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We Asked People With Bipolar Disorder What They Want Others to Know About Their Lives

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Although bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses, it’s also one of the most misunderstood. To shed light on bipolar disorder, we asked members of our bipolar disorder community what they want others to know about their lives with the mental health condition. Here’s what they had to say.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

1. People with bipolar disorder can feel emotions deeply.

“I feel everything a lot more than people may think.”

2. Mania isn’t enjoyable.

“I do not enjoy mania … I hate the hypersexuality, the agitation, and the obsession.”

3. Bipolar disorder isn’t a choice.

Bipolar disorder is not a choice. You can’t ‘get over it;’ you have to fight with every ounce of strength you have.”

“It’s a chemical imbalance, not a choice.”

4. Bipolar disorder can be painful.

Bipolar disorder is more painful than anyone could imagine.”

“Although bipolar disorder can bring me a zest for life at times, it can also bring excruciating pain.”

5. Living with bipolar disorder can take a lot of energy.

“I wish people understood the literal mental combat I go through just to stay present.”

“I wish people knew just how much effort it takes just to manage my symptoms.”

“I’m using every ounce of energy I can find to keep myself healthy.”

6. People often make assumptions about bipolar disorder.

“The bipolar disorder stereotype people may think of is someone being extremely angry one moment and then being super nice later. People assume that if you don’t act like that, then you must be fine, even if you aren’t.”

Pie chart showing what Mighties wish people knew about life with bipolar disorder. Text reads: 55% said that managing bipolar can be a constant struggle. 42% said that stereotypes and misconceptions make recovery harder. 32% said that a bipolar diagnosis is not a choice. 29% said that bipolar can significantly impact self-worth

7. Bipolar disorder can cause rapid mood changes.

“I wish others understood that my mood, feelings, and emotional expression can change very quickly with no apparent reason.”

8. Bipolar disorder can make starting the day difficult.

“There are days I can barely get out of bed.”

9. People with bipolar disorder aren’t dangerous.

“In my case, the only person I’m dangerous to is myself. I’m not the monster under your bed.”

“I wish people knew I’m not a monster just because I have bipolar disorder.”

10. People with bipolar disorder are human.

“I am human. I can have a bad day at work and feel unhappy about it for reasons that have nothing to do with bipolar disorder.”

11. Medication can help keep people with bipolar disorder stable.

“I have bipolar I, and I must have medication to keep me as emotionally stable as possible. If I don’t, I spiral out of control in both manic and depressive states.”

“When I forget to take my medication, everything, even the smallest things, can be a struggle.”

12. Recovery from bipolar disorder is possible.

“Recovery is possible. I have been stable for over 10 years.”

If you’re living with bipolar disorder and want to connect with others with similar experiences, join our Bipolar 1 Support community or follow #BipolarQuestionOfTheWeek.

Photo by Tobias Rademacher on Unsplash

Originally published: November 26, 2021
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