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  • Writer's picturethe bipolar talker

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Updated: Jun 1, 2021

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mood disorder which is defined by it's extreme shifts in mood from extreme highs (manic episodes) to extreme lows (depressive episodes). These moods affect that individual's thoughts and behaviours, and can last from a week to months.

According to the World Health Organisation, Bipolar is one of the leading causes of mental disability and in Australia alone affects roughly half a million people with 3.3 million people in USA being affected any given year. Generally, bipolar disorder is a chronic condition that begins in adolescence or early adulthood. Lack of diagnosis is a major reason why some people end up needlessly suffering for years as it is often not recognised.

As depressive episodes can be misdiagnosed as depression without enquiry into early manic periods, bipolar disorder is normally diagnosed once a person has a manic episode (mania) in their life.

The symptoms of mania include:

  • inflated self-esteem or grandiosity

  • insomnia or sleeping a few hours each night

  • very very talkative-racing thoughts

  • Increase in activity levels, especially goal-directed and business plans

  • risky behaviours like shopping impulsively, promiscuity or high-risk business deals.

Bipolar depressive episodes can be more severe than major depressive disorder episodes and are characterised by:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Loss of pleasure or interest in hobbies

  • Sleep disturbance or oversleeping

  • Loss of appetite or overeating

  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

  • Loss of energy

Treatment of bipolar disorder is a lifelong journey which can involve medication routines along with talk therapy, art therapy, music therapy, mindfulness, meditation, nutrition and exercise.

When I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2017, I had just turned 21. I didn't know what symptoms to look for so I ended up not getting diagnosed until the situation turned into an emergency. My goal is to provide a community for people for have gone through this where they can chat but more importantly add their experience to a larger body of lived experience knowledge to provide support for the current and future generations.

An alarming thing I realised once becoming part of online bipolar communities was the amount of people who may not have a formal diagnosis or may even get misdiagnosed. I would like to welcome you all to this blog and I invite you to share your thoughts on anything you'd like to add based on your experience.

I believe that instead of focusing on surviving with bipolar, we should instead be focusing on thriving with bipolar but that can only be achieved with great management and hard work. Stay tuned to hear about my experience, my ups and my downs on my journey of thriving with bipolar.



This blog is a well-researched article for additional reading and does not substitute professional advice. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and feel concerned, contact your GP or call the Mental Health Access Line on 1800 011 511. In the case of an emergency, call 000.

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