Bipolar disorder has become the joke of many. Someone who has mood swings is often labeled “Bipolar,” but that’s not what Bipolar is. It is a devastating and often disabling condition. Do you know what it’s like to have this condition? Let’s explore that.
The Depressive State
Imagine being perfectly stable one day and the next you can’t even muster the energy to get out of bed. You lay in bed all day and night because you’re so depressed that nothing will take your foggy minded sadness away. Hobbies, favorite television shows, family time, and hygiene suffers. You don’t even have the strength to take care of yourself. So why bother? The voices in your head are negative, calling you names, telling you that you are worthless; you sometimes think about death. Would anyone care if you were gone? What is the purpose of life in the first place if all you do is suffer? These questions weigh heavily on your mind.
Trying to manage daily tasks is frustrating because your energy level is zapped. You retreat from everyone. Sitting alone in your bedroom becomes your second nature. You may call into work. The sadness becomes too much, so you sleep to try to make it go away, but every time you wake up the depression is still there. The feelings of worthlessness and helplessness are overwhelming. You long for a way out, but it seems pointless. Staying awake just hurts too much. Your body aches all over, and you’re so unhappy that all you have is your bed for a friend. Doesn’t sound like much of a joke, does it? This is only one-half of Bipolar.
The Manic State
The other half of Bipolar is called Mania. Often, you will become manic after a depressive phase. Suddenly, you wake up and wow, you feel like Superwoman. Your energy is abundant. The person feels like doing things that they normally wouldn’t do. The person may impulsively spend a lot of money, go places they’d never go, and their behavior will be the life of the party. They feel “well” as if they no longer have Bipolar and may shun medications.
You talk fast and are chatty. Imagine calling your friends at three in the morning just to talk. You stay up all night, and perhaps don’t sleep at all, with nervous energy wanting to do all sorts of silly things. For example, housework and work become easy. You may clean the house over and over. You may ask others if you can clean their house or cut their grass. You’re wound up and ready to go, go, go.
Your life is brimming with overwhelming energy that starts to take a downward spiral when the energy becomes too much. You get frustrated and angry easier. Some people have hallucinations and magical thinking. This means that they may think that nothing can hurt them, or that they have unique gifts from a Higher Power; you feel invincible. Some people have thought they are the Messiah. They believe they can save humanity; this is usually the point when the person gets put into a hospital for unchecked manic behavior. Others that are properly medicated have the ability to ride out the wave of mania, even though it is exhausting.
Unfortunately, there is the crash of mania. You’ve pushed yourself to the limits of your energy. When you start coming down, you’re sore, tired, and wanting to sleep for days. The swing from mania can give way to a depressive state. Bipolar is a vicious cycle, and it disrupts the person’s life in a big way; it’s not fun. Bipolar is no joke, and it can ruin someone’s life. So, the next time someone calls a person “Bipolar” try to remember that the real disorder is harrowing.