What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition, characterised by extreme mood swings from one extreme to the other. People with bipolar experience periods of depression (feeling very low and lethargic), and mania (feeling very high and overactive). These phases can last for a substantial amount of time. Here are some of the symptoms you may witness in someone with bipolar disorder.

During the depressive phase:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless and irritable
  • Having less energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of interest in everyday things
  • Self-doubt
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts

During the mania phase:

  • Feeling very happy
  • Feeling full of energy
  • Talking very quickly
  • Feeling full of great ideas and important plans
  • Easily distracted and irritable
  • Not feeling like they need sleep
  • Not eating
  • Doing things that often have disastrous consequences
  • Making decisions and saying things that are very out of character

It took me a long time to realise when my behaviour was actually me being me, and when it was the time when my bipolar was taking over. A lot of people don’t understand bipolar disorder, and there is still a lot of stigma behind the diagnosis. I am continually trying to educate my friends and family on what its like living with bipolar disorder, and how to cope with being around me in different phases. Im still learning myself. If you know anyone with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or someone who is showing signs and symptoms of having the disorder, my best advice I can give you is to try and educate yourself on what its like living with bipolar, try and understand the phases through research. And most importantly, support the person best you can. Bipolar can take you to rock bottom regularly without needing a reason to feel that way, it’s scary and it’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t live with it. So always be kind.

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