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10 'Embarrassing' Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder


Many (if not all) health conditions carry with them unwanted and often “embarrassing” symptoms. Usually, they’re embarrassing because they are misunderstood by our peers, though sometimes they can feel embarrassing no matter what.

Bipolar disorder has a smorgasbord of “embarrassing” symptoms from which to pick. From hypersexuality to uncontrollable shifts in mood, it’s easy to see why we find them so mortifying… even though, it goes without saying (and is easier said than believed), there’s really nothing to be embarrassed about. Nobody should be ashamed of what living with bipolar disorder looks like for them, and instead we should be encouraged to discuss it openly and honestly.

That’s why we asked our bipolar disorder community for their own embarrassing bipolar symptoms. We hope their answers will make you feel a little else alone, and help you to open up to your loved ones about that embarrassing symptom you just dread coming up.

Here’s what our community had to say:

1. Sensory overload.

“The rage and sensory overload — having to leave a situation because you can’t even handle the sound of chewing or smell of food.” — Erin W.

2. Hypersexuality (or loss of interest in sex).

“Being overly interested in sex whilst hypomanic and being completely turned off from sex whilst depressed. My poor husband.” — Winter H.

“Hypersexuality during mania. It’s like inviting my family to front row seats to watch me do the kinkiest sex acts.” — Deidra C.

“Hypersexuality. Sometimes this feels like a taboo topic, even among the mental health crowd, but it is very real. There could be a real benefit from talking about it more, from opening an honest dialogue for people who struggle with this and the other issues that come with it.” — Kristy H.

3. Confusion from brain fog/being unable to focus.

“I get pretty embarrassed when I can’t focus and I ask someone to repeat themselves a few times. I pretend I just couldn’t hear them and they always think I’m not listening and say ‘never mind,’ but I just can’t latch onto the words. Sometimes, I’ll watch a TV show or movie and rewind parts over and over until I’ve got it. People tease me about how I like to watch the same shows and movies over and over, but it’s easier for me because I know what’s going on already.” — Emily A.

“Acting really confused and forgetful sometimes because my brain isn’t working, either because it’s full of mist or in overdrive. I hate it.” — Ennys F.

4. “Bipolar rage” and being super irritable.

“During hypomania, I’m so irritable I can actually feel it throughout my body. My anxiety goes through the roof and it has physical effects as well.” — Mira N.

“The uncontrollable rage. There are times the slightest things will set me off. I hate it because it seems to be when I’m overwhelmed with anxiety that my anger is out of control. I hate that I’ll get so angry over nothing, but then it causes me to panic because I’m so scared I hurt someone else, did the wrong thing or said something I didn’t mean to say.” — Kat C.

5. Paranoia.

“Paranoia. Literally, nothing can be wrong, yet here I am worrying myself to death over what is probably not true. Most people can’t empathize or understand.” — Bailey V.

“Sometimes I start to think everybody is out to get me because of my mental health. Friends, family, etc. are trying to get rid of me.” — Tyler W.

Need to talk about your own embarrassing symptom? Download our app to connect with a community that understands.

6. Having trouble speaking.

“Difficulty speaking or putting words to thoughts. This is especially difficult the ‘higher’ I get. I’m well-educated and usually well-spoken, but I come off as the opposite when I can barely reply to a ‘hello’ since my thoughts are racing so much.” — Vanessa L.

“When things get bad for me, both in depression and mania, I can’t seem to communicate properly. When I’m manic, I talk so fast that sometimes I skip words and no one can understand me. I almost develop a kind of stutter. When I’m depressed, things are so slow I can’t concentrate and make a complete thought. I lose track of what others have said or even what I was saying. It’s frustrating, especially since I have to talk at my job because I am in sales. I have to keep apologizing for something I have no control over.” — Emily M.

“Pressurized speech that’s super fast while I’m manic. It’s like my mouth is dying to catch up with my mind. Then I feel embarrassed or attacked because everyone notices it or says something and I spiral down fast until I hit myself in the head, trying to find the reset button.” — Noel P.

7. Talking to yourself.

“Talking to myself while manic to try to keep myself focused. When I accidentally forget about it in public, I get the strangest looks.” — Brooke N.

8. Crying for no obvious reason.

“Crying when there is no reason to. I cry over everything. It’s really embarrassing, being a high school sophomore and not being able to control when you cry.” — Olivia K.

“It’s embarrassing that I cry so easily. Bipolar type 2 makes me feel more intensely to the point I can tear up about something as insignificant as a commercial.” — Morgan T.

9. Experiencing delusions.

“Getting delusions. I swear up and down that the things I think I see are happening until I’ve started an argument and having multiple people tell me it never happened. Even though I believe they did. It’s really embarrassing because I’ve got into arguments over it when the other people were never guilty, to begin with.” — Kayla H.

“The sort of things I get delusional about when manic. Such things have included thinking I had supernatural powers, was a supernatural creature and that fictional characters were my parents. I have also believed that TV shows and books are real. I have had religious delusions. Manic psychosis, basically.” — Phoebe L.

10. The general unpredictability.

“Signing up or making a commitment for something big and exciting and seeing the people around you get hyped up, but then crashing and not being able to follow through with it. Then, every time after that, it’s like you want to keep all your goals and plans to yourself because you don’t actually know if they’re just a symptom or if they’re the reality.” — Julia F.

“The flip-flop. One day I’m entirely depressed, crying at work, brain fog at maximum, wishing I could just go disappear. The next day, it’s magical optimism, energy out of nowhere, easy laughs, talking nonstop. I’m sure my co-workers and friends have no idea how to take me from day-to-day.” — Mary C.

Have we missed anything? Let us know what you’d add in the comments below.

Photo by Davide Ragusa on Unsplash


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