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What “Soft” Bipolar Looks Like


I Spy Cynthia K

It’s been over a year since I wrote this piece for PC and I’ve received some requests of late so here you go! I hope that it is helpful to you.

I’m here to share a little about my own experiences with what’s often called “Soft Bi-Polar” or Soft Signs of Bi-polar.

Like so many illnesses, there’s a broad spectrum on which to be positioned…. from having soft signs (a “little bipolar” or what I liken to being a little pregnant) to suffering in its extreme on the far opposite end.

I have more than an abundance of compassion for people who suffer. While I cannot feel what they feel, my heart hurts for those who suffer in a larger capacity.

I was diagnosed in 2007 and I fought it. I thought my doctor and therapist were out of their minds (irony not lost here) and I was ashamed…very, very ashamed. Truth be told, as much of an advocate as I am – a voice… as “strong” as those who love me say I am,  I still wrestle with shame to this day.

Sometimes, I walk by the mirror and I’m stopped in my tracks by how unrecognizable the person looking back at me seems. Not because of the surface appearance (although turning 47 isn’t exactly like a dip in the fountain of youth) but because of what is going on inside of me.

This is what Bi-Polar looks like in me.

The depressive component encompasses more suffering than I can articulate or write about but I have lived under the weight of depression for most of my life. Like my ever-fluctuating weight, there have been ups and downs but the scale has been mostly up while the moods were mostly down.

I thank God that for the time being, I am in a place that is very, very good and have been for a while. If I could just stop looking upward for the other shoe to drop I might be able to enjoy the time.

The Hypo Mania piece is what I consider to be quite mild – it is who I have always been – so it rarely seems abnormal.

I’m racy in thought most often – I talk a blue streak – I finish other people’s sentences – sleep eludes me – I am Up Up Up – not manic as much as just very outgoing – extroverted – and while we’re on topic, I’m who I consider to be a whole heck of a lot of fun to be around. OK, well, maybe not always.

I wish I could say I embrace my dazzling bipolarity. I do not. Ever. With every ounce of my being, at times, I fight the disease but life is far too short to use my energy fighting the diagnosis. But the facts don’t lie and being treated for the disease was, and is, effective. I got better.

I highly recommend a marvelous book called “Why Am I Still Depressed? Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder” by Jim Phelps.

Regardless of this diagnosis or that disorder or even the label, please seek help even when you think “What’s the point?”. I am here to write this blog for you because I sought help when I definitely thought “What’s the point?”.

PHOTO CREDIT: Creative Commons License photo credit: Flооd



What “Soft” Bipolar Looks Like

Leslie Hull

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APA Reference
Hull, L. (2012). What “Soft” Bipolar Looks Like. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 2 Jul 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Jul 2012
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