P5 – Hypomania in Five Stages

After years of confusion and frustration with my mental health, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II when I was 19 years old. Bipolar II is characterized by the presence of depressive and hypomanic episodes. While most people are familiar with depressive episodes and how they can present themselves, hypomania remains somewhat mysterious for those who have not been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or have experienced it secondhand. There are obviously quite a few more than five hypomanic symptoms, and it’s far more complex than I could represent in two minutes, but I wanted to focus in on the key ones and how they compound upon each other.

To create this project, I combed through years worth of footage from some of my lowest (and highest) points and edited it together in iMovie. I created and recorded the background song in two days while actively in a hypomanic episode, shortly after being diagnosed. This project ended up being far more meaningful to me than I anticipated it would be, but I’m extremely proud of the end result.

Bipolar Disorder still carries a lot of stigma, especially in media portrayals of it, and I wanted to present a very real and raw look into what it’s like to actually experience it. When I filmed this footage many years ago, I had no idea why I was recording, but it felt like I had to. It was a means for me to reflect and be heard, even if only by myself. I’m extremely proud of where I am today and haven’t had a true hypomanic episode in years thanks to a combination of working hard in therapy, medication, and an amazing support system.

By: Nina Soldati