What a Bipolar Disorder Mood Swing Feels Like

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

It’s hard to describe what occurs when you have a particularly harsh mood swing. It’s so all-encompassing and knocks you off your balance, as if you’re walking along and someone comes behind you and shoves you forward, forcing you to catch yourself… if you can.

For me, it starts with a flash of numbness. I can’t feel anything, and it’s as if I’m watching the world from a different perspective. Feeling detached and disassociated are signs it’s beginning.

This is followed by irritability at almost anything that comes my way. Please don’t look at me, please stop touching me, please stop talking. I bark at people, close my eyes and hold my head in my hands, attempting to hide away to avoid being hurtful or mean to anyone I love.

Then comes the despair. I can’t live this life. I just want to go to bed and not wake up. It’s the overwhelming feeling that you cannot take it anymore. Suicidal thoughts and planning start to run rampant.

Countering this — catching yourself so you don’t fall — is tricky. I try to catch it early and remove myself from any difficult situations. I reassure myself this is like a thunderstorm. It will roll in, make a lot of racket and then roll out. The sun will shine again. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s like hope has taken a seat in a room otherwise filled with demons.

For those of you battling this… try to let hope in. Sometimes it’s all you have.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Bipolar Disorder

a woman is upside down with her hair flipping

4 Ways Unexpected Change Affects My Mental Illness

In the last five years, I have discovered that change is a trigger for my bipolar disorder symptoms. Shortly after I got engaged, married, gave birth and bought a house, I experienced difficult times, despite the fact that all of these events were positive. Once again, life is changing and I’m struggling. Our son started [...]
Little 7 years old boy going to school with his mother

To My Little One, From Your Mother With Bipolar Disorder

To my little one, Right now, you’re 9 years old. You’re starting to understand the world, starting to know about so many things. What you might not know is I have bipolar disorder. You’ve heard the word, heard me talking about it, but I know it’s hard to understand — even for adults. What you do know is I get [...]
girl looking out window

Why My Mental Illnesses Are My 'Dark Passengers'

I was supposed to be graduating today, receiving my Master’s of Social Work degree. Instead, I am not even invited to see my cohort walk. I am not a party to the celebrations and excitement. Instead… I told everyone it was starting the chemo infusions that made me withdraw in the middle of the fall [...]

The Bipolar Urge We Need to Talk About

There’s this symptom that can cause pain when you’re in love while also struggling with bipolar disorder. And to be honest, it’s painful even if you’re not in love. It’s hypersexuality. Do we dare discuss the urge many people with bipolar disorder experience? In my experience, it’s a soft and sensual feeling that envelops you [...]