I have bipolar II disorder, and was misdiagnosed with depression for years. None of the therapists or psychiatrists I saw ever asked me about manic or hypomanic symptoms, even though I was at the age where bipolar symptoms often first start to develop (late teens). I was prescribed antidepressants, which can make hypomania worse when given to someone with bipolar II. I would be deeply depressed for months on end, with occasional pockets of hyperactive and out of control behavior that everyone attributed to ADHD (even though my ADHD is inattentive type, not hyperactive type) and “being a teenager.” Because there’s so much stigma surrounding bipolar disorder, and we never see accurate depictions of it in the media, I had no clue that that’s what I was experiencing. What I was experiencing never matched the traditional “crazy mood swings” and behavior that people tend to (inaccurately) ascribe to bipolar disorder, so it never occurred to me that having bipolar disorder was a possibility. It wasn’t until I was in a treatment program for depression about two years after the initial (incorrect) diagnosis that I was correctly diagnosed with bipolar II, and it wasn’t because of the doctors. I was friends with another patient who had bipolar II and as we talked I realized that we had a lot of the same symptoms. She saw my hypomania for what it was, and told me that I should talk to my psychiatrist about it. I started a mood stabilizer, which helps a ton, and through therapy have been able to isolate a lot of the things that may trigger a hypomanic or depressive episode and learn how to handle them. I’ve been getting correct treatment for about a year and a half now, and am able to go to school, get good grades, be active in clubs and orgs at school, spend time volunteering, and have a good social life, all of which seemed impossible a few years ago when I was misdiagnosed and suffering from something that I didn’t know how to explain. Dealing with the stigma is tough, but I’ve found most of my friends to be very supportive, most of the stigma I experience comes from within my own family.