I’m starting off a little series of posts talking about what bipolar disorder is and what it is not, to try to raise awareness in a different format, to try to provide some information about the disorder and the common misconceptions about it.
Bipolar is a mood disorder but isn’t only about two extreme moods
While bipolar disorder is defined as a mood disorder swinging between two extremes of depression and either hypomania or mania, that it isn’t all it’s about. We aren’t always severely depressed or manic, there are lots of grey areas in between, like a sliding scale. Sometimes we can be stable, meaning we aren’t at either end of the spectrum and have ‘normal’ moods.
Bipolar is incurable but it isn’t untreatable
There isn’t a medication or treatment that can cure bipolar, it is a life long mental illness but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t treatable. The symptoms can be managed with medication, therapy, learning about your illness and how to manage your triggers and reduce the impact of your moods, among many other things.
Bipolar is hard to live with but it isn’t impossible
Having bipolar is really tough to deal with in so many ways; it’s hard to come to terms with, it makes daily life so much more difficult, it really does impact almost everything you do but it isn’t impossible to live with. Those of us with bipolar can have really productive, successful and happy lives with a lot of work and management of our symptoms and the right professional help.
Bipolar is common but it isn’t talked about enough
Bipolar is far from rare, in fact it’s quite common as a mental illness but it isn’t talked about enough! This is changing over time and there’s a marked difference in awareness being raised, but there is still a lot of work to do in order to reduce stigma and make talking about bipolar and other mental illnesses more commonplace.
Bipolar is a disorder of mood swings but it isn’t the same for everyone
The symptoms of bipolar aren’t the same for everyone in regards to how they experience their depression or mania, how severe it is, what the symptoms are for them personally; it is so individual to each person in many ways. There are also four different kinds of bipolar: Bipolar 1, Bipolar 2, Cyclothymia, and other non-specified bipolar related disorders. These four types are something I will go into more detail in and explain in another blog post this month.
Part two of this series will follow next week including more things that bipolar is and isn’t!