#WhatBipolarFeelsLike

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What Bipolar Disorder Feels Like Based off of Twitter

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 https://twitter.com/bipolarpoet24/status/845443959145086976

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 https://twitter.com/dmwise/status/846696442009931776

It’s like there are two versions of myself that have never met. –Karissa @xseducedx https://twitter.com/xseducedx/status/846374521330380801

[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 https://twitter.com/Huff25/status/846523718889295872

Hell!!! Lol- The Bipolar Hot Mess @BipolarHotMess https://twitter.com/BipolarHotMess/status/846118505854500864

The worst are those with no available therapies or medications. It’s like being cursed. You become invisible. –Manic Mondo @bikermondo https://twitter.com/bikermondo/status/846233703995072512

Like two different people… — Fighting Bipolar @fightoflife2016 https://twitter.com/fightoflife2016/status/846046137404592128

What #BipolarDisorder feels like is anxious like I can’t trust myself. Constantly assessing if what I am doing is rational. –HaislyB @TheRealHaislyB https://twitter.com/TheRealHailsyB/status/845741178779766784

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 neer quite enough.” –MeggilyWeggily @Meggy_Head https://twitter.com/meggy_head/status/845441555393626112

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

(DSM 5 needs to be cited here)

            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 for 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 https://twitter.com/BipolarHotMess/status/846118505854500864

Depression is the inability to feel joy in anything, simple task like showering or teeth are impossible, you isolate yourself from everyone. — Fighting Bipolar @fightoflife2016 https://twitter.com/fightoflife2016/status/846046137404592128

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 https://twitter.com/xseducedx/status/846374521330380801

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)

(Cite DSM 5 again here)

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 https://twitter.com/fightoflife2016/status/846046137404592128

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 https://twitter.com/xseducedx/status/846374521330380801

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.”

There’s Hope

            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 @Bdudanowiczhttps://twitter.com/Bdudanowicz/status/845440206903918592

 

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 @JaimieUNC https://twitter.com/JaimiePhD/status/845672005890457605

“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  https://twitter.com/BipolarHeaded/status/845621184268062721 https://fromdarknessintolightresources.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/guest-post-whats-it-like-to-have-bipolar-disorder/?platform=hootsuite

If you are battling bipolar disorder, know that you are alone! There is an amazing 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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