Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
There are four basic types of bipolar disorder; all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely “up,” elated, and energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very sad, “down,” or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes). Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes.
Bipolar disorder causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking and behavior, from the highs of mania to the lows of depression. More than just a brief good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder can last for days, weeks, or months.
And unlike everyday mood changes, the mood swings of bipolar disorder are so extreme that they get in the way of your ability to function. The manias make the depressive episodes more devastating and harder to treat.
Here are 12 signs you may suffer from bipolar disorder. Some are signs of mania, and some are signs of bipolar depression.
- You feel way too happy, overly upbeat, or extremely ecstatic for long periods of time.
- You get annoyed easily and are constantly feeling jumpy, twitchy or restless.
- The only thing that can keep up with the super-fast way you’re speaking is your thoughts. They’re going a mile a minute, but you can’t slow yourself down.
- You have no impulse control, which leads to risky behavior. If you want something, you buy it, and then you buy it in another color or buy one for a friend, and another for yourself until you find that you’ve purchased four pianos or ten high-end mixers.
- You know you’re a beast at everything. There’s nothing you can’t do and kill at.
- You feel sadness radiate from every part of your body and have no hope that anything will ever be OK. Your sadness seems to go on and on.
- You’ve withdrawn from the world, and that includes your family and friends. You couldn’t have less of an interest in things you once thought were fun.
- Your appetite is all screwed up: you’re either chowing down like you haven’t eaten in weeks, or the thought of eating seems like a foreign concept.
- You’re extremely tired and have no energy at all.
- You’ve become a slow talker and it can take you forever to get one sentence out.
- Your memory is completely shot, and your decision-making skills and ability to focus aren’t great either.
- You’re thinking about committing suicide or have already attempted it. You may or may not be too fascinated with death and dying.
The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder can be subtle, confusing and upsetting. Many people with this condition are overlooked or misdiagnosed, resulting in a lot of pain and unnecessary suffering. The good news is that with proper treatment and support, you can lead a wonderful life.