What the Hell is Bipolar Disorder?

So I have Bipolar Disorder and it happens to be World Bipolar Day. 

So what exactly is Bipolar Disorder? 

There's an amazing book on Bipolar Disorder that I love more than anything. It's called Marbles, and perfectly depicts bipolar disorder. 

Unlike the stereotypical view of being bipolar, it's more than just "mood swings", You are constantly on this carousel of moods/thoughts/emotions that can take you higher than you can imagine or lower than you can bear. 

Here's a great depiction of what exactly Bipolar Disorder is.





I've heard of people saying that people are just faking it or can just flip a switch and change it. However, psychology proves otherwise. These aren't just "swings" they are periods of time when your brain gets stuck in one extreme or the other. Bipolar disorder has episodes of mania and depression, not just moments of moodiness. An episode (manic or depressive) consists of an individual experiencing consistently for a week or more. You can literally see the changes in one's brain functioning. 
 
In a depressive episode, one might experience the following:

  • Feeling sad or blue
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
  • Loss of interest or enjoyment from things that were once pleasurable
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low energy
  • Feeling physically or mentally sluggish or restless and agitated
  • Increased need for sleep or inability to sleep (insomnia)
  • Change in appetite causing weight loss or gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or attempting suicide
On the other hand, being manic means your brain is on overdrive (as seen below). I personally love mania, but know how dangerous it gets. You're not thinking rationally. You might be experiencing: 

  • Needing less sleep in order to feel rested
  • Talking very rapidly or excessively
  • Distractibility
  • Fast thoughts
  • Tendency to show poor judgment, such as impulsively deciding to quit a job
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity -- unrealistic beliefs in one's ability, intelligence, and powers; may be delusional
  • Reckless behaviors (such as lavish spending sprees, impulsive sexual indiscretions, abuse of alcohol or drugs, or ill-advised business decisions)



Battling the two psychological extremes is exactly what bipolar disorder is. You fight the darkness then get tossed up into being a demi-god then back to the darkness. The cycle is exhausting, painful, and potentially dangerous to the individual.

However, I live this everyday and am here to say that one can live a (mostly) normal life. I have a career, a family, a home, passions, friends, and adventures. Some days are harder than others, but I will triumph (hence new tattoo).

So Happy World Bipolar Day! Don't be afraid to speak up and talk about it!

My Suicide Survival Tattoo. "Triumph"


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