“Sometimes I’m a little bit bipolar”
Mood swings are not the same as experiencing Bipolar episodes. Mania and severe depression are totally self destructive and debilitating. Mania and depression can last for weeks or months, or cycle rapidly from one to another. You’re probably just in a bit of a bad mood, a bit tired from a night out and then drunk loads of coffee and energy drinks that made you hyper.
“Mania must be so fun!”
Mania doesn’t always feel good. You’re not always ecstatic and the life of the party. It can be as self destructive and life threatening as depression. It’s hypomania but brighter, louder, so much so it’s like your senses are overloaded. It can be irritating and unpleasant, like when you’re trying to sleep and it’s three in the morning, but your body is constantly in an awkward position and you can never seem to get comfortable. I’ve had delusions that I was so important that cars would instantly stop if I walked into the road. I’ll feel like raging and screaming because of the pressure building inside my head, but there’s no release valve. It’s not anything like ‘fun.’
“You must be a creative genius”
I definitely believe that when I’m manic! I say to myself, “I’m amazing!” “I can do anything!” “I’m the best at everything!” But really we’re all just normal people. We don’t have a predisposition to being creative. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses like everyone else. Personally I am creative, but I’m pretty average. I like to write and sketch but I don’t believe it’s anything special.
“Bipolar is just being happy or sad”
Mania for me is reckless, dangerous driving. It’s spending masses of money I don’t have. It’s an irrational, intense anger toward everything and everyone. It’s believing I can rule the world, and anything is possible. Paranoia follows me everywhere, whispering in my ear. It’s hearing voices that boost my self belief. This all very suddenly turns into depression and I’m left feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. I begin to fixate and obsess on all the outlandish and embarrassing things I did when I was manic and hate myself for it. The depression will become so severe I will become suicidal and make plans to end my life. Bipolar mania and depression can sometimes be accompanied by psychosis. When I’m very depressed I will hear voices, that are malicious and hurtful. Many people, including myself, with bipolar also suffer from anxiety, problems with addiction and eating disorders.
“You can’t have bipolar, you seem so nice!”
I’m always confused by this one. Having Bipolar is not a character flaw. Just because I suffer with intense mood swings it does not make me a bad person. I’m not going to suddenly attack you or go on some rampage. Mental illness for the vast majority of us doesn’t work like that. I find people that suffer with mental illness have a huge amount of empathy for others, and are willing to support friends and family even when they themselves are struggling.
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