I’ve noticed something when it comes to bipolar disorder and other mental health diagnoses: there’s a lot of misinformation out there.
Whether you have a loved one with bipolar, or you have a recent bipolar diagnosis, knowing the facts can help you find healthy ways to cope and avoid harmful thoughts and behaviors.
Here are some things I’ve learned about bipolar disorder that I hope will encourage you and give you more confidence as you build your support system.
It’s Not Just Being Moody
It can be very discouraging when people are dismissive of your struggles with mental health. Bipolar disorder is not just “being moody” or experiencing mood swings during a stressful day. It’s far more intense than typical ups and downs, and it’s not something you get over after a day or two.
The changes in mood, sleep patterns, or behavior experienced by someone with bipolar are much more extreme and seem out of character for them. There are also multiple types of bipolar, and everyone experiences their symptoms in a unique way.
If you aren’t sure about your symptoms, talk to your doctor. They will help you find the right diagnosis, which is key to planning the right treatment.
The Tough Times Will Subside
The symptoms of bipolar can be intense and difficult, and can seem to come out of nowhere. But it’s important to remember that people with bipolar are not always depressed, and periods of mania won’t last forever. Continuing to seek treatment and taking any medications as prescribed will help to relieve and manage symptoms.
Beware of “Cures” for Bipolar
Some of the most dangerous myths about bipolar involve “curing” symptoms without medication or other treatment that doctors recommend. It’s great to stay active and eat healthy, but that’s not sufficient for the severe symptoms that come with bipolar disorder.
People may also suggest prayer as a cure. Focusing on your faith is certainly not harmful, but our faith and actions should work together to help us get better. No matter what well-meaning people suggest, follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor and mental health professional.
You Don’t Need Bipolar to Create
While many artists and creative people have bipolar disorder, don’t mistake the symptoms of bipolar for creativity. You don’t need to be struggling and suffering through out-of-control symptoms. You can care for yourself and nurture your creative spirit at the same time.
You Are Not the Only One
Because of the ups and downs of mania and depression, I understand why you’d feel all alone if you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar. But there are millions of people who know how you’re feeling. In the US alone, at least 2 million people have been diagnosed with some form of bipolar disorder. It is possible to have a sense of community and to live a happy life with bipolar disorder. You just need the right support.
When bipolar gets tough, TheHopeLine is here to help. Reach out to a HopeCoach anytime by chat or email to start the conversation. We’re here for you, and you’re not alone!
If you or someone you love may be dealing with mental health issues, you may find something in our resource library to help. Search our podcasts, blogs and e-books with your questions about mental illness.
Photo Credit: Anthony Ginsbrook