Bipolar disorder is a psychological disorder that includes radical mood changes which usually go in periods or stages. These periods are often called the ‘minus’ and the ‘plus’ stages, in other words, they are the depressive stage and the stage of mania.
The depressive stage would include an episode of deep sadness, feeling drained and without energy, lack of willingness for daily activities in life in general, etc.
The manic episode on the other hand would include feelings of great optimism, happiness, and energy boosts. Unfortunately, this period also includes an inability to sleep and eat, and a high chance of irrational thoughts and decisions.
Now, the length of these periods can vary from one person to another, but in all cases of bipolar disorder both of them are present and they are constantly switching.
Sometimes the depression period can last longer, sometimes the other one last longer, and n it also happens that the period between these two stages can vary in length. Meaning it sometimes takes less time to switch from a depressive to a manic episode or vice versa.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder
As previously mentioned, one of the best indicators of this disorder is this big and often dramatic mood change. If you are worried about your mental health, we suggest you speak to your help provider before anything else.
To have a closer look at your own mood is not an easy task. If you are having doubts, the best thing you can do is to keep a mood journal. Try to describe in short and specific terms how you feel each day.
If you notice a sudden change when you are looking at your previous mood descriptions, talk to someone and share your concerns. So, the signs you need to pay attention to are the inability to sleep, the loss of appetite, and a sudden feeling of deep hopelessness and despair, on one side.
On the other side, you can experience moments of great joy and happiness that seem overboard and without any big reason, unnatural energy boosts, and being unable to sit down still or concentrate on things.
Headaches can also be frequent, so do not forget to write that down after you get headache tablets.
Everyone can experience a period of depression, intrusive thoughts, low energy, and feeling bad in general. Take your time to analyze your feelings a bit because every struggle is not precisely bipolar disorder.
Do not be afraid to speak to someone if you do not feel good. We kindly suggest you consult a psychologist, a therapist, or a psychiatrist if you are not feeling well.
How to cope with bipolar disorder
If you end up diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it is not the end of the world. You will learn how to cope with this with the help of your doctor and your friends and family. There are also some things that you can do to make yourself feel a bit better.
A healthy diet and exercise routine are proven to help with many mental health issues. Take care of your health, as much as you can. Make an arrangement with your health providers about therapy sessions and medication that would work the best for you.
It is very important to talk to the people that are close to you. It is not your fault that this is happening to you, but your friends and family can probably be confused with your behaviour, or consider something you did rude, just because they are not aware of your current condition.
This way they can offer their support and understanding of the situation.
The last thing we want to remind you about is that mental health issues can happen to anyone, and they are nothing to be ashamed of. Depression in males, for example, is still somewhat of a stigma, but it should not be like that.
If you or someone from your close group seems to be struggling, please do not hesitate to ask for help. There are people whose job is to help you with this. Stay strong and speak up, it can save lives.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.