Ups and Downs, Highs and Lows
Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic Depression, is characterized by mood swings between mania and a feeling of despair. Some describe this phenomenon as a pendulum between ‘highs and lows’. Despite many people’s misconceptions the individual has no control over whether they experience a mood swing and is often unable to detect that their state is abnormal.
New Frontiers Psychiatry does not recommend self-diagnosis; but sometimes it’s helpful to know symptoms of different indications. This is especially true if you’re trying to decide whether you need to reach out for help. It’s important to remember that every patient experiences different symptoms but we’ve summarized some common ones below (in no particular order).
Five Symptoms of ‘Mania’ – the Highs of Manic Depression
- Engaging in Spontaneous, Risky Behavior – gambling, seeking adrenalin rushes, spending sprees etc.
- Insomnia – perceiving a decreased need for sleep or experiencing an inability to fall asleep.
- Racing Thoughts, Quick Speech – often paired with feelings of restlessness and fidgeting.
- Over-confidence – bursts of arrogance or miscalculated self-reliance.
- Distracted – also described as having racing thoughts, flightiness.
Five Symptoms of ‘Depression’ – the Lows of Manic Depression
- A feeling that life is meaningless
- Withdrawing from social interactions
- Increased or Decreased Appetite
- Extreme Fatigue
- Difficulties with Memory, Concentration and Decision Making
Not Always an Easy Disorder to Detect: Bipolar I vs. Bipolar II
There are two levels of manic depression – Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Bipolar I is usually easier to detect in people and it’s easier for patients to detect in themselves. Bipolar II is more challenging on both these fronts as the ‘mania’ the patient experiences is more subtle and therefore more difficult to perceive.
Healthline put out the most interesting gallery of quotes from real patients struggling with Bipolar Disorder. Flip through them below to get a better understanding of what it’s like to live with Manic Depression or either level of Bipolar Disorder.