#WhatBipolarFeelsLike – How Bipolar Disorder Impacts Individuals

Bipolar Disorder Impacts Individuals

With World Bipolar Day on March 30th, I decided to reach out on social media with the hashtag #WhatBipolarFeelsLike to see how Bipolar Disorder impacts individuals. I got all types of tweets and messages in response to the hashtag! There were descriptions of mania, of depression, and of the disorder overall. Here are a few of the responses for what bipolar feels like in general.

Bipolar Disorder

#WhatBipolarFeelsLike depends on my mood. It can sting like a thousand knives or it can awaken my spirit with love and happiness. –Jennifer Stout @bipolarpoet24

“#WhatBipolarFeelsLike Sting like a thousand knives or awakens my spirit with love and happiness. – (@bipolarpoet24).” Click To Tweet

 

For me, bipolar feels like a race or a dark sleepiness but today it feels manageable. Depression feels exhausting while mania feels energizing. Both can be managed with effort. –Dave Wise @dmwise

“#WhatBipolarFeelsLike A race or a dark sleepiness but today it feels manageable. -(@dmwise).” Click To Tweet

 

It’s like there are two versions of myself that have never met.–Karissa @xseducedx

“#WhatBipolarFeelsLike It’s like there are two versions of myself that have never met. -(@xseducedx).” Click To Tweet

 

[Bipolar disorder is] like riding a roller coaster where you cry at the lows and scream in joy at the highs… #WhatBipolarFeelsLike –Ryan Huff @Huff25

“#WhatBipolarFeelsLike riding a roller coaster where you cry at the lows and scream in joy at the highs. -(@Huff25).” Click To Tweet

 

Hell!!! Lol- The Bipolar Hot Mess @BipolarHotMess

“#WhatBipolarFeelsLike Hell!!! Lol- The Bipolar Hot Mess -(@BipolarHotMess).” Click To Tweet

 

The worst are those with no available therapies or medications. It’s like being cursed. You become invisible. –Manic Mondo @bikermondo

“#WhatBipolarFeelsLike It’s like being cursed. You become invisible. -(@bikermondo).” Click To Tweet

 

Like two different people… – Fighting Bipolar @fightoflife2016

“#WhatBipolarFeelsLike Like two different people… – Fighting Bipolar -(@fightoflife2016).” Click To Tweet

 

What #BipolarDisorder feels like is anxious like I can’t trust myself. Constantly assessing if what I am doing is rational. –HaislyB @TheRealHaislyB

“#WhatBipolarFeelsLike I can’t trust myself. Constantly assessing if what I am doing is rational -(@TheRealHaislyB).” Click To Tweet

 

Go to YouTube, search for music vid of Trapt song “Love Hate Relationship”. That song is what #bipolar feels like to me… what really sucks is knowing when I’m happy that maybe I’m really manic, that it won’t last… and constantly swinging back and forth like a pendulum. Though meds help, it’s near quite enough.” –MeggilyWeggily @Meggy_Head

“#WhatBipolarFeelsLike Song “Love Hate Relationship” is what #bipolar feels like to me. -(@Meggy_Head).” Click To Tweet

 

Bipolar Info

Depression

For a major depressive episode, there must be a persistent depressed mood of loss of interest for at least 2 weeks and 5 or more of the following symptoms:

  • Significant weight loss*/gain
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Fatigue
  • Worthless feelings or inappropriate guilt
  • Problem concentrating
  • Recurrent thoughts of death

Depression alone is more common than bipolar disorder and is often seen as more relatable. In bipolar disorder, one has to battle not only major depression, but also mania. The depressive phase can be very dangerous to the individual in terms of an elevated risk of suicide or self-harm. Several responses which came in on Twitter came about the depressive phase of bipolar disorder.

The depression is draining and so consuming you feel you will never make it out alive. –Bipolar Hot Mess @BipolarHotMess

“#Depression is draining and so consuming you feel you will never make it out alive. -(@BipolarHotMess).” Click To Tweet

 

Depression is the inability to feel joy in anything, a simple task like showering or teeth are impossible, you isolate yourself from everyone. – Fighting Bipolar @fightoflife2016

“#Depression is the inability to feel joy in anything, you isolate yourself from everyone. -(@fightoflife2016).” Click To Tweet

 

When I’m depressed, I can’t remember what it’s like to feel good. It’s as if I’ve never felt good. –Karissa @xseducedx

“#Depression I can’t remember what it’s like to feel good. It’s as if I’ve never felt good. –(@xseducedx).” Click To Tweet

