Textbooks don’t come close to describing the day-in and day-out life someone with bipolar disorder lives. It seems that the general public has the misconception that people with bipolar disorder merely have “mood swings,” or are just “crazy.”
What the general public might not know is that yes, people with bipolar disorder do have mood swings, but nothing like what they are imagining. And yes, sometimes people with bipolar disorder do feel crazy. It would be hard not to feel crazy when your brain is ill. But this does not make us crazy.
The more the general public has an explicit understanding of what it means to have bipolar disorder the less stigma will exist, which is critical in helping people with the disorder to receive help. And at the very least, creates a sense of compassion for those battling a mental illness.
The next several posts will explore the various symptoms of ‘real-life’ manic and depressive episodes people with bipolar disorder experience. Beginning now with the manic symptom I believe to be the most prevalent of all the manic symptoms.
Feelings of Heightened Energy and Creativity
Have you ever drank waaaaay to much caffeine (as in two pots of coffee) and felt as though you might burst from all the excess energy? Although it’s energizing, it’s also an extremely tense and uncomfortable feeling, right? I compare bipolar manic feelings of heightened energy as just this, except that jittery-espresso-filled-veins feeling never really goes away. The energy can seem good at the moment (since the person is able to get a lot accomplished), but when the “caffeine” high wears off, the crash is devastating.
Heightened creativity feels like a compulsive need (not just a want) to create. To sit idly is torture. Some people during this state of mind will write for hours at a time about the flood of thoughts they are experiencing. It seems as though the bottom of the thoughts can never be reached, they just keep pouring in.
Bipolar disorder has been frequently associated with famous poets, composers, and other artists. It’s important to note that although this connection can sometimes be “glamorized,” it is far from glamorous. Many people who are in this creative manic phase will eventually need to be hospitalized, especially if the person stopped taking any prescribed medications.
The next blog post will explore ‘loss of sleep’ as the next manic symptom of bipolar disorder.
Also, please remember, I am not a doctor. Just a so bipolar lady with a computer 😉 So if you suspect you or someone you know has bipolar disorder, always consult with your physician or psychiatrist first.
I‘m so bipolar, and unashamed.