What is it Like to Have Bipolar Disorder?

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Many people with mental illness experience stigma and discrimination because they are misunderstood. Improper representations in the media can perpetuate stigmas, and those who don’t know someone personally with a mental illness may have difficulty empathizing with those who work daily to manage their symptoms. Bipolar disorder is one mental illness that is often misunderstood. By learning about what many people with bipolar disorder experience, we can educate others to end stigma and provide more support to our loved ones who have the disorder.

Healthline, a website aimed at providing medical and mental health information, shared one person’s story of having bipolar disorder. He described the two aspects of the disorder: mania and depression. Mania involves the person feeling very positive, energetic, and talkative. The individual in the story described his mania experience as this:

The mania part is awesome. I have tons of energy and don’t want to stop. The best part about mania is that I’m so optimistic about everything.”

Mania isn’t always positive, however. Some people view mania as very frightening and out of control, and some may experience psychosis and hallucinations. Mania may also cause a person to experience racing thoughts, and that may keep them up at night. It may also lead to someone spending all their money or drinking too much – making risky decisions and compromising one’s safety. Another person who described her experience for Medical Daily explained mania as,

“….as terrifying as it gets… so it’s frightening when it gets out of control.”

The depressive side of bipolar disorder can cause a person to feel the completely opposite – feelings of sadness, extreme fatigue, inability to decide, lack of interest in activities, and sleeping problems may occur. As one person explained their experience with depression,

“It’s a deadening lethargy coupled with an agitation and restlessness at times, but it’s the sense of having no energy, no interest, no passion, no life…and the pain is agony, it just is unrelenting…”

Depression can cause a person with bipolar disorder to feel completely isolated and may cause them to have suicidal thoughts. Some people with bipolar disorder self-harm due to the severity of their depression. Many people with bipolar disorder are easily able to manage their symptoms through therapy and medication. They should not be treated any differently, and should be given love and support. As one person explained,

“I managed to get through my art degree. I have to remind myself that I’m more than my diagnosis, but with the right help and support it does become a lot easier.”




If you have bipolar disorder and are ready to develop life-long skills to better manage, call us today at 888-958-7511. Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment center. Our licensed, experienced professionals will give you the support and respect that you deserve while focusing on restoring your mind, body, and spirit. Call us for a consultation.

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