 

Mania

Mania

The other beast that bipolar disorder is made up of is the manic phase. It is often seen as a happy, euphoric state, but mania can be disastrous as well. A manic episode is defined as a persistent elevated, irritable mood for one week or more, plus three or more of the following symptoms (if irritable rather than elevated, must be 4 or more symptoms):

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Decreased* need for sleep
  • Increased talk/pressured speech
  • Racing thoughts/flight of ideas
  • Distractibility
  • Extreme goal-oriented activity
  • Excessive buying/sex/business investments (painful consequences)

Here are some tweets about mania:

Mania is when your depression goes away, you’re overly excitable, you reorganize everything, spend too much money, risky sexual behavior, etc…- Fighting Bipolar @fightoflife2016

“#Mania is when your depression goes away, you reorganize everything, risky sexual behavior. –(@fightoflife2016).” Click To Tweet

 

When I’m hypomanic, I can’t remember what it’s like to feel bad. Then when my moods are stable, I can’t remember what either of those [depression or mania] felt like. I’m living life through three (sometimes more) very different versions of myself that don’t even realize they each exist.

It’s always been difficult for me to put how I feel into words because of this. –Karissa @xseducedx

“#Mania It’s always been difficult for me to put how I feel into words. –(@xseducedx).” Click To Tweet

 

One interview with a Bipolar 1 (full mania and depressive episodes) former hospital patient describes the transition from “sunny” mania to a mixed state (depressive and manic symptoms at the same time):

“I had my first manic episode when I was working at a high-pressure five-star restaurant. I was pulling 70 hours in the kitchen with no breaks when all of a sudden the exhaustion went away. I started flinging bowls down the table and bouncing around the restaurant like a ping pong ball. I shaved off more time every day and the chefs were impressed. Of course, they were I was a culinary genius who didn’t need sleep to pull off the impossible (or so I thought). They couldn’t even tell I was shooting up heroin at night to try to sleep. I started believing I was above everyone and everything until one day I went to fling my bowls and ingredients down my table and dropped everything. My state of mind went from euphoric to freight train with no breaks almost overnight. As paranoia and psychosis set in, I started to panic. I couldn’t talk, move, and walk fast anymore without tripping. I began to feel terrified someone was watching me, waiting to kill me. Suicidal thoughts began to creep in but the mania was still there. It felt like I had taken a bottle of caffeine pills mixed with coke and the only way out was to kill myself.”

Also Read: How to Control Bipolar Disorder?

There’s Hope

Hope of Ray

Despite the challenges which come along with manic, depressive and mixed states, there are people who remain optimistic in their outlook on life.

What Bipolar feels like to me is since I can now control my mixed states and hypomania it feels like I’m ready to finally start sharing everything I know that works. –Brandon @Bdudanowicz

“#Bipolar I can now control my mixed states and hypomania, I know that works. -(@Bdudanowicz).” Click To Tweet

 

I do [know what it’s like to have bipolar disorder], and I got my Ph.D. at UNC in spite of it. Mine is more driven by mania than depression, though…. Usually. –Jaimie @JaimiePHD

“#Bipolar I got my Ph.D. at UNC in spite of it. Mine is more driven by mania than depression, though. -(@JaimiePHD).” Click To Tweet

 

“We have a mental illness called bipolar disorder. Because of it, you’re going to be facing some interesting events in your life. Some will be painful and some will break your heart on a level that is unimaginable right now. But I also want to tell you about some things to give you hope. And the best part is there will be hands to guide you along the way, so you will not be alone.” –Bipolar Headed @BipolarHeaded

“#Bipolar There will be hands to guide you along the way, so you will not be alone. -(@BipolarHeaded).” Click To Tweet

 

Conclusion

If you are battling bipolar disorder, know that you are alone! There is an amazingly supportive community online which can support you through your tough times. Mental illness can be extremely challenging to live with, but there is hope.

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Author

Contributor : Anja Burcak (Consumer Health Digest)

This Article Has Been Published on March 30, 2017 and Last Modified on October 1, 2018

My name is Anja Burcak. I am an undergraduate student pursuing my B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Biology at UNC. My personal experiences in the past 3 years have made me increasingly aware of the issues of the mental health care system and mental health illness/condition-related stigma. I'm a mental health advocate and a WordPress blogger on my bipolar disorder. I hope to eventually go to graduate school for Clinical or School Psychology. You can reach her blog at calculatingmind.wordpress.com or follow her on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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