What is bipolar?

“That girl is sooooo bipolar.”

“Ugh my ex is so bipolar. One minute he wants me, the next he’s going crazy.”

“Oh my gosh I’m on my period and I feel so bipolar.”

How many times have you heard someone claim they are bipolar or are acting “bipolar”? Bipolar is one of the most thrown around terms in mental illness. Life is a rollercoaster of emotion with or without any sort of mental issues, (This concept goes back to being depressed and having depression,) bipolar is MUCH more than a mood disorder. Yeah sure, one day I’m happy, one day I’m sad, but it’s how I get there that has broken me.

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.

I started showing signs of bipolar as a child, but let’s fast forward to the night that got me diagnosed.

It started out like any other night for a 17 year old. My boyfriend at the time and I went out on a date, things were calm, no fights, and everyone was happy. On the ride home I started feeling, off. My mind would randomly just shut off. I was falling over in the car. I couldn’t stop shaking and my speech was stuttered. Of course my boyfriend thought it was all an act. I tried to tell him something was wrong but he didn’t get the whole “bipolar” thing. When we got to his place I could not sit still, it was like my mind shot on. I got out of his car and started walking in circles and walking up and down the street. At this point no one knew whether to laugh or be freaked out.

It all went south when my boyfriend starting getting mad about something stupid. I was not in the right state of mind to fight which led to things getting serious.

In reality when I have a manic episode I don’t remember it all. From what I do remember it was like every emotion was trying to come out at once. My mind was in overdrive and couldn’t handle it. I would cry, laugh, scream, stutter and get sleepy all within 30 seconds.

With him yelling at me it was just one more voice that I was hearing and I couldn’t take it. I was slamming my head into walls, hitting metal bedposts, “playing with knives”, anything to get it all to just stop.

My biological father is diagnosed Narcissistic Schizophrenic and he would describe his disorder as multiple TVs on in his head but he couldn’t turn them off, and after three hours of a manic ride that was exactly what it felt like. I couldn’t sleep and the voices were making my head hurt.

I never expected that that would become my new normal.