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What Bipolar Disorder Looks Like in Pictures

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I typically use words to express my emotions, but for this project I used my camera. For several days, I found different ways to express myself, and I took self portraits to illustrate my experience of living with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. The following images illustrate the emotions I experience as a person living with mental illnesses.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

I can’t sleep tonight. Hypomania is inspiring me to write all night, but I will probably throw it all away tomorrow once the depression hits.


My mind is moving so fast, and I can’t sit still. I can’t stop moving or slow down. I haven’t slept in two days.


My medication saves my life every day, and today is no different.


My son needs me, but I am too depressed to be a parent. I feel so guilty for ignoring him, but I am in the pits of despair and I see no way out.


It’s midnight and I have to clean. I can’t stop organizing and cleaning.


I can’t get out of bed today. I feel lost in the ocean and it hurts to exist.



I feel like I’m just below the surface. My cries for help go unheard as I drown in the water.


Dinner needs to be made, and my daughter needs me. But I just can’t today. I am too drained and devastated.


I appear calm on the outside, but I am screaming on the inside, and no one can hear me.


I feel like I’m suffocating and my heart is breaking again. I can’t breathe.


I feel so empty today. I have a void that needs to be filled so I will search for a purpose and meaning among the ruins and ashes.



The mania is pouring down around me, and today it feels like I am melting into a pile of chaos.


The kitchen is messy, but I can’t clean today. My depression is so fierce that I probably won’t eat or move from the couch. The house is in shambles and so am I.

Originally published: December 18, 2019
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