Living with bipolar disorder: blogs and personal stories
It's thought that around one in a hundred of us are affected by bipolar disorder (previously known as manic depression). We all experience changes in mood. But, if you have bipolar disorder you experience extreme swings – from low mood (depression) to periods of overactive behaviour (mania), often with more normal phases in-between.
Bipolar disorder is often misunderstood as a mental health problem. This misunderstanding can cause stigma and discrimination, which can make it much harder for people to speak openly about what they are going through, as well as seek the help they need.
- Understanding bipolar disorder
- The stigma around bipolar disorder
- Personal blogs from people with experiences of bipolar disorder
I've been brought up to never talk about mental health – if you can't see it, it doesn’t exist. This is why I think it is important to share; and as I start on my journey with bipolar, I want to write about both the positive and negative responses I have to this illness.”
Zoe blogs about telling people about diagnosis of bipolar disorder >>
Bipolar disorder is a severe mood disorder. Low periods might be characterised by depression, feelings of hopelessness, a lack of energy and social withdrawal. High times, on the other hand, might bring feelings of confidence, energy and optimism. A loss of inhibition could also mean being prone to making unrealistic plans or acting in reckless ways.
Bipolar disorder can have a significant impact on life, but many people who live with it lead productive – and, in some cases, exceptionally creative – lives.
"You never know how someone will react when you declare a mental health problem – especially at my level of management. There's still that huge misconception that those of us with complex mental health problems don't work or are incapable of doing a job that is stressful, mentally challenging or requires you to work outside the standard 9 – 5."
Rachel blogs about whether bipolar is a disability >>
People with mental health problems say that the stigma and discrimination surrounding their mental health problem can be one of the hardest parts of their day to day experience. As a result of the stigma, we might shy away from supporting a friend, family member or colleague. But the consequences can be large. People with mental health problems can lose friendships, feel isolated, withdraw from the world and not get the help they need.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Talking about mental health shows someone that you care about them. It aids recovery, and friendships are often strengthened in the process.
Why not add your name to our pledge wall to join the thousands of people who are taking small steps to be more open about mental health?
The following blog posts are written by people with personal experience of bipolar disorder. By talking openly, our bloggers hope to increase understanding around mental health, break down stereotypes, and take the taboo out of something that – like physical health – affects us all.