Bipolar disorder is a medical condition affecting your moods. It involves episodes in which you swing from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression).
When depressed your mood will be marked by feelings of extreme lethargy and despair, which could lead to thoughts of suicide. When experiencing mania your mood will be severely elevated, which can lead to impulsive and extravagant behaviour and increased risk taking.
What are the signs?
Signs of mania
- feeling unusually energetic, excited or happy
- feeling irritable or angry if others do not share your excitement
- disturbed sleep
- reduced concentration and poor memory
- thoughts seem to speed up or race
- fast speech which sounds or feels pressured
- increased sexual interest
- reckless or risky behaviour
- being unusually abrupt or intolerant of others
- grandiose thoughts
Signs of depression
- feeling tired or lacking in energy
- reduced concentration
- negative thinking
- withdrawing from social interaction
- loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
- loss of self-confidence
- changes in appetite
- changes in sleep pattern
- feelings of guilt or sadness
What can I do to help myself?
You may find that you enjoy mania and the enhanced creativity and productivity it brings. This may lead you to think there is nothing wrong at all, until your mood starts to change.
There are several options for treating bipolar disorder, but there are also things you can do to help yourself. Learn to recognise the triggers and signs of an episode of depression or mania - a mood diary will help you to do this. You may find the app, Mappiness, to be helpful in charting your mood.
Your doctor can discuss treatment and medication, which can be very effective in treating the main symptoms of depression and mania. You may also find long-term mood stabilisers effective.
How can we help?
Look after your own health and wellbeing – check out our tips for wellbeing.
The Open Door Team can discuss psychological treatment and practical advice with you. Make an appointment - see help and support to find out how.