The Truth about Bipolar Disorder

There isn’t a time when I’m out and I don’t hear my friends or people on the streets claiming that something is “bipolar!” It has become a part of our everyday language and what we know is that the term is used to symbolize a situation or person that has such unpredictable highs and lows when all influence towards it feels lost. Celebrities like Demi Lovato and Catherine Zeta-Jones have Bipolar Disorder, including other authors and scholars, have courageously shared their stories with the public.

The word “bipolar” is used to describe the weather, a boss, friends, parents, shoes, outfits — you name it! It seems complicated from the outside looking in, we don’t normally dare to know what’s happening on the inside and we don’t dare to learn about the psychological process of this viral disorder.

Let’s take a look behind the scenes at what actually makes a person Bipolar, and expose the truth behind how it really affects someone.

Highs + Lows = Bipolar Disorder

What’s so memorable about Bipolar Disorder is the categorization of the experience into the simple highs and lows. By definition, it entails going back and forth between Depression and feelings of mania, which is a mental state of feeling on top of the world. Emotionally, it can feel unpredictable, uncontrollable and dramatic. Providing the psychological background will aid in fully understanding what is actually Bipolar — and hopefully, curve our appetites in using that in our everyday language.

Mania – The Highs

Mania refers to having an elated mood, where one has this larger-than life self-esteem, goals and plans that they are ruthlessly aiming to fulfill. Thoughts and impulses come bolting through the mind, and perspective on life begins to seem unrealistic to surrounding others.

..irritation is an emotional response, as where agitation is a physical response…

During a manic episode, a person can also feel really irritated and agitated. The difference here is that irritation is an emotional response, as where agitation is a physical response. An example of agitation is when you are trying to calm a crying baby, and the more you try holding them the more they squirm around because they are physically bothered by not getting a need fulfilled correctly.

In some serious cases of Bipolar Disorder, the mental state can be so elated that delusions and hallucinations enter into the experience. This is a possible indicator that the grand sense of self feeds off misconceptions of reality, motivating their goals and plans to make it seem realistic to them. In order to get diagnosed as so, this mood must be present for at least 7 days, and directly impair an individual’s daily functioning (Gazzaniga, Grison & Heatherton, 2015).

Depression – The Lows

The second essential component of Bipolar Disorder is the all too popular, Depression. This term represents having a sad state of mind, met/paired with the loss of interest in engaging in/performing daily tasks that carry out functioning as a human being. Everyday activities like showering, eating, working, school, cleaning and relationships become perceived as uninteresting, undesirable or hopeless.

Secondary emotions acquired through Depression are difficulty keeping your focus on anything, thoughts can enter into your mind about suicide, and sometimes encounter heavy loss of physical energy.


As if the two separate illnesses making up Bipolar Disorder aren’t complicated enough, there are two types of the disorder. They share related symptoms and behaviors and can be easy to fathom once the proper details and differences are recognized.

  • Bipolar 1 disorder gets classified by the hyperactive manic characteristic. People suffering from B1D are dominantly affected by mania, with an eventual fall into a depressive episode. This episode can be mild at times and severe at others. But ultimately a person is primarily in a manic mood before drifting into secondary illness of depression afterward.
  • Bipolar 2 disorder gets classified by the hyperactive depressive characteristic. In B2D people primarily suffer from very extreme depressive moods that produce similar symptoms of Major Depression, and then drift into a mild form of mania. The mild version of mania is called Hypo-mania. Since depression is the dominating illness in Bipolar 2 Disorder, the effects of manic episodes do not involve hallucinations or delusions; and do not interrupt daily life routines.

The All in All

It is clear that mental illnesses work in combinations of each other, at various extremes. Bipolar Disorder is composed of both Depression and Mania, which is having a euphoric and unrealistic mental state — often interpreted by those suffering from the disorder as a mental high.

Oddly enough, knowing that 2 types of Bipolar Disorder exist is not common knowledge and too often many people do not understand the processes behind those observable “highs” and “lows.” Now that you have got yourself informed on the truth behind what is Bipolar and what is not, hopefully, this can positively influence the ways you both perceive and treat others potentially suffering from this mental disorder.

Thank You For Reading, Cheers

Lakeisha Angelika


About Lakeisha Angelika

Based in Toronto, Ontario -- Lakeisha Angelika is mental health & wellness freelance blogger, with a background in Psychology. She shares informative and helpful articles on ways to boost quality of life, manage mental illness and issues surrounding the psychological community. Lakeisha Angelika also designs illustrations and posters that compliment her written text.

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