take time.

On Coming to Terms with a New Diagnosis: Part I.

It was a quiet Friday afternoon in mid-July.

I sat there in the silver, flowery chair, fidgeting slightly as I spilled my guts to my new psychiatric nurse practitioner. I explained all my history with feeling super depressed most of the time, going on random “creative” binges, having issues keeping up a healthy routine in life, and that most of the antidepressants (at least 15 at this point; I’d lost track) that I’d experienced didn’t work for me.

{Consider this. <3}

After an hour of sharing my story, I received my new diagnosis: “Bipolar two disorder.”

Wait, what?

I’ve literally spent the last 6+ years [really, 12+ years; all retrospectively, of course] assuming that I’m “just really, really depressed, and it’ll probably always be that way.” And that all the antidepressant medications simply don’t work for me. And that I’d probably just never be “happy” or feel an ounce of true “normalcy” ever again.

But bipolar disorder? That was never on my radar until the nurse practitioner mentioned it.

Suddenly, it was as if the clouds parted and everything made sense: I have bipolar II disorder. {Not to be confused with bipolar I. They are not the same disorder.}

It’s no wonder I spent years of my life going back and forth between being really, extremely depressed, and then sometimes hypomanic [Hypomania refers to “mild” mania; as in, it’s not full-blown mania]. It’s no wonder I could never find a medication that truly worked for me. It is no wonder I have struggled with keeping up with a healthy routine; that my sleep schedule is absolutely whack, and that nothing ever really made sense.

As I drove to Target to pick up my new prescription for 300mg of lithium, I felt a mix of emotions: relief, clarity, and anxiety for what was to come. It was bizarre, yet it made more sense than anything regarding my battles with mental health issues thus far.

I parked my car in the clusterfuck of the Brentwood Promenade parking lot. As soon as I put my car into park, Nirvana’s “Lithiumbegan to play on the alt-rock station. “Well that’s kind of hilariously ironic,” I thought to myself.


It’s now been about a month since my new diagnosis. I’m up to 600mg of lithium at this point, and I’m still regularly pursuing cognitive behavioral therapy, plus attending followup sessions with my nurse practitioner to manage my medications. Finally, I’m starting to feel much better. I’ve written about my issues with the depression part of bipolar II (“BP II” for short), though it never used to have a label. {Seriously, just search for “depression” on this blog, and you’ll find a slew of my ramblings.}

I wanted to write a bit about my new diagnosis, though. I have had quite a bit of time to think about it, to adjust, and to come to terms with it. All of these things will take more time to process, of course, but I find it important to journal my experiences as soon as I am able.

{I often liken my brain to a bowl of one pound of rainbow jimmies [which get EVERYWHERE when you use them, and are a bit static-y]: a little crazy, very colorful, kind of disorderly, might need some help being wrangled around, but ultimately: beautiful, awesome, and worth-it.}
In the near future, I want to write more about my experiences and symptoms relating to BP II in the hopes that it will help others. The primary issue with BP II is that it is very tricky to diagnose, and often gets overlooked, not taken seriously, or simply misdiagnosed {all of which were the case for me}.

I’m so, so SO fortunate and grateful to have a great psychologist as well as a psychiatric nurse practitioner who finally take me seriously. I am so lucky to be able to find the right medication. I hope things can improve from here, and that I can finally start to live and even thrive in my life. {Right now I’m struggling with the bitter feeling that stems from viewing all this time of misdiagnosis as “wasted time,” so it will be interesting to see how I manage to get past that!}

Anyway, please stay tuned for more posts on BP II, as I continue to get better and learn more about this mysterious illness.

{Final side note: If you have any questions or concerns regarding BP II, depression/anxiety, etc., then please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m on a quest to end the stigmas associated with mental health issues, and I am absolutely not afraid to be an open book. It’s therapeutic, and I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass about judge-y folk.}


{An ethereal snapshot of me holding lemon bars during golden hour in a St. Louis park. I just feel like this picture captures my overall state of being these days. Photo credit: Jordyn Dolan Photography.}


2 responses to “On Coming to Terms with a New Diagnosis: Part I.”

  1. Daphne Hankey Avatar
    Daphne Hankey

    Love this! As a mother of one who has BP II, and wasn’t diagnosed until her early 30’s, I appreciate your honesty with the struggle of being properly evaluated and treated. When my daughter had the “proper” diagnosis, she felt relieved that a provider, finally …as she put it…”Got into her head”. It is certainly a roller coaster and a life-long issue of management and control, but wouldn’t trade her for anything and am honored to be here for her and walk beside her in this struggle she calls life.

    1. Darcie Avatar

      Hi Daphne, I’m so glad that your daughter was able to get proper help! It’s unfortunate that she was unable to get the proper diagnosis until her early 30s, but I’m in my late 20s, so I understand. According to my nurse practitioner, the right diagnosis usually doesn’t come until the late 20s-early 30s. It’s just crappy because I spent so much time not understanding why things never got better! That’s why I’m trying to be so open about it: I want to save other people from some of the grief I went through.

      Thanks for commenting; I hope you and your daughter are both well. <3

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