In the first part of the blog I gave a brief introduction about Bipolar disorder and how it might be experienced by different people. In this 2nd part I shall be going into the feelings and behavior that might be present when a person goes through the different phases.
During a manic episode you might feel very excited, easily distracted, have racing thoughts or feel like you can’t concentrate, might feel confident, adventurous or feel as though you can perform tasks better than usual. You might also feel like you understand or experience things that other people can’t. These feelings and thoughts might then result in you behaving in a way where you feel less social inhibitions, feel less tired, more friendly, and more likely to take risks such as spending money excessively or driving unsafely. During a manic episode you might feel that you are saying or doing things that are inappropriate and out of character. After such an episode it is common to feel very tired and would need a lot of rest, have unclear memories of what happened during that phase and/or you might also feel unhappy or worried about certain decisions or commitments that you might have taken.
During a depressive episode you might feel upset, tired and not interested in things you usually enjoy. Depressive episodes may make you feel guilty, worthless and/or hopeless as it is very likely to negatively impact your self-esteem. Sometimes depressive episodes may also lead a person to think about or attempt suicide. Depressive feelings might then result in you feeling that you don’t want to engage with friends and family, or participate in activities that you usually do on a regular basis. You might also find yourself having sleep difficulties such as insomnia or oversleeping, and might also note changes in your appetite, which would mean that you find yourself eating too much or eating too little.
Mixed episodes are when you experience symptoms of depression and mania at the same time or quickly after each other. This can be very difficult as it can be harder to understand what you are feeling and what support you need.
Thankfully, there are many professionals and services that can help you understand and cope with Bipolar disorder. Usually a combination of talk therapy and medication work very well and can support you in leading a healthy and happy life. There are also many useful websites and forums where people with Bipolar disorder share their experiences and offer tips to others who are also going through the same difficulties. You do not have to go through this alone!
Claire Borg is a gestalt psychotherapist at Willingness. She works with adolescents and adults. She has a special interest in mental health. She can be contacted on email@example.com.