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Chances are you've heard more people than not claim that they are bipolar. The truth is if they actually knew what "bipolar" was, they wouldn't use the term so lightly.
In addition to mood swings, there are a whole array of symptoms of bipolar disorder–and some people may, or may not, have any given symptom–all of us are different. So the next time you're feeling moody, or you had a good day, and then a bad day immediately after, perhaps choose a different phrase to describe yourself. People who are actually diagnosed with one of the types of bipolar disorder will definitely roll their eyes, and you'll look silly. However, if you truly think you might have a bipolar disorder then you should seek medical assistance. If left untreated, the symptoms can be dangerous at the least, and they are progressively more present as you age.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
"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," - according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Within the spectrum of severity, and complexity of symptoms related to this disorder there are four general types, including Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, Cyclothymic Disorder (or cyclothymia), and "Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders." They get lower and lower in severity from Bipolar I Disorder to "Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders," respectively.
Why Am I Writing This?
I have Bipolar I Disorder, and since there's proof of hereditary factors to the onset of bipolar disorder, and my father has had it since he was a young adult, it's safe to say that I inherited it from him. Thanks a lot, Dad. Bipolar I Disorder, the most severe, is characterized by manic episodes (extremely "up," elated and energized behavior) that lasts at least seven days, or that are so severe one requires immediate hospitalization. There are also depressive episodes usually, typically lasting two weeks. There can also be episodes with both manic and depressive features.
For me, manic episodes have meant anything from throwing all of my ex's belongings into the yard over a text, trading in my car on a whim, because I liked one I saw on the lot, entertaining relations with my boss, overdosing, and having to go to the hospital due to a bad relationship, starting a big project randomly with all intentions on finishing it by myself, or just feeling really confident and untouchable, or very aggressive and irritable, as well as hypersexuality. Sometimes these episodes can be the best feeling in the world, and sometimes they can end your world. I always come down from an episode, and regret whatever I did, wondering what I was thinking. People who know me would tell you I would never do things like these, they didn't sit right with me morally, or logically.
Depressive episodes meant things like calling out of work multiple times, hating things I used to love, not wanting to get out of bed, crippling anxiety, feeling like my family and I would be better off without me living, trying to cut off relationships, and having difficulty carrying out day-to-day activities. I feel personally like I'm in a depressive state all of the time, I don't feel present in my life, like I'm just on autopilot, and I get disturbing intrusive thoughts that scare me. I have nightmares constantly while sleeping, if you can even call it that. But I've gotten used to all of that, it's just part of my life now. I feel that when I get manic it's an actual episode that happens every now and then, though not so much lately, since I've been diagnosed and medicated.
If You Have It, You Can Choose to be Proud of It. If You Don't Have It, Sorry.
I used to hate this part of me, but slowly I'm learning to love myself, and cherish the way that my mind works differently than everybody else's. Some of that credit needs to go to my amazing partner, who is very understanding, and has stuck with me through thick and thin so far. They have worked hard to learn my complexities, and to work with me, instead of against me. I'm blessed with a lot of support from the people around me who love me with or without a label. With that diagnosis though, I won't be able to carry a concealed weapon, join the military, and a few other things. So it does have its limitations, which is another great reason why people who don't have it shouldn't claim they do. Not only do we doubt you have it if you're boasting it around like that (no shame in it), but some of us want to make connections with others like us. So don't be spewing false information, support your people with mental health disorders, learn about them, and be a decent, educated person.